Psychology

The psychology major presents a scientific approach to the study of individual behavior and experience. The goal of the major is to provide an empirical and theoretical understanding of the basic knowledge, concepts, and methods of psychology. Though such understanding may lead to greater personal insight, the study of psychology is focused primarily on a body of empirical knowledge and theoretical formulations that aim to predict and explain behavior. The approach emphasizes both critical evaluation of evidence and awareness of the implications of psychological knowledge and theory for the lives of persons. Most psychology courses emphasize self-awareness and critical thinking.

A major in psychology is intended to prepare students for advanced study or entry into pre-professional employment. A psychology major also may function as the core of an educational program in preparation for continuing informal learning. Courses in basic skills for human service workers and internship in psychology are included to facilitate application of basic knowledge in real-life settings.

A minor in psychology may be related to a wide variety of career preparations or may serve as part of a general liberal arts degree program.

Psychology majors use critical thinking to solve human behavioral problems, they develop insight into their values and career goals, they develop good oral and written communication skills, and they develop skills in understanding and using statistics and research methods.

Additional courses from the Perspectives or Focused courses may also count toward the Topics courses.  Students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours in the major at Mount Mercy.  A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree will be awarded. Students planning to pursue teacher education should follow the program guidelines within the Education section of this catalog and contact an advisor in the Education major for assistance.

Academic Requirements

A grade of 'C' or above (C- does not count) must be earned in each course counted toward the major or minor (including PS 101 Introductory Psychology.)

Career Opportunities

Social service agencies, government agencies and businesses are the prime employers of psychology majors.

See the Graduate section of this Catalog for more information on Graduate programs offered at Mount Mercy.

Major

Required courses:

PS 101Introductory Psychology3
PS 102Orientation To Psychology1
PS 124Developmental Psychology3
PS 325Statistics For Behavioral Sciences4
PS 345Psychological Research Methods4
PS 450Senior Seminar3
Two of the following Perspectives courses:6
Abnormal Psychology
Classic Theories of Personality
Introduction To Counseling
Two of the following Focus courses:6
Social Psychology
Health, Exercise & Sport Psychology: Health & Wellness Applied
Biological Psychology
Cognitive Neuroscience
Two of the following Topics courses:6
Psychology of the Middle School Student
Adolescent Psychology
Basic Helping Skills
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Directed Reading in Psychology
Directed Reading Psychology
Directed Readings Psychology
Psychology in Practicum
Internship in Psychology
Research Seminar
Independent Study in Psychology
Independent Study in Psychology
Independent Study in Psychology
Animal Behavior
Educational Psychology
Total Hours36

Additional courses from the Perspectives or Focused courses may also count toward the Topics courses.  Students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours in the major at Mount Mercy.  A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree will be awarded.  Students planning to pursue teacher education should follow the program guidelines within the Education section of this catalog and contact an advisor in the Education major for assistance.

Academic Requirements

A grade of C or above (C- does not count) in each course counted toward the major or minor including PS 101 Introductory Psychology. Other options for the study of psychology include endorsements in Elementary and Secondary Education.

Minor

PS 101Introductory Psychology3
PS 124Developmental Psychology3
One Perspectives course:3
Abnormal Psychology
Classic Theories of Personality
Introduction To Counseling
One Focus course:3
Social Psychology
Health, Exercise & Sport Psychology: Health & Wellness Applied
Biological Psychology
Cognitive Neuroscience
One Topics course:3
Psychology of the Middle School Student
Adolescent Psychology
Basic Helping Skills
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Directed Reading in Psychology
Directed Reading Psychology
Directed Readings Psychology
Psychology in Practicum
Internship in Psychology
Research Seminar
Independent Study in Psychology
Independent Study in Psychology
Independent Study in Psychology
Any college-level statistics course:3
Basic Statistics
Business Statistics
Total Hours18

Academic Requirements

A course from either the Perspectives or Focus courses may also count toward the Topics course requirement.

A grade of 'C' or above (C- does not count) must be earned in each course counted toward the major or minor (including PS 101 Introductory Psychology). Other options for the study of psychology include endorsements in Elementary and Secondary Education.

Courses

PS 101 Introductory Psychology: 3 semester hours

This first course gives a broad overview of the field of psychology. Major areas studied include the physiological basis of thought and action, perception of the environment, learning, motivation, behavior disorders, and behavior in groups. Though basic concepts and principles are stressed, the student is introduced to a variety of approaches to the subject matter of psychology. The student also becomes acquainted with some of the methods psychologists use to answer questions about behavior and mental processes. Students may have the opportunity to serve as research participants. Prerequisite for all other psychology courses. (Offered fall and spring semesters).

PS 102 Orientation To Psychology: 1 semester hour

This course includes and introduction to the psychology department's curriculum and objectives, opportunities for campus involvement and community service, and career exploration in psychology. Topics include strategies for a successful transition to Mount Mercy and for achieving academic success, exploration of careers in psychology, strategies for resolving career indecision and strategies for implementing a career choice. (Offered fall semester).

PS 124 Developmental Psychology: 3 semester hours

This course provides a comprehensive overview of normal human development throughout the entire life span. Similarities and differences in the normal biological, cognitive, social and emotional development of humans will be studied . Prerequisite: PS 101. (offered fall and spring semesters).

PS 205 Psychology Of Adjustment: 3 semester hours

The focus of this course is on the study of the problems and processes of psychological adjustment to the stresses, conflict, anxieties, and frustrations of life today. This course focuses on several topics in depth: Stress and stress management, self-esteem, communication, relationships, and work adjustment. Student participation is required. (This course does not count toward the major. It counts toward the holistic health domain of the core curriculum).

PS 214 Psychology of the Middle School Student: 3 semester hours

This class will examine the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children in middle school. Students in this course will learn about the unique needs, abilities, and interests of middle school-aged students as they experience conflicting societal expectations and options. Prerequisites: PS 101 and PS 124. (Students can not receive credit for both PS 214 and PS 215).

PS 215 Adolescent Psychology: 3 semester hours

The focus of this course will be on the social , emotional, physical, and cognitive development of persons aged 13-20. The course will examine how the concept of adolescence has changed over the years, and how families, peers, school, and the culture influence adolescent development. In addition the course will examine in depth a number of problems facing today's teenager like drug use, sexual activity, and violence. Prerequisite PS 101 and PS 124. (Students can not receive credit for both PS 214 and PS 215).

PS 221 Social Psychology: 3 semester hours

Social psychology focuses on human social relationships. This course studies the influence of others on individual behavior and attitudes, various sorts of interaction between individuals, and behavior of people in groups. Topics include conformity, helping behavior, persuasion, social cognition, attitude formation and change, aggression, sex roles, prejudice, and attraction. Prerequisite PS 101. (Offered fall and spring semesters).

PS 259 Health, Exercise & Sport Psychology: Health & Wellness Applied: 3 semester hours

Health psychology is devoted to understanding psychological influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they get ill. This course will explore the interface between biopsychological theory/research and health-related issues (e.g., stress, coping, behavior change) among healthy and clinical cohorts (e.g., cancer, diabetes, chronic pain). This course will also review how individual characteristics, behaviors, and lifestyles affect leisure and exercise behavior, including ways to improve the initiation and adherence of health behaviors for physical and mental health promotion. Students will develop an understanding of how participation in sport, exercise, and physical activity affects the psychological development, health, and well-being. Prerequisite:PS 101.

PS 286 Biological Psychology: 3 semester hours

This course involves an overview of biological explanations of behavior. The course begins with a description of the dynamic activity of neurons and the basic anatomy of the nervous system. Building upon this foundation, topics include: methods of investigation, drugs and behavior, development and evolution of the brain, sensory and motor processes, waking and sleeping, hunger and thirst, sexual behavior, learning and memory, emotions, mood disorders, and schizophrenia. Prerequisites: PS 101 and BI 125 or BI 126 or Permission of instructor. (offered spring semester).

PS 306 Abnormal Psychology: 3 semester hours

This course is an overview of disorganized states of human functioning, including disorders of mood, thought, and behavior. This course follows the DSM system of classification, while explaining disorders from various perspectives. Prerequisites: PS 101 and at least two other psychology courses, plus junior or senior status. Students are strongly encouraged to take PS 286 and PS 319 prior to taking PS 306. (Offered fall semester).

PS 319 Classic Theories of Personality: 3 semester hours

The study of major personality theorists who did most of their theorizing prior to 1970 including early key psychoanalysts, behaviorists, trait theorists, and humanist. The focus will be on the theories of individual theorists. Topics include normal and abnormal psychology functioning, personality development, and research done on these theories. Representative assessment devices will be demonstrated and selected research will be noted. Along with textbook, students will be asked to read selected portions of theorists own writings. Prerequisite: PS 101. (Offered fall semester).

PS 325 Statistics For Behavioral Sciences: 4 semester hours

This course involves application observational and survey methods, and it includes use of statistical procedures within the context of correlation research. Reading empirical literature and writing summaries of statistical analyses are emphasized. Use of computer Software (SPPS) is integrated throughout the course. Topics include descriptive statistics, estimation, hypothesis testing, t tests effect size, power analysis, bivarate correlation/regression, multiple correlation/regression and a brief introduction to nonparametric tests. A student-designed project will include research design, data collection, statistical analysis, preparation of a research report, and a formal presentation. Prerequisite: PS 101. Students should have the equivalent of one year of high school algebra before enrolling in PS 325. Completion of MA 135 (Basic Statistics) before PS 325 is strongly recommended. (Offered fall semester).

PS 345 Psychological Research Methods: 4 semester hours

This course includes use of statistical methods within the context of experimental research. Emphasis includes reading and evaluation of research articles, written summaries of statistical analyses, proposing and conducting experimental research, and APA-style research reports. Use of computer software (SPSS) is integrated throughout the course. Topics include hypothesis testing, one-and two-way analysis of variance, multiple-comparison tests, power analysis, effect size, and several research designs: randomized groups, within-subjects, and mixed factorial. A student-designed project will include research design, data collection, statistical analysis, preparation of a research report, and a formal presentation. Prerequisite: PS 101 and PS 325 (with a letter grade of at least a C-). (Offered spring semester).

PS 349 Industrial/Organizational Psychology: 3 semester hours

This course involves a general orientation to the field and is designed to familiarize students with application of psychological principles and theory in the workplace. Topics include methods of investigation, job analysis, employee selection, training, performance appraisal, employee motivation and job satisfaction. Prerequisites: PS 101. (Offered winter term).

PS 371 Introduction To Counseling: 3 semester hours

This course introduces students to various aspects of the counseling field. The course will focus on professional and ethical issues in counseling, and on major theoretical approaches to individual counseling. Attention will be given to evidence-based practice in counseling. Various approaches to counseling will be demonstrated. Prerequisites: PS 101, and junior or senior status. It is strongly recommended that students have completed SW 245, PS 306, and PS 319 prior to taking PS 371. (Offered spring semester).

PS 385 Cognitive Neuroscience: 3 semester hours

This course includes the study of mental processes based on information processing and cognitive neuroscience models. Topics include methods of investigation, visual and auditory processing, language, speech, working memory and long-term memory, autobiographical memory, executive processes, and consciousness. A brief introduction to affective and social neuroscience is included. Prerequisites: PS 101 and BI 123 or BI 125. (Offered fall semester).

PS 401 Directed Reading in Psychology: 1 semester hour

This course may be initiated by an instructor or by a student or group of students on a topic of special need or interest. Prerequisites: PS 325, 345 (with a grade of B- or better), psychology major, junior or senior status, courses related to reading objectives, and written consent of the instructor and the Department of Psychology. Formal application must be made to the department during or at the end of the semester preceding expected enrollment (no later than one week after final exams). Credit is variable (up to 3 semester hours), depending upon the scope of the topic.

PS 402 Directed Reading Psychology: 2 semester hours

This course may be initiated by an instructor or by a student or group of students on a topic of special need or interest. Prerequisites: PS 325, 345 (with a grade of B- or better), psychology major, junior or senior status, courses related to reading objectives, and written consent of the instructor and the Department of Psychology. Formal application must be made to the department during or at the end of the semester preceding expected enrollment (no later than one week after final exams). Credit is variable (up to 3 semester hours), depending upon the scope of the topic.

PS 403 Directed Readings Psychology: 3 semester hours

This course may be initiated by an instructor or by a student or group of students on a topic of special need or interest. Prerequisites: PS 325, 345 (with a grade of B- or better), psychology major, junior or senior status, courses related to reading objectives, and written consent of the instructor and the Department of Psychology. Formal application must be made to the department during or at the end of the semester preceding expected enrollment (no later than one week after final exams). Credit is variable (up to 3 semester hours), depending upon the scope of the topic.

PS 411 Psychology in Practicum: 1 semester hour

This course provides the student an opportunity for professional interaction in selected agencies or institutions under the supervision of a field professional. The student could take PS 413 (3 credit hours) in adition to this course, but for no more than four semester hours of internship in total. The amount of credit signifies the amount of time the student is at the agency. PS 411 (1 credit hour) implies being at an agency for three to four hours per week. This course will require weekly meetings with the instructor and is designated Pass/Fail by the instructor. Prerequisites: Permission of the department, sophomore or higher standing, and completion of at least three psychology courses with a C or better. Formal application must be made in the semester prior to the internship. (Offered fall semester).

PS 413 Internship in Psychology: 3 semester hours

This course provides the student an opportunity for professional interaction in selected agencies or institutions under the supervision of a professional in the field. The student could take PS 411 in addition to this course, but for no more than four semester hours of internship in total. PS 413 (3 credit hours) implies being at an agency for ten to twelve hours per week. This course requires meeting in a group with the instructor to discuss ethical issues in practice, to review and practice clinical skills, and to process the internship. This course is designated Pass/Fail by the instructor. Prerequisites: students must have permission of the department, have completed at least five psychology courses, including PS 306 and SW 245 or have permission of the instructor, have a minimum of 2.00 in both overall GPA and in all psycholgoy courses. Formal application must be made in the semester prior to he internship. (Offered spring semester).

PS 425 Research Seminar: 3 semester hours

This course will give students experience with the entire research process. As a class, students will design and implement a researach study. In addition, the class will gain experience at analyzing data and preparing the study for presentation at a psychological conference. Prerequisite: Psychology major or minor, junior or senior standing, and PS 325 and 345 with a grade of B- or better. This course is offered every couple of years.

PS 441 Independent Study in Psychology: 1 semester hour

Prerequisites: PS 325, 345, (with a grade of B- or better), psychology major and junior or senior status. Formal application must be made to the department during or at the end of the semester preceding enrollment (no later than one week after final exams). Credit is variable (up to 3 semester hours), depending upon the scope of the topic. (See Independent Study section).

PS 442 Independent Study in Psychology: 2 semester hours

Prerequisites: PS 325, 345, (with a grade of B- or better), psychology major and junior or senior status. Formal application must be made to the department during or at the end of the semester preceding enrollment (no later than one week after final exams). Credit is variable (up to 3 semester hours), depending upon the scope of the topic. (See Independent Study section).

PS 443 Independent Study in Psychology: 3 semester hours

Prerequisites: PS 325, 345, (with a grade of B- or better), psychology major and junior or senior status. Formal application must be made to the department during or at the end of the semester preceding enrollment (no later than one week after final exams). Credit is variable (up to 3 semester hours), depending upon the scope of the topic. (See Independent Study section).

PS 450 Senior Seminar: 3 semester hours

This course is designed as the final psychology course for psychology majors. In this seminar, students will review the entire field of psychology and study in-depth a number of topics selected by the class. Through discussion, guest lectures, and student presentations, students will have the opportunity to integrate, sythesize and apply the knowledge and skills they have gained from other courses. Prerequisites: Senior psychology major, PS 325 and PS 345. (PS 345 may be waived after consultation with instructor. (Offered fall and spring semesters).