Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Friday, May 24, 2019, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.
This catalog was created on Friday, May 24, 2019.
Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. The psychology curriculum is well balanced to represent the breadth of the core areas of psychology (clinical, cognitive, developmental, health, neuroscience, personality, and social psychology) and provide opportunity for the in-depth study of specific topics (e.g., psychopharmacology, music, language, psychopathology, adolescent development, prejudice, emotion). Research, through which psychological theories are developed and tested, is emphasized throughout the curriculum.
Required for the psychology major
- PSYC 100, 280, and 281, and MATH 117 or 207
- Two courses from Group I and two courses from Group II:
- Group I: PSYC 240, 250 or 290, 260 or 265, 245 or 270
- Group II: PSYC 340 or 370, 350 or 360, 380
- One of the following advanced courses in Psychology requiring a literature review, must be taken before PSYC 610: PSYC 330 or 335, 420, 460, 480, 530, 540, 550, 560, 570, 575, or 580.
- Senior Capstone: PSYC 610
- Another six units in psychology (Any six units, which may include independent study or practicum credit; may be accrued over more than one term)
- One of the courses (in addition to the Research Methods sequence) must have a lab.
Structure and Goals of the Major Curriculum
Requirements for the psychology major are structured so that students gain a broad knowledge of psychology while also completing a core course sequence that systematically develops skills relevant to understanding and producing psychological advances.
The core courses begin with Principles of Psychology (PSYC 100), typically taken in the freshman year, a broad introduction to psychological science that provides a framework (of key theories, terminology, methods, and findings in the core areas of psychology) on which all later courses build. Majors are encouraged to take Statistics (MATH 117) and the two-term Research Methods in Psychology (PSYC 280 & 281) sequence (preferably in the sophomore year and certainly no later than the junior year). The Methods sequence teaches students to think like research psychologists, from “what constitutes a worthwhile and testable hypothesis?,” to designing, running, analyzing, and reporting an original empirical project. In the junior year, students select an advanced course in which they not only explore a topic in greater depth, but also learn how to write a synthetic, integrative, and critical review of a research area. The skills developed throughout the core courses are brought together in Senior Capstone (PSYC 610), in which each student chooses his or her own topic to explore, culminating in a project that is presented both in a senior thesis and a public oral presentation. The project may involve a critical review of past theory and research, a proposal for an original empirical study, an original empirical study report, a theory development paper, or a paper that integrates a student’s applied work with its wider scholarly context.
Together, the core courses are aimed at systematically developing core skills related to general learning outcomes, including the abilities to: think critically (e.g., construct a thesis, supported by appropriate arguments and evidence), write and communicate effectively, synthesize current knowledge, and test novel hypotheses.
To ensure that majors are also exposed to the breadth of psychological science, they must also complete two courses in the cognitive/experimental/biological areas of psychology as well as two courses in the developmental/health/social/clinical areas of psychology.
Majors should complete Research Methods before taking laboratory courses numbered 335 or above or courses numbered 380 or above. Concurrent enrollment in MATH 117 (with the Psychology Statistics Laboratory) with PSYC 280: Research Methods I is preferred. Alternatively, MATH 207 may be taken prior to Research Methods I.
Majors complete empirical research projects in Research Methods, but are also encouraged to do so in laboratory and topics courses, and in close collaboration with faculty members in independent study. Students have access to the department’s extensive laboratory facilities for research in neuroscience, acoustical analysis, child development, animal and human learning, social, personality, and clinical psychology. We highly recommend that students who wish to pursue honors projects or empirical projects for PSYC 610 begin them in their junior year.
Several opportunities to receive course credit for work within applied settings (e.g., working in a clinical setting in the community) are regularly available - see PSYC 451. Other practica that similarly combine academic and applied components may be arranged. This includes various opportunities for placement at non-profit human services programs in the local community. For information on such practica, contact the Career Center (920-832-6561), Beth Haines (920-832-6708), Lori Hilt (920-832-7050), Jerri Kahl (920-832-6950), or Jerry Metalsky (920-832-6705).
Required for the psychology minor
- PSYC 100: Principles of Psychology and preferably MATH 117 with Psychology Statistics Laboratory (MATH 107 or 207 are acceptable).
- One course from Group I and one course from Group II:
- Group I: PSYC 240, 245, 250, 260, 265, 270, 290
- Group II: PSYC 340, 350, 360, 370, 380
- One of the following advanced courses: 330 or 335, 420, 460, 480, 530, 540, 550, 560, 570, 575, 580 (or any other 500-level course offered).
- One additional course in psychology
- One of the courses must have a lab (viz., PSYC 265, 280/281†, 335, 340, 355, 380, 530).
- C average in the minor
†The student must complete both terms of PSYC 280–281 to meet this lab requirement.
Preparations for graduate school
The major program prepares students well for graduate study in psychology or related fields. Students interested in graduate study should consider conducting research with a faculty member, consider taking PSYC 480, and fully utilize the Career Center and alumni who have gone to graduate school. Names and contact information for alumni can be obtained through the Alumni Relations office. For those who pursue other careers, the research skills learned by majors are widely applicable. Students who are interested in the major program or curious about what kind of career opportunities exist in the field of psychology are urged to visit the graduate school section of the departmental Web page (www.lawrence.edu/dept/psychology/grad/) and the Career Center for more information. Students interested in mental health careers should pay particular attention to the department’s clinical psychology sequence: PSYC 250 or 290, 330, 335 or 355, and 451. Students are encouraged, but not required, to take PSYC 330, 335, or 355 and 451 Field Experience in Clinical Psychology in consecutive terms. PSYC 451 allows students to gain supervised practical experience at a local mental health facility. Students interested in graduate study should speak to their advisors and take a topics course related to their area of interest.
Students who score 4 or better on the Psychology Advanced Placement Examination of the College Entrance Examination Board are given credit for PSYC 100 (which fulfills one of the major requirements). Students who plan to major in psychology and place out of PSYC 100 are advised to take one or two courses in Group I during their freshman year. A score of 4 or better in AP Statistics can substitute for the MATH 117 requirement; such students are encouraged to take MATH 207.
Senior Experience in Psychology
In the Psychology Department’s senior capstone (PSYC 610), small groups of students meet in independent seminar sections supervised by a faculty mentor. Sections meet to discuss common readings, provide constructive criticism of each other’s work, and to allow students to present work in progress. Discussions, papers, and presentations enhance students’ abilities to conceptualize important questions within the context of the discipline, formulate ways to answer those questions, and present ideas clearly and cogently in both written and oral form. Students pursue their project over the academic term, culminating in a senior thesis and a public senior oral presentation.
The centerpiece of the capstone experience is an original senior project, allowing students to pursue their own interests in depth, encouraging autonomy and creativity. In consultation with the faculty mentor, students will choose one of the following types of papers: a critical review of past theory and research, an original empirical study report, a theory development paper, or a paper that integrates a student’s applied work (e.g., in an internship) with its wider scholarly context. Students pursuing double degrees, double majors, and education certification are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisors and relevant department chairs to plan and negotiate their overall senior experience as early as possible, especially if they are interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary capstone that integrates their interests in both majors, or combines their student teaching with a project in their major.