Catalogue: Traditional Program: Psychology

Psychology (PSY)

Professor Williford, Chair
Professor White

The department of psychology seeks to introduce all students to the study of human behavior and mental processes within a Christian context. The major is designed to provide a foundation of knowledge in the major subfields of psychology and to prepare students for future study in the field of psychology. Emphasis is placed on developing the students’ abilities to understand and to apply psychology in their everyday lives. An important goal in all psychology courses is to help students in their ability to appropriately interrelate their study of psychology and the Christian faith.

B.S. in Psychology Major:  This major requires students to gain the core knowledge of scientific psychology along with learning about the sub-fields in psychology that apply this knowledge.  The B.S. in psychology degree is designed to prepare students to meet the typical requirements for acceptance into graduate study and/or for working with a bachelor’s degree.  The B.S. in psychology degree requires 45 hours in psychology to include 203, 303, 305, 331, 341, 460, 21 hours of PSY electives and 1 hour from 470, 471 or 472, as well as 6 hours of foreign language or 6 hours from PSY 420, IST 201 and SOC 220.  Psychology students will have real-world experience through field observation and practicum, PSY 470, 471, and 472.

B.A. in Psychology major with a Creative Arts Therapy Concentration: For students coming to Belhaven with a passion and gifting in a particular art form, we have developed a unique track that will help students to utilize their artistic passion in the service of helping others.  Students will take a minimum of 12 hours in their chosen art form (creative writing, dance, music or visual arts) as well as a course in creative arts therapies.  This concentration is designed for students who might wish to use the arts to help others in careers such as Child Life Specialist, Recreation or Activities Directors, cross cultural mission work or to prepare for graduate school in an area such as Dance/Movement Therapy, Art Therapy, Creative Writing Therapy or Music Therapy.

The B.A. in psychology degree requires 51-53 hours minimum, to include 29 hours in psychology, 6 hours of diversity awareness, 4 hours of creative arts therapy courses, and 12-14 hours in one of the creative arts.  Required psychology courses include: PSY 203, 240, 241, 303, 305, 312, 331, 340, 341, 346, 347, 460.  In order to understand the diversity that exists in our complex world, 6 hours is required in in diversity awareness through the following options:  6 hours of the same foreign language or 6 hours from the following: IST 201 (Global Culture 3 hrs), SOC 220 (Race, Gender and Diversity 3 hrs) or PSY 420 (Cross-Cultural Psychology 3 hrs). Each student will choose a creative arts therapy concentration area from the visual arts, music, creative writing or dance and will take 12-14 hours in their concentration emphasis. For the Visual Arts Emphasis: ART 120, 125, ART 215 and PHI 275.  For the Creative Writing Emphasis: CWR 211, 306 and 6 hours of CWR electives.  For the Dance Emphasis: DAN 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 170, 185, 270, and DAN 370 or 375.  For the Music Emphasis: For the student who is proficient at reading music MUS 121, 122, 123, 124, 4 hours from applied music lessons in guitar, piano or voice (1 credit hour per semester) and 2 hours in any music ensemble.

Psychology Minor: 18 hours to include PSY 203, and at least 6 hours from the 300-400 level and/or 240 OR 241.


203 General Psychology (3).
An introduction to the application of the scientific method and critical thinking to the study of human behavior and functioning.  Topics include the role of nature and nurture, learning, the brain, motivation, sexuality, personality, happiness, stress & health, abnormality & therapies.  PSY 203 is a prerequisite for most upper level courses in psychology. (Fall and Spring)
240 Human Growth and Development I (3)
A study of the growth and development of the individual from conception until late adolescence. Emphasis will be placed on physical, perceptual, motor, cognitive, language, spiritual, social and emotional development. Includes study of major developmental theories and concepts that are applied to childhood and adolescence as well as problems common to this period. (Fall only)
241 Human Growth and Development II (3).
A study of the growth and development of the individual from early adulthood until death. Emphasis will be placed on physical, perceptual , motor, cognitive, language, spiritual, social and emotional development. Specific issues common to the older years, including marriage, family, parenthood, grandparenthood, vocational choice, retirement, disabilities and death are an integral part of this class. (Spring only)
263 Sex, Love, and Marriage (3)
A study of gender differences, courting and mate selection, marriage and marital sexuality. This course will blend academic/cognitive understanding of these topics with practical/experiential understanding of each topic. Students will explore these topics from historical and cultural perspectives, as well as examining scientific psychological research on the topics. A special focus will guide students to interact in groups related to their personal values and goals of developing healthy marital relationships. (Fall, even years)
303 Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (3). Prereq: MAT 101 or 110.
A basic survey of the descriptive statistics and inferential statistics used in research. Computation and elementary theory of correlation, t test and simple analysis of variance. Applicable primarily to the social sciences, and all examples and problems are selected from social and behavioral sciences. Psychology majors should complete this course no later than the first semester of their junior year. (Fall and spring)
305 Contemporary Issues in Psychology and Human Services (1). Prereq: Sophomore or Junior standing.
Introduces psychology majors to key topics and academic skills necessary for success in upper-level psychology coursework. Guest lecturers and field trips will provide students with broad exposure to the sub-fields within psychology and human service professions. Provides students with a broad overview of graduate school and career options available after graduation. Psychology majors should complete this course no later than the first semester of their junior year. (Fall only)
312 Abnormal Psychology (3). Prereq: PSY 203.
An introduction to the study of major mental disorders.  The history of the treatment of mental illness and controversies around the classification of mental disorders will be explored.  Attention will be given to the research finding regarding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of these disorders.  (Spring only)
331 Theories of Personality (3). Prereq: PSY 203.
A survey of psychology’s major theories of personality will be explored.  These theories will be examined in light of their historical context and evaluated in light of modern research.   Students will examine their own personality development utilizing the ideographic method and by employing insights from key theories of personality studied.  (Fall only)
332 Learning and Memory (3).
An in-depth analysis of basic concepts and theoretical developments in the area of learning and memory, both animal and human. Particular attention is directed to application of these theories to common, everyday situations.  (Fall only)
340 Introduction to Counseling Theory and Techniques (3).
Exploration and examination of the leading theories in psychotherapy and counseling.  The philosophical assumptions and implications of each theory and technique are examined and critiqued from rational, empirical, and Christian perspectives.  Students are trained in basic people helping skills such as listening skills, communication skills, crisis intervention, and problem-solving skills.  The course is designed to prepare students to meet a basic competency level in these skills that are useful in a variety of career and personal settings.  (Fall, odd years and every spring)
341 Experimental Psychology (4). Prereq: PSY 203, 303 and 305.
A study and application of the research methods used in psychology. The emphasis will be on using experiments to find the causes of human behavior, but other types of research including developmental, correlational case study approaches, and quasi-experiments will be examined. Students study all phases of conducting psychology research including designing the experiment, collecting the data, analyzing the data, and writing psychological reports. Majors should take this course no later than the second semester of their junior year. Lab is required.  (Spring only)
342 Psychology of the Exceptional Child (3).
A study of the child whose development follows atypical patterns. This would include all children eligible for special education placement: the mentally retarded, the gifted, the physically and behaviorally handicapped, the visually and hearing impaired, the learning disabled, the speech and language impaired, and autistic children. Students visit several local agencies in order to become more familiar with exceptional children and services available for these children. (Fall and spring)
346 Introduction to Creative Arts Therapies and Techniques (3).
An exploration of expression through the mediums of art, writing, movement and music. The course will introduce basic facilitation skills using various creative modalities.
347 Creative Arts Practicum (1-6). Prereq: PSY-346 and Senior Standing
Field experience related to the student’s academic and life goals. The practicum is designed to provide professionally supervised experience in selected settings in the chosen creative arts emphasis. Students will be required to meet with a faculty supervisor, keep a journal and write a summary paper.
352 Social Psychology (3). Prereq: PSY 203.
The analysis of human behavior, thought, and interactions of individuals, the function of the presence of others. Course topics include: social influence, interpersonal interaction, interpersonal attraction, theories of social behavior, moral behavior, attitudes, prejudice, and aggression.  (Fall only)
367 Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3). Prereq: PSY 203.
The application of scientific methods and psychological principles to industrial and organizational behavior. Topics include: job analysis, the legal context for personnel decisions, work motivation and attitudes, leadership and occupational health, including stress.
373 Health Psychology (3). Preeq: PSY 203 or 4 hours of science.
This course will provide an overview of the emerging field of health psychology and its contributions to our health care systems. A biopsychological approach to health and wellness will be utilized. Topics will include: stress, coping mechanisms, nutrition, eating disorders, and complementary and alternative approaches to medicine.
381 Seminar on Psychology (3). Prereq: PSY 201, 202 plus 12 additional hours in psychology AND consent of the instructor.
In-depth examinations of reading and research in selected topics of current interest to faculty and students conducted on a group basis. Primarily for those who are majoring in the field. Course can be repeated.
410-411 Undergraduate Honors Research (1 and 2 hours).
Supervised original research and instruction related to a specific area of psychology. This is a full year sequence (1 hr fall and 2 hr spring) in which students will choose a topic, complete background research, design and implement a study, and present their findings. Students will have the opportunity to attend and/or present their research at a psychology conference or symposium. Participation in the class is by invitation of the instructor and is required of all honor students. (Honor) (410, fall only; 411, spring only)
420 Cross-Cultural/International Psychology (3). Prereq: PSY 203.
A study of the relationships between cultural context and ethnicity—both in the U.S. and the international context—and psychological and social functioning. Practical applications for understanding, working with, and helping people in different cultural settings will be explored.
425 Psychological Testing (3). Prereq: PSY 203 and 303 or consent of instructor.
A study of the process of assessment as it relates to human functioning. Concepts of test construction, standardization, and validation are covered. Tests in the areas of intelligence, personality, attitude, achievement, and vocational interests are examined.  (Spring, odd years only)
440 Behavioral Neuroscience (3).  Prereq: PSY 203, PSY 305, 7 hours of Science.
A study of the physiological events associated with behavior.  Emphasis is placed on the neural functions that give rise to human behavior and mental functions.  The class will explore recent discoveries in neuroscience, research methodologies and insights into the role of neurotransmitters and different brain regions in normal and abnormal functioning.  Specific brain disorders and dysfunctions as well as pharmacological and surgical treatments will be explored.  Philosophical questions and debates regarding the relationship between the mind and brain will be discussed. (Spring, even years)
460 Psychology and Christianity (3).  Prereq: PSY-203, 303, 305, 341, 9 additional hours in Psychology
This is a capstone course intended for seniors only. This course explores the historical and contemporary relationship between science and the Christian faith.  Competing models of the relationship between the field of psychology and religious faith will be explored.  Students will be required to write an in-depth study of a specific topic in the field.  This course is required for all psychology majors. (Spring only)
470 Field Observation: (1)  Prereq: PSY 203, 305, and second semester junior or senior standing.
This course involves gaining field observation within an approved agency that matches the student’s future career goals.  In addition to course work, students will observe 20 hours of interaction with the professionals in the selected agency.  (Fall only)
471 Counseling or Child Practicum (1-6).  Prereq: PSY 203, 305, and second semester junior or senior standing, plus a 2.75 GPA or above. 
Field experience related to the student’s academic and life goals.  The practicum is designed to provide professionally supervised experience in selected settings.  The student may select between the counseling or child related areas.  Students will be required to meet with a faculty supervisor, keep a journal and write a summary paper.  Open only to psychology majors.
472 Practicum in Psychological Research (1-6). Prereq: PSY 203, 305, second semester junior or senior standing,
This practicum is designed to give the student experience participating in psychological research.  Students will have the opportunity to be actively involved in a professional psychologist’s current research.  This may include gathering data, reviewing professional literature, analyzing data, preparing the results for presentations or publications and/or participating in research team meetings.  Only open to majors.  Second semester junior or senior standing, 3.0 GPA or above and departmental approval required.  Students will be required to meet with a faculty supervisor, keep a journal and write a summary paper.