Degrees and Certificates


PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology

This course surveys the major areas of psychology and emphasizes an understanding of research methods, theories and findings in the field of psychology. Students study human behavior from multiple perspectives including cognitive, behavioral and physiological. Students learn about challenging issues faced by psychologists and practice hypothetical and problem-solving skills in the context of psychology.

PSY 202: Personality Psychology

This course introduces students to the major classic theories of personality and to the social and cultural influences on personality development. Students will explore the ideas of Freud and his psychoanalytic theory, the humanistic models of Maslow and Rogers, Skinner’s behaviorism, Bandura’s social-cognitive perspective and Eastern psychologies. Students will enhance their knowledge through reading, discussion and case studies. As the major theories and research in the field of personality are covered, students will be asked to relate this material to their own lives.

PSY 204: Social Psychology

Social psychologists strive to understand how other people influence our thoughts, feelings and behavior. This course will introduce students to theories and research that are an important part of our everyday lives, including topics such as intimate relationships, conformity, persuasion and reasons for aggressive behavior. Throughout this course, students will explore the interplay between people and their environment (i.e. the development of self, social influences on individuals, group interactions and larger social systems).

PSY 211: Cognitive Psychology

This course introduces students to a variety of topics within the field of cognition by exploring how the mind extracts information from the environment (attention and perception), stores it for later use (learning and memory) and then retrieves it when it becomes useful (language, problem solving, decision making).

PSY 216: Neuroscience

This course studies the biological basis of the mind and behavior. It begins with a review of fundamental principles of behavior from the perspectives of biology, neuroscience and neuroanatomy. Selected topics will then be covered in more detail, including neurophysiology, psychopharmacology, sensory and motor systems, hormones and addiction. This course involves lab exercises, which will include activities on brain anatomy, perception and research design.

PSY 240: Life Span Development

This course explores the journey of the individual from conception to death. Students trace individual physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development chronologically, exploring the issues pertaining to each stage. This course helps all students understand others and gain some insight into their own history. It is particularly designed to help future nurses and mental-health professionals who are responsible, in some way, for the care of others.

PSY 245: Introduction to Addiction Studies

This course provides an in-depth perspective of the effects of psychological and physiological dependency on health, families and communities based on a bio-psycho-social perspective. Students will develop an understanding of the addictive and recovery process, including the reciprocal interaction between individuals and the various social, economic and political systems of which they are a part.

PSY 285: Psychology Internship

Qualified sophomores, juniors and seniors may arrange internships related to psychology with a member of the Psychology faculty. Internships are available in a variety of psychology related settings that include child protection agencies, juvenile justice services, schools, adolescent group homes and rehabilitation facilities.

PSY 302: Statistical Methods for Psychology

Statistics is the science of reasoning from data. Data and statistical thinking abound in everyday life and in almost all academic disciplines, so the ability to reason with data is essential to educated citizenship. This course introduces concepts that will provide the student with a solid understanding of statistical procedures. The goal of the course is to demystify statistics and enable students to comprehend the evidence and logic behind statistical analysis.

Junior standing recommended.

PSY 303: Sport and Exercise Psychology

This course is designed to examine and apply the psychological effects of sport and exercise on human behavior. This is accomplished by investigations of concepts and theories which analyze sports, exercise and physical activity. Topics of discussion include: anxiety, arousal, attention, personality structures, motivation and intervention strategies.

PSY 306: Psychopathology

This course provides an exploration of the causes and characteristics of the various categories of psychological abnormality. Students will be exposed to the science of abnormal psychology and will gain insight into the impact of behavioral disorders on the individual, family, community and society. Students will also learn about the diagnosis and treatment of some common disorders. Upon completion of this course, students should have a thorough understanding of psychopathology and its correlates.

Junior standing recommended.

PSY 308: Research Methods in Psychology

This course provides students with a detailed understanding of experimental, observational and survey research methods. Emphasis is placed on framing research questions, defining variables and rendering them operational, sampling, assuring internal and external validity and drawing appropriate conclusions. Students design original research projects.

PSY 310: Counseling Psychology

This course introduces students to the field of counseling psychology and provides an overview of the major theories of counseling and the methods used to put those theories to work in the helping relationship. Students will develop an understanding of how counseling practice is grounded in theory. In addition, students will learn and practice some basic “helping” skills - the foundation of counseling techniques. This course is particularly applicable to students who are preparing for internships in psychology and for those who will pursue careers or graduate work in psychology and related fields (like education and nursing).

PSY 312: Human Sexuality

This course provides students with an introduction to a variety of topics related to human sexuality, including cultural and personal aspects of human sexuality across the life cycle, sexual diversity, attitudes and myths about sex and sexuality and the creation and dissolution of relationships.

PSY 316: Health Psychology

The course will examine the role of psychological factors in several health related areas. Topics will include aspects of health research, adherence to medical advice, stress, pain and methods of coping with these. Other topics to be covered include behavior involved with chronic diseases and illness. We will also look at behavioral health, specifically concerned with the use of alcohol and tobacco. Throughout the course we will explore the underlying psychological theories and methods employed in this area as well as some of the clinical applications in this field.

PSY 317: Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychology is the interface between psychology and the law. This course will survey the major areas of forensic psychology, including, history of forensic psychology, psychopathy, violent risk assessment, insanity and criminal responsibility, criminal and civil responsibility, child custody and juvenile delinquency. Students will have the opportunity to explore the role of race, ethnicity, gender and social-economic status in this discipline.

PSY 321: Issues in Child Psychology

This course provides an in-depth exploration into the science of child psychology spanning from the prenatal period to pre-adolescence. Students will examine the biological, cognitive and socio-emotional changes that occur during this time period. Additional developmental topics will be discussed including epigenetics, prenatal programming, attachment, gender, socio-metrics, intelligence, humor and additional issues intended to cater to student interests.

PSY 322: Issues in Adolescent Psychology

This course examines development during the adolescent and emerging adulthood years. Specifically, students will explore normal physical, cognitive, moral, socio-cultural and emotional changes that occur during this stage. Students will consider issues such as sexuality, dating, family and peer relationships. They will also consider problems that are particularly prevalent during adolescence, such as drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, depression, suicide and teen pregnancy. Students will have the opportunity to read current and classic research in the areas of adolescence and emerging adulthood. Cultural and diversity issues will be discussed throughout the course.

PSY 323: Positive Psychology

Much of the research and practice of clinical psychology to date has focused on the diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology. Many psychologists today believe that a focus on a disease model (curing illness) is incomplete. Psychology is also the study of human strengths, optimism, happiness, hope and resilience. This course is an overview of some of the research and concepts in the new and growing field of positive psychology. Students will have an opportunity to explore the concepts firsthand. Students will learn practical ways of using one’s character strengths to promote and maintain their own lives and to enhance the lives of others.

PSY 326: Group Dynamics and Processes

Groups are a bastion of human experience. This course examines the dynamic nature of human group interaction and process. Students will explore the scientific study of group behavior while integrating theory, research and application. Also students will engage in in-class exercises to explore the real-life application of various aspects of group dynamics including (but not limited to) leadership, motivation, perception, power, authority, conformity and decision-making. Intercultural communication and dynamics will be explored.

PSY 327: Psychopharmacology

This course will examine the field of psychopharmacology (the study of drugs that affect the brain) including their pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetic properties. The focus will be on therapeutic drugs used in the treatment of mental illness, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. It will also explore the potential use of non-traditional medicines for mental disorders such as cannabis, MDMA and psychedelics. Other topics will include pediatric and geriatric psychopharmacology, psychoactive herbs and drug interactions.

PSY 354: Psychology and Law

This course introduces students to the role of psychology in the legal system. A growing numbers of psychologists have become involved in a wide range of activities within the legal system (e.g., testify as expert witnesses; helping attorneys select juries; and preparing witnesses for trial). Students will examine and evaluate the assumptions made by the legal system about psychological and scientific issues. They will also seek to understand how the legal system actually works, not how the law assumes it works. Ultimately, this course will provide insight into the past and anticipated future of this dynamic interdisciplinary field.

PSY 369: Drugs and Behavior

This course will investigate drug use and drug actions, both licit and illicit. It will also consider the social and policy issues that surround their use. Accordingly, the specific coverage will span a range of topics including drug actions on the nervous system, elementary principles of pharmacology, therapeutic use of behaviorally active drugs, the history of drug use, drug abuse and its prevention and treatment. Specific categories of drugs to be covered include stimulants, depressants, inhalants, opioids, hallucinogens and commonly used drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Medications will also be examined including those for mental disorders and over-the-counter.

PSY 371: Child and Adolescent Psychopathology

This course focuses on disease etiology, epidemiology, phenomenology, nosology and diagnosis. Students will critically review common child and adolescent psychopathology and challenge social and cultural assumptions of what constitutes “normal” versus “pathological” behavior, cognition and emotion. Students will learn about the defining characteristics, associated features, possible causes, research evidence and current approaches to intervention and prevention for a wider range of child and adolescent mental health issues.

PSY 372: Substance Abuse Counseling

This course provides a comprehensive review of substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. Students will focus on various evidence-based treatment approaches, treatment settings and types of counseling, including individual, group and family techniques.

PSY 373: Screening and Assessment of Addiction Disorders

Students will develop conceptual knowledge, practical skills and self-awareness concerning the etiology of addiction, assessment strategies (including the use of wraparound assessment and intervention services), wellness strategies for facilitating optimal development and preventing clinician burn-out and diagnosis and treatment planning.

PSY 374: Case Management

This course will assist students in developing the skills associated with effective case management in a social service setting. Emphasis will be placed on communication, assessment and planning. Case managers are generally responsible for coordinating the delivery of healthcare, including substance abuse treatment modalities.

PSY 485: Psychology Internship and Professional Development Seminar

Students in this course work in psychology-related settings that include, but are not limited to, community mental health centers, child protection agencies, law enforcement, prisons, rehabilitation centers, schools, adolescent group homes and marketing firms. Internships include a weekly seminar with the faculty sponsor in which students explore many components of the professional work experience including the process of helping, ethical practice, communication in the workplace, problem-solving and networking. Graded Pass/Fail.

PSY 486: Psychology Capstone: Advanced Research Seminar

In this course, students design, carry out and present the results of original research projects on topics of particular interest to them. Emphasis is placed on choosing methodologies, simple and complex designs, multivariate analysis, interpretation of results and ethical considerations in psychological research. Students must complete this Capstone experience at Colby-Sawyer College.