Major Course Descriptions

PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology (3)


An introduction to and survey of the major content areas of psychology. The topics include biological, cognitive, social, and environmental influences on behavior, as well as the variety of philosophical, theoretical, and empirical approaches adapted by the discipline. (Every semester)

PSY 150: The Psychology Major and Career (1)


Prerequisite: PSY 101 or permission of chair

An orientation course which serves to teach students about the many different subdisciplines within psychology (e.g., biological, clinical, cognitive, developmental, health, industrial, personality, social, and others). Students will learn about career options in these fields and what path through the Mercer Psychology major curriculum will best prepare them in their pursuit of their career goals. (Every year)

PSY 185: Special Topics: Writing in Psychology (3)

Prerequisite: INT 101. Must be co-enrolled with WRT 120. 

This course is a special topics course which selects a psychological topis for critical analysis and extensive writing instruction. Through close examination of a variety of original sources and media, as well as writing (both formal and informal) in multiple genres with opportunities for revision, students will develop skills in critical thinking, writing and scientific literacy. Students enrolled in PSY 185 must be co-enrolled in WRT 120. (Every year.)


PSY 205: Psychology of Learning (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

This course will provide an overview of empirical and theoretical perspectives on learning. Topics will include classical and operant conditioning, observational learning and many applied extensions of the basic learning process.  (Every year)

 

PSY 210: Biopsychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An investigation of the ways the nervous system interfaces with behavior to determine what we perceive, feel, think, say, and do. The course will provide an overview of the major division of biopsychology – neuropsychology, psychopharmacology, psychophysiology, and physiological psychology - with an emphasis on their relationship to behavior. (Every year)

 

PSY 212: Drugs and Behavior (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

This course will provide an overview of the basic pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and behavioral outcomes of the major categories of drugs. Both licit and illicit drugs will be considered with particular emphasis on the most commonly used drugs in our society and those drugs that are associated with a high abuse potential. (Every year)

 

PSY 215: Cognitive Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An introduction to the major theoretical approaches and empirical research related to human thought processes. Topics include perception, attention, memory, thinking, problem solving and decision making. (Every year)

 

PSY 221: Health Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101 or GHS 200.

This course will explore theoretical and empirical approaches to studying the influences of thought, feeling, and behavior on physical health. The class will examine the mind-body problem and how physical health is influenced by personality, social relationships, stress, expectations, behavior, and emotion expression. (Every year)

 

PSY 225: Sensation & Perception (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

This course will provide the student with an understanding of how humans sense and perceive the surrounding environment. Topics will include the visual, auditory, vestibular, olfactory, and somatosensory systems.

 

PSY 230: Social Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An examination of behavior influenced by other people. The topics include interpersonal relationships, attitude development and change, group interaction, and the impact of culture and physical environments. (Every year)

 

PSY 235: Industrial Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An overview of the applications of psychological theory and research to the workplace. The topics covered include personnel selection and management, interpersonal aspects of employment, and factors that influence performance. (Every year)

 

PSY 240: Theories of Personality (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

A critical review of the major theoretical explanations of the development, structure and organization of personal attributes. The course also considers the empirical evidence which supports these theories. (Every year)

 

PSY 245: Developmental Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An introduction to the study of the psychological development of the individual. The focus of this course is both theoretical and empirical, including coverage of growth in physical, social, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and personality traits across the life span. (Every year)
Note: Students may not take this course if they have already received credit for PSY 250.

 

PSY 250: Child and Adolescent Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An overview of human development in infancy through adolescence, encompassing physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional changes. Introduces the major theories of development and explores their ability to accurately describe and explain normal development. Central issues (e.g., nature versus nurture, mechanisms of development) are also explored. Students may not take this course if they have already received credit for PSY 245. (Every year)

 

PSY 260: Introduction to Clinical Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101.

An overview of the concepts, methods, and issues involved in clinical psychology, including assessment procedures and intervention strategies from varying theoretical perspectives. (Every year)

 

PSY 265: Abnormal Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 240 or PSY 260.

A survey of the major categories of behavior pathology, including a consideration of etiology, diagnosis, and treatment. (Every year)

 

PSY 270: Psychology of Gender (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101 or consent of instructor.

Examination of the theory and context in which the social construct of "gender" develops, and the impact this has on our perceptions of ourselves, how others perceive us, and how we relate to others. Emphasis will be placed on the diversity of such experiences. (Every two years)

 

PSY 285: Special Topics (3 hours)


Prerequisite: PSY 101

A survey of a content area in psychology that is not available through other departmental course offerings. May be taken more then once, for a maximum of six credit hours. (Occasional)

PSY 290: Research Practicum (1-3)


Prerequisite: PSY 101 and permission of chair.

An opportunity for students to become involved in and learn about psychological research. Students will assist faculty with existing research projects. This is designed to introduce students to the topics and techniques of conducting research on psychology. Graded S/U. Repeatable for a maximum of 6 credit hours. (Every semester)

 

PSY 302: Behavioral Statistics (4) 

 

Prerequisites: one Group 1 PSY course or one Group 2 PSY course, and a completion of the general education mathematics requirement. 

This course will provide the student with an understanding of basic behavioral statistics and the ability to report them in written and oral formats. Topics will include descriptive statistics, basic research design, and inferential statistics. Assignments include laboratory investigations and written reports. (Every semester)


PSY 306: Research Methods and Statistics I (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 101 and completion of the CLA Gen Ed math requirement.

An introduction to the research methods and statistics used in psychological research. Topics include research ethics, sampling from populations, descriptive research and statistics, survey research, basic experimental design and hypothesis testing, and two-group designs and t-tests. Students will gain experience conducting literature reviews, reading empirical articles, using the SPSS statistical analysis software, and beginning writing APA-style manuscripts. (Every semester)

 

PSY 307: Research Methods and Statistics II (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 306.

A continuation into more advanced study of psychological research methodologies and their associated statistical analyses. Topics include correlation and regression, multiple-group and  factorial designs, quasi-experimental designs, Analyses of Variance, and nonparametric tests. Students will gain experience in formulating research hypotheses and writing all portions of formal APA-style manuscripts. (Every semester)

 

PSY 310: Biological Bases of Behavior (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307.

An investigation of the relationship between biological and psychological processes. The biological bases of human and animal behavior will be explored and analyzed from the perspectives of psychophysiology, ethology, and behavior genetics. Laboratory investigations and written reports of experimental findings are required. (Every two years)

 

PSY 312: Animal Behavior (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307.

This course seeks to describe and explain the causative and developmental factors that influence animal behavior at the level of the individual and social group.  Considerations of the adaptive and evolutionary mechanisms underlying behavior will be stressed. Laboratory investigations and written reports of experimental findings are required. (Every two years)

 

PSY 318: Language (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307.

Examination of the area of Psycholinguistics. Addresses language processes from a research and theoretical perspective. Topics include, but are not limited to, reading and writing processes, bilingualism, word recognition, speech processes, and language development. Laboratory investigations and written reports of experimental findings are required. (Every two years)

 

PSY 325: Test and Measurement (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307.

Examination of the construction, evaluation, and use of psychological assessment devices. The topics include reliability, validity, measurement theory, and factors that influence the assessment process. Laboratory investigations and written reports of empirical findings are required. (Every year)

 

PSY 326: Behavior Modification (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307.

An examination of the applications of learning principles in solving human problems. Consideration will be giving to legal, social, and ethical issues related to these applications. Experiential or practical exercise applying principles learned and written reports of these findings are required. (Every two years)

 

PSY 344: Investigations in Developmental Psychology (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307.

Investigations into various central developmental issues across the lifespan, such as nature vs. nurture, attachment, resilience, identity, moral development, gender development, and aging. Laboratory investigations, research proposals, and written article critiques are required. (Every two years)

 

PSY 384: Special Topics (Survey) (3)

Prerequisite: PSY 101. 

A survey of a content area in psychology that is not available through other departmental course offerings. May be taken more than once (with different topics).  This course may count toward Group 1, Group 2, or neither, depending on the topic and only with permission of the chair. (Occasionally)

PSY 385: Special Topics (4)


Prerequisite: PSY 302 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

An empirical study of some significant topic in psychology that is not available through other departmental laboratory course offerings. Laboratory investigations and written reports of empirical findings are required. May be taken more than once (with different topics). This course counts toward the Group 3 PSY courses. (Occasionally)

 

PSY 390: Field Placement (1-15)


Prerequisite: permission of the chair and senior status.

An opportunity to obtain experience with the activities typically performed by a practicing psychologist. Students are expected to work for the agency involved no fewer than 3 hours  per week for each credit hour awarded. Specific academic assignments will also be negotiated with the faculty member involved and the agency supervisor. Graded S/U. (Every semester)

 

PSY 401: History and Systems of Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: senior status, PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

An attempt to place in historical perspective the major concepts, philosophical assumptions, and theories of psychology. The course draws together content from across the curriculum and includes a critical examination of the field. (Every year)

 

PSY 410: Social and Ethical Implications of Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: senior status, PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

A study of the impact of psychological research and practice on the individual and society. The ethical, moral, and legal implications of psychology will be examined. (Every two years)

 

PSY 414: Hormones & Behavior (3)

Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

This course provides an in-depth analysis of major research findings that relate to behavioral endocrinology. Course topics include basic endocrine function/regulation, hormonal maintenance of homeostasis, and hormonal modulation of a variety of social interactions, reproductive behaviors, and stress. (Every other year)

PSY 420: Alternative Perspectives in Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

A critical examination of humanistic, phenomenological, existential, and value-based perspectives in psychology. (Every two years)

 

PSY 421: Stress & Coping (3)

Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

This seminar is designed to give students a better understanding of theory and research concerning stress and coping (via reading and discussing original research articles). Students will also conduct and write a review of research/theory on a relevant subtopic. This review will involve critically analyzing and integrating empirical, theoretical, and/or historical primary sources. (Every other year)

PSY 430: Group Dynamics (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

A sub-specialization of social psychology, this seminar focuses on human thought and behavior specifically in group situations. Topics may include group formation, structure, and development; cohesiveness; influence; power; group task performance; group decision-making; leadership; crowd behavior; and intra- and inter group conflict. (Every two years)

 

PSY 485: Special Topics in Psychology (3)


Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

An advanced study of psychological theories that is not available through other departmental course offerings. May be taken more than once (with different topics). (Occasional)

 

PSY 490A: Empirical Project in Psychology I (2)


Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

The development and completion of an acceptable proposal for an empirical project on a psychological topic. The student will produce a formal manuscript and orally present the proposed empirical project. (Every semester)

 

PSY 490B: Empirical Project in Psychology II (2)


Prerequisite: PSY 490A or PSY 496A.

The implementation and completion of the project proposed in PSY 490A. The student will produce a formal manuscript and orally present the results of this empirical project. (Every semester)

 

PSY 495: Directed Independent Research (1-4)


Prerequisite: PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

Requirements include selection of a problem area, survey of relevant literature, research and report of these findings. Graded S/U. (Every semester)

 

PSY 496A: Honors Project in Psychology I (2)


Prerequisite: candidate for departmental honors in psychology, PSY 307 and one course from either Group 1 or Group 2.

The student must take formal application to the departmental chair and, if approved, register for this course instead of 490A. The student then develops and completes an acceptable honors project prospectus for an empirical project on a psychological topic that meets the approval of the committee of three faculty members from the department. The student will produce a forma; manuscript and orally present a proposed empirical project. (Every semester).

 

PSY 496B: Honors Project in Psychology II (2)


Prerequisite: PSY 496A.

The implementation and completion of the project proposed in PSY 496A. The student will produce a formal manuscript and orally present the results of this proposed empirical project. (Every semester)

 


BIO 110: General Concepts of Biology  (4)


An introduction to general concepts in biology. Subjects include the structure and function of the cell, reproduction and genetics, biological diversity and ecology. A lecture and laboratory course. This course is intended for non-majors and as such will not satisfy course requirements for Biology majors nor will it serve as a prerequisite for upper division Biology courses. (Every year)

 

BIO 202: Human Anatomy and Physiology I (4)


This course represents an introduction to the structure and function of the human body from the cellular to the organismal levels. Subjects include tissue and integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous body systems. This course may not be used for biology major or minor. It is not recommended for pre-medical students. A lecture and laboratory course. (Every year)

 

BIO 211: Introduction to Biology I (5)


Pre- or corequisite: CHM 112 or CHM 115.

An introduction to the unifying principles of the biological sciences. Subjects include evolution, systematic, biodiversity, animal form and function, homeostasis, and ecology. A lecture, recitation, and laboratory course. (Every year)

 

BIO 212: Introduction to Biology II (5)


Prerequisite: a grade C or better in BIO 211; or CHM 222.

Continues the introduction to the unifying principles of the biological sciences. Subjects include basic biochemistry, energy transfer, cell biology, physiology, genetics and the vertebrate immune system. A lecture, recitation, and laboratory course. (Every year)

INT 201: Building Community (4)

Prerequisite: a grade C or better in WRT 120 

Students will study issues and problems in creating and preserving public good in communities and nations. Students will explore the use of civil, effective communication to address complex and contentious issues. Course content and assignments will reflect an examination of the relationship between citizenship and inclusive human communities by examining the works of writers, thinkers, artists and scholars representing the four domains of natural science, social science, humanities and the arts. As a Writing Instruction course, substantial attention, in terms of both instruction and course work, will be given towards developing the practical skill of writing as specified in the Writing Instruction section. (Every semester)

INT 301: Engaging the World (3)

Prerequisite: INT 201 

Through an exploration of global issues, students will examine the interconnectedness of global society, while learning to respect the diversity of international voices on contemporary issues. The role and impact of global citizenry will be examined through the works of writers, thinkers, artists and scholars representing the four domains of natural science, social science, humanities and the arts. Substantial attention will be given to the practical skills of written, verbal and visual communication. Individual sections may be subtitled to reflect a particular perspective. (Every semester)

STA 126: Introductory Statistics (3)


Introductory statistics including the collection of data, descriptive statistics, probability, and inference. Topics include sampling methods, experiments, numerical and graphical descriptive methods, correlation and regression, contingency tables, probability concepts and distributions, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing for means and proportions. (Every semester)