Health Psychology is a relatively new specialty area within the field of psychology. While most conceptualizations of health, illness, and treatment in the Western world are based on the biomedical model, health psychology adheres to a biobehavioral model and explores the influence of psychosocial factors on physical systems, health and illness. Thus, this class explores the interplay between of a variety of psychosocial factors and heath, including behaviors, emotions, personality, social support, psychological stress, patient-provider relations and socioeconomic status. Because the emphasis is on health, students will learn about how such factors interact with biological systems. Students have the option of taking this course with community engaged learning (service learning) for an additional course credit. Students taking service learning will volunteer 2-4 hours per week (total of 30 hours minimum) in a health-related setting. The service learning component of the course includes volunteer work and reflection essays that relate experiential learning to the concepts covered in the course. All students taking service learning are, at some point in the course, asked to share relevant service learning experiences to lecture topics in class.
This course is designed to provide an overview of the field of abnormal psychology, with a primary emphasis on adults. We will be examining the paradigms, etiologies, symptoms, syndromes, treatment, prognoses, and possible prevention of psychopathology following the DSM-5 criteria. Issues surrounding diagnoses, impact of stigma, limited mental health resources worldwide, historical perspectives and influences, and societal stress are also explored.
Stress and Disease
This course follows a scientist-practitioner model. The main goal is to understand the role of stress in the development and progression of disease from an empirical/scientific perspective. Emphasis will be placed on theories of mind/body associations, physiological mechanisms of stress and disease, individual differences in stress responding, and diverse types of stressful life events. Research examining these areas will be incorporated. There is also a large writing component to this course, with respect to exams and assignments, and an opportunity to describe and discuss original research studies through in-class student presentations and discussion. The practitioner aspect of the course allows students to become actively engaged in reducing their own stress by practicing a new stress reduction behavior, while seeking out research and other online activities that relate to that behavior and support it throughout the semester.
This course provides knowledge and understanding of the profession and practice of clinical psychology. This includes: major models of psychotherapy, assessment strategies, the role of research in clinical psychology, and specialties within the field. This course is also designed to help students in their decision-making about clinical psychology as a career choice. To that end, some of the assignments in the course are to interview two clinical psychologists working in diverse settings about their careers and training, and to formulate and complete a case conceptualizations, and practice interviewing skills.
Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences
Statistics is a set of concepts and procedures that researchers apply to data in order to answer specific questions; that is, to derive meaningful information from data. Most scientific projects involve the use of statistics; thus, statistics is fundamental to the scientific process and understanding the natural world. In this course, you will become familiar with statistics that are used in the behavioral sciences.
Three important things a researcher needs to know are (1) What statistical analysis (tool) should I use to best answer the research question? (2) How do I carry out the statistical analysis, and (3) How do I interpret the results of the statistical analysis? Therefore, the emphasis in the course is on statistical reasoning, and the goal is to enable students to understand and apply statistical concepts in a meaningful way. Numerical calculations are viewed as a means to achieving this larger goal.
In addition to learning the statistical tools of a researcher, this course will enable students to understand how to evaluate information we encounter in everyday life. Undoubtedly, when we turn on the T.V. news, internet, or radio, we hear about new research findings and discoveries. These findings are based on the results of statistical tests, and understanding statistics will help you to become a more knowledgeable consumer of information.
History and Issues in Psychology
This course is often referred to as a "history & systems" course. Such a course is sometimes taught as a capstone course for undergraduate majors, as it is here, and sometimes as a basic course for first-year graduate students. In such a course, the history is that of psychology, in addition to some of the important intellectual developments that led to it. The systems refers to organized conceptual frameworks, including both historical ones, such as structuralism, and contemporary ones, such as cognitive psychology. In this course, the issues include topics and research with both historical and contemporary importance. These issues are intended to show how you can better understand today’s psychology when you understand some of its history. The course also focuses on current issues and research, and the psychologists who conduct that research. We put a great emphasis on the diversity of psychologists and ideas in the field today, and how psychology as a field can be more inclusive and representative of the U.S. population, as well as globally. Finally, the course covers career and development skills such as resume and CV writing, graduate study in psychology, public speaking, and working with other psychology students collaboratively.