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, students begin with a core of common courses that familiarize them with the varied theoretical and methodological approaches to psychology. This strong foundation of knowledge allows students to engage in research, build interdisciplinary connections and apply psychological principles in upper-level courses.

Earlham’s Psychology Department supports students’ diverse interests and offers a range of opportunities for real-life observation, the practice of counseling skills and assisting in the research of faculty members. As part of the capstone experience, senior psychology majors expand on their own interests and conduct original research. This rich hands-on approach allows students to be involved in their discipline in ways that are both relevant and demanding.

Research and practicum experiences in Earlham’s Psychology Department prepare students for successful graduate careers. Recent graduates have pursued graduate education in psychology at schools such as Boston, Cornell, George Washington, Harvard and Washington universities, and the universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania. Other psychology graduates have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in social work, education, medicine, law, public health and business.

Finally, Earlham’s thorough psychology coursework is supported by a faculty with a remarkable diversity of interests, including cross-cultural psychology, prejudice, counseling and psychotherapy, health psychology, community psychology, biological basis of memory, positive psychology, multi-generational psychology, psychopathology, human-animal relationships, and peer-relationships.

The Psychology program begins with an introductory course and a core of common courses that familiarize students with the many different theoretical and methodological approaches to psychology. In these courses, students survey a wide range of psychological subfields and explore the relevance of psychology 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 361-379 integrate psychological research and theories with other disciplines or focus on applications of psychology. These courses help to engage in scientific psychological research; utilize psychological theory, methods and data in addressing applied questions; and think richly, systematically and critically about the personal experiences, interpersonal interactions, social issues and problems they will encounter throughout their lives.

General Education Requirements

The Department offers one course that fulfills the Scientific Inquiry Requirement, PSYC 250; one that meets the Quantitative Reasoning component of the Analytical Reasoning Requirement, PSYC 245; one course that fulfills the International component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, PSYC 362; two courses that fulfill the Domestic component of the Perspectives on Diversity Requirement, PSYC 364 and 379; and three courses that meet the Wellness Requirement, PSYC 368, 373 and 374.

The Major

Majors are required to complete:

  • PSYC 115 Introduction to Psychological Perspectives or PSYC 116 Behavior, Health Care and Society
  • PSYC 210 Social Psychology
  • PSYC 220 Adult Psychopathology
  • PSYC 230 Human Development
  • PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics
  • PSYC 250 Brain and Behavior
  • PSYC 480 History of Psychology
  • PSYC 486 Senior Comprehensive Research
  • PSYC 488 Senior Seminar
  • 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 35-37 credits is required for the Major.

The Minor

Minors are required to complete:

  • PSYC 115 Introduction to Psychological Perspectives
  • PSYC 245 Research Methods and Statistics
  • Three of the following courses:
    • PSYC 210 Social Psychology
    • PSYC 220 Adult Psychopathology
    • PSYC 230 Human Development
    • PSYC 250 Brain and Behavior
  • One Psychology course from those numbered 351-379

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
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (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. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both PSYC 115 and PSYC 116.

PSYC 116 BEHAVIOR, HEALTH CARE AND SOCIETY (4 credits)
This course is designed for students interested in health professions and covers introductory topics in psychology and sociology. There will be discussions of how the foundations of behavior influence physical and mental health and how values guide decision-making, as well as exploration of the ethical issues that health care professionals face. Students will apply fundamental knowledge about people and culture to better appreciate how individuals interact with health care professionals, understand their health and illness, and make decisions about their care. This course helps students realize how psychological and social factors may influence the type of care they provide. Students must have taken or be currently enrolled in CHEM 111. Note: Students cannot receive credit for both PSYC 115 and PSYC 116.

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

PSYC 210 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 220 ADULT PSYCHOPATHOLOGY (3-4 credits)
Develops knowledge of psychological disorders and mental illness as well as empathy for individuals with these disorders and their families. Focus will be on disorders commonly seen in adulthood, including cognitive decline. There will be discussion of the development and presentation of disorders and the role of family, communities and other contexts. Some treatment will be discussed. Those enrolling in the course for 4 credits will be expected to complete a service-learning placement. Students will be expected to volunteer at an appropriate site for two hours per week for 12 weeks. Prerequisite: PSYC 115, 116 or 200-level PSYC course. (IE available)

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

*PSYC 230 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT (3 credits)
Provides a general introduction to contemporary psychological theory and research of lifespan human development. This course focuses on the cognitive, emotional and social transformations that take place during infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Students form small research teams to undertake a psychological case study of a single child. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. (RCH)

*PSYC 245 RESEARCH METHODS AND STATISTICS (3 credits)
Introduction to experimental design and the analysis of research data in psychology. Topics include methods for observing, measuring and describing behavior. Students will learn to use the statistical software SPSS in data description and analysis. (QR)

*PSYC 250 BRAIN AND BEHAVIOR (4 credits)
An introduction to the psychology and the neuroscience of learning and memory in humans and non-human animals. Students in lab will dissect sheep brains, simulate neuronal function, and carry out learning and memory experiments. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or above. (SI)

PSYC 351 TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH (3 credits)
Selected topics offered in experimental areas of special interest to faculty. Prerequisite: PSYC 245.

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, 116 or 230.

*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 245. 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. (RCH)

*PSYC 355 RESEARCH IN HUMAN MEMORY (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 245. (RCH) (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 or 116, and PSYC 245, or permission of the instructor.

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: PSYC 245 or permission of the instructor.

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 or 116.

*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 115,116, 210, or 230. Also listed as JPNS 362. (D-I) (AY)

*PSYC 363 DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY (4 credits)
Develops knowledge of psychological disorders and mental illness as well as empathy for individuals with these disorders and their families, with a focus on adjustment and disorders in childhood and adolescence. Students will be required to complete a service-learning placement, which involves volunteering an appropriate site serving children or adolescents for two hours per week for 12 weeks. Prerequisite: PSYC 230. (IE)

*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, PSYC 116 or WGSS 305, and sophomore standing or above. Also listed as WGSS 364. (D-D)

PSYC 365 PERSONALITY (3 credits)
This course will combine traditional theories of the person with modern scientific approaches to studying personality. It will draw upon the biological perspectives of genetics and neuroscience, cross-cultural studies from anthropology and psychology, as well as scientific studies of psychological traits, characteristic forms of adaptation (such as values, goals, motives), and narrative perspectives on one’s life story. A major individual project (either an autobiography or a biography) will be required. Prerequisite: PSYC 115 or PSYC 116 and PSYC 230 or HDSR 239.

*PSYC 366 CRADLE AND GRAVE (3 credits)
The first half of this course will focus on infant development from conception to toddlerhood. Topics during this part of the course will include prenatal development, neurological and motor development, language acquisition, and cognitive and socio-emotional growth. The second half of the course will focus on the psychology of death and dying. Topics will include physiological and psychological aspects of the dying process, and the psychology of grief and loss. Prerequisite: PSYC 115, PSYC 116 or sophomore standing.

*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. (W)

*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 370 PSYCHOLOGY OF SUSTAINABILITY (3 credits)
We know about the problems with the environment. But how do we fix them? Most issues surrounding sustainability have human behaviors and attitudes at the center. We (humans) over-consume, know something but don’t act on our knowledge, don’t have important information, or simply don’t think that issues of sustainability are important. Psychology is all about human behaviors and thought-processes. The world has problems and psychology has (some) answers. Prerequisite: PSYC 115, PSYC 116 or ENST 240. Also listed as ENST 370. (RCH) (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 230.

*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, IE).

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. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

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. Prerequisite: PSYC 245 and one course from among those numbered 351 to 359.

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