2010-2011 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 08, 2023  
2010-2011 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology Major

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Undergraduate Program

The department provides educational experiences that both contribute to liberal-arts education and prepare students for graduate work in psychology or related disciplines. The program emphasizes the role of psychological scholarship in understanding human behavior and experience. The program culminates in small and intensive capstone courses that offer students an opportunity to participate fully in the theoretical and research life of the department.

Clinical Faculty

Kathleen Palm, Ph.D.

Visiting Faculty

Geoffrey Brown, Ph.D.


Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology


The Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology, formed in 1987, has a major endowment provided through the generous support of the Hiatt family. The school, which encompasses the Department of Psychology with the Heinz Werner Institute for Developmental Analysis and the Department of Education, provides, in addition to Frances L. Hiatt Graduate Fellowships, opportunities for organizing and attending conferences, and support for travel and research activities for the school’s faculty and students.

The Heinz Werner Institute for Developmental Analysis

Associated with the department is the Heinz Werner Institute for Developmental Analysis, which had three aims: to integrate various research programs dealing with developmental problems; to attract scholars, teachers and research workers from disciplines for which developmental problems are pertinent, such as anthropology, biology and certain areas of medicine; and to train research workers on postdoctoral levels in the comparative-developmental approach to behavior. While the Institute is not currently active, available books from the Heinz Werner Lecture Series can be purchased through the Editorial Office 508.793.7269 or by emailing Lmann@clarku.edu

Program Requirements

Students must earn a minimum course grade of C- in order to receive major credit in Psychology. Courses taken Pass/No Record or CR/NC will not be accepted for major credit. On rare occasions, the Psychology Department will accept one COPACE course for major credit, providing that the course is designated by COPACE as an approved course for day students, and the course is pre-approved by the department prior to registration. Students wishing to submit a COPACE course for Psychology approval should send a complete syllabus from the course (indicating which requirement they’d like to fulfill) to the Psychology Department Administrator, Kelly Boulay (kboulay@clarku.edu).

The seven introductory courses provide a foundation in the content and method of psychology and should normally be completed by the end of the sophomore year. The introductory courses include PSYC 101 - General Psychology , three methods courses, PSYC 105 - Statistics , PSYC 108 - Experimental Methods in Psychology , and PSYC 109 - Qualitative Methods in Psychology , and at least one course from each of three broad content areas of psychology. These are:

Development (DEV):

Courses in historical, cultural and human developmental psychology. Choose from:

Declaring a Psychology Major and Related Field

A student nearing the end of his or her sequence of introductory courses should come to the department office to declare a major and be assigned a psychology adviser. This formality will normally occur by the spring of a student’s sophomore year. When declaring a major, a student must also choose a related field. The related field requirement reflects the conviction of the faculty that all academic areas are usefully related to psychology and that understanding the relation between psychology and another discipline requires knowing that other discipline in considerable depth. A related field is generally a recognized six-course concentration or minor. Alternatively, a student may adopt as a related field any pattern of six courses that his or her psychology adviser has approved as providing depth of knowledge in a discipline related to psychology.

Mid-Level Courses

In addition to the above seven introductory courses, majors must take two mid-level courses that provide experience with the two fundamental activities of academic psychology, the analysis and interpretation of psychological literatures and the conduct of psychological investigations. Students typically complete at least one each of the following types of mid-level courses by the end of the junior year: a First Seminar and either a Lab Course or a Research Course.

First Seminars (PSYC 237-259)

focus on the attentive analysis of psychological texts, the articulation of opinions concerning psychological issues, and the use of library and reference skills in psychological writing. (Permission to take a capstone seminar as a first seminar will not ordinarily be given and must, in any case, be obtained in writing in advance from the faculty member involved.)

Laboratories (PSYC 200-214)

focus on doing psychological research including planning, data collection, analysis, interpretation and presentation. The laboratory requirement may be fulfilled by taking a research course.

Research courses (PSYC 215-235)

are opportunities to participate in faculty and/or graduate student research projects, in all stages of the research process from conceptualization to presentation. The work normally terminates in an Academic Spree Day presentation and/or co-authorship of a scholarly paper or conference presentation. Students desiring to join a research course should make arrangements with a faculty sponsor well in advance. In approaching faculty members to make these arrangements, students should bear in mind that research courses are taken on as an addition to a faculty member’s normal teaching load and space is limited. In rare instances, this requirement may be met by research experience done for credit in another department. In such cases,  PSYC 101 , PSYC 105 , PSYC 108 , and PSYC 109  must have been completed, and the proposed project approved before course registration and after course completion.

Capstone Courses

Capstone Seminars (PSYC 260-297)

are open to undergraduates, and in many cases, to graduate students, and are taught at or near the graduate level.

Capstone Research (PSYC 292)

These courses are by faculty permission only. Capstone research students should expect to write a substantial research report describing the theory, methods, statistical method, results and conclusions of the project they conducted.

Internship (PSYC 298) and Directed Studies (PSYC 299)

may count as University credits, but not as major credits.

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