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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Course Descriptions

Department of Psychology

Degree Requirements

Students are accepted into the Ph.D program only. The M.A. is earned by students as they work toward the doctorate. The M.A. in Psychology entails 30 credits of course work which must include two semesters of quantitative methods. In addition, each student must complete an acceptable predissertation research project of potentially publishable quality.

The requirements for the Ph.D. are as follows: (1) the satisfactory completion of all requirements for the M.A.; (2) a major qualifying examination; (3) a total of 54 credits of course work (including those presented for the M.A. but excluding non-topical research and practicum); (4) work experience in the form of teaching and internship; (5) a dissertation.

The psychology department has no formal foreign language requirements. However, the advisory committee for any graduate student may require evidence of professional skills beyond psychology courses as part of the student's degree program. Each student is required to teach, participate in research, and/or acquire training in a clinical or community setting during each semester that the student is in residence.

Graduate Programs The purpose of the graduate programs in the Department of Psychology is to prepare the student for research, both basic and applied, and teaching. The department offers Ph.D. programs in seven areas of psychology: clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, psychobiology, quantitative, and social. Various combinations of these specialties are possible, depending on students' interests and professional goals.

Departmental Facilities The Department of Psychology is located in Gilmer Hall. The air-conditioned, five story building provides the department in excess of 50,000 square feet for offices, laboratories, and classrooms. The department is well endowed with computer equipment, including laboratories with IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers. Most of the computers in the department have links to the University's local area network and to the Internet. Also located in Gilmer Hall is a branch of the University Library which houses current psychological journals and a large collection of relevant books, a shop for machine, wood, and electrical work, and a wide variety of laboratories for both human and animal research.

102 Gilmer Hall
P.O. Box 400400
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4400
(434) 982-4750 Fax: (434) 982-4766

Course Descriptions


PSYC 520 - (3) (Y)
Seminar in Psychobiology

Prerequisite: PSYC 220 or 222, or PSYC 420.
A critical examination of a major subject area in psychobiology.

PSYC 521 - (3) (IR)
Developmental Psychobiology

Prerequisite: PSYC 420, graduate standing or instructor permission.
Examines behavior and neural development with an emphasis on animal models. Topics include the role of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors in directing maturation, attachment and early learning, theoretical concepts of development, and regulatory mechanisms.

PSYC 524 - (3) (IR)
Primate Behavior

Prerequisite: Twelve credits in psychology or instructor permission.
Examines a variety of nonhuman primates in natural, zoo and laboratory settings. Emphasizes a comparison of nonhuman primates to humans in the areas of sensory-motor, socialization, cognitive, intellectual, language and social organization development, and in the problem areas of abnormal development (e.g., social isolation, neurosis, incest, drug problems).

PSYC 525 - (3) (IR)
Hormones and Behavior

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Examines the role of hormones in mediating and modulating many complex behaviors such as memory, aggression, sexual behavior, and regulatory actions between hormones and the brain.

PSYC 526 - (3) (IR)
Psychobiology and Memory

Prerequisite: PSYC 220 or 222, or PSYC 420.
Studies the major theories, findings, and conceptual issues important to an analysis of the neuronal mechanisms that underlie memory storage.

PSYC 527 - (3) (IR)
Chemistry of Synaptic Transmission

Prerequisite: PSYC 420.
Studies neurochemistry and physiology of neurotransmitter systems as they relate to behavioral issues.

PSYC 529 - (3) (S)
Advanced Psychobiology Laboratory

Prerequisite or corequisite: PSYC 321 or instructor permission.
Each student will help design and carry out an original research project related to neural bases of behavior. Six laboratory hours.

PSYC 531 - (3) (IR)
Functional Neuroanatomy

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or PSYC 420.
An overview of the structure of the mammalian central nervous system, organized around the various functional subunits of the brain.

PSYC 532 - (3) (IR)
Chemical Senses: Taste and Smell

Prerequisite: PSYC 220 or 222, or PSYC 420, or instructor permission. Neurobiology of the chemical senses is explored by examining the biophysical basis of sensory transduction, the anatomical organization of the two systems, and the physiological properties of peripheral and central structures along the gustatory and olfactory pathways. Emphasizes new, important findings in taste and smell.

PSYC 533 - (3) (IR)
Neural Network Models of Cognition and Brain Computation

Prerequisite: Must be PC-literate and willing to program.
Introduces, from an elementary, yet mathematical viewpoint, the newly developing field of neural networks. Examines the basic principles and the philosophy of neural network theory as it is relevant to biological neural networks.

PSYC 535 - (3) (IR)
Neurochemical Systems in Learning and Memory

Prerequisite: PSYC 220 or 222, or instructor permission.
Examines historical and current theories implicating the involvement of specific neurotransmitter, amino-acid, and peptide systems in regulating learning and the encoding of memory. An extensive review of the literature is covered to understand mechanisms by which chemical compounds modify learning and the brain sites where neurochemicals exert their effects.

PSYC 540 - (3) (IR)
Personality Theory in Psychotherapy

Prerequisite: Twelve credits in psychology or instructor permission.
An overview of personality theories in psychology, especially those found useful in psychotherapy; includes experimental and theoretical problems in the study of personality.

PSYC 541 - (3) (IR)
Special Issues in the Psychological Study of Children, Families, and the Law

Seminar acquainting the student with various areas in which law impacts on children and in which psychological research and practice are germane to legal policy. The underlying question throughout is, "What can the behavioral sciences, in particular, psychology, contribute to legal policy related to children and families?"

PSYC 554 - (3) (IR)
Theories of Cognitive Development

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Studies current theories of cognitive development from birth through adolescence. The views of Piaget, Werner, Bruner, G.H. Mead, and others. Cybernetic approaches are covered briefly. Some discussion of the measurement and assessment of cognitive processes.

PSYC 555 - (3) (Y)
Developmental Psycholinguistics

Prerequisite: Upper-level psychology majors or linguistics students, or graduate students in Arts and Sciences or Education.
Examines current research and theoretical models of children's language acquisition. Studies the normal acquisition of spoken language skills as well as the development of communication skills in deaf, autistic and other language-handicapped children.

PSYC 557 - (3) (IR)
The Nature-Nurture Debate

Prerequisite: PSYC 306 or graduate standing.
A history of the study of genes and environment in the development of human behavior and consideration of its current status.

PSYC 559 - (3) (IR)
Measurement of Group Differences Across the Lifespan

Prerequisite: PSYC 306.
Studies measurement topics influencing interpretations of group differences within various domains in developmental psychology across the lifespan. Includes major studies of cognitive, social, and clinical psychology from a lifespan developmental perspective as they illustrate critical concerns for understanding group differences.

PSYC 560 - (3) (IR)
Dynamical Systems in Social Behavior

Prerequisite: PSYC 260 and PSYC230. Completion of PSYC306 is strongly recommended.
Applies dynamical systems theory to the analysis of action, interaction, and interpersonal relationships. Reviews research employing dynamical systems models and analytic techniques, and considers the application of these ideas to psychological contexts.

PSYC 565 - (3) (IR)
Psychology of Morality

Prerequisite: PSYC 305 and 12 additional PSYC credits, or graduate standing, or instructor permission.
Studies why people care so much about what other people do. Readings from primatology, anthropology, and philosophy, as well as psychology. Includes evolution, cultural variation, sociopathy, and the moralization of the body.

PSYC 578 - (3) (IR)
Psychometric Advances in the Study of Human Abilities

Prerequisite: PSYC 306.
Studies human abilities across various domains in psychology. Includes major theories of intelligence and their measurement advances in various domains (reasoning, verbal, quantitative, and spatial ability) from biological, developmental, and socio-cultural perspectives.

PSYC 581, 582, 583, 584 - (3) (S)
Current Topics in Psychology

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Seminars on special and current topics in psychology.

PSYC 701 - (3) (IR)
Theoretical Psychology

Evaluates prominent historical and contemporary theoretical positions in psychology.

PSYC 710 - (3) (IR)

Studies the facts of human information processing and their theoretical implications. Topics include memory, pattern recognition, problem solving, and psycholinguistics.

PSYC 711 - (3) (IR)

Surveys the psychology of language for graduate students in disciplines related to linguistics. Topics include linguistic theory applied to the production and comprehension of language, development of language, biology of language, and pathologies of language.

PSYC 715 - (3) (Y)
Cognitive Processes

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Explores, in depth, the life of the mind. Topics include pattern recognition; observational skills; remembering; language and thought; categorization; the nature of similarity; discovery and invention; problem and puzzle solution; animal cognition; and views of intelligence in man and machine.

PSYC 720 - (3) (Y)
Physiological Psychology

Studies the biological mechanisms and processes underlying behavior, sensory functions, and internal regulation.

PSYC 736 - (3) (IR)
Advanced Perception

A systematic study of visual, auditory, and cutaneous perception.

PSYC 740, 741 - (1) (Y)
Introduction to Clinical Intervention

Prerequisite: First- or second-year students in the clinical psychology training program or instructor permission.
Introduces the ethical issues, principles, and techniques of psychotherapy. Includes introduction to and practice in case conceptualization, designing intervention plans, and active listening skills. Emphasizes individual psychotherapy with adolescents and adults.

PSYC 742 - (4) (Y)
Psychological Intervention I

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
An overview of psychotherapy process and outcome research, ethnicity issues in psychotherapy and ethical considerations. Begins the survey of adult psychotherapy. Emphasizes a problem-focused, rather than a treatment-focused perspective. Three lecture hours, practicum in supervised intervention.

PSYC 743, 744 - (4) (Y)
Psychological Assessment

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Topics include strategies of assessment, issues of reliability and validity, test construction; theory and practice of individual, couple, family, and community assessment techniques, including testing, interviewing, observation; and assessment research. Three lecture hours, two lab hours.

PSYC 745 - (4) (Y)
Psychological Intervention II

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Concludes the problem-focused survey of adult psychotherapy. Provides a survey of therapy focused on relationship issues in the family, including couples therapy, divorce issues, and especially, child and family therapy. Three lecture hours, practicum in supervised intervention.

PSYC 746 - (3) (Y)
Research Methods in Clinical Psychology

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Introduces methodology and design in clinical research, covering both laboratory and naturalistic approaches. Topics include clinical psychophysiology, measurement of process and outcome in psychotherapy, patterns of family interaction, and program evaluation. Students will engage in design and execution of original research.

PSYC 747 - (3) (Y)
Experimental Psychopathology

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Reviews symptomatological, classificatory, and epidemiological issues, and surveys the psychological, behavior-genetic, and psychophysiological literature in abnormal psychology. Emphasizes adult psychopathology.

PSYC 748 - (4) (E)
Community Psychology and Prevention Science I: Research and Consultation

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Introduces the broad area of community psychology and prevention science. Topics include social ecology and primary prevention; conceptions, strategies, and tactics of social intervention; the creation of settings; and interventions in the education, mental health, mental retardation and criminal justice systems. Weekly seminar meetings and participation in community laboratory required.

PSYC 749 - (4) (O)
Community Psychology and Prevention Science II: Intervention and Research in Social Systems

Prerequisite: PSYC 748 or instructor permission.
A continuation of PSYC 748 (including the community laboratory) focusing on interventions and research issues for specific social problems and the social systems in which they occur; e.g., education, mental health, criminal justice, welfare, employment, race relations. Emphasizes application of the conceptual models and strategies of community psychology to substantive areas and research issues, and the implications of intervention and research for social change and public policy.

PSYC 751 - (3) (O)
Research Methods in Developmental Psychology

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Introduces problems in conceptualization, methodology, and design in developmental research. Emphasizes the concept of development, naturalistic methods, and cross-sectional, longitudinal, and sequential designs.

PSYC 757 - (3) (O)
Behavior Disorders in Childhood

Surveys the psychological problems encountered by infants, children, and adolescents. Focuses on the descriptive characteristics of each disorder and presents theoretical etiologies and proposed treatments. Emphasizes empirical findings, although various models of disorder are considered including learning, family, developmental, biological, and psychodynamic approaches. Reviews current thinking concerning psychological disorders of children, providing a critical perspective.

PSYC 758 - (3) (IR)
Adolescent Development

Surveys the major research findings and theories dealing with the transition from childhood to adulthood. Explores physical, emotional, cognitive-intellectual, social, and moral development along with a brief presentation of the educational and/or therapeutic treatment for problems in development.

PSYC 760 - (3) (E)
Social Psychology

Surveys the major empirical and theoretical concepts in social psychology.

PSYC 761 - (3) (O)
Advanced Research Methods in Social Psychology

Prerequisite: One semester of graduate statistics and PSYC 760 or instructor permission.
Surveys various research approaches to social psychological problems; discusses selected methodological issues; and practices designing and criticizing research techniques on assorted psychological topics.

PSYC 762 - (3) (IR)
Social Cognition and Human Inference

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in psychology or instructor permission.
Examines the rules and strategies people use when making social judgments, predictions, causal inferences, and assessments of covariation. Considers how these rules and strategies compare to normative models of inference; the types and consequences of inferential errors; and how human inference can be improved.

PSYC 763 - (3) (IR)
Nonverbal Communication and Deception

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor permission.
Research and theory in the psychology of nonverbal communication and deception.

PSYC 771 - (4) (Y)
Quantitative Methods I: Probability and Statistical Inference

Prerequisite: Graduate status or instructor permission.
Studies fundamental probability and statistical inference used in the behavioral sciences: set theory, probability distributions, conditional probability, random variables, estimation, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing (t-test for means, F-test for variances) and confidence intervals. Computer work with SPSS. Three lecture and two laboratory hours.

PSYC 772 - (4) (Y)
Quantitative Methods II: Experimental Design

Prerequisite: PSYC 771 or equivalent.
Includes Chi-square tests for contingency tables, correlation, multiple regression, analysis of variance of one-way and factorial designs including repeated measures experiments, and analysis of covariance. Extension work with SPSS and MANOVA computer routines.

PSYC 776 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Applied Multivariate Methods

Prerequisite: PSYC 771-772 or equivalent.
Introduces major statistical methods used for the data analysis of multiple measures. Includes elementary matrix algebra, multivariate regression (canonical correlation; multivariate analysis of variance and covariance; and discriminant analysis and classification), correlational methods (principal components and exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis), and the analysis of multivariate contingency tables using log-linear models. Emphasizes concepts, issues, and examples over mathematical derivations.

PSYC 781 - (3) (IR)
How to Do Things With Numbers

Prerequisite: One 300-level course in statistics.
Introduces handling and presenting data in the social sciences. Uses data collected by students in the hopes of revealing unsuspected patterns; teaches how to summarize data for public presentation and publication.

PSYC 791, 792, 793, 794, 795, 796, 797, 798 - (2) (S)
Contemporary Issues in Psychology

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in psychology or instructor permission.
Discusses contemporary developments in psychological theory, methods, and research.

PSYC 434 - (1) (Y)
Forum on Scientific and Professional Ethics

Prerequisite: second-year standing in a graduate program in the Department of Psychology or instructor permission.
Studies scholarly writings, empirical research, and current developments relating to ethics in psychology, and relevant ethical codes and regulations influencing the conduct of scientists and educators. Focuses on recognizing and resolving ethical dilemmas in academic and research settings.

PSYC 805 - (4) (IR)
Public Policy, Children, and Families

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Examines the use of psychological knowledge in the design, implementation, and assessment of public policies. Introduces the opportunities, dilemmas, and constraints affecting the relation between science and policy, particularly federal legislative policies for children and families.

PSYC 846 - (3) (IR)
The Minority Family

A critical examination of the current state of research on minority families, including Black, Native American, Chicano, and Asian-American.

PSYC 847 - (3) (IR)
Ecological Theory and Assessment

Surveys the theories of person-environment interaction/transaction and other ecologically oriented theories of human behavior. Emphasizes procedures for assessing the environmental context (physical and social) of behavior.

PSYC 848 - (3) (IR)
Social Ecology and Development

Studies areas of interest common to community and developmental psychology. Introduces the ecological perspective as an approach for studying development, intervention, and change. Developmental and community faculty members present research, which is discussed and interpreted in light of ecological and developmental perspectives.

PSYC 852 - (3) (IR)
Social and Personality Development

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Analyzes current theory and research in social and personality developments from infancy through adolescence.

PSYC 853 - (3) (IR)
Family Relations and Human Development

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Deals with the theory, methods, and findings in the study of families. Emphasizes family systems, developmental, and ecological perspectives. Focuses on the contributions of family relations to the psychological well being and psychopathology of family members. Explores changing family relations over the course of the life span.

PSYC 855 - (3) (IR)
Language Development

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Introduces current theory and research in language development. Emphasizes the development of communication skills and symbolic processes.

PSYC 860 - (4) (E)
Mental Health, Law, and Children

Prerequisite: Instructor permission; or second-year standing in a graduate program in the Department of Psychology.
Surveys the interaction between the legal system and current research and practices relating to the mental health of children and families. Covers children in the juvenile justice system, child custody, child forensic psychology, child maltreatment, minor's rights and legal issues in the schools. Includes a community/clinical laboratory. Three class and two laboratory hours.

PSYC 872 - (3) (Y)
Psycho-Epidemiological Methods

Prerequisite: PSYC 776 or instructor permission.
Surveys techniques for structural analysis of multivariate systems. Considers principal components, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis time series, path analysis, and congeneric test models.

PSYC 881, 882, 883, 884, 885, 886 - (3) (S)
Current Problems in Psychology

Examines procedures employed in the investigation of current controversial problems.

PSYC 897 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Thesis

For master's research, taken before a thesis director has been selected.

PSYC 898 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research

For master's research, taken under the supervision of a thesis director.

PSYC 901-980 - (1-12) (S)
Topical Research

PSYC 994 - (3-12) (S)
Readings in Psychology

PSYC 997 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research, Preparation for Doctoral Research

For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.

PSYC 998 - (1-3) (Y)
Practicum in Case Consultation

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Supervision in case assessment, evaluation, and intervention. Emphasizes issues involved in case management; types of issues and decisions that may affect the outcome of intervention; pragmatic issues in dealing with people referred as clients; consultation procedures with referral agencies; and liaisons with community agencies. Student performance is evaluated on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

PSYC 999 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research

For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

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