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Swarthmore College    
College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
 
  Sep 19, 2017
 
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Psychology


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Courses


Faculty

FRANK H. DURGIN, Professor3
JANE E. GILLHAM, Professor and Chair3
ALLEN M. SCHNEIDER, Professor
ANDREW WARD, Professor and acting Chair
DANIEL J. GRODNER, Associate Professor
STELLA CHRISTIE, Assistant Professor
CATHERINE J. NORRIS, Assistant Professor
JEDIDIAH SIEV, Assistant Professor
MICHELE REIMER, Assistant Professor (part time)
JOHN C. BLANCHAR, Visiting Assistant Professor
LISA PAYNE, Visiting Assistant Professor
ELIZABETH D. KRAUSE, Visiting Assistant Professor (part time)
AMANDA ELAM, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
KATHRYN TIMMONS, Administrative Coordinator
KIERA PARECE, Research Coordinator and Academic Assistant


Absent on leave, 2017-2018.​


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 006 First-Year Seminar: Happiness 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 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.)

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 036  Thinking, Judgment and Decision Making; 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 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 108  Research Practicum in School- Based Interventions; PSYC 109  Research Practicum in Clinical Psychology. 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  -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. We require that students wishing to prepare a senior thesis have averages at the high B level in psychology and overall. Application to the senior thesis program is usually made by the end 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


PSYC 001 Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in Psychology (see the note about prerequisites above).

A minimum of two core courses in psychology (those with numbers in the 30s) is required: 030 Behavioral Neuroscience; 031 Cognitive Neuroscience; 031A Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; 032 Perception; 033 Cognitive Psychology; 034 Psychology of Language; 035 Social Psychology; 036 Thinking, Judgment and Decision Making; 038 Clinical Psychology; 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
Thinking, Judgment and Decision Making

Requirements


PSYC 001 Introduction to Psychology (or equivalent) is normally a prerequisite for all courses in psychology (see the note about prerequisites above).

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) is a prerequisite for PSYC 025 (or may be taken concurrently).

Two seminar-based honors preparations, as described above, must be completed, each consisting of a core course and its corresponding seminar.

In all, a minimum of four core courses in psychology (those with numbers in the 30s) must be completed: 030 Behavioral Neuroscience; 031 Cognitive Neuroscience; 031A Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; 032 Perception; 033 Cognitive Psychology; 034 Psychology of Language; 035 Social Psychology; 036 Thinking, Judgment and Decision Making; 038 Clinical Psychology; 039 Developmental Psychology.

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 high 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): 030 Behavioral Neuroscience; 031 Cognitive Neuroscience; 031A Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; 032 Perception; 033 Cognitive Psychology; 034 Psychology of Language; 035 Social Psychology; 036 Thinking, Judgment and Decision Making; 038 Clinical Psychology; 039 Developmental Psychology.

The honors preparation is completed by taking the seminar corresponding to one of the aforementioned core courses. PSYC 025 Research Design and Analysis is strongly recommended for honors minors.

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.

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 high 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 at the high B level in psychology, educational studies, and overall. Application to the senior thesis program is usually made by the end 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.

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. A special major in psychology and economics is also an option.

Transfer Credit


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

Off-Campus Study


The Psychology Department recognizes that international study may have an important place in the educational programs of students, and we support those who wish to include such an experience.

We usually advise students to complete their time abroad by the middle of the junior year so that it does not interfere with applications for summer research or with the development of thesis proposals and senior research projects proposals. Students may wish to consult with an adviser in the department about their specific plan because of the absence of international standards in psychology. In most cases, we encourage students to emphasize work in areas other than psychology while away.

However, the department may permit a student to transfer a single psychology course from a study abroad program to count toward the minimum major requirements, but normally not in fulfillment of a core course requirement nor as a prerequisite for an advanced seminar. Additional work may be considered for transfer beyond the minimum major requirements.

Students who would like to receive credit for psychology courses taken at another institution must have taken PSYC 001, a first-year seminar in psychology or placed out of this requirement through AP or IB work.

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 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 108: Research Practicum in School Based Interventions, PSYC 109: Research Practicum in Social and Emotional Well-Being) 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 096-097 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. Some advanced students undertake practica to gain experience in clinical settings such as a shelter for battered women, a program for children with autism, or a residential treatment facility. 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


Several psychology courses are designated as Community-Based Learning courses. They are PSYC 090 Practicum in Clinical Psychology; PSYC 108 Research Practicum in School-Based Interventions; and PSYC 109 Research Practicum in Clinical Psychology.

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


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