Academic Course Catalogs

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Psychological Sciences

Daniel D. Moriarty, PhD, CHAIR
Michael Ichiyama, Interim Chair
Rachel E. Blaser, PhD
Veronica V. Galván, PhD
Nadav Goldschmied, PhD
Michael A. Ichiyama, PhD
Anne M. Koenig, PhD
Patricia Kowalski, PhD
Kristen McCabe, PhD
Adriana Molitor-Siegl, PhD
Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, PhD
Annette Taylor, PhD
James M. Weyant, PhD
Jennifer Zwolinski, PhD

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers a major and minor in Psychology and a major in Behavioral Neuroscience.

Due to the number of shared courses between the Behavioral Neuroscience major and the Biology and Psychology majors, students with a Behavioral Neuroscience major are not eligible to minor in Psychology or Biology.

The Psychology Major

Psychology is the scientific study of human and animal behavior and the cognitive and biological processes that underlie it. The objective of USD’s psychological sciences program is to advance the student’s understanding of psychology as a science, a profession, and a means of promoting the welfare of humans and animals. The major is designed to help students prepare for admission into graduate or professional school in psychology and to provide a foundation for entry into fields such as neuroscience, law and criminal justice, primary and secondary education, medicine, business, human resources, the ministry, and social work.

Preparation for the Major

PSYC 101, 230, and 260 are required. MATH 130 is strongly recommended. To maximize successful completion of the major we strongly recommend that students take BIOL 104, BIOL 106, or BIOL 114 to satisfy the core curriculum life sciences requirement.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 27 units of upper division coursework in psychology is required and must be distributed as follows:

Biological: PSYC 342 or 344
Clinical: PSYC 354, 355, 356, 357, or 359
Cognitive: PSYC 332, 334, or 336
Developmental: PSYC 314 or 316
Social: PSYC 322 or 324
Theories: PSYC 372 or 377

One Advanced Research Methods/Laboratory course: PSYC 415, 422, 424, 432, 436, 444, 455, 457, or 464. When offered as “W” courses, these fulfill the core curriculum upper division writing requirement.
PSYC 492 - As part of the department’s assessment program, each graduating senior is required to take a major field test in psychology and senior exit survey (PSYC 492). A student who fails to do so may be restricted from graduating.

Six additional units of upper division psychology coursework are required.

A minimum grade of C– in the 27 units of upper division course work in psychology used to complete the requirements for major, and a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all upper division course work in psychology are required.

The electives chosen to complete the major requirements should be selected in consultation with your academic advisor with a view to achieving balance among the major areas of psychological knowledge. A maximum of four units from any combination of PSYC 496, 497, and 498 elective units can be applied toward the units required to complete the major, and a maximum of 6 are applicable to the 124 units required for graduation. For students interested in graduate work in psychology, taking additional courses, including laboratories, beyond those required for the major is an important consideration, as is obtaining field and research experience. Those who anticipate doing independent study (PSYC 499) should begin that work in the first semester of their senior year.

Note: Transfer students who wish to graduate as psychology or behavioral neuroscience majors must complete a minimum of 12 Upper-Division Units in psychology
at USD.

The Psychology Minor

A minimum of 18 units is required for the minor. These must include PSYC 101 and 230, and at least three upper division courses. PSYC 260 is strongly recommended.

The Social Science Teaching Credential

Students wishing to earn a social science teaching credential may do so while completing a major in psychology. The specific requirements for the teaching credential differ from the general requirements for the psychology major. Students interested in pursuing a social science teaching credential should consult the School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

Psychology Courses (PSYC)

PSYC 101 INTRODUCTORY TO PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This core curriculum course provides an introduction to the science of psychology and includes the following topics: history of psychology, research methods in psychology, biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, development, learning, memory, cognition, motivation, emotion, personality, social psychology, psychological disorders, and therapy. Every semester.

PSYC 230 RESEARCH METHODS IN PSYCHOLOGY (3)
Introduction to the principles and methods of psychological research through lecture, discussion, and participation in laboratory and field research projects. This course will cover multiple research designs including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Every semester.

PSYC 260 STATISTICS (3)
Introduction to the analysis of research data in psychology. Topics include measures of central tendency and variability, correlation, prediction, and hypothesis testing. Every semester.

PSYC 305 ADVANCED STATISTICS (3)
This course will build on and extend student knowledge of the analyses first introduced in the basic statistics course. After a review of basic statistics, key issues to be explored include testing underlying assumptions of parametric statistics, transformations of data, non-parametric statistics, analysis of covariance, multiple regression, partial correlation, and multivariate analysis of variance. Students will learn to enter data on a computer and use a statistical program (SPSS) to perform analyses. Emphasis will be placed on choosing appropriate statistics, carrying out analyses, interpreting results, and reporting findings in APA style. Prerequisite: PSYC 260.

PSYC 314 DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE (3)
An introduction to the scientific study of human development. Explores the physical, cognitive, and social domains from conception through adolescence. The influences of maturation and socialization are emphasized as well as the interdependence of the various domains of development. Community service may be required. Prerequisite: PSYC 101.

PSYC 316 DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: ADULTHOOD AND AGING (3)
The study of human behavior and development into the adult years. Coverage includes theory and research about aging within physical, cognitive, and social domains from early adulthood through death. Addresses age-related issues as well as the influences of maturation and socialization on development. Community service may be required. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 and junior standing.

PSYC 322 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
The study of how people think about, relate to, and are influenced by others. Topics include: group behavior; socialization; social interaction; attitude change; affiliation; aggression; altruism; person perception; and the role of psychological factors in social problems. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or consent of instructor.

PSYC 324D CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
An examination of human behavior in cultural context. Emphasis will be placed on the role of cultural factors influencing such patterns of behavior as perception, cognition, personality, emotion, development, group dynamics, mental and physical health, and language. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230.

PSYC 326 ORGANIZATIONAL / INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
A study of the application of psychological principles in organizational settings. Topics include: organizational structure; personnel selection, social influence and human relations in organizations, leadership, and organizational change. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or consent of instructor.

PSYC 328 STEREOTYPING, PREJUDICE, AND DISCRIMINATION (3)
Examination of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination from a social psychology perspective. Focus on theory and research about what causes stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination; why these social ills are so resistant to change and how they can be reduced. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or consent of instructor.

PSYC 330 PSYCHOLOGY OF GENDER (3)
This course involves and overview of psychological research and theory concerning differences and similarities between men and women in the areas of cognition, attitudes, personality, and social behavior, and the causes of those difference. There is an emphasis on topics such as stereotypes, sexism, aggression, close relationships, leadership, and the workplace. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230 or consent of instructor.

PSYC 332 LEARNING AND BEHAVIOR (3)
The study of learning in humans and animals. Topics include: theories of learning; classical conditioning; instrumental learning; observation learning; and perceptual-motor and verbal learning and cognition. Current research will be stressed. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230.

PSYC 334 HUMAN MEMORY (3)
A scientific approach to the traditional study of human memory, with emphasis on different types of memory (e.g., short-term and long-term), and memory processes (encoding, organization, retrieval). Other topics may include everyday memory, memory errors, and memory development across the lifespan. More recent approaches, including neural networks and concepts related to ecological validity, are also explored. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230.

PSYC 336 COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY (3)
Scientific study of how people process information. Topics include perception, attention, memory, imagery, language, concept formation, decision making, and problem solving. Both basic and applied issues will be addressed. The course will focus on current models, including information processing and neural networks. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230.

PSYC 342 BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
Study of the biological bases of behavior, stressing evolutionary, genetic, neural, and hormonal processes. Topics include: anatomy and physiology of the nervous, sensory, and motor systems; and the biological bases of emotion, motivation, learning, memory, sleep, individual differences, and psychopathology. Current research will be stressed. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230, or consent of instructor.

PSYC 344 ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY AND ETHOLOGY (3)
Study of animal behavior through a synthesis of the work of ethologists and comparative psychologists. Stresses the adaptive nature of behavior and its role in evolution. Topics include research strategies, classification of behavior, evolution and development of behavior, the concept of instinct, communication, and social behavior. Current research will be stressed. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230 or consent of instructor.

PSYC 347 BEHAVIOR GENETICS (3)
Explores the past and current status of the nature/nurture controversy in psychology as an introduction to the methods of research in behavior genetics. Hereditary influences on perception, learning, intelligence, temperament, personality, and psychopathology will be investigated through a consideration of current research in these areas. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 or consent of instructor. (Summer or Intersession)

PSYC 354 BEHAVIOR DISORDERS OF CHILDHOOD (3)
This course reviews theory and research evidence relevant to the major types of emotional and behavior disorders diagnosed in children including causes of disorders, developmental context, and evidence-based approaches to treatment. Prerequisite: PSYC 101.

PSYC 355 ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
Reviews the current literature on the etiology, prevalence, classification, and treatment considerations relating to abnormal behavior and mental disorders. Course assumes an integrated biopsychosocial perspective and focuses on adult psychopathology. Gender effects and cultural considerations as they relate to the study of abnormal behavior and adult mental disorders are examined. Prerequisite: PSYC 101.

PSYC 356 PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT (3)
This course reviews the principles of psychological assessment including test construction, validation, and applications. Tests of ability, achievement, personality, and psychopathology will be covered. Prerequisites: PSYC 101, 230, and 260.

PSYC 357 HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY (3)
An examination of the psychological variables contributing to the development and/or progress of disease, and of the effects of illness on injury and behavior. Areas to be considered include the impact of various types of stress on illness, pain mechanisms, psychophysiological disorders, psychological approaches to prevention and management, and treatment compliance. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and 230.

PSYC 359D HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMEN AND ETHNIC GROUPS (3)
Recent advances in health care have discovered the necessity for specific treatment, instruction, research, and preventive measures focusing on women and ethnic health. This course is designed to investigate the specific needs of these populations in maintaining and obtaining the best medical care for their physical health. The interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors with health and illness as they specifically apply to these populations is the focus of the course. The role of traditional medical practices, particularly Native American and Asian American health practices is also described.

PSYC 364 SPORT PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This course examines psychological factors influencing the experience of sport. Topics covered include theoretical basis of competition, motivation, group dynamics, aggression, fan behavior, and social facilitation. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 or Consent of Instructor

PSYC 372 HISTORY AND SYSTEMS OF PSYCHOLOGY (3)
A survey of the major ideas that have affected the development of Western psychology. The empirical, rationalistic, and materialistic roots of modern psychology will be discussed. Prerequisite: PSYC 101

PSYC 377 THEORIES OF PERSONALITY (3)
This course surveys the major theoretical schools of thought in the study of personality. Psychoanalytic, psychoanalytic-social, trait, learning, cognitive social learning, and humanistic perspectives will be examined. Prerequisite: PSYC 101

PSYC 414 SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT (3)
This course focuses on some of the primary social relationships and experiences that humans have as they develop, including the normative features of key social interactions and relationships, variability among individuals, and potential problems within these social exchanges. Moreover, the course addresses the impact of these social experiences on emotional, personality, and socio-cognitive development as well as on concurrent or subsequent social relations. Prerequisites: PSYC 101, 230, 260, and 314.

PSYC 415W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
In-depth study of research methods in developmental psychology. Emphasis will be placed on the factors that make developmental research unique, on the appropriateness of particular methods for specific research questions, and on the critical evaluation of research reports. Written project reports as well as a literature review and research proposal will be required. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and 314 or 316.

PSYC 422W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This course provides students with hands-on experience in experimental research and scientific writing in social psychology. Along with reviewing the basics of experimental research design, students will design an experimental study, collect and analyze data, and present their project in an APA style research paper. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and concurrent enrollment in, or prior completion of, PSYC 322.

PSYC 424W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This course explores the research methods, both laboratory and field, used in the study of human behavior across cultures. The course requires reading of original research, completion of laboratory projects, and a research paper. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and concurrent enrollment in, or prior completion of, PSYC 324.

PSYC 432W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN LEARNING (3)
This course is designed to give the student an in-depth, hands-on experience with the research methods used in the study of conditioning and learning. Projects involving both human and nonhuman subjects will be conducted to illustrate the equipment, research designs, and procedures commonly employed in the area. Written project reports, as well as a literature review and research proposal, will be required. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and prior completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, PSYC 332.

PSYC 436W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This course integrates an in-depth exploration of selected topics with an emphasis on experimental research methods. Readings in original research, active participation in laboratory replications, complete research report preparation, and write-ups will accompany each topic. The course will culminate in the preparation of an original research project. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and prior completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, PSYC 336.

PSYC 444W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (3)
This course will explore the research methods used in the study of animal behavior in both laboratory and field settings. Observational skills will also be developed. Completion of a field project at an appropriate site will be required. Several laboratory projects and demonstrations will be conducted. Project reports, as well as a research paper, will be written. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and concurrent enrollment in, or prior completion of, PSYC 344, or consent of instructor.

PSYC 455W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY (3)
The course is designed to increase competency in designing, conducting, evaluating, and writing research papers in clinical psychology. This goal will be met through lectures, readings, and class discussion on the process of conducting research and the process of disseminating research in written and oral forms. This course satisfies an upper division writing lab so the course will focus on all stages of the writing process, including pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing. Writing requirements include brief papers and a series of draft reviews and revisions that will result in a major APA style research paper. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, and 260, and completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, PSYC 354 or 355.

PSYC 457W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN HEALTH PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This course is designed to provide in-depth discussion about the various methods, concepts, and techniques in the field of health psychology. Emphasis will be placed on the types of issues and methods that make health psychology unique. Requirements include written critical reviews of various journal articles, a literature review, and a research proposal. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and either concurrent enrollment in, or prior completion of, an upper division health psychology course.

PSYC 464W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS/LABORATORY IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY (3)
This course provides students with hands-on experience in experimental research and scientific writing in sport psychology. Along with reviewing the basics of experimental research design, students will design a study, collect and analyze data, and present their project in an APA-Style paper. Prerequisites: ENG 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, and prior completion or concurrent enrollment in 364 or consent of instructor.

PSYC 466 METHODS OF EVIDENCE-BASED PSYCHOTHERAPY (3)
This course will familiarize students with both the theory underlying various evidence-based psychosocial interventions as well as the practical techniques used in those interventions. Psychotherapy methods pertaining to children and adults and to a variety of clinical disorders will be reviewed, demonstrated, and role-played. Applications to a variety of presenting problems and client types will be discussed. Prerequisites: PSYC 101, 230, and either 354 or 355.

PSYC 492 MAJOR FIELD TEST IN PSYCHOLOGY (0)
As part of the department’s assessment program, each graduating senior is required to take a major field test in psychology and senior exit survey. A student who fails to do so may be restricted from graduating. Every year.

PSYC 494 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY (3)
The purpose of this course is to provide the advanced undergraduate student with an opportunity to explore a variety of contemporary topics in psychology. These will be in-depth investigations on subjects of special interest to the instructor. Course may be repeated with different topics. Prerequisite: Junior standing; additional prerequisites vary with topic and/or instructor.

PSYC 496 RESEARCH EXPERIENCE (1-2)
Experience in serving as a researcher in a project conducted by a faculty member. By invitation. May be repeated for a maximum of two units. P/F only.

PSYC 497 APPLIED EXPERIENCE IN PSYCHOLOGY (1-2)
Practical experience in a community/field setting under professional supervision. Each student is required to complete a minimum of 40 hours (one unit section) or 80 hours (2 unit section) of supervised training in an assigned field setting over the course of the semester. Fieldwork is under the joint supervision of agency personnel and the course instructor. A time log and written summary of the experience by the student and a performance evaluation by the supervisor are required. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 and consent of the instructor. Student cannot be on academic probation. P/F only.

PSYC 498 INTERNSHIP IN PSYCHOLOGY (3)
Intensive practical experience in a community/field setting under professional supervision. Each student is required to complete a minimum of 120 hours of supervised training in an assigned field setting over the course of the semester. Fieldwork is under the joint supervision of agency personnel and the course instructor. A time log and written summary of the experience by student and a performance evaluation by the agency supervisor are required. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 and consent of instructor. Senior standing preferred. Student cannot be on academic probation. P/F only.

PSYC 499 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3)
Library, laboratory, or field research of the student’s own design conducted under faculty supervision. A written application and final report are required. Senior standing preferred. Prerequisites: PSYC 101 and consent of instructor.

The Behavioral Neuroscience Major

The Behavioral Neuroscience major is an interdisciplinary major within the department of Psychological Sciences which emphasizes the interaction of behavior with biological systems including brain pathways, nervous systems and hormonal systems. Disciplines such as psychology, biology, chemistry, anthropology, and philosophy all contribute to a cohesive understanding of psychological functions from a biological perspective. The assimilation of disciplines helps students develop intellectual skills in critical thinking and sound reasoning, and requires integration of knowledge from multiple levels of analysis, all of which are important characteristics of a liberal arts education. Career opportunities include jobs in healthcare, academia, government and the private sector.

Preparation for the Major

Required courses to prepare for the major include PSYC 101, 230, 260; BIOL 190, 221, 221L, 225, 225L; CHEM 151, 151L, 152, 152L.
Students must fulfill their core Math requirement with MATH 150 or above, and fulfill their core Ethics requirement with PHIL 331 or 334 (when offered as Ethics and Frontiers of Science).

Major Requirements

A minimum of 29 units of Upper-Division Units of coursework is required and must be distributed as follows:

Genetics: BIOL 300
Biological Psychology: PSYC 342
Behavioral Neuroscience: NEUR 310
Advanced Research Lab: NEUR 410W
Cognition: PSYC 332, PSYC 334, or PSYC 336
Evolution: PSYC 344, PSYC 347, PSYC 494 (when offered as Evolutionary Psychology), BIOL 310, or BIOL 346
Physiology: BIOL 478, BIOL 480, or CHEM 331
Directed or Independent Research: 2 semesters of combined NEUR 496 or NEUR 499
Electives: 6 credits from the courses above, or BIOL 320, 376, 382, 482, 484; NEUR 494; CHEM 301, 301L, 302, 302L, 314, 335, 427, ENGR 456; PSYC 355, 357, 432W, 444W; ANTH 310, 311; PHIL 331 or 334 (when offered as Ethics and Frontiers of Science) if not used to satisfy the core, 413, 415; PHYS 340
A minimum grade of C– and a GPA of 2.0 in the 27 graded units of upper division course work used to complete the requirements for the major is required.

The electives chosen to complete the major requirements should be selected in consultation with your academic advisor with a view to achieving balance among the major areas of psychological knowledge. A maximum of 6 units from any combination of NEUR 496-499 can be applied toward the units required to complete the major (this includes the minimum of 2 required research units, plus up to 4 elective units), and a maximum of 6 are applicable to the 124 units required for graduation.

Note: Transfer students who wish to graduate as psychology or behavioral neuroscience majors must complete a minimum of 12 Upper-Division Units of the required coursework at USD.

Behavioral Neuroscience Courses (NEUR)

NEUR 310 BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE (3)
This course will explore the biological basis of human and animal behavior, with a focus on neural structures and function. Topics will include neural cell physiology, neurotransmitters and receptors, the development of the nervous system, sensory and motor systems, and the biological bases of learning and memory. Prerequisites: PSYC 101, 230, and 342, BIOL 190 and 225/L, or consent of instructor.

NEUR 410W ADVANCED RESEARCH METHODS / LABORATORY IN BEHAVIORA NEUROSCIENCE (3)
This course is designed to provide in-depth, hands-on experience with the concepts, methods, and techniques used in behavioral neuroscience research, including anatomical and histological methods, and surgical and pharmacological manipulations. Written project reports, as well as a literature review and research proposal, will be required. Prerequisites: ENGL 121, PSYC 101, 230, 260, 342 and completion of or current enrollment in NEUR 310, or consent of instructor.

NEUR 492 MAJOR FIELD TEST (0)
As part of the department’s assessment program, each graduating senior is required to a major field test in psychology and senior exit survey (BNCS 492). A student who fails to do so may be restricted from graduating.

NEUR 494 SPECIAL TOPICS IN BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE (3)
The purpose of this course is to provide the advanced undergraduate student with an opportunity to explore a variety of contemporary topics in behavioral neuroscience. These will be in-depth investigations on subjects of special interest to the instructor. Course may be repeated with different topics. Prerequisite: Junior standing; additional prerequisites vary with topic and/or instructor.

NEUR 496 RESEARCH EXPERIENCE (1-2)
Experience in serving as a researcher in a project conducted by a faculty member. By invitation. May be repeated for a maximum of six units. P/F only.

NEUR 499 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3)
Library, laboratory, or field research of the student’s own design conducted under faculty supervision. A written application and final report are required. Senior standing preferred. Prerequisites: NEUR 310 and consent of instructor.