Degrees: Bachelor of Arts
Chair of Department: Melinda Novak. Associate Chair: David Arnold. Chief Undergraduate Adviser: Tamara Rahhal; Professors Aizen, Berthier, Blass, Blaustein, Bogartz, K. Cave, DeVries, Feldman, Forger, Grotevant, R. Halgin, Jakob, Janoff-Bulman, MacDonald, Meyer, Pietromonaco, Powers, Rotello, Scherer, Whitbourne; Associate Professors Constantino, Dasgupta, Harvey, Isbell, Lickel, Sayer, Tropp; Assistant Professors Blatz, Cheries, Cohen, Davidson, Hayes, Lacreuse, Ready, Remage-Healey, Richardson, Sanders, Scott, Spencer, Starns, Staub; Lecturers Bickford, C. Cave, L. Halgin, Kohler, Overtree, Rahhal, Stowe; Visiting Faculty Harris, Hartwell-Walker, Heick, Lopez, Packard, Zimmer.
Psychology may be defined as the science which focuses on behavior and mental processes. The scope of psychology is extremely broad and the 54 faculty members in the department reflect great diversity. The major areas of interest represented in the department are Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Personality, and Social Psychology.
Students select psychology as a major for many reasons. Some students wish to prepare themselves for graduate study and careers as professional psychologists, physicians, or lawyers. Others have general interests in fields such as social work and community mental health or may wish to work with young children, adolescents or the elderly. Many students aspire to careers in business, and perceive the psychology major as a marketable background. Others derive great satisfaction from developing insights into human behavior, and view the science of psychology as an important component of their liberal arts education.
The major consists of a minimum of 36 credits in Psychology courses, distributed as follows. Any requests for exception or substitution must be made to the Chief Undergraduate Adviser, Dr. Tamara Rahhal.
1. One Introductory course:
2. Two Methodology courses:
3. Four Core courses:
4. Junior Year Writing:
5. One advanced 3-credit departmental psychology laboratory course, departmental seminar, or designated departmental small course.
6. At least two 3-credit Psychology elective courses numbered 200 and above.
Restrictions on Courses for the Major
Limitation on Transfer Credit
Exchange, Internships, Cooperative Education
The Department of Psychology tries to offer approximately four honors courses each semester. These are small classes (25 students) intended to be intensive learning experiences. Admission to Psychology Honors courses is generally restricted to declared honors students.
The Psychology/Neuroscience track is an undergraduate program offered within the department that emphasizes the biological and neurological bases of human and animal behavior. This program is particularly suited for students planning a professional career in any of the neurosciences (e.g., neurobiology, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, or behavioral neuroscience) or individuals enrolled in pre-medical or pre-veterinary studies who are interested in neuroscience and behavior. Students entering the track must have and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.000. Course requirements for the Psychology/Neuroscience track are as follows:
Natural Science and Mathematics
In selecting their science and mathematics courses, students should be aware of prerequisite requirements for higher level offerings and, if appropriate, the requirements for admissions to medical or veterinary school (see Dr. Brian O’Connor, Shade Tree Lab, tel. (413) 545-3674 for further information). Also note that the same course cannot be used to fulfill more than one Psychology/Neuroscience track requirement (e.g., BIOLOGY 285 cannot fulfill both c) and g) above).
For more information and/or to register yourself as a Psychology/Neuroscience student, contact the Undergraduate Neuroscience Coordinator (Dr. Veronica Lopez, 510 Tobin, tel. (413) 545-4283).
Specialization in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services
The letter of Specialization in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services is designed for psychology majors who may work after graduation in the field of human services, particularly with intellectually disabled individuals. By taking a combination of courses and fulfilling a one-semester, three-credit internship, psychology majors can enhance their skills and future employment opportunities. At the conclusion of the program, participants receive a letter from the Department of Psychology certifying their participation in the program.
The University offers a wide variety of international exchange and overseas study programs. Traditionally, psychology majors have been well represented in such programs, studying in various institutions in Great Britain, Japan, Germany, France, Israel, Italy, Australia, Spain, and Canada. International Programs, William S. Clark International Center, tel. (413) 545-2710, may be consulted for specific information on these and other overseas study opportunities. Psychology majors must complete PSYCH 240 and PSYCH 241 prior to embarking on exchange.
The undergraduate major in psychology is not a professional or vocational program which trains or prepares students for a specific job. However, there are employment possibilities which favor a psychology emphasis at the Bachelor’s level and jobs do exist in schools, hospitals, agencies, government, and business. To become a professional psychologist a student must go on to graduate school. In most cases this means earning a doctorate (approximately four years) or at least a Master’s degree (approximately two years). Psychology majors often enter graduate programs in related areas such as social work, gerontology, legal studies, or medically oriented fields.
The minimum requirements for the minor include at least 15 graded credits in Psychology.