Psychology Courses

PSYC 130 General Psychology

4 hours

An introduction to the field of psychology intended for both majors and nonmajors. Topics covered include social processes, personality, emotional disorders, development, thinking, testing, learning, motivation, perception, psychobiology, and animal behavior. This course is prerequisite to all other psychology courses. (HBSSM)

PSYC 139, 239, 339, 439 Special Topics

Credit arr.

PSYC 185 First-Year Seminar

4 hours

A variety of seminars for first-year students offered each January Term.

PSYC 240 Developmental Psychology

4 hours

Developmental psychology is the branch of psychology that studies how people change as they age. This course focuses on the description, prediction, and explanation of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of age-related change, from conception to old age. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (HB)

PSYC 241 Psychology of Health and Illness

4 hours

This course deals with the scientific and professional contributions of the discipline of psychology to the promotion and maintenance of health; the prevention and treatment of illness; and the identification of etiologic and diagnostic correlates of health, illness, and related dysfunctions. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (HB)

PSYC 242 Evolutionary Psychology

4 hours

Evolutionary psychology applies the principles of Darwinian natural and sexual selection to the study of the human mind and behavior. The central assumption of the field is that the mind evolved to solve recurrent survival and reproduction problems in the ancestral environment. Selected topics within evolutionary psychology will be examined and critically evaluated. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (HB)

PSYC 243 Personality and Individual Differences

4 hours

An examination of the major psychological approaches to personality and topics such as cognitive ability, attitudes, and other latent structures underlying consistencies in behavior. Special attention will be given to certain selected theorists and their contrasting views of personal change/consistency, human nature, and psychological investigation. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (HB)

PSYC 244 Animal Cognition

4 hours

This course is an introduction to the study of cognition in animals, including how animals perceive, think, learn, remember, and communicate. We will explore these issues within both psychological and biological frameworks, and will include topics such as the evolution of intelligence, cognition as adaptation, animal consciousness, and language in apes. An emphasis on comparing animal cognitive processes to human cognition will be part of the course. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (NWNL)

PSYC 245 Psychology of Aging

4 hours

This course is designed to examine the psychological aspects of growing older in the 21st century. Students will be introduced to current theories in aging research, and will gain an understanding of the methodologies used to study the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes in individuals over the age of 60. The lectures, readings, and discussions will address a variety of topics including what constitutes normal aging, memory impairments, how individuals cope with illness and loss, and frameworks for preserving physical and mental health. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (HB)

PSYC 248 Psychology of Religion

4 hours

The psychology of religion is the empirical study of human behavior, cognition, and motivation as it relates to religious phenomena. Both classic and contemporary psychological approaches to religion will be discussed in this course, and research on topics such as religious development, morality, spirituality, and the relationship with God will be covered. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (HB)

PSYC 249 Brain and Behavior

4 hours

This course explores the biological basis of behavior through the fields of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. The focus is on how the brain regulates human behavior, with emphasis on particular psychological topics such as developmental processes, perceptual processes, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, thinking, and disorders; as well as biological topics such as neural communication, neuroanatomy, and neurophysiology. Recent research is discussed in terms of its applications to understanding human behavior and brain disorders.

Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (NWNL, HB)

PSYC 285/295 Directed Study

2, 4 hours

An opportunity to pursue individualized or experiential learning with a faculty member,, at the sophomore level or above, either within or outside the major. PSYC 285 can be taken only during January Term, PSYC 295 can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

PSYC 349 Research Methods in Psychology

2 hours

This course provides an introduction to the ways in which the scientific method is applied to psychology. Attention is given to the methods used by psychologists to describe, predict, and explain psychological phenomena. Students will learn the nature of observational, quasi-experimental, and experimental methods, with a specific focus on issues of reliability and validity. Required for PSYC 352, 353, 354, and 356. Prerequisite: PSYC 130. (E)

PSYC 350 Behavioral Statistics

4 hours

A first course in statistics which introduces descriptive and inferential statistical tools as they apply to organization and analysis of data in the behavioral sciences. Required for PSYC 352, 353, 354, and PSYC 356. Prerequisites: PSYC 130; MATH 110 or MATH 115 or MATH 140 (preferred) or above.

PSYC 352 Cognitive Processes

4 hours

A study of the mental processes involved in the acquisition, organization, representation, and retrieval of information by humans. Topics to be covered include attention, recognition memory, short-term and long-term memory, concept formation, problem solving, and creativity. Lecture, discussion, and weekly laboratories. Students conduct original research. Prerequisites: PSYC 130, 349, 350. (R, S, W)

PSYC 353 Social Psychology

4 hours

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Some major topic areas include attitude formation and change, aggression, attraction, conformity, person perception, and group processes. Lectures, discussions, and weekly laboratories will be held. Students will be involved in original research. Prerequisites: PSYC 130, 349, 350. (R, S, W)

PSYC 354 Learning and Behavior

4 hours

A study of the basic theories, methodology, and findings in the areas of classical and operant conditioning and learning for both humans and animals. Applications, including behavioral modification, will be emphasized throughout the course. Lecture, discussion, and weekly laboratories. Prerequisites: PSYC 130, 349, 350. (R, W)

PSYC 356 Stress, Coping, and Well-Being

4 hours

This course focuses on psychological, biological, and social factors involved in stress, coping, and well-being. Correlates, causes, and consequences of stress will be examined, as will the role of appraisal and coping as mediating/moderating influences. Students will conduct and present original research on stress, coping, and well-being. Topics to be covered include models of stress, measurement, stressful events, appraisals, coping, adaptation, and treatment. Prerequisites: PSYC 130, 349, 350. (R, S, W)

PSYC 380 Internship

Credit arr.

Course graded credit/no credit.

PSYC 381 Internship

Credit arr.

Supervised learning experience in a psychological work setting. Interested students should discuss internship well in advance of placement with the psychology internship advisor. Prerequisites: 130, overall GPA of 2.5 or higher, and consent of the instructor. Students may not receive credit for more than four hours while at Luther. Course graded A–F.

PSYC 389 Directed Research

1, 2, or 4 hours

Directed research involves students in research projects conducted under the supervision of departmental faculty. Encouraged for those students with expectations of graduate study. With the approval of the department, students may register for more than one semester. Prerequisites: two semesters of psychology, approval of the research director and the department head.

PSYC 395 Independent Study

1, 2, or 4 hours

PSYC 461 The Psychology of Work

4 hours

This course focuses on the application of psychological methods and principles in business and industry. Emphasis is placed on the interaction of employees and their organization. Specific topics include leadership and supervision, job satisfaction, personnel practices, performance appraisal, and human factors research. Prerequisite: PSYC 130.

PSYC 465 Abnormal Psychology

4 hours

An examination of the major psychological disorders including depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, psychosomatic disorders, organic disorders, and the disorders of childhood. Emphasis is placed on the description and classification of psychopathology and on the research relating to etiology and treatment. Prerequisites: PSYC 130 and a 200-level course, junior status.

PSYC 466 Psychological Tests and Measurement

4 hours

This course is designed to acquaint the student with psychological measurement, in general, and psychological tests, in particular. The course will survey the measurement of aptitude, personality, interest, and adjustment using objective tests, projective tests, rating scales, and interviews. The validity, reliability, and application of these measurement techniques will be emphasized. Prerequisites: PSYC 130, 350.

PSYC 468 Introduction to Counseling

4 hours

An introduction to models of counseling with emphasis on selected processes and skills necessary to apply the models in a variety of settings. One class meeting per week is devoted to practice of skills. Other topics include professional ethics and the efficacy of major models of counseling. Prerequisites: PSYC 130 and 465, or consent of instructor.

PSYC 485 Seminar

Credit arr.

PSYC 490 Senior Project

1, 2, or 4 hours

PSYC 493 Senior Honors Project

4 hours

A yearlong independent research project. Applications are completed on the Honors Program form available at the registrar's office, requiring the signatures of a faculty supervisor, the department head, the honors program director, and the registrar. Interdisciplinary projects require the signatures of two faculty supervisors. The project must be completed by the due date for senior projects. The completed project is evaluated by a review committee consisting of the faculty supervisor, another faculty member from the major department, and a faculty member from outside the major department. All projects must be presented publicly. Only projects awarded an "A-" or "A" qualify for "department honors" designation. The honors project fulfills the all-college senior project requirement. (S, R)