6: College of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Academic Information | Departments and Programs | Faculty

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Department of Psychology

Course Descriptions | Faculty

Overview   Psychology is the scientific study of behavior. It ranges from studies of human development and complex thought processes to social relations, brain and neural mechanisms, psychopathology and beyond. The requirements for the major are designed to ensure breadth of coverage, but to allow flexibility in selecting courses according to each studentís interests. Opportunities for independent work are available in research and field experience through internship.

In addition to gaining a general liberal arts degree, training in the subject matter and methodology of psychology (including experimental methodology and statistics and an appreciation of the relatively unique ways psychologists view human behavior) is excellent preparation for a variety of careers.

Faculty   The department of psychology has approximately thirty-five active full-time faculty members in seven broad areas of specialization: clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, psychobiology, quantitative, and social. Faculty members are active scholars, with numerous research grants, books, and other scientific publications to their credit. Specific areas of faculty interest include adolescence, aging, behavioral development, behavioral genetics, deception, emotion, family studies, interpersonal processes, language and communication, neurobiology and behavior, perception and perceptual development, personality and individual differences, psychological intervention, psychology and law, psychopathology, public policy, social cognition, social development, social ecology and development, and women, ethnic, and minority studies.

Students   Psychology is a popular liberal arts major, with 250-300 students graduating each year with a bachelorís degree. An extensive array of courses is offered throughout the department. Lower-level courses in the major are usually large lectures (one hundred to three hundred) and are taught exclusively by faculty members. These courses are often supplemented with required or optional discussion sections led by graduate teaching assistants to provide more personalized contact. Upper level seminars are also taught by faculty and are usually limited to twenty-five students to facilitate active discussion. In the third or fourth year, many majors earn credit by working directly with faculty or graduate students on research projects.

Becoming a professional psychologist, like becoming a doctor or lawyer, requires post-graduate training in one of many areas. Traditional research areas include cognitive, developmental, psychobiology, quantitative and social psychology. Persons interested in these areas usually pursue a doctoral degree. Applied areas include clinical, community, industrial/organizational, counseling, educational psychology and school psychology. Careers in these areas are usually possible at the masterís or doctoral level. Students who do not choose to pursue graduate degrees in psychology often enter the job market in human service delivery areas or positions requiring a general liberal arts degree. Psychology is also an entry degree for graduate programs in social work, education, medicine, and law.

Requirements for Major   Students electing psychology as their major subject are required to take at least 30 credits in psychology at the 200 level or higher and must include at least six credits of course work at the 400 or 500 level, excluding Research in Psychology, Directed Readings in Psychology, Internship, and PSYC 529. The majors program must include PSYC 305-306. PSYC 305 is a prerequisite to PSYC 306. To assure breadth, the major program must also include at least one 200-level course from each of the following three groups: (1) PSYC 2l0, 215, and 230; (2) PSYC 220, 221, and 222; and (3) PSYC 240, 250, and 260. To begin the major program, a student must have earned a grade of C or better in PSYC 101 and have an overall 2.0 GPA in all courses completed in this department. To continue as a major, the student must earn a grade of C- or better in PSYC 305-306 and maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 for all courses taken in this department.

Requirements for Minor   Students electing to minor in psychology are required to take a minimum of 16 credits at the 200 level or higher and must include at least six credits of course work at the 400 or 500 level, excluding Internship, Directed Readings, Research in Psychology, and PSYC 529. The minorís program must also include PSYC 305-306 with a minimum grade of C-. To begin the minor program, a student must have earned a grade of C or better in PSYC 101 and have an overall GPA of 2.0 in all courses completed in this department. A maximum of 3 credits of research in psychology or readings in psychology may be applied to the minor. The student must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 for all courses taken in this department.

Distinguished Majors Program   Outstanding majors with an overall GPA of 3.4 must apply at the beginning of the sixth semester. The program includes a thesis (PSYC 497 or 498) and additional course requirements.

Additional Information   For more information about the major, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Psychology, Gilmer Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 982-4750, Fax: (804) 982-4766.

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