Nov 29, 2020  
Course Catalog 2012-2013 
Course Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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F. Stephan Mayer, Department Chair and Norman D. Henderson Professor of Psychology
Sam C. Carrier, Associate Professor
Nancy Darling, Professor
Patricia Ann deWinstanley, Professor
Cynthia Frantz, 
Associate Professor
Joy Hanna,
Assistant Professor
Albert L. Porterfield, Associate Professor
Karen Sutton, Professor
Travis Wilson, Assistant Professor


Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, thought, and feeling. Its subject matter includes biological, cognitive, developmental, and social perspectives on normal and abnormal behavior. The Department of Psychology’s curriculum prepares students for graduate work in psychology and for other academic and career goals for which knowledge of psychology and its methods is relevant.

Psychology is an appropriate major for students who wish to pursue careers in research and teaching or in the delivery of professional clinical services. Although students interested in academic careers in Psychology must eventually obtain a Ph.D. degree, doctoral training is not the only avenue for those interested in careers in counseling, therapy, social work, and related helping professions. For such students, psychology is one of several appropriate undergraduate majors. Undergraduates interested in applied areas of psychology are encouraged to obtain field experience through Winter Term projects and summer jobs. Psychology is also excellent preparation for such fields as law, medicine, and business.

For more information consult the Psychology web page at


A core of basic courses is required of all majors. Beyond these core courses, students have considerable leeway in constructing the major. Students interested in specific applications or sub-disciplines within psychology should consult early with their advisors to plan the most appropriate sequence of courses.

Courses must be passed with grades of C-/CR/P or better to count toward the Psychology major. The minimum number of hours for the major is 34. A minimum of 26 hours must be earned in courses numbered 200 through 499, with at least 19 of these 26 hours completed at Oberlin. Up to eight hours of Neuroscience courses from the following list can count toward the major: NSCI 201, 211, 301, 319, 320, 325, 327, 331, 350, 360, and 400. PSYC 100 (or an approved equivalent) is a prerequisite to most Psychology courses numbered 200 and above. Any variation in meeting major requirements must be approved in writing by the chair of the Department of Psychology.

Students intending to major in Psychology should complete PSYC 100 in their first year.  To prepare for laboratory courses and other research opportunities, prospective majors should plan to finish Research Methods I (PSYC 200) and II (PSYC 300) no later than second semester of their sophomore year. Majors who plan on graduate training in psychology are encouraged to take additional courses in sociology, anthropology, mathematics, computer science, and other natural sciences. They should also consider carrying out independent research during their junior and/or senior years. Majors who plan on graduate training in clinical, counseling, health psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology should obtain field experience during Winter Term or in summer jobs. All majors considering graduate training should consult with their advisors and other members of the Department early in their major.

Required Courses:

At least two of the following:

At least two of the following:

One 400-level seminar in psychology

Advanced Placement

Students who receive a 5 on the AP Psychology examination will be exempt from the requirement to take PSYC 100 and will receive three credit hours at the 100 level toward requirements and graduation.

Transfer of Credit

All transfer credit must be approved by the Department Chair. Students should obtain prior written approval from the Department Chair to insure that courses taken at other institutions will count toward major requirements. At least 19 of the 26 hours from courses numbered 200 through 499 and at least one of the two required laboratory courses must be taken at Oberlin. It is the student’s responsibility to complete transfer of credit forms and submit them to the Office of the Registrar. Please note that PSYCH 200 comprises statistics, research methods, and a lab in SPSS. Students wishing to transfer in a replacement for this course should consult carefully with their advisor.

Winter Term


The Department strongly encourages majors and prospective majors to gain either research experience or experience in applied or clinical settings during Winter Term. Department faculty can provide general advice but students are free to develop specific projects on their own. Some students remain on campus during Winter Term to conduct honors research or independent research under the sponsorship of department faculty.

The following list of faculty interests can guide students seeking Winter Term sponsors: Mr. Carrier: sensation and perception, computer simulation of behavior, human-computer interface design; Ms. Darling: adolescent development, social relationships; Ms. deWinstanley: cognitive psychology, memory, attention, cognitive development; Ms. Frantz: social psychology, conflict resolution, perspective taking, sustainable human behavior; Ms. Hanna: cognitive psychology, psycholinguistics, language development; Mr. Mayer: social and cultural psychology, peace studies, sustainable human behavior; Mr. Porterfield: psychophysiology, emotion, psychopathology; Ms. Sutton: psychotherapy and cognitive processes, personality and health, behavioral medicine; Mr. Wilson: developmental psychology, children’s adjustment at school.


Honors in Psychology. Junior psychology majors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major and at least a B in Research Methods I and II are invited to pursue Honors in Psychology. An invitee who wishes to do so should seek out an interested faculty member to serve as his/her primary Honors advisor.

Introductory and Non-Major Courses

Courses with One Prerequisite

Advanced Methods Courses


Advanced Work

Independent Work

A variety of opportunities for students to pursue independent work is available at all levels in the curriculum. Both laboratory and non-laboratory research courses are available at junior, senior, and Honors levels. Registration for Independent Work courses requires prior approval of the proposed work by the staff member who will supervise it.

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