The curriculum of the Department of Psychology is designed to acquaint students both with the contemporary facts of the discipline and with the scientific analysis of behavior and mental processes. These objectives are accomplished by exposure to basic questions that are asked by professionals in the discipline, by learning the basic principles of research methodology and statistics, and by reasonable mastery of the theories and data in specific areas of the discipline. Students with a particular interest in the brain should consider the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Neuroscience.
Students begin their study of behavior with Introductory Psychology, a survey of all the areas of psychology, followed by a course in research methods and statistics, as well as electives such as Child Development, Adult Psychopathology, and Introduction to Brain and Behavior. Advanced laboratory courses in biological, clinical, cognitive, developental, personality, and social psychology provide preparation in depth for the Senior Project thesis and presentation, which report on a semester or year-long investigation of a single topic. Each year students whose primary interest is in clinical psychology explore the application of psychology in practical or field placements at local mental health facilities such as the Utica-Marcy Psychiatric Institution. Thus, the psychology concentrator will graduate with skill in the methods of studying behavior and an awareness of a broad range of content areas.
Students with an interest in autism or in teaching children with special needs have the opportunity to spend a semester of their junior year in a cooperative program at the New England Center for Children.