University Psychology Courses
Psychology majors have a wide variety of course options, as psychology is a broad field. Some courses are pretty standard across universities, however, and often make up the core requirements for the major. These courses include General Psychology, Physiological Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience, Behavioral Psychology, Personality Psychology, and a Research Methods lab. Other requirements for a psychology major can include introductory statistics courses. Optional experiences for course credit can include writing an honors thesis, qualified volunteer experiences, or being a teaching assistant. Too, sometimes a psychology department will offer specialized seminar courses or special topics courses. These classes can be a great opportunity to gain exposure to topics that interest you. For example, there might be a chance for you to take a special topics course in Eating Disorders, Psychology of Suicide, LGBT Psychology, or Multiculturalism. If you already have some idea what your interests are, you can tailor your undergraduate experience to your interests.
Detailed Explanation of University Psychology Courses
General Psychology: This course provides an overview of many topics and subfields in psychology. If you’re just starting out, this course may help you pinpoint your interests a bit.
Personality Psychology: This course covers the major personality theorists. Let me pause for a minute to say that Freud is really interesting. Essentially he was slightly nuts and thought all our behaviors were the result of unconscious impulses related to sex. Whoever said school couldn’t be fun? On a more serious note, a class like this might involve some discussion of how personality is measured and how these measures (called personality inventories) are developed.
Social Psychology: Psychology in general is mainly focused on the individual level. However, social psychology deals with the interactions between individuals or groups of individuals. This could include things like stereotypes, workplace productivity, and why sports fans from rival teams hate each other.
Physiological Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience: This course involves the biological aspects of psychology, such as the sensory systems and the brain. Topics of interest may involve psychopharmacology (medication/drugs) and psychopathology (mental disorders). This class is definitely interesting, but some coursework in biology or chemistry would definitely help.
Behavioral Psychology: No lie, I potty-trained a parrot after taking a couple courses in applied behavior analysis. This stuff is really interesting, and you can use it on your roommate. 😉
Research Methods Lab: A research methods lab in psychology helps teach you the statistical and practical aspects of carrying out psychological research. You’ll read scientific articles and write article summaries. Depending on the course, you may learn to use statistical software. Either way, I’d definitely recommend that you take a statistics course or two before taking a research course as a psychology major. Even if you’re more interested in counseling or some other more practice-focused area of psychology, it still helps to understand how research is developed.