Aug 05, 2020  
Course Catalog 2005-2006 
Course Catalog 2005-2006 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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A core of basic courses is required of all majors. Beyond these core courses, individuals 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.

Required courses:

  1. PSYC 100–The Study of Behavior
  2. PSYC 200–Research Methods I and PSYC 300–Research Methods II
  3. NSCI 201–The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience or NSCI 204–Human Neurobiology
  4. PSYC 219–Cognitive Psychology
  5. At least two of the following:
    PSYC 211–Personality: Theory and Research
    PSYC 214–Abnormal Psychology
    PSYC 216–Developmental Psychology
    PSYC 218–Social Psychology
  6. At least two of the following:
    PSYC 301–Laboratory in Personality/Social Psychology
    PSYC 302–Developmental Psychology Laboratory
    PSYC 303–Laboratory in Cognitive Psychology
    PSYC 305–Human Psychophysiology
    NSCI 211–Laboratory in Neuroscience; or NSCI 327–Neuropharmacology Laboratory and NSCI 324–Laboratory in Neuroanatomy, which together count as one laboratory toward this requirement.

To count toward the Psychology major, all courses, whether required or elective, must be passed with grades of C-/CR/P or better. 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 or 204, 211, 319, 324, 325, 327, 331, 339, 341, and 525. Note, however, that only NSCI 201 or 204, 211, 324, and 327 count toward the abovementioned 26 hour requirement. 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. In order to prepare for laboratory courses as well as 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 mathematics, computer science, and the sciences. They should also consider carrying out independent research during their junior and/or senior years. Additionally, majors who plan on graduate training in clinical, counseling, health psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology should obtain field experience in their area during Winter Term or in summer jobs. All majors contemplating graduate training should consult with their advisors and/or other members of the Department early in their major.


The minor in psychology consists of the following courses, which must be passed with grades of C-/CR/P or better:

  1. PSYC 100–The Study of Behavior
  2. NSCI 201–The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience or NSCI 204–Human Neurobiology
  3. PSYC 219–Cognitive Psychology
  4. At least one of the following:
    PSYC 211–Personality: Theory and Research
    PSYC 214–Abnormal Psychology
    PSYC 216–Developmental Psychology
    PSYC 218–Social Psychology
  5. One of the following:
    PSYC 200–Research Methods I
    MATH 113–Statistical Methods for the Social and Behavioral Sciences or
    MATH 114–Statistical Methods for the Biological Sciences

Advanced Placement

Students who receive a 4 or 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. Courses taken at other institutions after enrollment at Oberlin should be approved in advance to be sure they will count toward department requirements. At least 19 of the 26 hours from courses numbered 200 through 499 and least one of the two required laboratory courses must be taken at Oberlin. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure proper transfer of credit forms are completed and placed on file in the Office of the Registrar.

Winter Term

The department strongly encourages majors and prospective majors to gain field experience in applied or research psychology during Winter Term. Experience in schools, clinics, and research labs complement academic study at Oberlin. Because so many opportunities are available, department faculty can provide general advice but students investigate specific facilities where they would like to conduct their projects. In some cases, students remain on campus during Winter Term to engage in independent research under the sponsorship of department faculty. In addition, students interested in computer applications design projects involving computer simulation, computer-assisted instruction, or computer-based experiments.

The following list of faculty interests should be a guide in approaching possible sponsors: Mr. Carrier: sensation and perception; computer simulation of behavior; human-computer interface design. Ms. deWinstanley: cognitive psychology; memory; attention; cognitive development. Ms. Frantz: social psychology; conflict resolution; perspective taking; sustainable human behavior. Mr. Friedman: developmental psychology; cognitive development; time concepts in children and adults. Ms. Hanna: cognitive psychology; psycholinguistics; language development. Mr. Mayer: social cognition; prejudice; helping behavior; resistance. Mr. Porterfield: psychophysiology; emotion; psychopathology. Mr. Smith: neuropharmacology of learning. Ms. Sutton: psychotherapy and cognitive processes; personality and health; women and mental health.


Junior psychology majors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major and at least a B average in Research Methods I and II are contacted by mail at the end of the first semester and 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.

Students normally begin their Honors work by taking a Private Reading (PSYC 995) during the spring semester of junior year with the faculty member who will be the primary Honors advisor. This course is intended to result in a research proposal for approval by the prospective Honors Committee at the end of the semester. A committee consisting of the primary advisor and at least two other faculty members is assembled by the student. The student then submits a brief (three to five page) research proposal to the committee, the approval of which signals his/her formal acceptance into the Honors Program, and work begins during the first semester of the senior year. Honors students are expected to enroll in the Research Discussion Group (PSYC 401) in the fall semester of their senior year. Prior to registering for the second semester of the senior year, the candidate assembles his/her committee for a progress report. If committee members feel that satisfactory progress is being made, the candidate is permitted to continue participation in the Honors Program. Although this is the normal sequence, students meeting the grade criteria for Honors may begin a project as Independent Research Problems (PSYC 606) during the first semester of senior year. Independent research students who believe that they may wish to do Honors should enroll in the Research Discussion Group (PSYC 401). Those who are approved by an Honors Committee to do so may follow up their work as an Honors Project during the second semester. All Honors candidates must be enrolled in Honors Research (PSYC 608 or 612, as appropriate) at the beginning of the second semester of their senior year.  

A schedule of Honors-related activities and deadlines will be distributed early in the spring semester. A written thesis in the form of an APA-style report of the research must be submitted to committee members one week prior to the candidate’s oral defense, which typically is held at least one week before the end of classes. The candidate must then defend the research in an oral examination by the committee. During the second half of the spring semester, students are also expected to give a brief talk about the research to interested faculty, students, and others and to present the research in a departmental poster session. Posters from that session will be displayed in the hallways of Severance for the following year. Completion of the project requires that the student submit to the Psychology Department a corrected version of the thesis incorporating any amendments that were requested by the members of his/her Honors Committee. Members of the Psychology Department recommend a level of Honors to be awarded to each student. This recommendation is forwarded to the Committee on Honors at Graduation for final approval.

Introductory and Non-Major Courses

Independent Work

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

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