The Department of Psychology offers programs leading to the M.S. degree in general experimental psychology. All programs culminate in a thesis and require two full academic years, including one or two summers. Students take eight courses for the degree, one of which is a thesis credit.

The general-experimental program is intended primarily for students planning to enter a Ph.D. program and pursue a career in research, teaching, or health-service psychology. The program involves both research and course work but is unusual in the extent to which it provides students with extensive research experience and skills under the close supervision of faculty members. The graduate student-to-faculty ratio is excellent.

Faculty

The faculty is highly research-oriented, with special interests in pediatric psychology (Baker), religion and spirituality in children, adolescents, and emerging adults (Boyatzis), social psychology and the psychology of women (Daubman), developmental psychopathology (Evans), trauma, violence against women, and other social justice issues (Flack), the evolution of behavior and cognition in primates (Gazes), cognitive processes, including those used in the perception and production of music (Halpern), the behavior and social cognition of nonhuman primates (Judge), cultural competence and health disparities (Mena), the integration of multiple senses to understand language (Mitchel), learning and motivation (Myers), stress, coping, and health (Ptacek), behavioral neuroendocrinology and pharmacology (Stevenson), and the evolutionary theory of beauty and attraction (Wade).

Facilities and Resources

The department has research laboratories in perception, animal behavior, physiological psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, personality psychology, developmental psychology, multicultural psychology, and human and animal conditioning. The animal laboratories are exceptionally broad and include four species of semi-naturally housed Old and New World primates as well as voles and rats. Faculty and students conduct observational research at a local child-care center and some research takes place in conjunction with local medical facilities. There are excellent computer facilities.

Admission Requirements

  • An undergraduate psychology major is not essential; however, it is critical that candidates have adequate training in research methods in psychology and statistics.
  • Verbal, quantitative, written and subject psychology GRE scores are required.
  • Important admissions criteria include previous research experience and letters of recommendation. In addition, the department’s emphasis on individualized instruction requires indication of research experience and interests in each candidate’s statement.
  • Personal admission statements should mention one or two potential mentors from among the faculty.

Courses Offered

601. History of Psychology 1 Credit.
Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours: 3

A history of scholarly ideas about thought, feelings, and behavior.

603. Critical Psychologies. 1 Credit.
Offered Alternating Spring Semester; Lecture hours: 3

Critical psychologies (e.g., critical liberation, radical) are progressive alternatives to mainstream psychology, emphasizing untoward consequences of the mainstream focus on the individual. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. A service-learning practicum is part of the course.

604. Advanced Developmental Psychology. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Analysis of selected topics in human development, such as gender issues, or religious and spiritual development, or other topics.

605. Developmental Psychopathology 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Addresses the behavioral phenotypes of a variety of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders in the context of theories and processes of normal development. Genetic and neurobiological underpinnings of disorders are discussed. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

606. Trauma Psychology. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Analysis of specific topics in the fields of psychopathology and/or clinical psychology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

607. Culture and Child Development. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Study of culture-specific and universal processes in child development in diverse societies. Focus on cultural influences on social, emotional, and cognitive development, and on parenting, family, and education contexts and practices. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

609. Appetite and Eating Behavior. 1 Credit.
Offered Occasionally; Lecture hours: 3

Advanced seminar considering psychological factors involved in appetite, food preferences, and food intake. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 609

611. Advanced Health Psychology 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Advanced seminar considering current topics in health psychology, potentially including health behavior change, adolescent risk behavior, and/or social determinants of health. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

613. Researching Behavioral Neuroscience. 1 Credit.
Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Following a general orientation to behavioral genetics and pharmacology using mice, we will conduct group experiments. Each student will then develop and conduct an independent research project. Prerequisites: an applied research methods course and permission of instructor. Crosslisted as NEUR 613.

615. Language Development. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Advanced seminar examining how children learn sounds, words, and grammar. Focus on reading primary research sources. Special topics based on students' interests. Prerequisites: a PSYC methods course and permission of the instructor.

616. Advanced Social Psychology 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Consideration of experimental and theoretical issues in social psychology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

617. Comparative Animal Cognition. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Advanced seminar in issues of nature/nurture, learning, development, and adaptation, in behaviors such as foraging, mating, and communication in several species.

618. Cognitive Aging 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Seminar discussing the development and changes in cognition in senior citizens. Topics include memory, language, attention, and decision-making. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

619. Topics in Psychology. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3; Repeatable

Occasional seminars on selected topics of current interest in psychology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

620. Children's Studies 1 Credit.
Offered Fall Semester Only; Lecture hours: 3, Other: Varies

Critical examination of childhood from multiple disciplinary lenses. Topics include children's advertising and consumerism, child labor, child soldiers, children's spirituality, children in diverse cultures, children and the arts. In this service-learning course students work with children/youth in field placements (e.g., Geisinger Children's Hospital, residential treatment centers). Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

624. Advanced Psychological Statistics 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

A survey of advanced statistical techniques with emphasis on analysis and interpretation of experimental and correlational data. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

625. Personality, Psychopaths, and Serial Killers. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Considers personality disorders with a focus on psychopathy and serial murders. Biological and environmental causes of psychopathy are considered as well as the developmental course of the condition and ethics of treatment. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

626. Language and Cognition 1 Credit.
Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours: 3

Advanced study of language perception, production, acquisition, evolution, computational models and neural mechanisms. Focus on recent developments in the field.

637. Child Development in Denmark. 1 Credit.
Offered Summer Session Only; Lecture hours: Varies, Other: 3

Core course in Bucknell in Denmark summer program. Focus on child development in Denmark and Nordic countries with comparison to U.S. Practicum included. Prerequisites: enrollment in Bucknell in Denmark program and permission of the instructor.

639. Psychology of Music 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Seminar examining how musicians and non-musicians comprehend, remember, perform, and respond to music, including developmental aspects. Some background in music is required. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

644. Developmental Brain Research. 1 Credit.
Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours: 3; Repeatable

Students learn a variety of assessment techniques in developmental neuropsychology and neuroscience (including EEG) and conduct quantitative research culminating in written and oral reports. Crosslisted as NEUR 644. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

648. Behavioral Pharmacology 1 Credit.
Offered Spring Semester Only; Lecture hours: 3

Focus on drugs that affect the nervous system, drugs of abuse, therapeutic drugs, drug action, behavioral changes as a result of long-term drug use, animal models and human studies. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as NEUR 648.

649. Cognitive Neuroscience. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Brain mechanisms of language, memory, and other processes as revealed by studies of human brain activity or pathology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

652. Face Perception. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Advanced seminar in face perception, including issues of holism, uniqueness, language, emotion, and race. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

669. Psychology of Beauty and Attraction 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Examination of research on beauty and attraction from an evolutionary perspective. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

670. Primate Behavior and Ecology 1 Credit.
Offered Fall Semester Only; Lecture hours: 3; May require dissection or live animal experimentation

Introduction to research on prosimians, monkeys, and apes with emphasis on the evolutionary origin of diversity, habitat use, social structure, social behavior, and cognitive abilities. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE/BIOL 670.

671. Primate Cognition. 1 Credit.
Offered Alternate Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3; May require dissection or live animal experimentation

An investigation into the cognitive abilities and capacities of nonhuman primates emphasizing a comparative perspective. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 671 and PSYC 671.

672. Evolution of Acquired Behavior. 1 Credit.
Offered Both Fall and Spring; Lecture hours: 3, Other: 3

Advanced seminar exploring cognition and behavior from evolutionary and comparative perspectives. Topics will include social behavior, memory, communication, spatial cognition, learning, and meta-cognition. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 672.

673. Psychology of Race and Gender. 1 Credit.
Offered Occasionally; Lecture hours: 3

Critical analysis of major theories. Emphasis on experimental research findings in the areas of racism, discrimination, gender difference, sexual violence, etc. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

674. Latina/o Psychology. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

A seminar that examines the psychological research literature related to Latinas/os in the U.S. It considers the influences of Latina/o cultural values, practices, contexts and experiences on physical and mental health outcomes. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

675. Child Health Psychology. 1 Credit.
Offered Either Fall or Spring; Lecture hours: 3

Study of the impact that pediatric illness has on child mental health and child development. Focus on the management of chronic illness, adherence, mental health concerns, coping, and family factors. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

680. Thesis. .5- 1 Credit.
Offered Both Fall and Spring

685. 686. Graduate Research. .5- 2 Credit.
Offered Both Fall and Spring

Graduate Research. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

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