The Program

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes: how people act, how they think and how they feel. To approach this broad scope of inquiry at Earlham, we begin the program of study with a core of common courses that enable students to become familiar with the many different theoretical and methodological approaches to psychology. From that foundation of knowledge, students engage in research, interdisciplinary connections and applied courses in psychology.

One of the most significant features of our department is its "hands-on" orientation. Our hands-on approach is coupled with a remarkable diversity of faculty interests: including infant development, human development in Japan, prejudice, counseling and psychotherapy, community psychology, biological basis of memory and positive psychology.

Students find support for their own diverse interests, as well as a range of opportunities in course work for real-life observation and practice of counseling skills, the opportunity to assist in research, and, as senior psychology majors, the chance to conduct original research. This rich hands-on approach allows students to be involved in their discipline in ways that are both relevant and demanding.

Our graduates have pursued advanced degrees in psychology at places like Washington University in St. Louis, Bryn Mawr College and Ball State University in cognitive, developmental and clinical areas. Recent graduates also have pursued advanced degrees in social work, education, medicine, law and business at Boston, Cornell and George Washington universities among others.

The Psychology program begins with an introductory course and a core of common courses that enable students to become familiar with the many different theoretical and methodological approaches to psychology. In these courses, students survey a wide range of psychological subfields and the relevance of psychological findings to current social issues and everyday life.

In addition, students acquire a basic understanding of the principles of scientific research and critical thinking applicable not only to psychology, but to all the sciences. Psychology courses numbered 351-359 have a primary focus on basic research in psychology; courses numbered 361-369 integrate psychological research and theories with other disciplines; and courses numberedf 371-379 have a focus on application pf psychology. These courses help to prepare students to add new knowledge to our understanding of psychology; to utilize psychological theory, meth and data in addressing applied questions; and to think richly, systematically and critically about the personal experiences, interpersonal interactions, social issues and problems they will encounter throughout life.

General Education Requirements

The Department offers one course that fulfills the Scientific Inquiry Requirement, PSYC 342; one that meets the Quantitative Reasoning component of the Analytical Reasoning Requirement, PSYC 342; two courses that fulfill the International component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, PSYC 362 and 366; two courses that fulfill the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, PSYC 364 and 379; and two courses that meet the Wellness Requirement, PSYC 373 and 374.

The Major

  • PSYC 115, 237, 238, 239, 342, 480, 486 and 488
  • One Psychology course from those numbered 351-359
  • One Psychology course from those numbered 361-379
  • One additional Psychology course from those numbered 351-379

A total of 33-35 credits is required for the Major.

The Minor

  • PSYC 115, 237, 238, 239 and 342
  • One Psychology course numbered 351 or above
  • A total of 20 credits is required for the Minor.

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AP) = Arts - Applied
  • (A-TH) = Arts - Theoretical/Historical
  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IP) = Interpretive Practices
  • (SI) = Scientific Inquiry
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

PSYC 115 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES (3 credits)
An introduction to various perspectives within psychology: physiological, learning, cognitive, developmental, social and clinical. Format is typically lecture and discussion.

*PSYC 150 EARLHAM SEMINAR (4 credits)
Offered for first-year students. Topics vary. (ES)

PSYC 221 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
An introductory examination of special topics in psychology.

PSYC 237 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
Surveys through lecture and discussion major topic areas in social psychology including obedience, conformity, cognitive dissonance, social cognition, prejudice and interpersonal attraction.

PSYC 238 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (3 credits)
Provides a general introduction to contemporary psychological theory and research of human development. Two weekly classes consist primarily of lecture with some opportunity for class discussion, and one class is devoted to small group discussion of course readings. Students form small research teams to undertake a psychological case study of a single child. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.

PSYC 239 PERSONALITY (3 credits)
Examines the way that psychology has defined persons. Introduces major classical and contemporary theories of personality development and their critiques. Independent project explores the relevance of subjective experience in relation to psychological theory and research evidence. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above and PSYC 115.

*PSYC 342 EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (4 credits)
Introduces students to research design and statistics through coverage of sensation/perception, physiological psychology, learning and memory. In lab, students carry out experiments, analyze the data using the statistical software package, SPSS, and write experimental reports in the style appropriate for the American Psychological Association. Lab. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. (A-QR, SI)

PSYC 351 TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH (3 credits)
Selected topics offered in experimental areas of special interest to faculty.

PSYC 352 RESEARCH IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
Review of major research questions, methodologies and empirical findings in the area of developmental psychology. Prerequisite: PSYC 115 or 238.

PSYC 353 BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE (3 credits)
Advanced seminar examines the physiological mechanisms underlying a variety of psychological processes. Extensive reading of primary source materials. All students prepare a major seminar presentation and paper. Prerequisite: PSYC 342. Also listed as BIOL 353. (AY)

PSYC 354 INTERVIEWING AND FIELD RESEARCH (4 credits)
Introduces the student to naturalistic research techniques like in-depth interviewing and participant observation. Includes a research project of the student's own choice based on interviewing individuals, observing a real-life setting or some other naturalistic technique. Previous projects have included interviews with young women about the fear of crime, a study of gossip in a local workplace and an analysis of young children's artistic productions. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.

PSYC 355 RESEARCH IN COGNITION: REMEMBERING AND FORGETTING (3 credits)
An examination of theories of human memory in a seminar format with regular student-led discussions. Extensive use of primary source materials. Students design and conduct an experiment on human memory as the major course project. Prerequisite: PSYC 237, 239 or 342. (AY)

PSYC 356 PSYCHOLOGY OF PREJUDICE (3 credits)
Through lecture, discussion and experimentation, this course explores the psychology of prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. Analyzes the causes and consequences of prejudice and similarities and differences in types of prejudice. Prerequisite: PSYC 115.

PSYC 357 SENSATION AND PERCEPTION (3 credits)
Explores the physiological and psychological systems that allow humans to see, hear, taste, touch and smell an incredible range of stimuli. Also deals with the sensory systems of other organisms and how they perceive the world, at least to the best of our abilities to understand. Examines how our sensory apparatus convert physical stimuli into neural signals and how those signals are interpreted by the brain to organize our perception of our world. Analyzes the constraints of our sensory and perceptual systems, what we do not perceive, how we are often blind or deaf to changes in the physical world. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above.

PSYC 361 TOPICS IN INTEGRATIVE SYSTEMS (3 credits)
Selected topics dealing with psychological processes in the context of other systems such as biological, philosophical or cultural. Prerequisite: PSYC 115.

*PSYC 362 CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
Examines the relationship of individual psychological functioning and cultural systems, utilizing a cross-cultural analysis of Japan vs. the U.S. as an illustrative case. Includes a major project focused on the culture(s) of a student's choice. Prerequisite: PSYC 115, 237, 238 or 239. Also listed as JPNS 362. (D-I) (AY)

PSYC 363 ADULT OR DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY (4 credits)
Develops knowledge of psychological disorders and mental illness as well as empathy for individuals with these disorders and their families. This course is offered yearly in the spring, alternating between Adult Psychopathology and Developmental Psychopathology. The Adult course will focus on disorders commonly seen in adulthood, including cognitive decline. The Developmental course will have a particular focus on adjustment during childhood and adolescence. In both classes, students will be required to complete a service-learning placement. Prerequisite for Adult course: PSYC 115 or 200-level course. Prerequisite for Developmental course: PSYC 238.

*PSYC 364 PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMEN (3 credits)
Examines women's lives and experiences through the lens of psychological research. Includes a variety of psychological perspectives and issues in women's lives, as well as discussions about gender as a social framework. Prerequisite: PSYC 115 or WGSS 305, and sophomore standing or above. Also listed as WGSS 364.  (D-D)

*PSYC 365 CRADLE AND GRAVE (3 credits)
Examines the first and last things of human life. The first half of the course focuses on prenatal development, birth and infancy. The second half of the course covers dying, death and bereavement. Through lectures, class discussions, videos and class visits, explores different stages of the human life cycle and considers in what ways they are related to each other. Prerequisite: PSYC 115 and sophomore standing or above.

*PSYC 366 THE FAMILY: EAST AND WEST (3 credits)
A seminar engaging in an interdisciplinary approach to the family from a psychological perspective. Comparative analysis of Japanese and American families allows examination of the universality of psychological processes and concepts and of their dependence on the contexts of culture, social class, ethnicity and gender. A major project allows students to investigate the family in a culture of their choice. Prerequisite: PSYC 115, 237, 238 or 239. Also listed as JPNS 366. (D-I) (AY)

PSYC 367 PSYCHOLOGY AND LITERATURE (3 credits)
Analyzes and interprets fiction in the light of psychological theories of personality and human development. More specifically, demonstrates how psychological theories can be used as tools for gaining insight into a fictional character's actions, motivations and development. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. (AY)

PSYC 368 HUMAN SEXUALITY (3 credits)
Sexuality is central to our lives. It is involved in many of our most fundamental relationships and engages some of strongest emotions. This course provides an examination of human sexuality (encompassing sexual behaviors, sexual identity, social norms/attitudes, etc.) and the psychological, physiological and sociocultural influences upon human sexuality. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing. Also listed as WGSS 368.

PSYC 369 THE SEARCH FOR SELF, MEANING AND GOODNESS (3 credits)
Explores the field of existential psychology. Addresses such issues as the possibilities and burdens of making one's own choices in life, finding meaning in a world that seems to promote isolation and anonymity, discerning one's vocation in life, and leading a life well-lived. Prerequisite: Senior status. (AY).

PSYC 371 TOPICS IN THEORY AND APPLICATION (3 credits)
Selected topics dealing with the interrelationship of psychological knowledge and the practical applications of that knowledge.

PSYC 372 APPLIED DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
Focuses upon the use of developmental theory and data to foster optimal development of persons through individual interventions and/or public programs and policies. Prerequisite: PSYC 238.

*PSYC 373 MORAL EDUCATION (3 credits)
Examination of psychological theory and research on moral development, various techniques of moral education, and philosophical and psychological perspectives of moral goodness. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. (W) (AY)

*PSYC 374 COUNSELING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY (4 credits)
Surveys major approaches to psychotherapy and the most important contributions of each approach to contemporary clinical work. Includes videos and case readings of actual therapy sessions. Also includes a lab in which students learn basic listening and core counseling skills. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. (W)

PSYC 377 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
The scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to thrive. Uses readings, lectures and discussions to investigate such topics as happiness, subjective well-being, character strength, gratitude and resiliency. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing and above.

PSYC 379 COMMUNITY PSYCHOLOGY (3 credits)
Looks at the ways psychologists work in communities, including counseling those in need, working with community groups, helping in emergencies, grassroots organizing, acting as consultants, doing research in the community and working for social justice and positive social change. Includes a project based on actual work in the community. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. (D-D).

PSYC 386 RESEARCH ASSISTANT (1-3 credits)
Students serving as a research assistant may earn a letter grade the first time they enroll and may earn Credit/No Credit for subsequent semester enrollments. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

PSYC 480 HISTORY OF PSYCHOLOGY (2 credits)
Designated for senior Psychology majors. Surveys the origins and development of the history of psychology.

PSYC 481 INTERNSHIPS, FIELD STUDIES AND OTHER FIELD EXPERIENCE (1-3 credits)
Students completing internships may elect to earn academic credit by registering for this course.

PSYC 482 SPECIAL TOPICS (3 credits)
Selected topics determined by the instructor for upper-level study.

PSYC 483 TEACHING ASSISTANTS (1-3 credits)
Students serving as teaching assistants may elect to earn pass/fail credit by registering for this course.

PSYC 484 FORD/KNIGHT RESEARCH PROJECT (1-4 credits)
Collaborative research with faculty funded by the Ford/Knight Program.

PSYC 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
Intended for the advanced student. An investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty adviser.

PSYC 486 COMPREHENSIVE RESEARCH PROJECT (3 credits)
All majors are required to design and conduct an independent empirical research project as part of the comprehensive exam. Usually these will be experimental  or correlational research designs; however, qualitative projects can be undertaken. A student interested in performing qualitative research should take PSYC 354.

PSYC 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (2 credits)
Focuses on readings and discussion of history, historiography and philosophy of psychology.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Earlham College
801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
47374-4095
1-765-983-1200 — Main Switchboard
1-800-EARLHAM (327-5426) — Admissions