Psychology (Major, Minor)

Psychology Department

Maria Mouratidis, Psy.D., Chair
Sean Coyne, Ph.D.

Degrees offered



Main Campus

Women's College

The Psychology Department of the School of Arts, Sciences and Business offers a Major in Psychology, and Minors in Psychology and in Forensic Psychology through the Women’s College. Psychology as a science (STEM program) studies mental processes as well as human and animal behavior. While the roots of psychology are in philosophy and the humanities, contemporary developments strongly support grounding the discipline in scientific thought and in empirical practice. These scientific roots place objective methods of data collection, critical thinking, analysis and theory construction at the core of the curriculum. The goal is to apply these understandings across settings to advance science and improve the quality of human life. Our curriculum, grounded in the traditional liberal arts and the value of social responsibility, is consistent with the scientist-practitioner model. Our students learn to think critically and to be critical consumers of the scientific literature. They learn to use the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), take laboratory courses (such as Learning and Motivation), learn about the common and abnormal functioning of personality with an emphasis on cultural sensitivity and competence, explore the social and biological bases of behavior, are required to use APA Style, and demonstrate their ability to express themselves both orally and in writing. As a Capstone experience, students complete an individualized practicum where they apply knowledge and skills they have gained under supervision. Licensed psychologists teach clinical courses in the Psychology Program of Study.

Program Objectives

The Psychology Program of Study curriculum goals are consistent with the American Psychological Associations Guidelines for the Undergraduate Major in Psychology: Goal 1 Knowledge base; Goal 2 Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking; Goal 3 Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World; Goal 4 Communication; and Goal 5 Professional Development.

Integral to the Psychology Major is the psychology practicum placement where students apply knowledge and skills in field settings integrating theory, research and practice. The Practicum has evolved to include placements of national prominence in which students demonstrate mastery of psychological principles in clinical psychology, school psychology, biopsychology, animal research, clinical/psychiatric research, and guidance and counseling. Students have placements working with diverse patient populations and across all age groups.

The Psychology Program of Study prepares students for a range of career paths, including graduate school, medical school, or entry-level positions that use psychological skills and knowledge. Students can use the principles of psychology in clinical or research settings, or in the fields of education and training. Psychology complements many other courses of study, especially education, business, art and music, political science, women's studies, biology, pharmacy, criminology and communications. Understanding human behavior and scientific processes of measurement and analysis provides students with a portable skill set.

The Minor in Forensic Psychology assists students in developing counseling and communication skills to prepare them to interface with diverse populations, including victims and offenders. Graduates with this Minor will be prepared to succeed in an occupation involving interaction with people, including policymaking, community action, social research and social services.

Graduates of the Program are employed in psychology-related careers and in a variety of human service, education, research and business organizations, including Sheppard Pratt Hospital, the Baltimore County Department of Health, Crisis Intervention Centers, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Americorps, Booz Allen Hamilton, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

PSY-101 Introduction to Psychology fulfills the General Education Requirement in Social Science. PSY-375 Sex and Gender, SOC/PSY-271Psychology/Sociology of Gender Roles, PSY-209 Social Psychology, and PSY-371 Honors Women and Her Symbols fulfill the General Education Requirement in Gender Studies. PSY-208 Multicultural Psychology and PSY-427 Psychology Study Abroad: Women Surviving Trauma and Building Peace fulfill both the General Education in Cross-Cultural Studies and Gender Studies. Students with a 3.0 Grade Point Average in Psychology who are in the top 35% of the class may become active members of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. These students typically pursue an independent study project.

Psychology Majors and Minors and students choosing Psychology as a concentration for Liberal Studies must complete all courses for the Major/Minor with a grade of C or higher.

A student must have abilities and skills in five areas for PSY 306, PSY 406, PSY 409, PSY 461, and PSY 462: 1) observation; 2) communication; 3) motor; 4) intellectual, conceptual, integrative, and quantitative; and 5) behavioral and social. Technological compensation can be made for some limitation in certain of these areas, but a student should be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.

  1. Observation: The student must be able to accurately make observations at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation and is enhanced by the functional use of all the other senses.
  2. Communication: The student must be able to communicate effectively, efficiently and sensitively in both oral and written form and be able to perceive nonverbal communication.
  3. Motor: Student must be able to coordinate both gross and fine muscular movements, maintain equilibrium and have functional use of the senses of touch and vision. The student must possess sufficient postural control, neuromuscular control and eye-to-hand coordination to perform profession-specific skills and tasks.
  4. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: The student must be able to problem-solve, calculate, reason, analyze, record and synthesize large amounts of information in a timely manner. The student must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships.
  5. Behavioral and Social Attributes: The student must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his/her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the consistent, prompt completion of all responsibilities and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships. Students must be able to tolerate physically, mentally and emotionally taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The student must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, effective interpersonal skills, willingness and ability to function as an effective team player, interest and motivation to learn are all personal qualities required during the educational process.

Students who may not meet the technical standards are encouraged to contact the NDMU Director of Accessibility and Health Promotion to discuss and identify what accommodations, if any, would need to made in order that the student might be able to meet the standards.

Programs of Study

Required Courses for a Major in Psychology

          PSY-101 Introductory Psychology (4)
          PSY-205 Theories of Personality (3)
          MAT-215 Basic Statistics (Strongly recommended to be taken in the first year) (3)
          PSY-210 Research Methods (4) 
          PSY-420 History and Systems of Psychology (3) 
          PSY-461 Practicum (4)

Upper Level Research Course: One of the following (4)

          PSY-340 Quantitative Methods (4)
          PSY-380 Qualitative Methods (4)
          PSY-409 Psychometrics (4)

Outcomes Course: One of the following 

          PSY-411 Special Topics (3)
          PSY-406 Advanced Therapeutic Techniques (4)
          PSY-463 Independent Research (individual data collection project) (3)

Biological Bases (choose one)

          PSY-220 Introduction to Neuroscience (3) 
          PSY-212 Cognition (3)
          PSY-223 Biopsychology (3)
          PSY-323 Sensation and Perception (4)

Behavioral Bases (choose one)

          PSY-325 Learning and Motivation (4)
          PSY-343/BIO-343 Animal Behavior (4)

Developmental Bases (choose one)

          PSY-203 Child and Adolescent Development (3)
          PSY-233 Human Growth and Development (3)
          PSY-304 Adulthood and Aging (3)

Social Bases (choose one)

          PSY-260 Positive Psychology (3)
          PSY-209 Social Psychology (3)
          PSY-208 Multicultural Psychology (3)
          PSY-271-H Gender Roles (3)
          PSY-375 Sex and Gender (3)

Applied (choose one)

          PSY-306 Theories and Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy (4)
          PSY-207 Psychopathology (3)
          PSY-390 Career Counseling (3)
          PSY-451 Addiction Treatment Delivery
          PSY-452 Medical Aspects of Chemical Dependency

Two additional courses at the 200-level or above (6-8) 
One of these courses must be at the 300- or 400-level (a second practicum does not fulfill this requirement).

Required Courses for a Minor in Psychology

          PSY-101 Introductory Psychology (4)
          PSY-205 Theories of Personality (3)
          PSY-210 Research Methods (4)

(or an acceptable course from the student's major discipline as determined by the psychology department chair)
Five additional psychology electives, at least one chosen from each category, and at least two from the 300-level* (12-15)
*PSY 461 and 462 are not open to Psychology Minors.

Required Courses for a Minor in Forensic Psychology

PSY-101 Introductory Psychology (4)
CRM-101 Introduction to Criminology (3)
CRM-203 Theories of Crime and Social Deviance (3)
PSY-205 Theories of Personality (3)
PSY-207 Psychopathology (3)
PSY-210 Research Methods (4)
PSY-306 Theories and Techniques of Counseling (4)
PSY-409 Psychometrics (4)

Options for Psychology Majors

The Behavioral Neuroscience Major

This interdisciplinary program is designed to serve students interested in the biological basis of behavior, with primary emphasis on brain-behavior relationships. (See separate Catalog section under behavioral neuroscience). It provides a core of Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Neuroscience courses. Students interested in this Program should contact the Department Chair in their first year to facilitate graduation within four years.

Four-Year Plan

Below is a sample Program of Study for the Psychology Major. Students should select courses with the assistance of a faculty advisor. It is recommended that students complete MAT- 215 and PSY-210 by their sophomore year.

Fall Spring 
First year      
PSY-101 Introduction to Psychology 4 100/200-level Psychology 3
NDMU-100 First Year Seminar 3 MAT-215 Basic Statistics 3
General Education 9 General Education/Electives 9
[16 credits] [15 credits]  
Second year      
PSY-205 3-4 200-level PSY course 3-4
PSY-210 Research Methods  4 Upper Level Research Course 4
General Education/Electives 9 General Education/Electives 6
[16-17 credits]   [13-14 credits]  
Third year      
PSY courses 6-7 300-level PSY course 3-4
PSY 463 or PSY 464 3 300-level PSY course 3-4
General Education/Electives 6 General Education/Electives 9
[15-16 credits]   [15-17 credits]
Fourth year      
PSY-420 History and Systems 3 PSY-406 or PSY-464 3
400-level PSY course 3-4 PSY-406 or PSY-464 3
General Elective 6-7 PSY-461/PSY-462 Practicum  4
[13-14 credits] General Education/Electives 6
  [16 credits]  



CRM-101 Introduction to Criminology

Provides an examination of the nature, causes and social significance of crime. Emphasizes the major explanations of criminal behavior and typologies of crime and examines crime and crime prevention strategies as they relate to theory, policy and practice. Serves as a gateway course for students interested in the field of criminology. Fulfills general education requirement in social science and thinking critically and analytically. [3 credits]

CRM-203 Theories of Crime and Social Deviance

Examines major paradigms, models and theories of criminology. Students critically review explanations of criminal behavior and analyze past, current and future trends in criminal activity. Theories in deviance and criminology from multidisciplinary perspectives provide a foundation for discussion. Prerequisite: CRM-101. [3 credits]

MAT-215 Basic Statistics

Introduces the basic ideas of statistics: descriptive statistics, central tendency variability, probability distributions, sampling, estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression, multinomial experiments, contingency tables and analysis of variance. A statistical software package is used. Designed for students in a variety of fields that rely on regular statistical analysis in decision-making. Fulfills general education requirement in mathematics. Prerequisite: Placement in MAT 215 or successful completion of MAT 100 or MAT 103 is recommended. [3 credits]

PSY-101 Introductory Psychology

Examines psychology's perspective on human behavior through many human experiences: learning and memory, perception, motivation and emotion, personality, social interaction, normal and abnormal behavior, and human development. Draws from experience and fosters application to the students' own lives. This is a foundational course, and it meets prerequisite requirements for most psychology courses. Fulfills general education requirement in social science and thinking critically and analytically. Lecture and lab. [4 credits]

PSY-203 Child and Adolescent Development

Surveys development from conception through adolescence. Explores methods of developmental research, major developmental theories, ways to analyze evidence generated through research, social and behavioral traits and the impact of cultural context on development. Applies concepts to teaching, parenting and working with children. Prerequisite: PSY-101 or status as an elementary education major. PSY-101 is strongly recommended for elementary education majors and will improve student performance in this course. [3 credits]

PSY-205 Theories of Personality

Explores the structure, processes and development of personality from major theoretical perspectives, including psychoanalytic, neoanalytic, humanistic, behavioral, social behavioral and trait approaches. Emphasizes the comprehension, application and contrast of theories of personality and the enhancement of the student's critical thinking skills. Prerequisite: PSY-101. [3 credits]

PSY-207 Psychopathology

Considers and studies intensively the wide range of disordered behaviors from the different scholarly perspectives that comment on "abnormality." Explores the nature of abnormality; the relationships between body and mind, and brain and behavior; and the significance of abnormal personal patterns to human relationships. Prerequisites: PSY-205, PSY-210. [3 credits]

PSY-208 Multicultural Psychology

Explores the major ethnic groups and the particular psychological issues and needs relevant to specific groups. The impact of culture, race, and ethnicity on theory, research, and practice are examined. Issues related to diversity, tolerance and social behavior are explored. Specific consideration related to sex/gender differences within various cultures and ethnicities will be integral. Prerequisites PSY 101. Fulfills cross-cultural and/or gender studies requirement. [3 credits]

PSY-209 Social Psychology

Investigates the diverse mechanisms through which people influence the individual, particularly cultural socialization, stereotyping and prejudice, membership in formal and informal groups, and in close relationships. Examines topical areas of influence including attitudes, perceptual processes, conformity, conflict and aggression, roles and norms, and helping behavior, with a focus on gender. Emphasizes critical thinking about research and application of concepts to life experience. Prerequisite: PSY-101. Fulfills general education requirement for gender studies. Fulfills the social science requirement for Morrissey only. [ 3 credits ]

PSY-210 Research Methods

Introduces the basic methods of research design and report writing in the behavioral sciences. Descriptive, correlational and experimental research strategies will be discussed. Students
design original research and select appropriate data analyses. Ethical issues in each type of research design will be explored. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: MAT-215 and PSY-101 or CRM-101 or SOC-101. Satisfies the technological competency requirement. [4 credits]

PSY-212 Cognition

Investigates the nature of thinking, including attention, perceptual organization, memory, imagery, concept formation, problem solving and language. Emphasis is placed on both research and practical applications of the decision-making process, strategies for problem solving and the facilitation of memory. Prerequisite: PSY-101. [3 credits]

PSY-220 Introduction to Neuroscience

This course is an introduction to the human nervous system exploring bio-behavioral relationships of the brain, mind, and behavior from a multidisciplinary perspective. Topics will include the sturcture and function of the nervous system, sensory and motor functioning, cognition, motivation, emotion, consciousness, neuroplasticity, behavioral genetics, and nervous system disorders. Prerequisites: BIO-111 or PSY-101. [ 3 credits ]

PSY-223 Biopsychology

Presents a current understanding of the brain and its relationship to the behaviors of species from simple organisms to humans. Content includes the study of the anatomy and function of neural systems and their relationship to major disorders of the central nervous system. Contemporary techniques of neural investigation are included. The relationship between biopsychology and other content areas within psychology such as cognitive processes, human development, clinical psychology, learning, motivation and perception are high-lighted. Prerequisites: PSY-101 or BIO-111 with a minimum grade of C. [3 credits]

PSY-233 Human Growth and Development

Explores the principles of developmental psychology from infancy through adulthood and includes general consideration of developmental tasks through the lifespan. Prerequisite: PSY-101. [3 credits]

PSY-260 Positive Psychology

Focuses on the theoretical underpinnings and practical application of positive psychology. Students explore the fundamentals of positive psychology including human strength, virtues, positive emotions, happiness, love, humanity, leadership, spirituality, mindfulness, prosocial behavior, humane leadership, and approaches for living a healthy and meaningful life. Students learn how to apply and integrate these concepts into their understanding of the development of health lifestyles. They will also study their role in mitigating pathology, and analyze how these fundamentals are exhibited in work and community settings. Prerequisite: PSY 101 [3 credits]

PSY-304 Adulthood and Aging

Explores developmental change over the adult life course in physical, cognitive and social domains. Examines issues of continuity and change and the impact of gender, ethnicity, and social and cultural context on the developing person. Gives special emphasis to the mature adult and the process of aging. Prerequisites: PSY-210, PSY-233. [3 credits]

PSY-306 Theories and Techniques of Counseling

Introduces counseling perspectives, models, ethics and counseling skills for students interested in the helping professions. Surveys major theoretical paradigms and emphasizes mastery of basic communication skills useful in interpersonal relations settings. All students participate in lectures, class demonstrations, role playing and peer practice by using depart-mental counseling suites. This is the foundation course for PSY-406 Advanced Therapeutic Techniques. Prerequisites: PSY-210, PSY-205, and PSY-207 and Technical Standards as evaluated by the department. [3 credits]

PSY-323 Sensation and Perception

Investigates the structure and function of sensory receptors and the organization of sensory input for the basic senses of vision, audition, taste, smell, and touch. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PSY-210. [4 credits]

PSY-325 Learning and Motivation

Develops knowledge and research skills in learning and the experimental analysis of behavior in both animals and humans. Covers theoretical issues, basic principles, and experimental procedures. Emphasizes biological explanatory mechanisms. Practical applications of basic principles are considered. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PSY-210. [4 credits]

PSY-340 Quantitative Methods

Builds on the content of Research Methods (PSY-210) to provide hands-on research and data analysis experience using more advanced techniques. Explores multivariate research designs and analysis including multifactor analysis of variance, multiple regression, factor analysis and selected non-parametric techniques. Students design and conduct a research project, write an APA research report, create a poster presentation and use professional statistical analysis software. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: PSY-210. [4 credits]

PSY-343 Animal Behavior

Studies animal behavior from many perspectives, including the role of genetics and the environment, hormonal influences, and neurobiology of behavior. Consideration of evolutionary causes and consequences. Topics include the organization and development of behavior, foraging and feeding, anti-predator behavior, mating and reproductive behavior, parenting, social behavior and animal communication. Three hours lecture, three hours laboratory/field experience. Prerequisites: BIO-230 or PSY-101. [4 credits]

PSY-375 Sex and Gender

Explores the evidence for the cultural and biological influences on sex differences-the development of gender identity, gender role and sexual orientation. Investigates the impact of the cultural construct of gender on attitudes and behavior. Prerequisites: PSY-101 and junior standing. Fulfills general education requirement in gender studies. [3 credits]

PSY-380 Qualitative Methods

Explores the nature of qualitative methodologies, identifies which types of research questions are most appropriate for qualitative methods, and examines the assumptions underlying qualitative methods. Course focuses on the acquisition and application of qualitative analytic skills. Students complete a project involving the application of qualitative research skills. Prerequisites PSY-210 (or equivalent research course determined by the psychology department chair). [4 credits]

PSY-390 Career Counseling

Provides a practical and theoretical basis in personal and career development. Topics focus on occupational-educational information, career exploration techniques, vocational choice theory, and ethical standards, all within a context of diverse populations. Applications include computer-assisted career development and inventories. Prerequisite: PSY-101. [3 credits]

PSY-406 Advanced Therapeutic Techniques

Links the practice and application of techniques that flow from basic theoretical personality models. Expands the skills of students with clinical aptitude, background and interests. Therapeutic techniques from various clinical models are examined and tested. Communication, refocusing and redirection, behavioral assessment and change are explored. Prerequisites: PSY-205, PSY-207 and PSY-306 and Technical Standards as evaluated by the department. Conference and permission of instructor required. [3 credits]

PSY-409 Psychometrics

Provides opportunities for students to learn the theoretical and statistical principles related to the construction and use of psychological tests. Students will learn the standard administration, scoring, and interpretation of a borad battery of standardized cognitive and psychological assessment instruments. Students will become aware of the ethical issues related to cognitive and psychological testing. Student will be required to complete a clinical psychological assessment report analyzing and interpreting psychometric data. This course serves as an upper level research course. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: PSY-210, PSY-205 and PSY-207 and Technical Standards as evaluated by the department. [4 credits]

PSY-411 Advanced Topics

Explores in depth a focused topic in psychology, based on instructor's area of specialization. Topic changes from year to year, with recent offerings including Psychology of Religion, Attachment, Psychopharmacology, Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Evolutionary Psychology, and Culture of Violence. All students give a seminar paper and complete a major research paper. Prerequisite: will be noted for specific course, based on topics. Prerequisite: PSY-210, senior status as a psychology major. Not open to minors. [3 credits]

PSY-420 History and Systems of Psychology

Considers, through an analytical approach, the history and development of the ideas that shaped psychology as a scientific discipline. Seminar-style deliberation concerning development of the foundational ideas of the field of psychology. Examines how the system of psychology is presently structured. Specific attention is given to the role of women in the development of psychology. Reading of original material from basic theorists in the field is required. Prerequisite: Status as senior psychology major or minor. [3 credits]

PSY-451 Addiction Treatment Delivery

Provides an overview of the treatment of addiction in the context of an integrated health delivery system including substance abuse, mental health, medical, and legal systems. Students learn and practice assessment strategies to determine the appropriate level of care. Students learn strategies for advocacy and assisting clients in gaining access to care with an intentional focus on reducing health disparities. Techniques for providing psychoeducation to clients, their families, and the community are acquired. Students practice constructing an integrated treatment plan and strategies for navigating complex treatment systems as an effective member of an interdisciplinary team. [ 3 credits ]

PSY-452 Medical Aspects of Chemical Dependency (Pharmacology)

Examines the biological, genetic, and behavioral relationships in understanding the etiology of addiction. Students identify the various characteristics and classifcations of drugs of abuse and effects on the body and the mind and demonstrate sensitivity to cultural and gender differences. Students will describe the pharmacology and mechanisms of action of the major classes of drugs of abuse and alcohol. Students learn to identify symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. Explores the relationship between medical illnesses and addiction potential to medications. Biological treatments for addiction are explored as part of an integrated treatment plan and as part of an integrated system of care. [ 3 credits ]

PSY-461 Practicum I

Provides opportunities for field experience for qualified students under professional supervision. Allows for consultative meeting with practicum coordinator concerning career goals and aspirations, which then determine the nature of a placement most consistent with student abilities and interests. Offers students an additional opportunity for advanced training and increased levels of professional responsibility through Practicum II. Requires students to meet academic and background requirements for chosen placement and to attend an academic seminar in addition to fieldwork. Prerequisites: junior psychology major status and conference with coordinator. Not open to liberal arts majors or psychology minors. Technical Standards as evaluated by the department. Cannot retake if student receives a failing grade. Students will not be permitted to repeat PSY 461 or PSY 462 if they  receive a failing grade (D or F) or are removed from their practicum site due to an ethical violation. Ethical violations are defined by the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Ethical violations may include plagiarism. The practicum requirement cannot be waived or completed through another institution. [4 credits]

PSY-463 Independent Research/Independent Study

Independent study of a topic and development of a project of a student's choice. Includes directed readings, literature review and clinical study or data collection and analysis. Mentored and supervised by a faculty member of the department. Each student completes a major research paper and oral presentation. Prerequisites: PSY-210, PSY-340 and acceptance for supervision by a department member. [3 credits]