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, and the computational psychology major allows students to address questions about human or animal behavior by harnessing the tools of computer science. 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. Psychology 214 and 215 must be taken on campus, so students who wish to study off campus in their junior year must complete these courses in their sophomore year. Two courses (equivalent to Psychology 111 or the 200-level electives, not 214 or 215) 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. Students may not earn more than four total academic credits from PS416, PS483/484, and PS491/492 within the same semester. Psychology courses used to fulfill a major in educational studies cannot also count toward a psychology or psychology: neuroscience major.
Note: Students cannot fulfill the physics minor if electing to minor in astronomy.
Requirements for the Major in Psychology
Psychology 111, 214, 215, 420; at least two courses from 232, 233, 234, 236, 241, 242, 244, 272, 275, 298; at least two courses from 120C, 223, 245, 251, 253, 254, 259; at least one 300-level seminar with an associated course in collaborative research; at least one other 300-level course.
Requirements for the Major in Psychology: Neuroscience
Psychology 111, 214, 215, 233, 420; at least two courses from 232, 234, 236, 241, 242, 244, 272, 275, 298; at least two courses from 120C, 223, 245, 251, 253, 254, 259; at least one course from 352F, 374, 375; at least one 300-level 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, 371J, 373, and 374. A student may not double major in biology with a concentration in neuroscience and psychology: neuroscience.
Requirements for the Major in Computational Psychology
Psychology 111, 214, 215; at least three additional 200-level courses; at least one 300-level seminar with an associated course in collaborative research. In addition, Computer Science 151, 152, or 153; 231 and 251 or 252; 310, 321, 330, 341, 343, 346, 353, 363, or 365; one additional 300-level or 400-level course. In addition, either Psychology 416 or 483 and 484 (by invitation), Computer Science 483 and 484 (by invitation), or a 400-level Computer Science course.
Honors in Psychology, Psychology: Neuroscience, or Computational Psychology
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 maintaining an outstanding major GPA, completing at least one seminar and collaborative research paired course by the end of the junior year, and overall engagement in research. Beyond these general criteria, departmental decisions regarding honors invitations will also reflect compatibility of student and faculty research 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.”