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Department of Psychology
296 Eberhart Building

Psychology MajorTeacher Licensure in Social StudiesConcentration in PsychologyPsychology Second MajorBiopsychology Second MajorPsychology MinorHonors in PsychologyPsychology Courses

Timothy Johnston, Professor and Head of Department

Professors DeCasper, Guttentag, Hunt, Johnston, Keane, Logan, Nelson-Gray, Salinger, Shull, Soderquist, Wells, White; Associate Professors Anastopoulos, Lawrence, Rabiner, Seta; Assistant Professors Bell, Calkins, Dunlosky, Hickling, Jacks, Kwapil; Visiting Associate Professor Shelton; Visiting Assistant Professor Boniecki

The Department of Psychology approaches its subject matter as a scientific discipline with emphasis placed on understanding behavior and cognition through experimentation and observation.

All of the major areas of specialization in psychology are represented among the interests of the departmental faculty. Biopsychologists study the biological foundations of behavior. Experimental psychologists investigate problems related to cognition, learning, sensation and perception, personality, development, and social functioning. Clinical psychologists emphasize the application of psychological principles to clinical problems and other aspects of adult and child behavior.

The objectives of the curriculum are:

  1. To provide an understanding of the use of scientific methodology in psychological research at both intermediate and advanced levels. This understanding will include a familiarity with the design of observational, survey, and experimental studies; principles of inference from scientific data; the logic of statistical testing; and the use of scientific literature.
  2. To provide basic knowledge in primary areas of the discipline through an array of required intermediate-level core courses.
  3. To develop depth of understanding in areas of the discipline specific to students' individual interests.
  4. To ensure that students can write clearly and effectively in an appropriate professional style.

In addition to the BA program for undergraduates, the department has a PhD program for graduate students.

Students who wish to seek teacher licensure should see "Teacher Education Programs", Part 7, as well as below. Such persons should contact the departmental Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as possible.


Psychology Major (Bachelor of Arts)

Required: 122 semester hours

The Psychology Major provides a background for entry into a variety of professions other than psychology where understanding the principles of behavior and cognition is important. It also provides the necessary background for individuals planning to do graduate work in either basic or applied psychology.

The curriculum provides students with a structured, sequenced exposure to six domains of knowledge in psychology. Majors must sample from at least four domains at the intermediate (200) level but can sample as few as two at the higher (400) levels. Thus, they can choose a narrower or broader sampling of upper level courses. The curriculum also affords hands-on experience with scientific psychology via laboratory courses and field experiences.

College of Arts and Sciences Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) (54-55 hours)

All students must meet the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). The College of Arts and Sciences, however, has established liberal education requirements for its programs which, while including those of AULER, contain additional requirements in several categories. Therefore, students following this program should adhere to the College requirements. Please note that students who satisfy the College Liberal Education Requirements (CLER) will also satisfy the All-University Liberal Education Requirements (AULER). See pp. 49-50 for a complete description of the College requirements and pp. 44-45 for a listing of courses meeting AULER/CLER requirements.

Major Requirements

Minimum 31 semester hours in psychology including:

  • PSY 121 and 300;
  • at least four of the six intermediate level core courses (230, 240, 250, 260, 270, 280);
  • a total of at least four upper level courses selected from at least two different core areas, denoted by groups in parentheses(435, 436, 438), (442, 444), (455, 456, 457), (460, 461, 462), (470, 471), (481, 483); and
  • at least one upper-level laboratory course: 435L, 436L, 442L, 456L, 460L, 481L.

Related Area Requirements

No specific courses required.


Electives sufficient to complete the 122 semester hours required for degree.


Teacher Licensure in Social Studies

Students majoring in psychology may elect to pursue teacher licensure in Social Studies. Completion of this means of teacher licensure will enable one who wishes to teach Social Studies curricula in the secondary schools to gain the background for teaching psychology courses as well. The requirements for completion of teacher licensure in Social Studies are listed in Part 7, p. 229, of this catalog. The University, College, and departmental major requirements are the same as for any other psychology major. Those intending to gain teacher licensure are encouraged to choose electives in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy, Religious Studies, or Anthropology that address human behavior and experiences from complementary or, perhaps, alternative perspectives.


Concentration in Psychology for Teacher Education Students

A minimum of 24 semester hours to include:

  • PSY 121
  • A minimum of three (3) 200-level courses
  • A minimum of two (2) 400-level courses from core areas
  • Plus other psychology courses to total a minimum of eight (8) courses or 24 semester hours


Psychology as a Second Major

Psychology courses required are the same as for a Psychology Major.


Biopsychology Second Major

This second major is designed for students interested in behavior and the structure and function of nervous systems. Topics will span molecular, cellular, organ, and organismal levels.

Basic requirements:

  • BIO 111, 112, 277, 355;
  • CHE 111, 112, 114, 115;
  • MAT 121 or 191; and
  • PSY 121, 230, 435, 438, and 436 or 457

(Note: PSY 300, a prerequisite for upper level Psychology courses, will be waived for Biology majors pursuing a Biopsychology second major).

Additional requirements:

a minimum of six additional hours in Biology courses selected from

BIO 425, 453, 464, 477, 479, 567, and 575.

Strongly recommended: CHE 351, 352, 354; MAT 191, 292; and PHY 211, 212 and 251, 252 labs.


Honors in Psychology

Requirements for Honors in Psychology

(to be completed in the junior and senior years)

Completion of the following courses in Psychology:

  • PSY 433H (HSS 330) Honors Independent Study
  • PSY 515H Honors History of Psychology or PSY 495H Senior Honors Seminar
  • HSS 490 (PSY 493) Senior Honors Project (3-6 hours)


The following additional honors courses in Psychology are strongly recommended:

1. PSY 121H

2. PSY 300H

Total minimum hours required: 18

Qualifications for Honors in Psychology

  1. Maintenance of a 3.3 or above cumulative GPA; 3.3 GPA in Psychology
  2. Enrollment in and successful completion of the University Honors Program
  3. A declared Psychology Major or Minor


Psychology Minor

A student may earn a minor in psychology by completing a minimum of 15 hours in the department. The Department's Director of Undergraduate Studies will be glad to recommend courses appropriate to the student's interest.


Psychology Courses (PSY)


Courses For Undergraduates

121 General Psychology (3:3).

  • Students may not receive credit for 121 if they have prior credit for either 221 or 223.

Survey of psychology. Includes psychology as science, nervous system, growth and development, sensory and perceptual processes, motivation, emotion, learning, social behavior, personality (normal and pathological), statistics, testing, intelligence, aptitudes, and achievement. [SB, CSB]

230 Biological Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

An introduction to the contributions of molecular, genetic, cellular, developmental, physiological, and evolutionary biology to the scientific understanding of psychological processes. [NS, CLS]

240 Learning and Motivation (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Survey of scientific theories and research on learning and motivation according to classic theorists and contemporary behavioral psychologists. Topics include reinforcement, punishment, stimulus control, Pavlovian conditioning, and escape and avoidance.

250 Developmental Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Survey of scientific theories and research findings in human psychological development, including its biological, behavioral, cognitive, social, and emotional aspects.

260 Social Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Survey of scientific theories and research on the nature, causes, and consequences of individual behavior in social context. Topics include relationships, groups, attitudes, persuasion, aggression, altruism, and prejudice.

270 Theories of Personality (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Major theories of personality including psychodynamic, humanistic, behavioral, cognitive, biological, and trait perspectives. Additional focus on methods of research and assessment that provide the theoretical foundation for studying abnormal psychology.

280 Cognitive Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Survey of scientific theories and research in cognitive psychology. Topics include human learning, attention, memory, and problem solving.

300 Research Methods in Psychology (3:2:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Introduction to the research methodologies of psychology and to the analysis and interpretation of data. Experience with different methods of data collection, with basic statistical ways to display and analyze data, and with writing reports.

314 Industrial and Organizational Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 121; for Business majors, admission to the Bryan School of Business and Economics; grade of C- or better in MGT 312..

Introduction to industrial and organizational psychology with special emphasis on employee motivation, selection, training, and organizational determinants of employee behavior. (Same as MGT 314)

341 Abnormal Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

A description of the various psychological disorders is presented along with the research methods used to study them. Each disorder is approached from a number of perspectives: Biological, psychosocial (psychodynamic, interpersonal, behavioral, cognitive, and humanistic) and sociocultural.

346 Sex, Gender, and Behavior (3:3).

  • Pr. 121.

Evaluation of effects of biological sex and gender role socialization on personality and behavior through examination of empirical research.

The remaining courses (400- and 500- levels) require the successful completion of PSY 121:

424 Consumer Behavior (3:3).

  • Pr. 121; for Business majors, grade of C- or better in MKT 320, junior standing; admission to the Bryan School of Business and Economics.

Psychological and socio-economic factors affecting consumer motivation, behavior, and buying decisions. Emphasis on current research on, and theory about, behavior of consumers as individuals and as members of socio-economic groups. (Same as MKT 424) (Formerly PSY 524)

433 Independent Study in Psychology (1 to 3).

  • Pr. junior standing, 9 credit hours in Psychology, and permission of instructor.
  • May be repeated twice for credit (9 hours maximum).

Opportunity for students to work independently or in small groups on problems or research projects of special interest. Paper or other formal evaluation required.

435 Brain and Psychological Processes (3:3).

  • Pr. 230 and 300.
  • When offered in the same semester with 435L, both must be taken for credit.

Study of brain mechanisms for feeding, aggression, sexuality, cognition, consciousness, sleep, learning, memory, thinking, and communication. Examination of brain defects in abnormal behavior and responses to drugs and psychotherapy.

435L Brain and Psychological Processes Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. 230 and 300. Coreq. 435.
  • When offered in the same semester with 435, both must be taken for credit.

Laboratory course focusing on methods to investigate brain processes related to behavior, sensation, or animal behavior.

436 Sensory and Perceptual Processes (3:3).

  • Pr. 230 and 300.

Survey of sensory modalities including pain, balance, touch, olfaction, gustation, audition, and vision and how they receive, process, and modify environmental stimuli leading to perception of the world.

436L Sensory and Perceptual Processes Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. PSY 230 and 300. Corequisite PSY 436.

Examination of methods for assessing human perceptual systems. Emphasis will be on vision, audition, somatosensory, pain, gustation, olfaction, and vestibular systems. A research report will complete the course. (Alt SP)

438 Animal Behavior (3:3).

  • Pr. 230.
  • When offered in the same semester with PSY 438L or BIO 439, both lecture and lab must be taken for credit.
  • Students cannot receive credit for both this course and BIO 438.

Application of theory of evolution to the explanation of animal behavior. Surveys a variety of species, addressing several behavioral categories as well as issues in sociobiology and human evolution. (Same as BIO 438)

438L Animal Behavior Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. PSY 230 and 300, or BIO 111 and 112. Corequisite PSY 438 or BIO 438.
  • When offered in the same semester as PSY or BIO 438, both lecture and lab must be taken for credit.
  • Students cannot receive credit for both this course and BIO 439.

Required laboratory component for PSY 438/BIO 438. Methods for assessing the developmental, physiological, evolutionary and adaptive bases of animal behavior using laboratory and field techniques. (Same as BIO 439) (Alt SP)

442 Behavioral Approaches to Complex Human Behavior (3:3).

  • Pr. 240.
  • When offered in the same semester with 442L, both must be taken for credit.

Examination of contemporary behavior-analytic research and theory pertaining to the social origin of conceptualizing, language, self-awareness, self-control, problem solving, and remembering.

442L Behavioral Learning Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. 240 and 300.
  • When offered in the same semester with 442, both must be taken for credit.

Laboratory course focusing on experimental methods used to investigate elementary and complex behavioral phenomena.

444 Applied Behavioral Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. 240 or 270.

Principles of behavior and their current applications to educational and human service settings. Recommended for psychology majors, and graduate and undergraduate students in counseling, speech pathology, social work, physical education, nursing. Field experience in applied behavioral psychology is available through Clinical Field Experience (PSY 473).

455 Social and Personality Development (3:3).

  • Pr. 250.

Examination of current theories and empirical research concerned with social, emotional, and personality development.

456 Cognitive Development (3:3).

  • Pr. 250.
  • When offered in the same semester with 456L, both must be taken for credit.

Examination of current theories and empirical research concerned with perceptual and cognitive development.

456L Cognitive Development Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. 250 and 300. Coreq. 456.
  • When offered in the same semester with 456, both must be taken for credit.

Laboratory course focusing on research methods of cognitive development.

457 Developmental Psychobiology (3:3).

  • Pr. 250 and 300 or permission of instructor.

Examination of current research and theory in behavioral development in non-human animals. Topics include instinct theory, role of experience in development, and the relation between development and evolution of behavior.

460 Interpersonal Behavior and Group Processes (3:3).

  • Pr. 260.
  • When offered in the same semester with 460L, both must be taken for credit.

In-depth analysis of interpersonal behavior and group processes. Topics include aggression, prosocial behavior, attraction, prejudice and discrimination, social comparison, close relationships and groups.

460L Interpersonal Behavioral and Group Processes Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. 260, 300. Coreq. 460.
  • When offered in the same semester with 456, both must be taken for credit.

Laboratory course focusing on research methods of social psychology.

461 Attitudes and Social Influence (3:3).

  • Pr. 260.

In-depth analysis of attitudes and social influence. Topics include attitude structure, formation and change, propaganda and persuasion; attitude-behavior consistency; conformity; compliance; and obedience.

462 Social Cognition: Perceiving and Thinking in a Social Context (3:3).

  • Pr. 260.

In-depth analysis of how we think about ourselves and others. Topics include impression formation, attribution, affect and cognition, social judgment, stereotyping and the self in social context.

470 Psychological Disorders of Children (3:3).

  • Pr. 270.

Etiology, assessment, and treatment of various psychological disorders of children, e.g., conduct disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety.

471 Psychological Disorders of Adults (3:3).

  • Pr. 270.

Etiology, assessment, and treatment of various psychological disorders of adults, e.g., schizophrenia, depression, anxiety.

472 Field Experience in Applied Settings (3).

  • Pr. junior standing and permission of instructor. Malpractice insurance fee required for certain placements.

Community field experience designed to illustrate practical applications of psychological principles and research. Class meetings and written work required in addition to field placement. (FA,SP)

481 Cognition and Consciousness (3:3).

  • Pr. 280.
  • When offered in the same semester with 481L, both must be taken for credit.

In-depth discussion of psychological processes of attention and memory and their relationship to consciousness. Analyses of theories, experimental techniques, and results.

481L Cognition and Consciousness Laboratory (1:0:3).

  • Pr. 280, 300.
  • When offered in the same semester with 481, both must be taken for credit.

Laboratory course focusing on the research methods of cognitive psychology.

483 The Psychology of Thinking (3:3).

  • Pr. 280.

Research and theory on human problem-solving and reasoning. Topics include classification, categorization, decision making, rational thought, and a discussion of awareness in thinking.

493 Honors Work (3-6).

  • See prerequisites under Honors Program, XXX 493.
  • May be repeated for credit if the topic of study changes.

495 Senior Honors Seminar (3:3).

  • Pr. 300 and completion of core requirements for psychology major, senior standing, and GPA 3.3, or permission of the instructor.
  • May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Provides students with advanced study and critical analysis of contemporary problems in psychology.


Courses For Advanced Undergraduates and Graduate Students

502 Psychological Problems of Childhood (3:3).

  • Pr. 121 or permission of instructor.
  • May not be taken by students who have credit for CUI 540.

General survey of significant psychological problems characteristic of various classes of exceptional children. Especially designed to fit the needs of teachers in special education.

506 Psychology of Aging (3:3).

  • Pr. 121 or permission of instructor.

Adult lifespan changes in psychophysiology, cognition, personality, sexuality, social relationships, and mental health.

515 History and Systems of Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. minimum of 12 hours of psychology, including 121, or permission of instructor.

Discussion of prescientific thinking on psychological problems, origin of systems of psychology, and ways systems are reflected in contemporary psychology.

519 Special Topics in Psychology (3:3).

  • Pr. appropriate introductory 200-level core course or equivalent, or permission of instructor.
  • May be repeated for credit when topics vary.

Intensive examination of current theories and research in a specific area of biopsychology, learning, development, cognition, social psychology or clinical psychology. Check with department for offerings.

589 Experimental Course: Theory and Applications of Systems of Care (3:3).

  • Pr. must have senior or graduate status, or permission of instructor.

Investigation of system of care for families based upon core values and principles that infuse all aspects of service planning/delivery. Students develop competencies in a family-centered approach, partnerships with clients, community-based services, respect for cultural diversity, and facilitation of interagency collaboration. (Same as CED, CUI, DCE, ESS, HDF, LES, MUS, NUR, HEA, SWK 589/711) (Offered SU98)

Please refer to The Graduate School Bulletin for additional graduate level courses.


Contact: University Registrar's Office
Registrar, UNCG, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 (336) 334-5946

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