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Core Courses offer instruction on psychological theory providing key insights about the processes underlying mental functioning (e.g., thinking, memory), affect (e.g., feelings and emotions), and behavior. These courses establish the foundation for Wright State’s undergraduate curriculum in psychology, helping students to understand how and why people think, feel, and behave the way they do. Among the areas where students will learn are (1) basic processes – topics that illustrate primary functions on how the mind analyzes information (cognition & learning), how people learn (conditioning & learning), perceive the world around them (perception), and how physiological processes shape psychological experiences (behavioral neuroscience). Students are also required to take courses examining the (2) integration of basic processes – where instruction explores factors contributing to mental illness and psychological distress (abnormal psychology), conditions that help to explain human individuality (personality), reasons contributing to changes across the lifespan (developmental), and the social circumstances shaping peoples’ attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors (social). Finally, students will learn about (3) the applications of basic processes by examining workplace phenomena that affect job performance, decision making, and satisfaction (industrial organizational psych), identifying and testing design alternatives that better accommodate human ability and motivation (engineering psych), assessing the validity of the tools used to measure psychological phenomena (tests & measures), and exploring the connections between mental and physical health (health psychology).
Research Methods Courses
Research Methods Courses provide instruction into the various approaches, procedures, techniques and concerns involved in psychological research, with special attention devoted to the importance of research in psychology, defining research questions, reviewing scholarly literature, data collection, statistical analysis, and scientific writing. In contrast to the psychology core courses, which define the important areas of psychology, methods courses help students understand how psychological insights are tested and validated with the help of science. Students will learn about the scientific method, the significance of basic and applied research, data management, hypothesis testing, the distinction between descriptive and inferential statistics, how to write research reports in APA format, how to use PSYInfo – the research database containing scholarly publications written in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
Capstone Courses provide instruction in a specific topic area in psychology leading to the proposal, writing, and defense of a research paper. Capstones are designed around writing that leverages students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired from research methods, core theory courses, and other coursework completed throughout the student’s undergraduate experience. The importance of writing and a process for writing are explored. Students are required to submit multiple drafts of their writing for review. Final drafts of students’ written work is expected to be of high quality reflecting faculty feedback regarding course content, paper structure, and writing style (APA). In addition to completing the paper, students are also expected to defend the papers publicly by giving a formal oral presentation. Two capstone courses are required after completing the research methods course requirements.
Elective Courses provide instruction across a vast array of topics. Students can elect to take courses on such topics as influence and persuasion, the psychology of men and women, the psychology of incarceration, human sexuality, forensics, stereotypes and prejudice, etc. Students are required to complete elective courses, but may choose them based on the student’s individual interests and eligibility.
Additional Courses (specific to B.S. degree) provide the opportunity for students to acquire knowledge and develop additional skills in statistics and data analysis (PSY 4010 and PSY 4020), and research methodology (PSY 3X30) in a specific topic area in psychology (i.e., cognition and learning, personality, developmental, social, conditioning and learning, perception, or neuroscience). These courses are designed to foster a greater appreciation for the tools and techniques used by experts in the field of psychological science. Although specific to the B.S. degree, B.A. students are also free to take these courses if they meet the prerequisites.