Psychology (PSY)

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).



Psychology Program of Study

Link to Psychology Program of Study



PSY 100 – Introduction to Psychology 4cr

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the field of psychology. Topics include the philosophical and scientific origins of psychology, research methods in psychology, biological and perceptual processes, learning, cognition and memory, emotion, personality, social psychology, psychological disorders, and psychotherapy.

Aim 14 Society and Human Behavior



PSY 121 – Sport Psychology 2cr

This course examines theoretical, clinical, and applied aspects of sport psychology. It provides a broad overview of the major topics in the area (e.g., performance enhancement, mental rehearsal, motivation, competitive anxiety, aggression, injury recovery). The primary course objective is to facilitate understanding of how psychological factors influence involvement and performance in sport settings, and how participation in sports affects individuals and groups.



PSY 131 – Drugs and Behavior 4cr

The use of psychoactive drugs in human societies has a long history. This course provides an overview of drug-brain-behavior interactions. Accordingly, students will study a range of topics including drug actions on the nervous system, elementary principles of pharmacology, therapeutic uses of behaviorally active drugs, drug abuse and its treatment, and social policy. The term “drugs” is broadly defined and includes both legal and illegal substances.

Aim 14 Society and Human Behavior



PSY 201 – Infant and Child Development 4cr

In this course, students explore the remarkable development of humans from conception to age 12. This course covers information and issues in prenatal care and the development of physical, socio-emotional, linguistic, and cognitive processes in the contexts of home and school. Students analyze, interpret and apply theory to issues in the discipline.

Aim 14 Society and Human Behavior



PSY 204 – Adolescent Development 4cr

In this course, students explore the roles of home and school in the physical, cognitive, socio-emotional development of people between ages 13-18. The course emphasizes the use of psychological theories to understand the complexities of developmental processes.

Aim 2 Research and Academic Discourse and Aim 14 Society and Human Behavior



PSY 206 – Adult Development 4cr

This course examines human development from early adulthood through old age. Areas of inquiry include physical, cognitive, social, and personality development as well as issues in aging and death. A Service-Learning component is often required.

Aim 2 Research and Academic Discourse and Aim 14 Society and Human Behavior



PSY 216 – Psychology of Creativity 4cr

This course examines characteristics of creative processes, people, and places in the arts, literature, science, business, and education. Social roles, economic factors, child-rearing practices, and approaches to education, which may influence creativity, are also studied. Students read, write, and participate in seminar discussion to learn from psychological theories, systematic research, and case studies. A Service-Learning component is often required.



PSY 225 – Explorations in the Psychology Major 2cr

This course is for newly declared psychology majors – or those who are considering changing their majors to psychology. It provides an opportunity for students to understand themselves, their majors, and future careers. As a part of the course, students create a plan that will enable them to achieve their educational and career goals and practice major skills of the discipline.



PSY 231 – Research Methods in Social Science 4cr

This course provides students the opportunity to interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research. Students learn to transform ideas into researchable questions by examining the nature of scientific thinking, research design, hypothesis testing, and quantitative methodology. Students apply their knowledge of research methods to prepare to conduct their own research, to become better able to critique scholarly reports of research, and to become better consumers of social science research presented in the media.

Prerequisite: MAT 141 Statistics and SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology or PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology or permission of instructor.



PSY 279 – Supervised Internship in Psychology 1-16cr

The internship is a supervised work experience in an approved setting. One academic credit may be earned for each 40 hours of work in the internship placement.

Prerequisites: Prior to registration students must obtain departmental approval of a written proposal that describes in detail the activities and educational objectives of the internship. Application materials may be obtained from Psychology faculty members.



PSY 310 – Biopsychology I 4cr

Biopsychology is the study of how our behavior, thoughts, and emotions are supported by the nervous system. This course focuses on the fundamental brain structures and biological processes that underlie many different behaviors and disorders studied by psychologists, including development, brain injury, autism, movement, motivation, and addiction.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology.



PSY 311 – Theories of Personality 4cr

This course engages students in critical examination of theory and research in the study of human personality, individual differences, motivation and well-being. Theoretical approaches explored include psychoanalytic, dispositional, biopsychological, cognitive, phenomenological, humanistic, behavioral, and social learning perspectives. Students engage in comparison and contrast of these different perspectives and their underlying assumptions. This course also provides the opportunity for students to integrate their study across broad areas of psychology and to apply the study of personality to other fields such as creative writing, literature, philosophy, education, outdoor leadership, business, and social work.

Aim 2 Research and Academic Discourse

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology and junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor.



PSY 312 – Psychology, Mental Health, and Distress 4cr

This course provides a broad survey of what is considered to be abnormal behavior. Students become familiar with concepts of abnormal psychology and with some of the clinical and research findings upon which our knowledge of psychological disorders is based. Students critically review research and write about a particular area of abnormal psychology. It is expected that students will not only have an increased understanding of psychological disorders, but that they will have deepened empathy for those who have them.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology is required, and PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science is recommended.



PSY 317 – Health Psychology 4cr

The interaction between psychological, social, and biological factors has become increasingly clear. This course examines psychosocial factors in health and disease. Students will understand influences on how people stay healthy, why they become ill, and how they respond when they are ill. This course also helps students gain a better understanding of how their behavioral, emotional, and lifestyle patterns affect their health and wellness.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology.



PSY 318 – Social Psychology 4cr

Social psychology studies how the behavior of individuals and groups are influenced. This survey course examines the major theories and research traditions in social psychology. Topics include social cognition, perception of self and others, stereotypes and prejudice, social influence and persuasion, interpersonal attraction, group dynamics and leadership, conformity, aggression, and prosocial behavior. Students will explore applications to behaviors that impact environmental quality and sustainability, health and well-being, political participation and influence, and the workings of our legal system.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology or SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology is required, and PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science is recommended.



PSY 320 – Biopsychology II 4cr

This course builds on the principles of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology learned in Biopsychology I to further explore the nervous system structures and processes that contribute to human behavior. Topics include neuroplasticity, stroke, memory, and language.

Prerequisites: PSY 310 Biopsychology I or permission of instructor.



PSY 323 – Learning and Conditioning 2cr

This course introduces the basic principles of behaviorism and how they can be applied in a variety of settings, including animal training. Most of the course focuses on operant conditioning, but habituation and classical conditioning are also discussed.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology.



PSY 324 – Sensation and Perception 4cr

This course explores how human beings gather and interpret information provided by the sensory systems. The physical properties of the sensory signal, the physiological mechanisms of the sensory organs, and the psychological processes that filter, construct, and influence our perceptual experiences are examined.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology.



PSY 325 – Cognition 2cr

This course focuses on the processes of attention, memory, thinking, and the organization of knowledge. Theoretical attempts to explain these processes and research strategies to elucidate underlying mechanisms serve as overarching themes in the course.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology. PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science is recommended as a prior or concurrent course.



PSY 326 – Theories and Techniques in Counseling and Psychotherapy 4cr

This course explores major theories and techniques utilized in psychotherapeutic settings. Through a combination of readings, discussion, and active role-playing, students examine behavioral, cognitive, existential, humanistic, interpersonal, and psychodynamic approaches to treatment. Counseling skills (e.g., empathy and problem solving) are practiced in a supportive classroom setting. Students also present a clinical case study to their classmates focusing on a specific therapy approach.

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology.



PSY 401 – Selected Readings in Psychology 2cr

This course provides an opportunity for the investigation of important original contributions to psychological inquiry. It is organized around a particular theme, which may change from semester to semester. Readings may include theoretical and empirical scholarly articles and book chapters that have historical or contemporary importance for the field of psychology.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology and PSY 231 Research Methods, or permission of the instructor.



PSY 402 – History of Psychology 2cr

This course explores the history of psychology through the use of primary sources. Students will gain an understanding of important themes, developments, and figures in the history of psychology. Students will read materials from archives and other sources in order to learn about the broad sociocultural context in which psychology has emerged. Further, in a fascinating component to the course, students will peek in on original letters sent by leaders in the field in order to learn about important events, successes, and struggles through the individuals’ own words.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology and PSY 231 Research Methods.



PSY 416 – Ecopsychology 2cr

Ecopsychology examines relationships between people and the rest of nature. As a collection of theoretical perspectives, ecopsychology asserts that people have essential, unconscious connections with the rest of nature. Ecopsychology proposes that detachment from this relationship has dire psychological and environmental consequences and that restoration of this relationship furthers individual, community, and planetary health. This course critically explores ecopsychology as a theory and as a worldview. Through writing, direct experiences, and close reading of primary sources, students critically examine ecopsychology’s theoretical roots and practical implications. Students also explore the relationship of ecopsychology to psychodynamic theory, transpersonal psychology, existentialism and phenomenology, deep ecology, ecofeminism, sociobiology, and evolutionary psychology. This course meets elective requirements for majors in Psychology and Environmental Studies.

Prerequisites: ENS 220 Environmental Attitudes, Values, and Behavior, PSY 311 Theories of Personality, or PHI 252 Environmental Ethics, or permission of instructor.



PSY 418 – Cultural Psychology 4cr

This course is a study of human behavior and mental processes in a sociocultural context. Selected readings illustrate how psychology handles cultural variation in cognition, intelligence, attachment, religion, language, mental illness, family dynamics, and informal and formal schooling. Other topics may include perception, emotions, creativity, identity, self and personality. Through reading psychological theory and empirical research, writing, and seminar discussion, students learn to critically think from a cultural perspective. A Service-Learning component is often required.

Prerequisites: Declared Psychology major or minor and senior standing, or permission of the instructor.



PSY 425 – Social Neuroscience 4cr

Social neuroscience integrates theories and methods of social psychology and cognitive neuroscience in order to explain social and emotional behavior at three levels of analysis: social, cognitive, and neural. Students use key concepts and methods from social neuroscience to analyze findings in core areas of social psychology, including emotional appraisal, person perception, emotion regulation, stereotyping, attitudes and beliefs, social decision making, cooperation, personality, and individual differences.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology and PSY 310 Biopsychology I or permission of the instructor. PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science or its equivalent is recommended.



PSY 479 – Supervised Internship in Psychology 1-16cr

The internship is a supervised work experience in an approved setting. One academic credit may be earned for each 40 hours of work in the internship placement.

Prerequisites: Students must be of junior or senior standing. Prior to registration students must obtain departmental approval of a written proposal that describes in detail the activities and educational objectives of the internship. Application materials may be obtained from Psychology faculty members.



PSY 481 – Advanced Research I 2cr

Students in this course design and present a proposal of original, empirical research. The class meets regularly to master advanced research designs and methods, data analysis, and communication of research findings. In a seminar format, students work as a research team to critique one another’s research and engage in collaborative problem solving around class members’ research projects. By the end of Advanced Research I, students have created a final written research proposal ready for submission to the Institutional Review Board. This course is recommended for all students considering application to graduate study in psychology.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology, MAT 141 Statistics or MAT 253 Statistics for Natural Sciences, and PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science, or permission of the instructor.



PSY 482 – Advanced Research II 2cr

Students in this course design, conduct, and present original, empirical research. The class meets regularly to master advanced research designs and methods, data analysis, and communication of research findings. In a seminar format, students work as a research team to critique one another’s research and engage in collaborative problem solving around class members’ research projects. By the end of Advanced Research II, students have completed a final written report and presentation of their research. This course is recommended for all students considering application to graduate study in psychology.

Prerequisites: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology, MAT 141 Statistics or MAT 253 Statistics for Natural Sciences, PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science, and PSY 490 Advanced Research I, or permission of the instructor.



PSY 483 – Capstone Proposal 4cr

Students in this course develop a written proposal and secure approval for their Capstone Practicum or Thesis project that is completed in the subsequent PSY 484 Capstone Practicum or PSY 485 Capstone Thesis course. This is the first of two courses required for psychology majors who entered Warren Wilson College beginning Fall 2014 and counts as an upper level elective for students who entered prior to Fall 2014, replacing PSY 491 Advanced Research I.

Aim 3 Research and Disciplinary Discourse

Prerequisite: PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology; MAT 141 Statistics or MAT 253 Statistics for Natural Sciences; PSY 225 Explorations in the Psychology Major; PSY 231 Research Methods in Social Science; at least 8 credits of upper level psychology coursework; and junior standing; or permission of the instructor.



PSY 484 – Capstone Practicum 4cr

The activities and assignments in this seminar course support students’ reflection on the practicum experience and integrate it with their major and the Triad themes of academics, work, and service. Students demonstrate competency in professional ethics, understanding and application of relevant research, critical evaluation of professional literature, and written and oral communication of their practicum experience. Building on capstone practicum proposals, students complete a 120 hour practicum, practicum portfolio, and public presentation. This is the second of two capstone courses required for psychology majors who entered Warren Wilson College beginning Fall 2014. Students in this course participate in a 4 credit practicum and seminar that was designed and approved in PSY 483 Capstone Proposal.

Aim 4 Capstone Synthesis

Prerequisite: PSY 483 Capstone Proposal or permission of the instructor.



PSY 485 – Capstone Thesis 4cr

Students in this course conduct and present their capstone research projects that were designed and approved in the PSY 483 Capstone Proposal. Students meet regularly with their thesis advisor and other student researchers to engage in collaborative problem solving. Students demonstrate competency in professional and research ethics, implementation of research plans, theory use, critical evaluation of research findings, and written and oral communication of their research. This course is strongly recommended for all students considering application to graduate school in psychology. This is the second of two capstone courses required for psychology majors who entered Warren Wilson College beginning Fall 2014.

Aim 4 Capstone Synthesis

Prerequisite: PSY 483 Capstone Proposal or permission of the instructor.



PSY 489 – Independent Research in Psychology 2-16cr

The student completes an independent research project. The project proposal must be approved in advance by a faculty sponsor and by the department chair. The thesis report must be presented before a faculty committee selected by the student and faculty sponsor.

Prerequisite: Department approval of a written research proposal.

Course meets General Education Aims Curriculum Requirement(s) in specified area(s).