PsychologyThe Whitworth University Psychology Department is committed to academic rigor and sensitive human service through the promotion of the scientific study of mind and heart. As part of a Christian liberal arts institution, we seek to train and produce responsible, enlightened citizens who think critically and contribute actively to the field of psychology. Following a scientist-practitioner model, the curriculum is designed to develop both breadth and depth of knowledge in core areas of psychology. Students engage in research and practice that encompass foundational and advanced requirements and electives, culminating in dual senior capstone experiences. Students apply their learning as they design their own research projects, critically evaluate scientific information and other claims, and reflect on the integration of psychology with Christian faith and other worldview perspectives. They gain experience working in the community at a practicum placement of their choice, and they have the opportunity to travel to destinations that bring their classroom learning to life. We offer an enduring foundation in the investigation and understanding of human behavior, emotion, and mental processes, in an atmosphere that nurtures relationships among people of diverse backgrounds and offers mutual support and friendship among faculty and students. 

The learning outcomes of this major prepare the student to do the following:

  1. Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
  2. Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  3. Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when appropriate, methods of discovery to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  4. Understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  5. Value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a science.  Engage each student's mind and heart in order that each may "honor God, follow Christ and serve humanity," incorporating the tools that psychology has to offer in this endeavor.
  6. Demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology effectively for many purposes.
  7. Communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
  8. Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural diversity.
  9. Develop insight into one's own and others' behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
  10. Pursue realistic, yet creative, ideas about how to implement psychological, interdisciplinary, and personal knowledge, skills and values in vocational pursuits in a variety of settings that meet personal goals and societal needs.


PY 101 Introductory Psychology3
Use of scientific method of examining human behavior. How to deal objectively with questions about behavior. Topics include biological psychology, development, perception, states of consciousness, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, disorders and therapy, social psychology and human diversity. Fall and spring semesters. Periodically offered on-line during summer semester.
PY 200 Psychopathology and Film3
Introduction to social issues of psychopathology using film. Exploration of various symptoms, disorders, interpersonal dynamics, influences, treatments and legal and ethical issues. Prerequisite: PY 101. Jan Term. Periodic offering.
PY 201 Psychological Statistics3
Introduction to the process of research and the basic principles of statistics. Focus on data collection and analysis. Prerequisite: PY-101. Fall and spring semesters.
PY 205 Belief in Weird Things3
Psychological research on belief in extraordinary, 'weird' phenomena, including, but not limited to, the paranormal, superstition, divination, projective tests of personality, alternative healing practices, and unconscious mind control and repression. Prerequisite: PY 101. Jan Term. Periodic offering.
PY 206 Sleep and Dreams3
An exploration of sleeping and dreaming. Considers the scientific study of sleep along with both historical and cultural understandings of dreams. Jan Term.
PY 210 Developmental Psychology3
The biological, psychological and cultural influences on human behavioral development from conception through death. Fall and/or spring semester.
PY 225 Cognitive Psychology3
An examination of important concepts in Cognitive Psychology, including attention, memory, language, problem solving and decision making, and cognitive neuroscience. Special consideration will be placed on important experimental findings and the applications of cognitive principles in education, the legal system, counseling, marketing, and other fields. Prerequisite: PY 101. Fall or spring semester.
PY 227 Personality and Individual Differences3
This course explores historical and current perspectives on the nature of human personality, including personality development, assessment, and change. Other important dimensions along which humans can vary, such as gender, culture, intellectual ability, and genetic/biochemical composition, are also considered. Prerequisite: PY 101. Fall or spring semester.
PY 232 Faith, Marriage and Parenting3
Examination of the practice of marriage and a variety of parenting practices including evaluation of them in the light of the Christian worldview. Consideration of the factors that make for successful marriages and parenting. Jan Term. Periodic offering.
PY 236 Biological Psychology3
An examination of the biological underpinnings of human thought, feeling and action. Considers neuronal and hormonal communication, along with behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology. Prerequisite: PY-101. Fall semester.
PY 241 Social Psychology3
An attempt to understand how an individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. Trends and findings of current research and its limitations. Prerequisite: PY 101. Fall or spring semester.
PY 301 Research in Psychology3
Introduction to conducting psychological research. Topics include ethics, hypothesis formation, descriptive research, experimental design, reliability and validity. Students will practice skills learned in PY201 through data collection and analyses. Prerequisite: PY-101 and PY-201. Fall and spring semesters.
PY 311 Applied Psychology3
This course relates research in psychology to policies and practices relevant to programs, community organizations, and members of the community. Examines how psychological concepts can be applied to help meet community needs. Through classroom instruction and university-community partnerships students learn to apply research to real world problems and come to appreciate the bidirectional relationship between research and practice. Prerequisite: PY 101.
PY 330 Psychology of Poverty and Social Class3
Examines how social class affects cognitive, emotional, and social development; how the more affluent make attributions of behavior and circumstances of the poor; and how these attributions affect helping behavior and psychological outcomes. Prerequisite: PY 101. Sophomore level and above. Also listed as CE 330. Fall semester.
PY 340 Love, Altruism and Forgiveness3
An examination of why people experience love and behave altruistically. Topics include the emotions of love and hate, empathy, forgiveness, hope, and courage; social categorization; and self-other relationships. Prerequisite: PY 101. Periodic offering.
PY 345 Forensic Psychology3
Examines the relationship between psychology and the law, police psychology, investigative psychology, legal psychology, and criminal psychology. Special consideration will be placed on how concepts such as developmental, clinical, cognitive, and social psychology can be applied and integrated into the legal system. Prerequisite: PY 101.
PY 350 Psychology and Christian Faith3
Explores the integration of psychological research and Christian faith. Examines potential tensions and resolutions in integrating psychological and Christian approaches to understanding development, maturity, conversion, and counseling. Prerequisite: three courses in psychology, including PY 101. Spring semester.
PY 353 Psychological Assessment3
Provides a survey of fundamental goals and principles of psychological assessment in both theoretical and applied contexts, including identifying the primary constructs assessed by psychologists. Students will explore theories, techniques, applications, and limitations of assessments and sample commonly used psychological screenings/tests. Includes overview of psychometric principles: test reliability/validity, and consideration of ethical and professional issues. Prerequisites: PY 101 and PY 227. Recommended: PY 201 and PY 301. Periodic offering.
PY 355 Helping Skills3
Learn to use concepts and models of research-based helping skills. Skills-based and experiential course format providing first-hand experience in simulated role-play helping situations. Prerequisites: PY 101 and PY 227. Fall semester.
PY 357 Developmental Psychopathology3
Explore the developmental psychopathology perspective and how it is used to understand selected disorders of childhood. Review of the description, assessment, epidemiology, etiology, and treatment of commonly diagnosed behavioral and emotional disorders in childhood. Prerequisite: PY 101 & either PY 210 or PY 358. Periodic offering.
PY 358 Psychopathology3
Study of behavior categorized as mental illness or mental disorder. Introduction to the DSM-IV and treatment. Pertinent issues in genetic and neurochemical factors, family interactions, and other social relationships examined. Prerequisites: PY 101 and PY 227. Fall semester.
PY 359 Theories of Counseling3
Introduction to the field of counseling, including major theoretical orientations, both historical and recent: psychoanalytic, behavioral, humanistic/existential. Prerequisites: PY 101 and PY 227 (PY 358 recommended). Fall and spring semesters.
PY 360 Psychology of Consumerism3
Explores the effect of consumer culture on the lives of individuals. Topics include identity formation, psychological motivations for materialism and consumption, how consumerism shapes relationships, and its effect on the environment. Antidotes such as voluntary simplicity, gratitude, and mindfulness are also discussed. Spring semester.
PY 370 Sports Psychology3
Exploration of the many facets of sports psychology from both a theoretical and practical standpoint. Topics include characteristics of successful athletes, motivation, regulating anxiety and stress, aggression, team cohesion, leadership styles, and coaching youth sports. Recommended that PY 101 be taken previously. Jan Term.
PY 376 Health Psychology3
The study of biological, psychological, and sociocultural perspectives influence an individual's overall health including; behavior change theory and application, coping and stress management, psychoneuroimmunology, the impact of personality and cognitive patterns, vision and goal development to facilitate health behavior change. Cross-listed: HS-376.
PY 390H Honors Internship1-4
PY 391H Honors Independent Study1-4
PY 392H Honors Study Abroad1-12
This course enables honors students who participate in regular study abroad programs to receive honors credit toward their program. This course concentrates on cultural competency and reflections on critical moments in their study abroad experiences. Letter-graded.
PY 394 Research Assistantship1-3
PY 400 Senior Pre-Practicum1
Serves as preparation for Senior Practicum course. Topics include exploring student post-baccalaureate goals and interests, selecting a practicum site, and preparing for the practicum experience. Senior psychology major. By instructor permission only. Prerequisite: PY 400. Fall semester.
PY 401W Senior Thesis3
Final learning/evaluation situation for psychology majors. Design and carry out independent research project. Seminar format. Prerequisite: PY 301 or PY 352. Fall semester.
PY 402 Senior Practicum3
Placement in community agency or organization. Applications of psychological concepts and analysis of individual experiences in a seminar format. Prerequisite: PY-400 and senior psychology major. By instructor permission only. Spring semester.
PY 475 Research Colloquium1-3
Gain firsthand experience of the process of researching, critiquing, and writing in a collaborative small-group format under the guidance of a psychology faculty member and their research. Prerequisite: PY 101 and senior psychology major. Selection by instructor. Periodic offering.
PY 491H Honors Independent Study1-4
PY 499H Advanced Senior Thesis1
Students will refine their original senior research project for publication in a professional journal or presentation at a regional or national professional conference. Prerequisite: PY 401W and approval of a faculty sponsor. Spring semester.

Requirements for a Psychology Major, B.A. (46)

Introductory course
PY 101Introductory Psychology3
Complete three content courses:9
Developmental Psychology
Cognitive Psychology
Personality and Individual Differences
Biological Psychology
Social Psychology
Methodology Courses:
PY 201Psychological Statistics3
PY 301Research in Psychology3
Senior Capstone Courses
PY 400Senior Pre-Practicum1
PY 401WSenior Thesis3
PY 402Senior Practicum3
Complete three upper-division psychology courses9
Applied Psychology
Psychology of Poverty and Social Class
Poverty, Altruism, and Hope in Tanzania
Love, Altruism and Forgiveness
Forensic Psychology
Psychology and Christian Faith
Psychological Assessment
Helping Skills
Developmental Psychopathology
Theories of Counseling
Sports Psychology
Four additional upper- or lower-division psychology courses (other than Directed Studies)12

Requirements for a Psychology Minor (15)

PY 101Introductory Psychology3
Four additional lower-division psychology courses12

 Interdisciplinary Courses

STAT 101 Interdisciplinary Introduction to Stats3
An introduction to the process of research and the practice of statistics. Emphasizes visualizing and summarizing data. Uses a computer-intensive approach for learning the principles of statistical inference.
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