Psychology Major

Interested in human behavior?

Investigate the human mind and discover why people behave as they do. In Nichols Psychology Program, you’ll use scientific research methods to study features of the human mind, such as:

  • personality
  • learning
  • intelligence
  • emotion
  • mental disorders

You’ll gain the academic foundation for graduate study across many areas as well as for careers that promote human growth and welfare.

Nichols Psychology Program prepares you for a career in research and applied psychology, as follows:

  • research psychologists (investigating the physical, cognitive, emotional or social aspects of human behavior)
  • applied psychologist (providing mental health care in hospitals, clinics, schools or private settings)
  • psychiatric counselor
  • educational administrator
  • human resources representative
  • rehabilitation worker

Recent psychology graduates have also pursued graduate study in:

  • experimental psychology
  • school psychology
  • school guidance counseling
  • industrial organizational psychology

Career Success!

Rebecca Smith

Class of 2011: Rebecca Smith
Hometown: Pawcatuck,CT
Major: Psychology
Campus Activities: President of the Psychology Club, Fall 08 - Spring 10
Position: Graduate Student: Industrial Organizational Psychology Master’s University of New Haven

How she did it:

Psychology major Rebecca Smith is heading to the University of New Haven for her master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology. “It’s been a long, long process applying for graduate school,” says Smith, who applied to four master’s programs and several doctorate programs. “It’s an expensive process!”

She has a long-term goal of earning a doctorate and teaching, and it’s noteworthy that all three Smith siblings are Bison! Rebecca’s sister, Sarah Smith ’08, majored in Human Resource Management and works at International Paper, and her brother, Daniel L. Smith ’12, is a Psychology major heading off for a fall semester abroad.


Psychology majors must complete 120 credit hours (approximately 40 courses), including courses from the foundation and liberal arts core curricula, focused electives and these required specialization courses:

Required Courses

PSY 151
General Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

In this overview course, students will learn and understand the principles and applications of psychology for practical purposes and across disciplines. The practical applications of psychological research to issues and problems facing the world will be addressed. Students will learn and be actively engaged in how psychological findings can be used in a large variety of contexts. This course is a core requirement for all psychology majors.

PSY 375
Quantitative Methods in Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

The purpose of this course is to develop knowledge of when to apply the correct statistical techniques. Emphasis is placed on the “real world” applications of statistical methods through projects. Topics include descriptive and inferential statistics, multivariate, parametric, and non- parametric techniques. This course makes extensive use of SPSS software. This course is a core requirement for all psychology majors and satisfies the department information literacy requirement.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of MATH 117

PSY 475
Research Seminar in Applied Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

Students will integrate the knowledge they have accumulated in their first three years as psychology majors through the development and investigation of their own applied psychology hypotheses. In collaboration with the instructor and classmates, students will proceed through the stages of research from hypothesis development to literature review, to proposing their research methods, to data collection, with the project culminating in written and oral presentations of findings. This course is a core requirement for all psychology majors and satisfies the departments‘ writing intensive and information literacy requirements.
Prerequisite: PSY 375


Foundations (4 required)

PSY 278
Abnormal Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

The major forms of abnormal behavior are described. They are discussed in light of an integrative bio-social model. Disorders include anxiety disorders, personality disorders, sexual deviance and dysfunction, dissociate and somatoform disorders, mood disorders, childhood disorders, substance use disorders, schizophrenia, and cognitive disorders. Treatment approaches are discussed as well.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 308
Psychology of Temperament
3 Hours, 1 Semester

In this course, students will examine various theories underlying the development of human temperament. We will start with early theories and trace them through to the modern era. In this course, we will look at the profound effect temperament has on perception, communication, and relationships. Knowledge of human temperament is fundamentally pragmatic and will help students relate to the social world around them.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 311
Brain and Behavior
3 Hours, 1 Semester

This course will provide a basic introduction to the biological processes underlying human behavior. A basic principle of this course is that everything the “mind” does will eventually be explained in terms of the interplay among various brain components. In the context of the brain- behavior interaction, we will study the biological mechanisms that are the most relevant to essential issues in psychology.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 312
Life Span Development
3 Hours, 1 Semester

The course reviews human development from pregnancy and prenatal development through old age with a unique balance and depth of coverage across all age groups. We will examine the physical and intellectual changes humans undergo from conception through death. With an emphasis on modern cultural and societal issues ranging from homophobia to family violence, this course builds on the basic themes of life-span development.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 372
Counseling Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

This course reviews the major contemporary theories and techniques of counseling. Students have opportunities to observe counseling situations and to practice counseling techniques. Ethical and professional issues are also addressed.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 374
Cognition, Learning and Memory
3 Hours, 1 Semester

An introduction to the basic concepts and theories of human cognition. Topics include attention, memory, knowledge organization, language, reasoning, artificial intelligence, and artificial life.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 462
Social Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

This course examines the factors impacting human relationships. Emphasis is placed on interpersonal attraction, attitude formation, social perception and cognition, altruism, aggression, small group behavior, and social identity and influence.
Prerequisite: PSY 151


Specializations (3 required)

PSY 275
Educational Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

The application of psychological principles to learning and teaching. Topics include adolescent growth and development, intelligence, motivation, principles of learning, measurement and evaluation.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 277
Psychology of Adolescence
3 Hours, 1 Semester

Study of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development of the adolescent. Focus is on contemporary concerns of youth.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 342
Group Dynamics
3 Hours, 1 Semester

This course examines the formation of groups, group processes, followership, and leadership processes within groups and group behaviors. Emphasis is placed on the experience of applying group theory.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 470
Special Topics in Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

This course examines in depth a major issue, problem, or theme in the area of psychology. It includes a specialized research paper or project, involves discussion and oral and written reports, and may include guest speakers and field trips.
Prerequisite: PSY 151

PSY 490
Internship in Psychology
3 Hours, 1 Semester

Students engage in individually supervised work-study arrangements and learn to apply psychological theory and principles in a work environment (e.g., day care center or mental health clinic). Students must work at least 10 hours per week on the job, meet periodically with a supervising faculty member, research literature related to the field of the internship, and prepare a substantive report on their internship experiences and the studies involved. 
Prerequisite: PSY 151. This course is limited to juniors and seniors and requires the approval of a supervising faculty member and the department chair.


College Catalog

Review or download the college catalog for additional details and information about courses and requirements.

Key Faculty
Thomas Davis
  • Thomas Davis
  • Program Chair
Arthur McGovern
  • Arthur McGovern

Questions about the Psychology Program? Contact Professor Thomas Davis, Program Chair, at or 508-213-2126.