Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to sub-navigation

Course Listing

Content Caveats

Courses Overview

PY100 Introduction to Psychology: Bases of Behavior (All)      
PY101 Introduction to Psychology: EIPP (& FYE) TBA      
PY111 Introduction to Psychology: GLID ( & FYE) Roberts      
PY107 Brain & Society Jacobs      
PY135 Introduction to Behavioral Game Theory Horner      
PY143 Psychology of Gender (& FYE) Roberts      
PY151 Readings in Psychology (All)      
PY160 Women & Madness Waters      
PY178 Topics in Psychology (& FYE) (All)      
PY181 Attitudes, Persuasion, & Social Influence TBA      
PY182 Psychology of Prejudice & Intergroup Relations Chan      
PY202 Research Design (2 blocks)

Chan, Driscoll,
Erdal, Holmes, Horner

PY251 Psychological Investigations (All) Y    
PY270 Educational Psychology Waters      
PY281 Personality Roberts Y    
PY297 Neuroscience I Driscoll, Jacobs Y    
PY298 Neuroscience II Driscoll, Jacobs Y    PY297
PY309 Social Psychology Chan, Roberts Y  Y  
PY318 Topical Issues in Neuroscience Jacobs Y   PY297
PY332 Learning & Adaptive Behavior Horner Y Y  
PY344 Cognition Holmes, Horner Y Y  
PY362 Abnormal Psychology Erdal, Waters Y Y  
PY363 Science and PseudoScience in Clinical Psychology Erdal Y Y PY362
PY374 Lifespan Developmental Psychology Waters Y Y  
PY408 Topical Seminar (see course) Y Y  
PY409 Social Cognition Chan Y Y PY309 or PY344
PY412 Human Neuropsychology Erdal Y Y PY297 & PY298
PY413 Developmental Psychopathology Waters Y Y PY374
PY417 Advanced Neuroscience Seminar Jacobs Y Y PY297 & PY298
PY420 Cognitive Ethology Jacobs Y Y PY297 & PY298
PY422 Emotion Roberts Y Y PY281 or PY309
PY423 Psychology of Morality & Conflict Roberts Y Y PY281 or PY309
PY425 Depression Waters Y Y PY362
PY426 Sport Psychology Erdal Y Y + 3 Core
PY427 Moral Reasoning in Context Waters Y Y P309 or PY374
PY430 Adolescence Waters Y Y PY362 or PY374
PY433 Neuropharmacology Driscoll Y Y PY297 & PY298
PY435 Behavioral Game Theory Horner Y Y PY309 or PY332 or PY344
PY437 Evolutionary Psychology Horner Y Y  
PY439 Language and Thought Holmes Y Y PY344
PY441 Remembering Horner Y Y PY344
PY449 History and Systems of Psychology Horner Y Y  
PY451 Final Project (All) Y Y  

Codes in the Course Overview Table: Y=Yes; *or PY101 or PY111

Psychology Course Descriptions


PY100-Introduction to Psychology: Bases of Behavior. Examination of psychological phenomena from biobehavioral and sociobehavioral perspectives. Contemporary issues in psychology such as intelligence, development, perception, learning, abnormal behavior, language, and social behavior are explored. Scientific methodology and its application to psychological phenomena are stressed. (Fulfills Scientific Investigation of the Natural World, Lab Course requirement.) Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. (No credit if taken after PY101 or PY111)
| Top |

PY101-Introduction to Psychology: Enduring Ideas and Present Principles. Psychological concepts traced from Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, through the Middle Ages, and Renaissance, to the 19th and 20th-centuries. Current psychological data and theory, ranging from brain mechanisms to learning, motivation, cognition, personality and social psychology. (Fulfills Scientific Investigation of the Natural World, Lab Course requirement. Counts as PY100 prerequisite for other courses.) Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. (No credit if taken after PY100 or PY111)

FYE: This course may also be offered as a two-block FYE course.  2 units.

| Top |

PY111-Introduction to Psychology: General Laws and Individual Differences. An introductory course about the two major traditions that represent academic psychology, general laws and individual differences. Some of the topics covered are learning, perception, personality, cognition, developmental psychology, social psychology, emotion, and behavior genetics. (Fulfills Scientific Investigation of the Natural World, Lab Course requirement. Counts as PY100 prerequisite for other courses.) Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. (No credit if taken after PY100 or PY101). Roberts

FYE: This course may also be offered as a two block FYE course. 2 units.

| Top |

PY107-Brain and Society: Explorations of the Individual and Society from a Brain-Based Perspective. The purpose of this interdisciplinary course is to explore the multifaceted nature of the human brain, with the belief that increased knowledge of the brain inevitably enriches our understanding of ourselves, be it at a personal, social, or political level. No academic area is more essential to a liberal arts education than the human brain, a topic that usually falls under the rubric of the natural sciences. Inquiries about the human brain nevertheless constitute the quintessential undertaking of the humanities and social sciences because the human brain defines life as we know it and determines who we are as individuals, including our personal beliefs, sensations, attitudes, achievements, and failures. More indirectly, the human brain defines who we are as sociopolitical creatures and is responsible for all aspects of our behavior, including qualities such as altruism, and nepotism, racism, and humanitarianism. In short, the brain remains the determining force behind the world that humans have created for themselves. Students will read a wide variety of material in order to begin answering questions crucial to how our experiences shape us and are shaped. The course will also offer a guided tour of the brain, including a "hands-on" experience with actual human tissue. No specialized scientific knowledge is assumed. Students from all disciplines are welcome. (Fulfills Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement.) Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. Jacobs
| Top |

PY135-Introduction to Behavioral Game Theory. Whenever people make decisions that depend upon what others do or are expected to do, they are playing games. Game theory explores how people should play games in order to achieve the best outcome. However, failing to employ an optimal strategy can reveal a great deal about the psychological processes involved in decision making. This course offers an introduction to game theory and explores why people fail to make optimal decisions. (Fulfills Scientific Investigation of the Natural World requirement.) Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. (No credit if taken after PY435). Horner
| Top |

PY143-Psychology of Gender (also FG143). An examination of research and theory on psychological gender differences and similarities. This course will explore the ways in which gender is a system of meanings that operate at the individual, interactional, and cultural level to structure people’s lives. Special attention is made to methodological issues, and to feminist critiques of traditional methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation. (Fulfills Social Inequality requirement.) Prerequisite: None. 1 unit. Roberts

FYE: This course may also be offered as a two block FYE course. 2 units.
| Top |

PY151-Readings in Psychology. Independent readings in areas of psychology with close faculty supervision; designed for non-majors. Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor. 1 unit.
| Top |

PY160-Women and Madness (also FG160). Examines the concept of madness as it has been applied to women from historical, psychological, social and feminist perspectives. The goal will be to critically examine the diagnostic criteria used by the psychiatric community and popular culture to define deviance. Investigations, using case materials, of the “logic” of madness as a reasonable response to unreasonable conditions. Careful consideration of the use of psychopharmacological treatments for women, particularly of depression. (Fulfills Social Inequality requirement.) Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. Waters
| Top |

PY178-Topics in Psychology. Introduction to a problem of classic or contemporary interest covering source material in depth, and stressing history, theory and method. Contact the instructor listed on the course schedule for the particular PY178 course of interest to obtain specific details for that course.  Prerequisites: Varies by course. 1 unit.

FYE: This course may also be offered as a two block FYE course. 2 units.

PY181 Attitudes, Persuasion, and Social Influence. The goal of this course is to help us understand the psychology behind persuasion and social influence. Content will include topics such as: What is an attitude? How are attitudes formed? Under what conditions are attitudes changed (or remain resistant to changes)? How well does our behavior correspond to our attitudes? What effects do persuasion tactics have on our behavior? Students will learn about psychology theories, examine real life examples, and conduct research on persuasion. Students will also reflect on the role of persuasion in society and the ethics associated with using psychological research in applied settings such as in marketing and politics. Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. Chan
| Top |

PY182 The Psychology of Prejudice and Intergroup Relations. What is racism and sexism? Why are people prejudiced? This course will introduce students to various frameworks for understanding prejudice, intergroup perception/relations, and the management of conflict between social groups, which may be based on race and ethnicity, age, sex, gender, region of the country, people from different universities, etc. However, the conceptual frameworks discussed in the course are intended to be general and to be applicable to various social groupings. Students will examine case studies, psychology theories, and will think about their own perceptions of and interactions with people from different social groups. Students will also reflect on the notions of multiculturalism and social justice. Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. Chan
| Top |


PY202-Research Design. A two-block introduction to basic statistics and to research methods in the context of psychological research. Principles of experimental design and analysis will be taught, especially the use and interpretation of inferential tests. Also included will be psychological topics that rely on correlation and linear regression, and principles of psychological testing. Students design, conduct, and write up their own experiment. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111. 2 units. Chan, Driscoll, Erdal, Holmes, Horner.
| Top |

PY251-Psychological Investigations. PY251 Psychological Investigations is for students to work in an apprentice position with a faculty member on an experimental project designed by the professor or those wishing to write a comprehensive literature review. The requirements for independent study are set by faculty members after discussion with the student. Usually, independent research results in a thesis paper. You do not need to submit a proposal in order to do an independent study; however, you should arrange with a faculty member to do a project as early as possible. Independent Study projects are assigned on a space available basis. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111 and consent of instructor. 1/2 unit (semester-long) or 1 unit (year-long).
| Top |

PY270-Educational Psychology: The Science and Art of Teaching (also ED311). Theory, research, and the reality of the everyday classroom are examined to evaluate important issues teachers face: cognitive development, social-emotional issues, motivation, sex roles, management of problematic classroom behaviors, skill enhancement for both teachers and students, and other topics of current controversy and interest. Enrollment is open to all students interested in the theory and practice of teaching. The course may be taken for graduate credit with consent of the Assistant Dean of the Summer Session. Prerequisites: None. 1 unit. Waters
| Top |

PY281-Personality. This course will be an in-depth exploration into the lives and theories of a number of influential personality theorists. We will cover several theories from their earliest versions, through changes and modifications with time and research, in order to explore the process of theory-building with respect to understanding people. We will also delve into a number of scientific controversies surrounding personality. For example, what units shall be used to measure personality? Are humans more the product of their dispositions or of the situations in which they find themselves? Is the concept of the self useful and necessary? What is the unconscious? Why do or don’t people change? Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111. 1 unit. Roberts
| Top |

PY297-Neuroscience I. An introduction to the neural foundations of behavior. Explores the anatomical, physiological, and pharmacological underpinnings of topics such as development, movement, sensation, and cortical processing. Laboratory work emphasizes gross neuroanatomy, neurohistology, neurophysiology, and neuropharmacology. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, or consent of instructor. 1 unit - Driscoll, Jacobs.
| Top |

PY298-Neuroscience II. A direct extension of topics covered in Neuroscience I (PY297), with emphasis on integrative neural systems. Explores complex aspects of neurophysiology, neuropharmacology, motor systems, auditory systems, language, memory, emotions, and neuroplasticity. Laboratory work emphasizes comparative neuroanatomy and systems neuroscience. PY298 is designed to be taken immediately after completion of PY297. Prerequisites: PY297. 1 unit. Driscoll, Jacobs
| Top |


PY309-Social Psychology. Aristotle said that humans are, by nature, “social animals.” This course looks at psychology from the perspective of the power of social situations to determine human behavior, beliefs, and emotions, examining questions of social influence. Among the topics we will explore are attitudes and persuasion, conformity and obedience, social cognition, aggression, prejudice, self-justification and attraction. We will also pay special attention to social psychology as a science, delving deeply into experimentation and exploring its many challenges in this area. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111; and PY202,
1 unit - Chan, Roberts.
| Top |

PY318-Topical Issues in Neuroscience. This half-block course provides students with the opportunity to explore topical areas of neuroscience through current publications. These readings will consist of recent trade books, review articles, journal articles, and/or neuroscience information in the popular press. The course will be conducted in a seminar format with heavy emphasis on discussion of the relevant readings. May be repeated multiple times for credit. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY297. 1/2 unit. Jacobs
| Top |

PY332-Learning and Adaptive Behavior. Functional relations between animal and environment which define learning. The course emphasizes the significance of behavior and plasticity in adaptation and concentrates on learning and how evolutionary processes affect learning. Experimental work involves a range of animals from human to invertebrates. Lecture, discussion and laboratory. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Horner
| Top |

PY344-Cognition. The process of knowing explored from an empirical perspective. Topics include remembering, thinking, categorizing, meaning, representing, problem solving, imaging, sensing, perceiving and acting. The course has a significant laboratory component of original research using human subjects. Limited to 15 students. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Horner
| Top |

PY362-Abnormal Psychology. Surveys the major psychological disorders as scientific as well as socio-cultural constructs. Prevalence, assessment, causal factors, treatment approaches, and the legal and ethical implications of “abnormality” are addressed. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202. 1 unit. Erdal
| Top |

PY363 Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology. This half-block course is an investigation into the efficacy claims of controversial assessment techniques, diagnoses, and forms of psychotherapy. This course will assess when claims are empirically-supported according to scientific as well as legal standards of evidence. The commercialization of mental health treatments will also be addressed. Prerequisite: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and PY362 recommended or consent of instructor. ½ unit. Erdal
| Top |

PY374-Lifespan Developmental Psychology. A research-based analysis of perspectives, issues, and influences on human development from conception to death. Content areas to be examined include aspects of cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development. Course combines lecture, discussion and laboratory work. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202. 1 unit. Waters
| Top |


PY408 - Topical Seminar. For advanced students to do intensive study in a special area of current faculty interest. Contact the instructor listed on the course schedule for the particular PY408 course of interest to obtain specific details for that course. Prerequisite: Varies with the problem. 1 unit.

PY409-Social Cognition (PY 409). This course builds upon the material covered in PY309, Social Psychology. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202 and (PY309 or PY344). 1 unit. Chan
| Top |

PY412-Human Neuropsychology. An in-depth consideration of the functional organization of the human central nervous system. General topics explored include neurology (e.g., language, spatial, memory, sensorimotor, and emotional disorders), brain imaging techniques, and neuropsychological assessment. Field experience with brain-damaged/impaired individuals. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and both PY297 & PY298 or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Erdal
| Top |

PY413-Developmental Psychopathology. An empirically-based survey of the prevalence, etiology, course and treatment of child and adolescent psychological disorders. Biological and sociocultural aspects of psychopathology are addressed and ethical implications of common treatment strategies are discussed. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and PY374. (PY362 or PY297 also recommended). 1 unit. Waters
| Top |

PY417-Advanced Neuroscience Seminar. An in-depth, student-centered exploration of advanced issues in fundamental areas of neuroscience. Topics may include but are not limited to cellular and molecular neuroscience, nervous system development, sensory and motor systems, regulatory systems, behavioral and cognitive neuroscience. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and both PY297 & PY298. 1 unit. Jacobs
| Top |

PY420-Cognitive Ethology. This course provides an overview of cognitive ethology (the study of animal behavior in the natural environment), with a focus on non-human animal communication systems. The natural communication systems and cognitive abilities of several species will be examined, including bees, birds, non-human primates, and cetacea. In addition, the course will explore attempts to teach non-human animals (e.g., Pan paniscus and Tursiops truncatus) human-based artificial languages. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and both PY297 & PY298, or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Jacobs
| Top |

PY422-Emotion. An in-depth exploration of the scientific research on emotion, paying particular attention to new theoretical frameworks, and new experimental investigations into the nature of emotional experience and expression. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and (PY281 or PY309), or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Roberts
| Top |

PY423 Psychology of Morality and Conflict. This course will examine questions of morality, moral behavior and conflict in humans and non-humans from a wide variety of angles within psychology. We will place special emphasis on social psychology’s efforts to unravel the causes and consequences of “evil.” Finally, we will conduct an in-depth analysis of a current area of moral and political conflict – capital punishment, abortion, global sustainability, etc. – in an effort to apply the lessons learned from psychology to its resolution. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and (PY281 or PY309), 1 unit. Roberts
| Top |

PY425-Depression. An examination of the etiology, course and treatment of affective disorders. Risk factors in the onset of depressive disorders are investigated, including biological and genetic contributions, environmental and familial factors, and individual differences or personality factors. Distinguishing features of the multiple forms of depression are examined, as well as differences in the prognosis and treatment of these various forms. The impact of depression on health, relationships and family systems, and cultural and gender issues in etiology and treatment are explored. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and PY362, or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Waters
| Top |

PY426 Sport Psychology. An exploration of psychological variables that impact sport participation and behavior in sport settings. Applied, experimental, and clinical aspects of sport psychology are covered in a discussion-based format. Specific topics, which originate from core psychological principles, include but are not limited to sport-related motivation, superstition, and anxiety, the use of imagery and drugs, and how age, gender, race, and spectators impact sport. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and 3 total core courses in psychology. 1 unit. Erdal
| Top |

PY427 Moral Reasoning in Context. This course is a community-based learning experience in which students examine the psychology of morality from developmental, social and clinical perspectives. Readings range from historical and philosophical renderings of morality to recent empirical investigations of moral development and prosocial behavior. A 6-8 hour/week internship combined with journal entries, short papers, and a final research paper provide opportunities for students to integrate psychological research as it is reflected in community practice. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and (PY309 or PY374). 1 unit. Waters
| Top |

PY430 Adolescence. Is "storm and stress" a normal part of adolescence? Is adolescence a discrete developmental stage or a social construction? This course examines the adolescent experience from theoretical, empirical, cross-cultural, and biographical perspectives. A case analysis approach is used to examine the implications of cognitive, socio-emotional and physical changes that occur during adolescence. The course investigates the nature of the adolescent passage in its typical and atypical forms and examines socio-cultural factors that contribute to healthy or maladaptive adolescent development. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and (PY362 or PY374). 1 unit. Waters
| Top |

PY433-Neuropharmacology. Neuroscience is based on the premise that thoughts, sensations and actions are, at some level, encoded in chemical and electrical signals. This course explores central nervous system pharmacology at multiple levels, including the cellular and molecular bases of neurochemical signaling and its modulation, mechanisms of action of pharmacological agents on neurotransmitter system dynamics, and foundations of behavioral pharmacology. Having covered these fundamentals, the course explores current topics, including cellular models of learning and memory, pharmacology of neurological diseases and their treatment, and drug abuse and dependence. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and both PY297 & PY298. 1 unit. Driscoll
| Top |

PY435-Behavioral Game Theory.  Game Theory is used in a variety of fields to explore how people (and other animals) should make decisions when the actions of others are involved in the outcome.  Game theory can tell us the optimal solution in these kinds of interactions.  However, failing to employ an optimal strategy can reveal a great deal about the psychological processes involved in decision making.  This course offers an introduction to game theory and explores why organisms fail to make optimal decisions. PrerequisitesPY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202 and either (PY309 or PY332 or PY344).  1-unit (No credit if taken after PY135). Horner
Top |

PY437-Evolutionary Psychology. This course explores the impact of natural selection on human and animal behavior. It begins with an overview of evolutionary processes and covers such topics as: emotion, morality, mate selection, learning, altruism, parent-offspring interaction, ownership and irrationality. The course focuses on primary reading from Darwin through contemporary scholarship in biology and psychology. Critiques of this approach are also discussed. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and 3 total core courses in psychology, or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Horner
| Top |

PY439: Language and Thought. Languages differ dramatically in how they carve up the world. Do these differences lead speakers of different languages to think about the world differently? Or might they instead point to underlying commonalities in human thought? Critical evaluation of classic arguments and recent empirical research on these and related questions. Prerequisite: PY202 and PY344 or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Holmes
Top |

PY441-Remembering. An examination of research on memory with an emphasis on empirical work and historical trends in the field. Students are expected to integrate research into a coherent theory of remembering using primary sources and in-class experiments. The class is conducted in a seminar format with students expected to contribute to discussion and analysis. Lecture, discussion and laboratory. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and PY344 or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Horner
| Top |

PY449-History and Systems of Psychology. Modern and contemporary scientific issues as they pertain to psychology. Historical origins of these issues. Topics such as mathematical models, psychophysics, cognitive psychology, CNS theories, the logic of science and Gestalt theory discussed within the context of the correspondences between constructs and events. Prerequisites: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and a total of 3 core courses in psychology, or consent of instructor. 1 unit. Horner
| Top |

PY451, PY452, PY453 -Final Project. In depth exploration of a particular topic under the supervision of a faculty member. A final project may take several forms: (a) supervised independent research leading to a published paper, (b) a review of the literature to address a particular issue, or (c) directed field study. If you are interested in doing a Final Project you must apply in the second semester (Last Monday of Block 6) in the year before you wish to do your project. Prerequisite: PY100 or 101 or 111, and PY202, and consent of instructor under whose supervision work is to be completed. 1 unit (PY451), 2 units (PY451 & PY452), or 3 units (PY451, PY452, & PY453) as agreed upon with instructor.

Link to Final Project Page.
| Top |


GS 101-Freedom and Authority (FYE only). The conflicts of individual freedom and institutional authority in ethics, politics, science, and religion. Readings emphasize the development of these conflicts in Western culture, from antiquity to modern times, and are related to the decisions which students must make concerning the central values in their lives. First-year students only. Students may receive separate grades for each block of this course, but must be enrolled in all the blocks in order to receive credit. (Fulfills Social Inequality requirement.) Prerequisites: None. 2 units.
| Top|