Program Description

The Psychology Department emphasizes an empirical approach to psychology - one based on observation and experience that, in turn, builds the skills needed to think through the challenges of the field.

  • Coursework includes psychology classes, advanced laboratories, independent research, opportunities for internships and service learning, fieldwork, seminars, and exploration of special projects.
  • Courses, lab work, and other activities promote knowledge of the causes of behavior and mental processes . . . while helping develop a scientific attitude and an appreciation for the complexity of human personality.
  • Through the study of psychology, students gain direct experience with the major methods, instruments, and theoretical frameworks of the discipline.

The breadth of experiences in the Psychology Department are a major reason why graduates are routinely accepted to the nation's leading graduate programs - in fact, more than half of the department's graduates go on to graduate school. 

As a whole, students of psychology at Gettysburg College aren't simply "given the answers" - rather, they are given the tools that enable them to ask the questions.

Program Requirements

Psychology requires only ten courses for a major. This provides students with  maximum flexibility to explore other disciplines and integrate that new knowledge into their ongoing study of psychology.

  • A hallmark of the Gettysburg psychology major is its focus on research.
  • In fact, all majors take two advanced research laboratory courses, and many conduct independent research, working one-on-one with a faculty mentor.

Double Major/Minor:  With early planning, many psychology majors double major in psychology and one of the other disciplines, or minor in neuroscience or education. 

Departmental Honors are awarded to graduating majors who have:

  • Demonstrated academic excellence in course work in the major (in the combined judgment of the faculty), and
  • Completed an individualized empirical research project, honors research, or an honors thesis.

Psychology Major Requirements

Prerequisite Course

  • Psychology 101: General Psychology

Other Psychology Courses (must be taken in sequence)

  • Psychology 205: Introduction to Statistics
  • Psychology 305: Experimental Methods
  • Psychology 341: History of Experimental Psychology

200-Level Courses:

Prerequisites for "Group A" Labs: (must take 2)

  • Psy 215-Human Cognition
  • Psy 216-Sensation and Perception
  • Psy 236-Intro to Brain and Behavior
  • Psy 237-Psychopharmacology
  • Psy 238-Cognitive Neuroscience

Prerequisites for "Group B" Labs: (must take 2)

  • Psy 210-Cultural Psychology
  • Psy 214-Social Psychology
  • Psy 221-Basic Dynamics of Personality
  • Psy 225-Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood


Advanced Laboratory Courses (taken in separate semesters)
 

Group A: (must take 1)

  • Psy 315-Thinking and Cognition (prereq: 215, 305)
  • Psy 316-Perception (prereq: 216, 305)
  • Psy 317-Memory and Social Cognition (prereq: 215, 305)
  • Psy 336-Behavioral Neuroscience (prereq: 236 or 237, 305)
  • Psy 338-Laboratory in Cognitive Neuroscience (prereq: 238, 305)

Group B: (must take 1)

  • Psy 310-Cultural Psychology Lab (prereq: 210, 305)
  • Psy 314-Experimental Social Psychology (prereq: 214, 305)
  • Psy 321-Experimental Personality Psychology (prereq: 221, 305)
  • Psy 327-Experimental Cognitive Development (prereq: 225, 305)
  • Psy 328-Laboratory in Social and Personality Dev. (prereq: 225, 305)

Additional Courses

  • Psy 326-Abnormal Psychology (prereq: Any two 200-level psychology courses)
  • Psy 400-Seminar (prereq: permission of instructor)
  • Psy 450-453-Individualized Study Tutorial (prereq: permission of instructor)
  • Psy 460-463-Individualized Study Empirical Research (prereq: permission of instructor)
  • Psy 464-Honors Research (by invitation of Department only)
  • Psy 470-473-Individualized Study Internship (see Internship Coordinator)
  • Psy 474-475-Individualized Study Summer Internship (see Internship Coordinator)
  • Psy 466-Honors Thesis (by invitation of Department only)

Other Laboratory Courses (not in Psychology)

  • Choose two laboratory courses in the Division of Natural Sciences from among those that will satisfy the natural science requirement..

Important Notes for Majors:

  • Psychology 205 and 305 are prerequisites for all lab courses.
  • Majors must earn a grade of C or better in both Psychology 205 and 305.
  • Psychology 205 may not be repeated for the major.

Capstone Experience

Majors must complete a capstone experience, which will provide evidence of the mastering of significant content and the communication conventions of the major. 

  • The capstone for psychology majors entails the completion of two advanced psychology laboratory courses.
  • More information about capstone projects can be obtained from the department.

Course Listing

Course level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
PSYCH-101 General Psychology
Introduction to basic scientific logic, facts, theories, and principles of psychology, including the study of human motivation, learning, emotion, perception, thought, intelligence, and personality.


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PSYCH-205 Introduction to Statistics
Introduction to descriptive and inferential statistical methods with applications in psychology. Laboratory work involves the use of a computer software package that allows for the application of statistical procedures. Credit may not be granted for this course and Mathematics 107, Biology 260, or Economics 241. Prerequisite: Psychology 101. Required of all majors in Psychology; open only to declared Psychology majors. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-210 Cultural Psychology
Introduction to cross-cultural study of areas such as personality, motivation, socialization, interpersonal behavior, psychological environments, cognitive development, ethnocentrism and stereotypes. The course emphasis is on how cultural factors, such as cultural traditions, environments and beliefs contribute to psychological processes and subsequently lead to cross-cultural differences. The focus of the course is on cultural psychology theories and methodological issues. Prerequisite: Psychology 101.


PSYCH-214 Social Psychology
Review of current psychological theory and research in social psychology. Topics include attitude and behavior change, conformity, attraction, interpersonal perception, and psychological aspects of social interaction. Prerequisite: Psychology 101.


PSYCH-215 Human Cognition
Introduction to cognitive psychology. Topics covered include perception, attention, memory, learning, forgetting, language comprehension, reasoning, and problem solving. Theories are presented concerning cognitive processes, and empirical evidence is considered that might challenge or support these theories. Prerequisite: Psychology 101.


PSYCH-216 Sensation and Perception
Explores phenomena of sensation and perception from the perspective of experimental psychology. Emphasis is on understanding the mechanisms and processes that underlie our experiences of the material world. Research projects explore special topics and areas of current research. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 or Biology 101 or 111.


PSYCH-221 Basic Dynamics of Personality
Introduction to contemporary research in personality in the context of major theoretical perspectives that have shaped the field, including psychodynamic, behavioral, humanistic, social-cognitive, biological, and trait models. Issues that arise in the conceptualization, assessment, and empirical study of personality are emphasized. Prerequisite: Psychology 101.


PSYCH-225 Developmental Psychology: Infancy & Childhood
Psychological development of the individual, from conception up to adolescence. Theory, methodology, and research are presented in the areas of perception, learning, cognition, language, social, and moral development. Prerequisite: Psychology 101.


PSYCH-226 Developmental Psychology: Adolescence
A developmental approach to the study of the adolescent. Attention is given to the physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development of the adolescent as well as theoretical and methodological issues. This course includes research addressing the role of family, peers, schools, and culture in adolescent development


PSYCH-236 Introduction to Brain & Behavior
Introduction to the anatomical, physiological, and biochemical bases of human behavior. Topics include the neurobiology of motivation, emotions, and psychopathology. Topics are discussed within comparative and evolutionary frameworks, with a particular emphasis on developing an ability to conceptualize psychological phenomena in biological terms. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 or permission of instructor.


PSYCH-237 Psychopharmacology
Examination of how psychoactive compounds affect the brain, behavior, and cognition. The major neurochemical systems of the brain and how psychoactive compounds affect these systems are discussed at length. Topics include both recreational and psychotherapeutic agents. Methods used in psychopharmacology research are emphasized throughout the course. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 or permission of instructor.


PSYCH-238 Cognitive Neuroscience
An exploration of the field of cognitive neuroscience. Emphasis is on understanding the neural bases of higher mental functions such as memory, attention, emotion, and language. Major themes include the relationship between the mind and brain, localization of function, and the multi-methodological approach to cognitive neuroscience research. Students will be introduced to basic neuroanatomy, brain imaging, and research involving people with focal brain damage. Prerequisite: Psychology 101 or permission of instructor.


PSYCH-290 Mentored Research Internship
Quarter credit internship graded S/U.


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PSYCH-305 Experimental Methods
Introduction to scientific method and experimental design. Emphasis is on the logical development of new ideas, kinds and sources of error in experimentation, methods of control, design and analysis of experiments, and scientific communication. Three class hours and three laboratory hours. Prerequisite: Psychology 205.


PSYCH-310 Advanced Laboratory in Cultural Psychology
Advanced reading and discussion concerning current cultural psychology topics. The focus of this course is on empirical research and methodological limitations. Systematic study of the effect of cultural factors on individual and group behaviors is central to the course. Students design, conduct, analyze and write up their own research project. . Prerequisites: Psychology 210 and 305. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-314 Experimental Social Psychology
Advanced study of specific content areas in social psychology. Discussion focuses on current theories, experimental research, and methodological issues specific to social psychology. Laboratory work includes design, execution, and analysis of original experimental research. Prerequisites: Psychology 214 and 305. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-315 Thinking and Cognition
In-depth examination of the cognitive processes involved in explicit and implicit memory, eyewitness testimony, and false memory. Current research and existing theories are surveyed. Students design, conduct, analyze, and present an independent research project concerning a topic in advanced cognition. Prerequisites: Psychology 215 and 305. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-316 Perception
In-depth investigation of current topics in perception through review of empirical research and theory. Focus is on high-level vision, taste/flavor perception, or the perception-action system, with an emphasis on cognitive and developmental influences on the perceptual process. In laboratory, students design and conduct original research. Prerequisites: Psychology 216 and 305. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-317 Memory and Social Cognition
Introduction to human memory and social cognition. Focus is on the cognitive structures and processes involved in social judgment. Errors and biases in human judgment are also examined. Three class hours and three laboratory hours. Prerequisites: Psychology 215 and 305.


PSYCH-321 Experimental Personality Psychology
Advanced discussion and research of topics in Basic Dynamics of Personality. The course surveys the literature in personality psychology and offers an in depth treatment of the research methodologies used in the field. Students design, conduct, analyze, write up, and present the results of an original experiment. Prerequisites: Psychology 221 and 305. Three class hours and the equivalent of three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-326 Abnormal Psychology
Introduction to psychopathology, with particular attention to conceptual, methodological, and ethical issues involved in the study of abnormal behavior. Approaches to defining, assessing, and treating psychological disorders are discussed and evaluated in light of current empirical evidence. Prerequisites: Any two 200-level psychology courses, or permission of instructor.


PSYCH-327 Laboratory in Cognitive and Perceptual Development
Intensive study of one or more areas of cognitive and perceptual development. Emphasis is on the unique characteristics of research with children. Laboratory work is conducted in a preschool or day care center. Design, execution, and analysis of several research projects is required. Prerequisites: Psychology 225 and 305. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-328 Laboratory in Social and Emotional Development
Intensive study of one or more areas of social and emotional development, utilizing observational and experimental methods. Emphasis is on the unique characteristics of research with children. Laboratory work is conducted in a preschool or day care center. Design, execution, and analysis of a research project is required. Prerequisites: Psychology 225 and 305. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-336 Behavioral Neuroscience
Advanced discussion of topics included in Psychology 236, as well as an in-depth treatment of brain development and the neurochemical basis of behavior. Prerequisites: Psychology 236 or 237 and Psychology 305 or permission of instructor. Three class hours and three laboratory hours.


PSYCH-338 Experimental Cognitive Neuroscience
Advanced study of one or more specific content areas in cognitive neuroscience. Discussion focuses on current theories, experimental research, and the multi-methodological approach to cognitive neuroscience research. Laboratory work includes design, execution, and analysis of original experimental research involving brain stimulation. Three class hours and three laboratory hours. Prerequisites: Psychology 238 and 305.


PSYCH-341 History of Experimental Psychology
Review of the historical development of scientific psychology. Emphases are on early foundations of major conceptual issues and on the role of the reference experiment in setting the course of modern psychological research. Prerequisite: Psychology 305.


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PSYCH-400 Seminar
Opportunity to work on a selected topic in a small group under the guidance of a faculty member. Not offered every year. Topic for a given semester is announced in advance. May be repeated. Open to junior and senior majors. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


PSYCH-450 Individualized Reading
Tutorial opportunity to do intensive and critical reading and to write a term paper on a topic of special interest. Student is expected to become thoroughly familiar with reference books, microfilms, and scientific journals available for library research in the field of psychology. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated.


PSYCH-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


PSYCH-452 Individualized Reading
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


PSYCH-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


PSYCH-460 Individualized Study-Research
Design and execution of an empirical study involving the collection and analysis of data in relation to some psychological problem under the supervision of a faculty member. Students are required to present an acceptable research proposal no later than four weeks following the beginning of the semester or to withdraw from the course. Research culminates in a paper. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated.


PSYCH-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


PSYCH-462 Individualized Study-Research
Design and execution of an empirical study involving the collection and analysis of data in relation to some psychological problem under the supervision of a faculty member. Students are required to present an acceptable research proposal no later than four weeks following the beginning of the semester or to withdraw from the course. Research culminates in a paper. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. May be repeated. Does not count in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.


PSYCH-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U


PSYCH-464 Honors Research
Students in the Honors Research Program take this course in their senior year. Course has two components: (a) a research project, similar to that described under Individualized Empirical Research, in which each student designs and executes an empirical study under the supervision of a staff member; and (b) an honors seminar in which honors students present and discuss their research projects. Students may elect to do their research project in either the fall or spring semester. Seminar meets both semesters, and all students participate in all of the seminar meetings. One course credit is given in the spring semester. Prerequisites: Participation in the Honors Research Program is by invitation of the department. Best consideration is given to students who have completed an advanced lab by the end of their junior year.


PSYCH-466 Honors Thesis
Designed to meet needs of the clearly superior student. During the senior year each participant engages in an original program of research under the direction of a thesis committee. In addition to completing a formal thesis, each student presents and discusses his or her research before the entire staff. Successful completion of the program entitles the student to receive credit for two courses that can be applied towards a psychology major. Prerequisite: By invitation of the department only.


PSYCH-470 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


PSYCH-471 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.


PSYCH-472 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


PSYCH-473 Individualized Study-Internship
A minimum of 160 hours of on-the-job experience in a mental health, human resource, or research position. Students must be sponsored by a faculty member, and receive approval by the internship coordinator. Available during the fall or spring semesters or during the summer. Does not count in the minimum requirements for the major; graded S/U.


PSYCH-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


PSYCH-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


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