We believe the best way to learn the science of psychology is by engaging our faculty and students in a collaborative search for new knowledge about human cognition, emotion, and behavior. This process begins with an understanding of the discipline’s conceptual foundations, and it requires a firm grounding in methods of research design and statistical analysis. Psychology majors learn how to explain behavior from multiple perspectives; how to ask substantive questions and to use appropriate empirical methodologies to address those questions; how to communicate their findings clearly in written, oral, and visual forms; and how to interact with humans and animals following the ethical standards of the field.
An extensive program of laboratory research provides the means for students and faculty to work together to explore interesting phenomena in cognition, development, emotion, health, motivation, neuroscience, perception, personality, psychopathology, and social psychology. Civic engagement and internship opportunities allow students to apply course content to real-world contexts.
The concentration in neuroscience allows students to explore an interdisciplinary field combining the study of psychology and biology. More information on research in the various laboratories may be found on the department’s website, colby.edu/psychology.
Students who major in psychology will graduate knowing how to ask good questions and how to find and communicate the answers to those questions. These skills are useful in any field of endeavor, especially for graduate study in psychology or other professional programs such as law or medicine and as general preparation for entry into business, educational, nonprofit, or governmental work settings.
Because Psychology 214 and 215 impart skills that are crucial for the required advanced work in collaborative research, students must maintain minimum grades of C in these courses in order to continue in the major. Psychology 214 and 215 should be taken in the sophomore year and no later than the junior year; these courses may not be repeated. Two courses (equivalent to Psychology 111 or the 200-level electives) transferred from other institutions, including those taken while abroad, may be counted toward the major. Psychology and psychology: neuroscience majors may not take any psychology course satisfactory/unsatisfactory. Psychology courses used to fulfill a major in educational studies: human development cannot also count toward a psychology or psychology: neuroscience major.
Chair, Professor Martha Arterberry
Professors Martha Arterberry and Edward Yeterian; Associate Professors Jennifer Coane, Melissa Glenn, Tarja Raag, and Christopher Soto; Assistant Professors Travis Carter, Allecia Reid McCarthy, and Erin Sheets; Visiting Assistant Professors Joseph Atkins and Angela Bell
Requirements for the Major in Psychology
Psychology 111, 214, 215, 420; at least two courses from 241, 251, 253, 254, 259; at least two courses from 232, 233, 234, 236, 275; at least one seminar with an associated course in collaborative research; at least one other 300-level course. One year of laboratory experience in the natural sciences is recommended for all majors.
Requirements for the Major in Psychology: Neuroscience
Psychology 111, 214, 215, 233, 374 or 375, 420; at least two courses from 232, 234, 236, 254, 275; at least two courses from 241, 251, 253, 259; at least one seminar with an associated course in collaborative research. In addition, Biology 163, 164, and 274 (with lab); at least one biology course from 225, 276, 279, 332, 373, 374, 375, 474. A student may not double major in biology with a concentration in neuroscience and psychology: neuroscience.
Honors in Psychology or Psychology: Neuroscience
Near the end of the junior year students may be invited by the department to participate in the honors program. Criteria for invitation normally include major GPA, completing at least one seminar and collaborative research paired course by the end of the junior year, overall engagement in research, and compatibility of student and faculty interests. In addition to fulfilling the basic requirements for the psychology major, students must complete the honors research sequence (Psychology 483, 484). Upon vote of the department, the student will be awarded his or her degree with “Honors in Psychology.”