College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
    Apr 07, 2020  
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Psychology


Courses


Faculty

FRANK H. DURGIN, Professor
JANE E. GILLHAM, Professor and Chair
ALLEN M. SCHNEIDER, Professor1
ANDREW WARD, Professor 
STELLA CHRISTIE, Associate Professor2
DANIEL J. GRODNER, Associate Professor
CATHERINE J. NORRIS, Associate Professor
JEDIDIAH SIEV, Assistant Professor2
BARBARA THELAMOUR, Assistant Professor
MICHELE REIMER, Assistant Professor (part time)
JOHN C. BLANCHAR, Visiting Assistant Professor
YOUSSEF EZZYAT, Visiting Assistant Professor
MOLLY FLAHERTY, Visiting Assistant Professor
ELIZABETH D. KRAUSE, Visiting Assistant Professor (part time)
PEIYAO CHEN, Research Fellow
KATHRYN TIMMONS, Administrative Coordinator
KIM NGAN HOANG, Research Manager and Academic Assistant


1Absent on leave, Spring 2020.
2Absent on leave, 2019-2020. 


Psychology is concerned with the systematic study of human behavior and experience. Psychologists use diverse approaches to understand human relationships, mental and emotional life, and decision-making, as well as the relationships between language, perception, the mind, and the brain. Topics also include the influence of other people on the individual and the origins and treatment of mental illness.

The Academic Program


The courses and seminars of the department are designed to provide a sound understanding of the principles and methods of psychology. Students learn the nature of psychological inquiry and psychological approaches to various problems encountered in the humanities, the social sciences, and the life sciences.

The Psychology Department offers a course major and minor, honors major and minor, and regularized special majors in neuroscience and in psychology and education. Students may, with approval, develop other individualized special majors, such as psychology and economics.

Prerequisites


The most common way to fulfill the prerequisite for further work in psychology is to take PSYC 001 Introduction to Psychology. A second entry point is a psychology first-year seminar: PSYC 005 First-Year Seminar: Is Nature vs. Nurture the Wrong Question?: Topics in Cognitive Development or PSYC 007 First-Year Seminar: Early Social Cognition.

Advanced Placement


Alternatively, a student may meet the prerequisite for psychology courses with a grade of AP 5 on the psychology Advanced Placement test or a grade of 6 or 7 for psychology in the higher level International Baccalaureate Program, but this practice is not encouraged. In either case, an entering student should seek guidance from the department chair or academic assistant about selection of a first psychology course. Students electing the AP or IB placement option are not permitted to take a core course (numbered in the 30s) in their first semester. (Swarthmore credit is not granted for AP or IB work in psychology.)

First Course Recommendations


Standard (Most Common) first course and pre-requisite for further coursework in Psychology.

PSYC 001  Introduction to Psychology. This course introduces the basic processes underlying human and animal behavior-studied in experimental, social, and clinical contexts. Analysis centers on the extent to which typical and atypical behaviors are determined by learning, motivation, neural, cognitive, and social processes. This course is intended for all students and is the most common way to fulfill the prerequisite for further work in psychology.

First year seminars that can serve (in place of PSYC 001) as a pre-requisite for further course work in Psychology. Note that first year seminars are not offered every year.

PSYC 005  First-Year Seminar: Is Nature vs. Nurture the Wrong Question?. This course focuses on topics in cognitive development and consider each with respect to the nature vs. nurture debate.This course will seek to move beyond the traditional solution of accepting that every developmental process is about nature and nurture working in concert. Instead we will think more deeply about when the question is a helpful framework and when it is not. PSYC 005 is intended for first year students and serves as an alternate prerequisite for further work in the department.

PSYC 007   First-Year Seminar: Early Social Cognition. This course explores the underlying cognitive processes that shape infants’ and children’s understanding of the social world. PSYC 007 is intended for first year students and serves as an alternate prerequisite for further work in the department.

Other courses relevant to Psychology that can serve as a pre-requisite for a few intermediate and advanced psychology courses.

COGS 001  Introduction to Cognitive Science. This course introduces students to the scientific investigation of such questions as the following: What does it mean to think or to have consciousness? Can a computer have a mind? What does it mean to have a concept? What is language? What kinds of explanations are necessary to explain cognition? When taught by a Psychology faculty, COGS 001  counts toward Psychology credit and serves as an alternate prerequisite for courses related to cognitive psychology: PSYC 032  Perception, PSYC 033  Cognitive Psychology, PSYC 034   Psychology of Language, PSYC 032/132  Perception, Cognition and the Embodied Mind Seminar, PSYC 133  Metaphor and Mind Seminar, and PSYC 134  Seminar in Psycholinguistics. The course does not serve fulfill the PSYC 001 prerequisite requirement for most course in the department or for entry into the Psychology major or minor.

Other courses open to first year students that do not count as a pre-requisite for further coursework in the department. Note that these courses are not offered every year.

PSYC 004  First Year Seminar: Psychology in Schools. This course introduces psychological theory and concepts by considering their relevance to schools and student learning. This course draws from cognitive, developmental, and multicultural psychology to help students understanding and appreciate learning and the diversity of learners. PSYC 004 is intended for first year students. PSYC 004 does not serve as an alternate prerequisite for further work in the department but can count towards a Psychology major or minor.

PSYC 018  Well-being. This course examines individual, intepersonal, and social factors that contribute to social and emotional well-being, as well as interventions designed to promote well-being. Although the course focuses on psychological well-being across a variety of contexts and life stages, a heavy emphasis will be placed on well-being during the college years. PSYC 018 is intended for all students. PSYC 018 does not serve as an alternate prerequisite for further work in the department but can count towards a Psychology major or minor.

 

Course Major


A course major must include at least 8 credits in psychology. One additional credit is required in statistics as a prerequisite for PSYC 025.

Normally, one credit of the 8 credits in psychology may be accepted from a semester abroad. The minimum requirement excludes courses cross-listed in psychology that are taught solely by members of other departments, such as EDUC 021/PSYC 021, EDUC 023/PSYC 023 and EDUC 026/PSYC 026. COGS 001 Introduction to Cognitive Science may be counted in the minimum courses required for the major when taught by a member of the Psychology Department.

A typical sequence of courses toward a major begins with PSYC 001 Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent), followed by a core course (those with numbers in the 30s) or PSYC 025 Research Design and Analysis.

Requirements


  1. PSYC 001  Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in psychology (see the note about prerequisites above).
  2. PSYC 025   Research Design and Analysis is a requirement for the major. Note that STAT 011  Statistical Methods (or equivalent, e.g., ECON 031  ) is a prerequisite for PSYC 025, or may be taken concurrently.
  3. At least four core courses in psychology are required (those with numbers in the 30s): PSYC 030  Behavioral Neuroscience; PSYC 031  Cognitive Neuroscience; PSYC 031A  Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; PSYC 032  Perception; PSYC 033  Cognitive Psychology; PSYC 034  Psychology of Language; PSYC 035  Social Psychology; PSYC 037  Multicultural Psychology; PSYC 038  Clinical Psychology; PSYC 039  Developmental Psychology.
  4. Finally, to graduate with a major in psychology, students must also complete a culminating research experience, described below.

Comprehensive Requirement: Culminating Research Experience


Students in the Course Program must satisfy the College’s comprehensive requirement in their majors. In psychology, this can be done in one of the following four ways:

  1. Complete a research practicum in psychology in the senior year: PSYC 101   Research Practicum in Political Psychology;  PSYC 102   Research Practicum in Cognition and Perception; PSYC 103  Research Practicum in Behavioral Neuropharmacology; PSYC 104  Research Practicum in Language and Mind; PSYC 105  Research Practicum in Psychology and Neuroscience: Social Imitation; PSYC 106  Research Practicum in Cognitive Development; PSYC 107   Research Practicum in Developmental Psychology;  PSYC 108  Research Practicum in Clinical Psychology; PSYC 109  Research Practicum in Social and Emotional Well-Being; PSYC 110  Research Practicum in Cognitive Neuroscience. Students may enroll in these practica to conduct original empirical research for one-half (an option for some practica) or one credit and may take these courses before the senior year without meeting the comprehensive requirement. When taking these courses to meet the comprehensive requirement, the student will normally enroll for one credit and participate in the Senior Research Poster Session.
  2. Complete PSYC 096   and PSYC 097  Senior Thesis. Admission to the senior thesis program is by application only. Enrollment in 2 credits of senior thesis, one each semester of the senior year, is required. Normally, a B+ average in Psychology and overall is required for acceptance into the thesis. Application to the senior thesis program is usually made by mid-April of the junior year. The list of faculty research interests on the department’s website will help students identify the appropriate faculty member to consult when developing thesis plans.
  3. Complete a PSYC 090  Field Placement in Clinical Psychology in the spring semester of the senior year. Extensive planning in advance is necessary. See the PSYC 090 description.
  4. Complete PSYC 098  Senior Research Project. With the approval of the faculty, students may select a topic of their choice in psychology and write a substantial paper on the topic based on library research-and possibly some original empirical research. The paper may constitute a significant expansion and extension of a paper or papers written by the student previously for psychology courses, or it may address a topic on which the student has not written before. Students are encouraged, but not required, to select topics that span more than one content area in psychology. In addition to submitting their written reports, students participate in the Senior Research Poster Session. Students receive either one-half or one course credit for satisfactory work on the Senior Research Project, and a letter grade is assigned. Students normally enroll in the course in the fall semester.

Acceptance Criteria


To be accepted as a course major, students must have successfully completed two courses in psychology and be in good standing at the College.

Course Minor


A course minor in psychology requires a minimum of 5 credits taken with psychology faculty at Swarthmore. There is no comprehensive requirement.

Requirements


  1. PSYC 001 Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in Psychology (see the note about prerequisites above).
  2. A minimum of two core courses in psychology (those with numbers in the 30s) is required: PSYC 030   Behavioral Neuroscience; PSYC 031   Cognitive Neuroscience; PSYC 031A   Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; PSYC 032  Perception; PSYC 033  Cognitive Psychology; PSYC 034  Psychology of Language; PSYC 035  Social Psychology; PSYC 037  Multicultural Psychology;  PSYC 038  Clinical Psychology; PSYC 039  Developmental Psychology.

 

*Note: COG 001: Introduction to Cognitive Science may count towards the completion of a Psychology Minor, though not as a core course, when taught by a Psychology Faculty Member.

Acceptance Criteria


To be accepted as a course minor, students must have successfully completed one course in psychology and be in good standing at the College.

Honors Major


An honors major in psychology requires completing all the requirements for the course major while incorporating three honors preparations in psychology, of which one is a 2- credit senior honors thesis. The other two honors preparations in psychology are composed of two core courses (a course numbered in the 30s) along with their corresponding one-credit seminars (numbered in the 130s).

The Psychology Department currently offers examination in honors in the following fields:

Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Psychology/Perception
Developmental Psychology
Psycholinguistics
Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Social Psychology

Requirements


  1. PSYC 001  Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in psychology (see the note about prerequisites above).
  2. PSYC 025  Research Design and Analysis is required of honors majors, as it is for course majors. Note that STAT 011   Statistical Methods (or equivalent, e.g., ECON 031 , AP Statistics) is a prerequisite for PSYC 025 (or may be taken concurrently).
  3. Two seminar-based honors preparations, as described above, must be completed, each consisting of a core course and its corresponding seminar.
  4. In all, a minimum of four core courses in psychology (those with numbers in the 30s) must be completed: PSYC 030  Behavioral Neuroscience; PSYC 031  Cognitive Neuroscience; PSYC 031A  Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; PSYC 032  Perception; PSYC 033  Cognitive Psychology; PSYC 034  Psychology of Language; PSYC 035  Social Psychology; PSYC 037  Multicultural Psychology; PSYC 038  Clinical Psychology; PSYC 039  Developmental Psychology.
  5. A two-credit honors thesis (PSYC 180), spread over both semesters of the senior year, is the third honors preparation and fulfills the comprehensive requirement in psychology.

The Honors Examination for Majors


In psychology, the usual form of evaluation is a three-hour written examination prepared by the external examiner and administered during the honors examination period in the senior year. This is followed, during the subsequent examiners’ weekend, by an oral examination with the examiner for each of a student’s preparations. An honors thesis stands in place of one written examination.

Acceptance Criteria


Approval of an application to participate in the Honors Program as a major depends upon successfully completing two psychology courses at Swarthmore, normally PSYC 001, Introduction to Psychology, or a psychology first-year seminar, and one core course. Admission to the Honors Program usually takes place in the spring semester of the sophomore year, but students may apply for honors even in the junior year. To be accepted, students must have B+ averages in psychology and overall. Moreover, to continue in honors, students must have attained a B+ average in psychology at the end of the junior year.

Honors Minor


Completing an honors minor in psychology requires fulfilling the requirements for the course minor while incorporating a single honors preparation in psychology, composed of a core course (a course numbered in the 30s) and its corresponding one-credit seminar (numbered in the 130s). A complete list of available preparations is given above in the section on honor majors.

Requirements


A minimum of five credits taken with psychology faculty at Swarthmore, including the honors preparation, are required for the honors minor. PSYC 001 Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in psychology (see the note about prerequisites above).

Two of the five credits must be core courses in psychology (those with numbers in the 30s): PSYC 030  Behavioral Neuroscience; PSYC 031  Cognitive Neuroscience; PSYC 031A  Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; PSYC 032  Perception; PSYC 033  Cognitive Psychology; PSYC 034  Psychology of Language; PSYC 035  Social Psychology; PSYC 037  Multicultural Psychology; PSYC 038  Clinical Psychology; PSYC 039  Developmental Psychology.

The honors preparation is completed by taking the seminar corresponding to one of the aforementioned core courses. In the event that a student is pursuing a course major in addition to an honors minor, the preparation for the honors minor may, with approval of the department, be fulfilled with the completion of a two-credit honors thesis (PSYC 180 ). 

Starting with the Class of 2021: In addition to the core course and related seminar for an honors preparation, honors minors are required to include Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent), one additional core course, and PSYC 025  Research Design and Analysis in their programs, for 5 credits of psychology. STAT 011 is required as a prerequisite or co-requisite of PSYC 025. All coursework counted towards a psychology minor must be completed at Swarthmore.

 

The Honors Examination for Minors


The usual form of evaluation is a three-hour written examination prepared by the external examiner and administered during the honors examination period in the senior year. This is followed, during the subsequent examiners’ weekend, by an oral examination with the examiner. If a student pursues an honors minor and a course major and uses an honors thesis as the honors preparation, the form of evaluation consists of an oral examination and the honors thesis stands in place of a written examination.

Acceptance Criteria


Approval of an application to participate in the Honors Program as a minor depends upon successfully completing two psychology courses at Swarthmore, normally PSYC 001, Introduction to Psychology, or a psychology first-year seminar, and one core course. Admission to the Honors Program usually takes place in the spring semester of the sophomore year, but students may apply for honors even in the junior year. To be accepted, students must have B+ averages in psychology and overall. Moreover, to continue in honors, students must have attained a B+ average in psychology at the end of the junior year.

Special Major in Neuroscience


The psychology and biology departments have defined a regularized special major in neuroscience that combines work in the two departments in a way that allows students flexibility in choosing the focus of their Neuroscience majors. Approval and advising for this special major are done through both departments. Details about the course and honors special majors can be found online at www.swarthmore.edu/academics/biology/neuroscience.xml. Students interested in developing a special major in Neuroscience are encouraged to consult faculty in both departments.

Special Major in Psychology and Educational Studies


A student wishing to undertake a special major in psychology and educational studies will propose and justify an integrated program that includes 10-12 credits in the two disciplines, as described below.

Requirements


The special major will include 5 credits in courses or seminars taught by members of the department of psychology, including at least 3 core areas (courses numbered in the 30s) and PSYC 025 Research Design and Analysis. It will include at least 5 credits taught by members of the Department of Educational Studies. One of these courses must be EDUC/PSYC 021 Educational Psychology. Practice Teaching (EDUC 016) and the Curriculum and Methods Seminar (EDUC 017) may not be included in the program.

Culminating Exercise/Comprehensive Examination


Either a two-semester, two-credit interdisciplinary senior thesis, a research practicum (0.5 or 1 credit), a field placement in clinical psychology (PSYC 090 , 1 credit) or an integrated comprehensive project (PSYC 098 or EDUC 098, 0.5 credit) suitable to the special major serves to satisfy the comprehensive requirement. Theses and comprehensive projects are supervised by one member of each department. Students wishing to prepare a senior thesis must have averages of B+ in psychology, educational studies, and overall. Application to the senior thesis program is usually made by mid-April of the junior year. Because special majors may not undertake work on a thesis in a semester in which they are student teaching, such students must be sure to apply early and to begin thesis work as second semester juniors.

Honors special major in psychology and education


The requirements for honors require that four honors preparations be included in the special major, including the senior honors thesis. For special majors involving educational studies, theses are supervised by both departments. Normally, the remaining three honors preparations consist of two two-credit seminars in educational studies and one preparation in psychology composed of a core course (a course numbered in the 30s) and its corresponding one-credit seminar (numbered in the 130s), but a program could be proposed involving two preparations in psychology and one in educational studies.

Acceptance Criteria


To be accepted as a special major in psychology and educational studies, a student must have successfully completed two courses in psychology, EDUC 014 Introduction to Education, and be in good standing at the College. To be accepted as an honors special major in psychology and educational studies, a student must have met these requirements and have a B+ average in psychology, educational studies, and overall.

Other Special Majors Involving Psychology


Other individualized special majors including psychology may be designed. A special major in cognitive science, which may involve psychology, is administered through the program coordinator of cognitive science. 

Transfer Credit


Transfer credit is handled on an individual basis. Whenever possible, prior approval is recommended.

Off-Campus Study


Swarthmore College encourages its students to include study abroad as part of their educational experience. The Psychology Department recognizes that international study has an important place in the educational programs of its students. Each year, many students take psychology courses while studying abroad. 

If you are planning to take psychology classes while abroad, we recommend discussing your plans with your faculty advisor in psychology and also with the department chair. The department usually recommends that psychology majors with strong research interests complete their study abroad experience during the fall semester of their junior year so that it does not interfere with applications for summer research fellowships or with the development of senior thesis proposals. 

With prior approval from the department, students are usually able to apply one credit of psychology coursework from a study abroad program towards the psychology major. This course can occasionally count as a core course in psychology (i.e., as one of the four core courses required for the major) if it covers similar content as a core course. The course can sometimes serve as a pre-requisite to a seminar. Normally, however, core courses that are part of honors preparations (core + seminar prep) must be completed here at Swarthmore. Off campus study courses do not count towards the minor in psychology. In general, all coursework for the minor must be completed here at Swarthmore.

Students who would like to receive psychology credit for a psychology course taken at another institution must have taken PSYC 001   or a relevant first year seminar in psychology, or placed out of this requirement through AP or IB work. The department may consider exceptions for students who have taken COGS 001  (Intro to Cognitive Science) when taught by a member of the psychology department. 

Research and Service-Learning Opportunities


Students are encouraged to get involved with research at any point in their time at Swarthmore, and many seniors also do field placements through the clinical practicum.

Academic Year Opportunities


There are many opportunities for research with the faculty of the department during the academic year either for academic credit (PSYC 094 : Independent Research, PSYC 101 : Research Practicum in Political Psychology, PSYC 102 : Research Practicum in Perception and Cognition, PSYC 103 : Research Practicum in Behavioral Neuropharmacology, PSYC 104 : Research Practicum in Language and Mind, PSYC 105 : Research Practicum in Psychology and Neuroscience: Social Imitation, PSYC 106 : Research Practicum in Cognitive Development, PSYC 107 : Research Practicum in Developmental Psychology, PSYC 108 : Research Practicum in Clinical Psychology, PSYC 109 : Research Practicum in Social and Emotional Well-Being, and PSYC 110 : Research Practicum in Cognitive Neuroscience) or as a paid assistant. Students may participate in the design, conduct and analysis of projects at any stage in their program. In the senior year, such experiences, in the form of a thesis (PSYC 096 -PSYC 097  or PSYC 180 ) or research practicum, may constitute the culminating comprehensive experience. The list of faculty research interests on the department’s website will help students identify the appropriate faculty member to consult about developing research plans.

The clinical practicum (PSYC 090 ) provides field experience for students who are considering careers in clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, and counseling. Students undertake field placements in varied settings to gain direct clinical experience. In past years, students have completed placements in organizations providing psychological and educational services to children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental difficulties, outpatient and inpatient therapy programs for children and adults with anxiety and depression, and non-profits providing clinical and psychosocial support to survivors of violence, immigrants and other underserved populations. Enrollment is often limited to seniors and requires at least a B average in Psychology as well as appropriate course preparation. The clinical practicum is a Community-based Learning course.

Service-Learning Opportunities


PSYC 090 Field Placement in Clinical Psychology is designated as a Community-Based Learning course. 

Summer Research Opportunities


Students may apply for summer funding to conduct research in psychology either through the Social Sciences Division or through the Division of Natural Sciences and Engineering, depending on the nature of the research project. Students should seek the sponsorship of a faculty member who is willing to provide guidance in developing and submitting an application. Funding may be obtained to work with faculty members on campus or, in some cases, at another campus or setting. Students planning to prepare a thesis are especially encouraged to consider ways of integrating a summer of research into their thesis work, but all interested students should feel free to explore their options. The list of faculty research interests on the department’s website will help students identify the appropriate faculty member to consult.

Teacher Certification


Students who wish to qualify for certification at the secondary school level should consult faculty in the educational studies department. Psychology majors can complete the requirements for teacher certification in social science, through a program approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For further information about the relevant set of requirements, please refer to the Educational Studies  section of the Bulletin.

Life After Swarthmore


Psychology majors have followed a variety of paths after graduation, including into medicine, law, business, information technology, marketing, counseling, finance, theater, and education, as well as into traditional psychology programs leading to clinical practice and/or academic research in psychology, neuroscience and related fields.

Psychology Courses