Professors: Chris J. Boyatzis, David W. Evans, Judith Grisel, Andrea R. Halpern, John T. Ptacek, Michael A. Smyer (Provost), T. Joel Wade (Chair)

Associate Professors: Kimberly A. Daubman, William F. Flack Jr., Peter G. Judge, Kevin P. Myers

Assistant Professors: Heidi L. Marsh (visiting), Aaron Mitchel, Jennifer R. Stevenson, Ruth Tincoff

The science of psychology investigates human and animal behavior, cognition, and emotion by analyzing the complex interactions between environmental, social, cultural, and biological influences. Students are trained in scientific methods and different theoretical perspectives in a variety of areas of psychology: physiological psychology, neuropsychology, sensation and perception, cognition, learning, child and adult development, social psychology, personality, health psychology, abnormal psychology, and animal behavior. In short, psychology seeks to explain and understand how and why people and animals think and behave in the ways they do.

Through acquiring a better understanding of behavior, cognition, and emotion and scientific methods of investigation and analysis, psychology majors are well prepared to enter many fields. A major in psychology can lead to graduate study enabling a career in many areas of psychology, from experimental research to clinical/counseling work. Psychology majors also pursue further education and careers in law and medicine. Psychology majors who do not pursue graduate study are well-prepared for a variety of careers in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors, relying on the skills they have developed in their psychology courses, such as scientific reasoning, writing, data analysis, critical reading, writing and presentation skills.

A major in psychology consists of nine course credits:

  • PSYC 100 General Psychology
  • PSYC 215 Psychological Statistics or MATH 216 Statistics
  • Five 200-level courses. At least one course must come from each of the A, B, and C clusters. No more than one course from cluster C and one course from cluster D may count toward the major.

Cluster A

PSYC 203: Learning
PSYC 204: Human Cognition
PSYC 250: Biopsychology
PSYC 252: Sensation and Perception
PSYC 266: Animal Behavior

Cluster B

PSYC 207: Developmental Psychology
PSYC 209: Social Psychology
PSYC 210: Psychopathology
PSYC 211: Health Psychology
PSYC 212: Psychology of Emotion
PSYC 213: Abnormal and Clinical Psychology
PSYC 228: Personality Psychology
PSYC 248: Developmental Psychobiology

(PSYC 210 and PSYC 213 cannot both be counted towards fulfilling the 200-level course requirement)

Cluster C

PSYC 288: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Language
PSYC 289: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Health Psychology
PSYC 290: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Physiological Psychology
PSYC 291: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 292: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Sensation and Perception
PSYC 293: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Learning
PSYC 294: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Human Cognition
PSYC 295: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Emotion
PSYC 296: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Animal Behavior
PSYC 297: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Developmental Psychology
PSYC 298: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Personality
PSYC 299: Applied Research Methods Seminar in Social Psychology

Cluster D

PSYC 227: Cross-cultural Psychology
PSYC 232: Psychology of Women
PSYC 233: Black Psychology
PSYC 234: Sport Psychology
PSYC 235: Human Sexuality
PSYC 236: Drugs and Behavior
PSYC 242: Positive Psychology
Or additional psychology courses with departmental approval.

  • Two courses above the 200-level, at least one of which must be taken at Bucknell. Majors may use an independent research course (PSYC 329, PSYC 360) to satisfy one of these requirements. At least one of the courses above the 300-level must be one the department has designated as meeting the Culminating Experience requirement (described below)
  • Majors should complete PSYC 215 by the end of the sophomore year. All 200-level requirements, including the research methods seminar, should be completed by the end of the junior year. The optimal scheduling of these courses should be determined in consultation with a member of the department, and is especially important for students who enter the major late, hope to study abroad, or have strong preferences among alternative courses.

Psychology majors satisfy the requirements of the College Core Curriculum for writing, information literacy, and presentation skills through their Applied Research Methods (Cluster C) course. All students select one course from this cluster, which provides formal training in writing, library and information research, and presentation skills, in the context of psychological research. Frequent instruction and practice in writing, information search, and presentation skills are also provided in a variety of additional courses at all levels of the major. (See Meeting the CCC requirements below for specific information)

To complete the Culminating Experience requirements of the College Core Curriculum, students select one of their 300-level courses from a list of those identified by the department as drawing from and integrating an especially broad variety of perspectives and research areas of psychology. Alternatively, students who are academically eligible to participate in the Honors Program in their senior year may undertake an original research project leading to a written Honors Thesis. Successful completion of an Honors Thesis requirements defined by the University Honors Council fulfills the Culminating Experience requirement. (See Meeting the CCC requirements below for specific information)

The department strongly encourages students to engage in independent research, done in close collaboration with a faculty member, either on a volunteer basis or for academic credit. This is an excellent preparation for graduate study, and also an exciting way for students to apply the skills they learn in their coursework by engaging intellectually in the process of discovery in psychology. Seniors, if academically eligible, often conduct senior honors projects and many others conduct independent studies. Many psychology majors study abroad for a semester and courses taken abroad usually transfer.

Two minors are offered in psychology. The cognitive and perceptual sciences minor can be completed in one of two ways: 1) For students who take PSYC 100, the minor consists of PSYC 100, Statistics (PSYC 215 or equivalent), PSYC 204, PSYC 252, PSYC 292 or 294, and PSYC 318 or 352; 2) For students who do not take PSYC 100, the minor consists of Statistics (PSYC 215 or equivalent), PSYC 204, PSYC 252, PSYC 292 or PSYC 294, PSYC 318 and PSYC 352. With the approval of the department chair, a research project in cognition or perception (PSYC 329, PSYC 360) could be substituted for either PSYC 318 or PSYC 352 for those students who do not take PSYC 100.

The neuropsychology minor requires six courses: PSYC 100, PSYC 204, PSYC 215 or equivalent, PSYC 250, PSYC 349, and one of PSYC 210, PSYC 212, PSYC 252, PSYC 305, PSYC 309, PSYC 318, PSYC 339, PSYC 343, or PSYC 352. With the approval of the department chair, independent research in neuropsychology (PSYC 329, PSYC 360) may be used to satisfy this last requirement.

A program for honors in psychology must include PSYC 350 or PSYC 360.

Nonmajors are encouraged to discuss sequences of courses appropriate to their academic goals with any member of the department.

Asterisks (*) in the list below indicate courses in which experimentation with living animals may be involved in the course or laboratory.

Meeting the CCC requirements

Writing within the Major

Psychology majors can satisfy the Writing in the Major requirement by taking: PSYC 100, or 200-level psychology courses that are not Applied Research Methods Seminars, or Applied Research Methods Seminars, or 300-level Psychology courses.

Formal Presentation Experience

Psychology majors can satisfy the Formal Presentation Experience requirement by taking: Applied Research Methods Seminars, or PSYC 305, PSYC 307, PSYC 309, PSYC 311, PSYC 317, PSYC 318, PSYC 325, PSYC 339, PSYC 348, PSYC 350, PSYC 352, PSYC 370. Additionally, psychology majors can fulfill this requirement by completing an Honors Thesis.

Information Literacy

Psychology majors can fulfill this requirement by taking: an Applied Research Methods Seminar, or 200-level psychology courses, or 300-level psychology courses, or by completing an Honors Thesis or an Independent Study.

Culminating Experience

Psychology majors can satisfy this requirement by taking: 300-level psychology courses that list numerous courses as options for meeting the prerequisites, or “Children’s Studies” taught by Prof. Boyatzis, or PSYC 301, or PSYC 303, or PSYC 350, or by completing an Honors Thesis.

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