The mission of the psychology major is to provide students with a foundation of concepts, issues, discoveries, and methodologies for the scientific study of psychological processes. In part, this foundation is achieved by exploring a number of perspectives within the field including neuroscientific, perceptual, cognitive, developmental, social, and clinical phenomena. Faculty expect that Skidmore psychology majors will acquire basic knowledge about several areas and gain quantitative and research skills necessary to make informed judgments about psychological research. In addition, students will learn to evaluate, integrate, and think critically about theoretical and applied issues and to communicate their knowledge of psychology effectively through written and oral forms. Thus, students are encouraged to take writing-intensive courses as preparation for the major.
Faculty encourage students to distinguish between the minimum requirements for a major in psychology and the preparation necessary for graduate study in psychology. Those majors who plan to pursue graduate work in Ph.D. Programs in Psychology should seek significant research experience(s) beyond those experiences that are part of the minimum requirements for the major. Several opportunities for these kinds of extended research experiences are available to majors by way of advanced lab courses (e.g., PS 304, PS 320H), advanced statistics (PS 318H, independent research experiences (PS 371B), directed studies (PS 371A), summer collaborative research experiences, and thesis capstone projects. Students interested in the application of scientific knowledge in psychology or neuroscience may consider graduate programs in public policy issues related to human development, justice, or health care.
THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR: To complete a major, students must take a minimum of thirty credits in psychology. Only six of these thirty credits (including three AP credits) required for the major may be taken at other institutions. Included among the thirty credits are the following required core: PS101, 217, 306, and at least ten credits from three different clusters listed below:
- Neuroscience: NS101, PS231
- Social Developmental Psychology: PS205, 207
- Perceptual Cognitive Processes: PS305A, 305B, 324, 325
- Personality Abnormal Psychology: PS210, 211, 308.
Of the thirty credits presented toward the major, these credits should include at least four courses at the 300 level. As they consider the choice of electives, students should consult the Psychology Department Web site and their advisors for information about potential pathways of interest through the major (Clinical, Developmental, Neuropsychology/Cognitive Neuroscience, Social/ Personality).
A maximum of 5 credits taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis may count toward the 30 credits required by the major, including PS399 and PS275. Only two one-credit PS275 Research Experiences may count toward the major, both of which must be taken S/U. None of the required core courses or any 300-level psychology course—except PS399—fulfilling the major may be taken on an S/U basis.
The grade-point average for the thirty credits presented toward the major must meet the minimum requirement of 2.0. Of these credits, only one course may have been completed with a grade of D.
In conjunction with the relevant departments, the Psychology Department offers majors in neuroscience and psychology-sociology.
There is no formal program for a minor in psychology. Those interested in taking some psychology courses without actually completing a major are encouraged to select a set of courses relevant to their needs. Members of the department are happy to assist in this selection process.
HONORS: To be eligible for departmental honors in psychology, a student must meet the requisite grade point average, complete a research project in Senior Research Project I and II or a major paper in Senior Seminar, and be recommended for departmental honors by the department.
PSI CHI: Psi Chi is the national honor society in psychology, founded in 1929 for the purpose of encouraging scholarship and advancing the science of psychology. Eligibility requirements include declaration of a major in psychology, completion of at least four psychology courses (or three psychology courses and NS101), a GPA of 3.5 or higher in psychology, and a GPA of 3.3 in all college courses.
The department offers students a number of opportunities for research participation. In addition to independent research courses (PS371, PS372) and senior theses (PS375, PS376), students may be able to secure one of the college's student/faculty collaborative research fellowships offered each summer. These fellowships allow the student to work with a faculty collaborator on a research project for 10 weeks during the summer. Students receive a stipend ($1450) and free room and board. The application deadline for this fellowship program is typically in mid-February. Contact the Associate Dean of the Faculty for further information.
When wandering the halls of the Tisch Learning Center, most of the PS and NS labs will not be immediately obvious. However, we have numerous teaching and research laboratory facilities including an Animal lab, two Perception Labs, a Cognition Lab, a Social Psychology Teaching and Research Lab, a Developmental Lab, Clinical Labs, a Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, and Neuroscience & Experimental/Stat Teaching Labs.
For course listings, please see the Skidmore College Catalog