Psychology (PSY)

PSY 501  Introduction to Psychology  (4 Credits)  

This survey course provides an introduction to the science of psychology. It examines many of the major areas of applied and experimental psychology. A selection of topics from the following specialty areas are covered: History of Psychology, Research Methods, Biological Psychology, Cognition, Learning, Memory, Human Development, Stress, Emotion, Health Psychology, Personality Theories, Abnormal Psychology, and Social Psychology.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Recognize aspects of the scientific nature of psychology, including its methods, history, and/or ethics and describe how science is used in the research and clinical practice of psychology.
  2. Identify the basic components and functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems as well as recognize the role of biological function in mental processing.
  3. Describe cognitive processes and the roles of these mechanisms in human thought and/or problem solving.
  4. Identify the sociocultural contexts and major theories of human development and the roles of these issues in human existence.
  5. State the major theories of personality and abnormal psychology as well as identify the role of theories in the definition and treatments of mental health (e.g., stress, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc.).
  6. Demonstrate library skills, to locate, and communication skills, to read and report on, research using American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines for in-text citations and the reference list.

PSY 502  Social Psychology  (4 Credits)  

Social Psychology is the scientific study of how individuals, groups, organizations, and culture influence and are influenced by their social environment. This course provides an overview of classic and contemporary work in this field and explores topics such as aggression, attitude formation and change, social thinking, individual and group influence, prejudice, friendships and romantic relationships, leadership, social influence, altruism, and/or conformity.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Explore how social environmental variables impact behavior, belief systems and affect.
  2. Describe factors influencing perceptions and beliefs about other people and ourselves, and the impact of these factors on behavior.
  3. Examine attitude formation and change, persuasion, and social influence, and ways to resist persuasion and influence.
  4. Explore the development of prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal conflict and aggression, and describe the influence of groups on decision-making and performance.

PSY 508  Child Development  (4 Credits)  

This course focuses on the development of children from birth to early adolescence. It includes the major developmental theories and perspectives as well as an overview of the research methodology used in the field. Through reflective writing, current research in the areas of physical, cognitive, and social and emotional development is explored in the context of the child's environment.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Identify and explain three major issues addressed by developmental theories, e.g., the role of biology vs. the environment, the nature of change (qualitative vs. quantitative), and the role of the individuals in their own development (active vs. passive).
  2. Compare and contrast the world views from which developmental theories arise.
  3. Identify major developmental theories including ethological, psychoanalytic, psychosocial, behavioristic, social learning, and cognitive theories and compare them in light of their basic principles and tenets.
  4. Differentiate between the major research methods and techniques employed in the study of development.
  5. Identify and describe the major milestones in the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of infants and children.
  6. Summarize current research findings on factors that impact development, e.g., genetics, nutrition, environmental stimulation, and human interaction.
  7. Analyze the dynamic interaction between biological, psychological, sociocultural, and ecological factors and explain how they affect development.
  8. Apply knowledge of child development in making recommendations for enhancing development in various situations (e.g., family, child care, education, community).
  9. Critically reflect on best practices to promote children’s development. 1
  10. Demonstrate reflective learning skills and professional growth in the NAEYC Standards through a written assignment.

PSY 509  Human Development  (4 Credits)  

This course focuses on the development of the individual from conception to death. Major developmental theories, milestones, processes, and influences are covered. Research findings that bear on these topics are examined. Growth and development are viewed as products of interacting biological, psychological, and social factors. The risks and opportunities in the developing person's social environment as well as the application of theories and research findings are emphasized.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe and explain the major psychological theoretical perspectives (e.g., biological, social, cognitive, etc.) of human development;
  2. Compare and contrast the basic assumptions and concepts of the major developmental theories;
  3. Identify and explain the major milestones in physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development occurring in each period throughout the life span;
  4. Discuss the dynamic interaction among biological, psychological, and social factors and their contribution to development;
  5. Describe and analyze the development and behavior of specific individuals using the perspectives of developmental theories and research findings; and
  6. Articulate and discuss the ethical considerations and parameters that guide the conduct of research and govern the use of research results in the field of human development.

PSY 510  Infant and Toddler Development  (4 Credits)  

This course focuses on major theoretical perspectives of child development with particular attention to infant and toddler development. Topics include the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive milestones of the growing child along with factors that contribute to optimal development. There is an emphasis on the importance of creating high quality, safe, and supportive environments as well as on attachment and the role of communication in the development of trust and autonomy. Students observe children to develop strategies for creating and maintaining developmentally appropriate environments. RECOMMENDED: Prior completion of PSY 509 Human Development or PSY 508 Child Development.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Identify and explain major theories and basic principles of infant and toddler development.
  2. Compare and contrast biological and environmental factors that influence development.
  3. Articulate the major physical, cognitive, and social milestones of infant and toddler development.
  4. Discuss the significance of the development of attachments and trust in infants, explain factors that influence the development of attachment, and develop examples of environments and interactions that are likely to promote secure attachments.
  5. Describe the sensorimotor orientation of infants and toddlers and explain how it is their primary path for learning.
  6. Observe and record the physical, cognitive, and social development of an infant and a toddler and evaluate the quality of the environment for promoting development in these domains.
  7. Analyze the research regarding the significance of the development of autonomy in toddlers.
  8. Apply principles of development in the design of a physical environment which will maximize freedom to explore and learn.
  9. Identify and share appropriate resources to support parents of infants and toddlers. 1
  10. Critically reflect on best practices to promote children’s development.

PSY 515  Core Principles of Addiction   (4 Credits)  

This course introduces students to the basic issues discussed by addiction support workers including the Twelve Core Functions of the alcohol and other drug (AOD) counselor. Students will also have an opportunity to explore the possible professional certifications (e.g., Certified Recovery Support Worker (CRSW), Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC), etc.) within this career. A wide array of topics related to addiction may be discussed in this beginning level course. Topics may include the economic, political, and/or cultural consequences of addiction as well as some of consequences of addiction on the individual like relationships, mental health, and physical health.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Name and discuss the Twelve Core Functions of Addiction Counselors.
  2. State and differentiate between the types of addictions-related professions.
  3. Formulate and apply an inclusive definition of Substance Use Disorders.
  4. Explain the impact of addiction on the individual, family systems, communities, and/or society.

PSY 521  Language Acquisition  (4 Credits)  

This course introduces research, theory, and practical applications pertinent to first language acquisition. The development of language is explored through its five major components: phonology, pragmatics, semantics, morphology, and syntax. Stages of acquisition are traced from pre-linguistic communication in infancy through adolescents' use of abstract thinking and expressions. Distinctions between language disorders and developmental differences are considered, as are relationships between language and literacy skills (reading and writing).

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Define language, describe its development from infancy through adolescence, and discuss factors contributing to language development.
  2. Explain major theories of language development.
  3. Differentiate between the five major aspects of language (morphology, phonology, syntax, pragmatics, and semantics) and describe their relationship to receptive and expressive language.
  4. Identify and describe pre-linguistic communication, intentional communication, and early language development.
  5. Explain the stages of school-age language development up through the abstract language reasoning phase of adolescence.
  6. Discuss the distinction between language disorders and language difference that may be due to ethnicity, culture, and/or geography.
  7. Analyze the relationship between language acquisition and the development of literacy skills.

PSY 601  The Human Brain  (4 Credits)  

This course addresses the relationship between the brain and behavior to provide an overview of the biological basis of thoughts, actions, and feelings. Topics may include basic functional neuroanatomy and physiology, sleeping and dreaming, emotion, aggression and violence, learning and memory, development of the brain, sensation and perception, sexual processes and behavior, or language, as well as behavioral health problems (stress related disorders, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia) and their pharmacological treatment.

Prerequisite(s): IDIS 501 Research Methods. NOTE: SCI 505 Human Biology recommended.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Identify neuron structures and function as well as identify brain region structures and function;
  2. Explain the role of specific brain regions in producing basic functions such as eating, drinking, sex, sleep, and/or emotions;
  3. Explain the role of specific brain regions in producing higher-level functions such as addiction, sensation and perception, learning and memory, language and cognition, and/or lateralization;
  4. Describe the dynamic interactions among evolution, genetics, neuroplasticity (neural networks, apoptosis, etc.), environment, and/or behavior across the lifespan (pre-natal to death);
  5. Analyze the biopsychological basis of contemporary behavioral health problems such as stress, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and/or violence as well as the biology-based treatments of these behavioral health problems; and 6 Employ responsible quotation and citation in APA format based on impeccable documentation in both written and oral communications.

PSY 602  Theories of Personality  (4 Credits)  

This course examines specific theories of personality for the purpose of explaining normal and abnormal development and behavior. Psychoanalytic, Trait, Humanistic, Existential, Cognitive, Behavioral and Social Learning Theories, among others, are reviewed and critiqued based on research evidence. Each theory or theoretical perspective is presented in terms of historical context, basic assumptions, and hypothetical constructs. Students explore behaviors and motivations from the perspective of different personality theories. The application of personality theories in helping-profession contexts is introduced.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Examine and articulate the role of theory and the scientific method to organize, test, and predict various aspects of personality.
  2. Distinguish between personality assessment and personality research.
  3. Describe and differentiate the historical context, basic assumptions, hypothetical constructs, etc. of each theory considered.
  4. Apply contemporary theories to explain normal and abnormal behavior.
  5. Demonstrate therapeutic methods that stem from each theory are applied to improve an individual's understanding of self and others.

PSY 603  Crisis Intervention  (4 Credits)  

This course focuses on crisis theory, methods of crisis intervention, and specific crises that occur with individuals and families such as suicide, unemployment, natural disasters, illness, divorce, and death. Students are expected throughout the course to apply their exploration of theory to their work and life experiences.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology or SOC 501 Introduction to Sociology.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Differentiate between three general types of crises: a. Maturational crises (e.g., infancy, adolescence, adulthood, old age) b. Situational crises (e.g., rape, divorce, physical illness, natural disaster) c. Socio-cultural
  2. Define a crisis state, identify the crisis origins, and analyze whether the primary contributors are situational, social/cultural or maturational.
  3. Explain the phases of a crisis event.
  4. Describe crisis intervention techniques and methods and differentiate them from other forms of psychotherapy.
  5. Apply crisis planning to a case example with reference to its origins and its crisis manifestations.
  6. Compare and contrast a healthy grieving process with an incomplete or maladaptive one.
  7. Differentiate between self-destructive and suicidal behaviors and recognize when professional mental health treatment is needed.
  8. Discuss the impact of violence or other trauma on vulnerable individuals.
  9. Examine and evaluate the crisis plan of a social institution or a business in light of the research in the field. 1
  10. Describe community resources such as the Red Cross, domestic violence agencies, and rescue squads which are key elements of a community’s ability to manage crisis events. 1
  11. Design a plan for managing the stressors experienced by crisis workers to minimize burnout.

PSY 604  Counseling Theories  (4 Credits)  

This course provides an overview of counseling theories developed by major theorists. The course examines how both the historical context and the scientific knowledge of the time helped to shape the theories developed during the past century. Research findings evaluating the effectiveness of therapeutic modalities are reviewed. Important elements of the counseling process which includes assessments, confidentiality, the therapeutic alliance, and the impact of funding sources on decision-making, are examined.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology.
PSY 605  Principles of Assessment  (4 Credits)  

This course is a survey of assessment issues and methods for students pursuing studies in education-related fields or the behavioral sciences. Topics include: differences between formal and informal assessment and evaluation; issues such as reliability and validity, differences between norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests, development of assessment and evaluation instruments and plans, methods for observing and recording behavior, and how to use assessment information to develop and/or modify programs and environments.

Prerequisite(s): MATH 502 Math for Our World or MATH 504 Statistics and PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology or PSY 508 Child Development.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Discuss the meaning and uses of assessment in various fields.
  2. Explain the differences between objective and subjective assessments and evaluations.
  3. Compare and contrast the psychometric properties of assessment instruments, i.e., objectivity, reliability, and validity, and how they influence the interpretation of assessment data.
  4. Explain basic statistical concepts used in testing including: measures of central tendency and variability, e.g., mean, median, mode, range, and standard deviation.
  5. Compare and contrast norm-referenced and criterion-referenced tests including an explanation of normative data, e.g., normal curve, percentiles, z-scores, T-scores, and stanines and discuss appropriate uses of each.
  6. Use various types of observational methodology and discuss the usefulness of each.
  7. Examine and discuss how information from both formal and informal assessment measures can be used to plan individualized programs.
  8. Explain the importance of multifaceted approaches to both formative and summative evaluation with particular attention to the relationship of outcomes to assessment and evaluation.
  9. Analyze and explain possible interpretations of the testing and assessment data from case studies of hypothetical individuals in order to begin to learn to synthesize information from assessments. 1
  10. Discuss the ethical and legal implications of assessment, including right to privacy, right to know, informed consent, intellectual property rights, user qualifications, protection of test materials, and confidentiality.

PSY 606  Educational Psychology  (4 Credits)  

This course focuses on the study of teaching and learning, including several theoretical perspectives specific to human and cognitive development. Course topics will include motivation, critical thinking, student assessment and achievement, and implications of approaches to each. The course critically examines the relationship between research and education, including the contributions and limitations of measurement in instructional settings, and the interplay with educational policy.

Prerequisite(s): IDIS 501 Research Methods and EDU 510 Foundations of Education or PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology and PSY 508 Child Development or PSY 509 Human Development.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Articulate the role of the teacher in the teaching/learning environment.
  2. Apply principles of cognitive theory in their teaching strategies.
  3. Utilize instructional theory in the development and implementation of instructional material and in its delivery.
  4. Develop specific classroom management strategies.
  5. Develop various motivational strategies and explain the students who would benefit most from them.
  6. Discuss individual differences including those related to ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and exceptionality in the teaching/learning environment.
  7. Develop specific assessment strategies and measurement instruments for assessing student learning.
  8. Interpret standardized tests accurately and report the information effectively to parents and school officials.
  9. Facilitate students to be active in their own learning.

PSY 609  Cognition and Learning  (4 Credits)  

This course explores the major theories of cognition. Topics include the current cognitive theories of perception, attention, consciousness, memory, language, and/or reasoning. These approaches will be supplemented by relevant neuroscience research on brain based processes. Comprehension will be enhanced through the application of these approaches to everyday behavior.

Prerequisite(s): IDIS 501 Research Methods.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Explain and evaluate components and models of sensation, attention, and/or perception.
  2. Explain and evaluate components and models of memory structure and function.
  3. Explain and evaluate components and models of higher cognitive processing.
  4. Discuss the role of language in cognitive processing.
  5. Delineate the changes in human cognitive functioning across the lifespan.
  6. Employ responsible quotation and citation in APA format based on impeccable documentation in both written and oral communications.

PSY 610  Understanding the Disease Model of Addictions  (4 Credits)  

This course provides an introduction to the biological mechanisms of addiction (e.g., nervous system activity, tolerance, withdrawal, and metabolism) and the resulting behavioral consequences displayed by those who are addicted. The therapeutic use of drugs for anxiety, depression, psychosis, and other conditions will be discussed and the effects of recreational drug use/abuse on the central nervous system will be examined. Other potential topics include behavioral addictions (e.g., gambling, eating, video games, or sex) or the effects of drugs on individuals, families, and society.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology. NOTE: SCI 505 Human Biology or PSY 601 Human Brain is highly recommended.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Describe the key elements of neural and synaptic anatomy and physiology.
  2. Describe functional alterations that occur to neural and synaptic anatomy and physiology with substance use.
  3. Identify the basic mechanisms of different classifications of substances used recreationally and medicinally.
  4. Explain the behavioral changes that occur with substance use and/or addiction.

PSY 615  Psychology of Adulthood  (4 Credits)  

This course is a life-span developmental approach to adulthood in contemporary American society that includes the major theoretical perspectives regarding developmental transitions and age-related tasks. The following topics are included: 1) methodological issues related to the study of development, 2) patterns of stability and change across adulthood with regard to processes such as biological functioning, sensation and perception, cognition, personality, identity, gender and social roles, relationships, career, and mental health, and 3) death and dying as the final stage of life. Students can consider their own development in light of this content.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Identify and explain the major issues and controversies concerning the nature of adult development and aging.
  2. Articulate the developmental process from the perspective of the traditional theoretical models, e.g., biological, psychoanalytic, psycho social, cognitive and personality theories.
  3. Compare and contrast traditional perspectives with more recently developed perspectives such as those of Arlin, Gilligan, Belenky, et. al. and Miller.
  4. Describe changes in the biological, perceptual, and cognitive processes associated with age.
  5. Describe the research regarding age-related change/stability in identity and personality.
  6. Examine the social processes associated with adulthood, for example, intimacy, marriage, sexuality, career choice/adjustment, parenting, divorce, retirement, and widowhood.
  7. Analyze the perspectives and processes related to gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  8. Relate the theory and research to one's own psychological processes and development, explaining which perspectives are useful in understanding oneself.
  9. Discuss death and dying as the final stage of life.

PSY 616  Psychology of Occupational Stress  (4 Credits)  

This course focuses on primary areas in occupational stress research including the identification of work organization and psychosocial sources of stress and their influence on employees, treatment of occupational stress, and approaches that promote occupational health and create healthy workplaces. Each area is examined from the individual worker's perspective as well as from that of management. Once acquainted with the major theoretical principles and processes, learners apply these findings to their own experiences as employees, employers, or health professionals.

Prerequisite(s): CRIM 500 Introduction to Criminology, or ECO 512 Principles of Economics, or MGMT 500 Principles of Management, or PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology, or PSY 508 Child Development, or PSY 509 Human Development, or PSY 502 Social Psychology or SOC 501 Introduction to Sociology.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Discuss the various conceptualizations of the term “stress,” as well as present the difficulties that more than one definition poses for this area of research.
  2. Critically evaluate the methods and conclusions of job stress and occupational health-related psychology studies.
  3. Summarize the models employed to understand the relationship between the psychosocial environment, work organization, the individual, and the stress reaction.
  4. Identify characteristics of healthy workplaces.
  5. Recognize sources of job stress and individual reactions to this stress.
  6. Describe the effects of job stress on organizations and diverse groups.
  7. Suggest approaches for the individual and the organization on how to effectively deal with job stress.
  8. Describe occupational differences in the incidence of job stress (epidemiological findings).
  9. Describe the role of government, private industry, unions, and the individual in developing and implementing social policy pertaining to work conditions in the United States and other countries. 1
  10. Integrate the theoretical and practical findings and any personal observations to develop a program for promoting workplace health and reducing stress in a specific work organization.

PSY 617  Abnormal Psychology  (4 Credits)  

The focus of this course is on the societal definitions of abnormal and deviant behavior, and what may be considered mental illness. It discusses the societal impact of mental illness, with a consideration of both how mental illness is regarded in different societies and how treatment may vary, depending on the society. It deals with major disorders and personality syndromes considered to be abnormal or deviant and examines the various etiologic factors known or believed to play a role in each of the disorders, considering them from varying perspectives, such as psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioral, biological, and humanistic. Differences in recognition and treatment of mental illness in varying cultures will also be considered.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 501 Introduction to Psychology.

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Compare and contrast historical and contemporary conceptions of abnormal and deviant behavior. 2.Describe different theories used to explain the following disorders and compare and contrast different treatments for each: a. Anxiety disorders b. Dissociative disorders and somatoform disorders c. Psychological factors affecting medical conditions d. Personality disorders and impulse control disorders e. Substance-related disorders f. Mood disorders and suicide g. Schizophrenia h. Cognitive disorders i. Disorders of childhood and adolescence j. Eating disorders and sleep disorders
  2. Compare and contrast therapeutic interventions for abnormal behavior and disorders.
  3. Examine differing philosophical perspectives on mental illness in literature.
  4. Evaluate the perception of mental illness in different societies and the resultant impact on treatment.

PSY 625  Foundations of Addiction Counseling   (4 Credits)  

This course provides students with an opportunity to study the important theories, strategies, and skills of addictions-related counseling. Topics are derived from the Twelve Core Functions of Addiction Counselors and will include concepts like screening, referral, intake, assessment, crisis management, treatment, recovery, support, and/or client education.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 515 Core Principles of Addiction

View Course Outcomes:

  1. Explain the key elements involved in the therapeutic treatment of clients.
  2. Describe theories that inform the techniques employed by addictions counselors.
  3. Identify techniques used throughout the continuum of care.
  4. Develop strategies for working with individuals, families, and groups.
  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of treatment methods and modalities.
  6. Examine unique ethical dilemmas that counselors may encounter in addiction-related situations.