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Undergraduate Catalog 2016-2017

Psychology (PSYC)

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
1121 Biology-Psychology Building, 301-405-5862
Chair: J. Blanchard
Director: M. Dougherty (Director of Graduate Studies), N. Salahuddin (Director of Undergraduate Studies)
Professors: G. Ball (Dean, BSOS), O. Barbarin (Chair, African-American Studies), J. Blanchard, S. Brauth, J. Cassidy (Distinguished Scholar-Teacher), A. Chronis-Tuscano, R. Dooling (Distinguished Scholar-Teacher), M. Dougherty (Associate Chair), M. Gelfand (Distinguished Scholar-Teacher), P. Hanges, C. Hill, A. Kruglanski (Distinguished University Professor), K. O'Brien, L. Pessoa, C. Stangor
Associate Professors: A. De Los Reyes, L. Dougherty, J. Herberholz, E. Lemay, L. MacPherson, K. Norman, M. Roesch, D. Yager (Associate Chair)
Assistant Professors: J. Beier, E. Bernat, E. Glasper, J. Grand, D. Iwamoto, J. Mohr, E. Redcay, T. Riggins, A. Shackman, R. Slevc, J. Wessel
Lecturers: R. Curtis (Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies), S. Roberts, N. Salahuddin, D. Selterman, T. Tomlinson
Professors Emeriti: R. Brown, C. Gelso, W. Hall, W. Hodos (Distinguished University Professor), C. Moss, K. Murnane, K. O'Grady, H. Sigall, B. Smith, R. Steele, C. Sternheim, F. Tyler, T. Wallsten

The Major

The undergraduate major in psychology provides an introduction to the methods by which the behavior of humans and other organisms are studied, and to the biological conditions and social factors that influence thought and behavior. Courses are organized into three broad themes: 1) Mind, Brain, and Behavior; 2) Mental Health and Interventions; and 3) Social, Developmental, and Organizational Studies. 

The program emphasizes a strong foundation in quantitative and research methods. Beyond coursework, students will have opportunities to assist with and conduct research, and important advantage in any career path.

Students who are interested in the biological aspects of behavior tend to choose a program leading to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, while those interested primarily in the impact of social factors on behavior tend to choose the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. The choice of program is made in consultation with an academic advisor.

Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronym: PSYC

Program Objectives

At the undergraduate level, students in the BA and BS programs in psychology will acquire a broad exposure to the field of psychology.  They will acquire the tools and experiences necessary for future training or work in the behavioral and social sciences. These include a foundation in research methods, critical and creative problem solving skills, and the communication skills necessary to impart this knowledge to others. Students should also have developed content knowledge representing both the breadth and depth of the fields in psychology.

Program Learning Outcomes

The undergraduate curriculum in psychology has been designed to challenge students and to highlight the four major learning objectives that will prepare our graduates for productive roles in society. These learning objectives are consistent with the institutional goals developed in the University of Maryland Learning Outcomes ( www.irpa.umd.edu/Assessment/ ) and the American Psychological Association's ( www.apa.org/ed/precollege/ptn/2014/02/undergraduate-guidelines.aspx ) recommendations for undergraduate programs.

  • Research Methods in Psychology
    Students should understand and apply basic research methods in psychology including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology
    Students should be able to use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  • Communication Skills
    Students should be able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
  • Content in Psychology
    Students should demonstrate familiarity with the questions that gave rise to content knowledge, a sampling of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

In addition, students completing the Psychology major will have an understanding of cultural and social diversity. Students should demonstrate ethical decision-making and cultural competence in all professional activities. 

For more information on the psychology learning outcomes, go to the department website:  http://psychology.umd.edu .

Academic Programs and Departmental Facilities

State of the art research labs in the Psychology Department provide students with opportunities for studies in clinical and counseling psychology, cognitive and neural systems, developmental psychology, and social, decisional and organizational sciences. Students benefit from a close relationship with the University Counseling Center. The new Maryland Neuroimaging Center makes available facilities for several types of functional brain imaging including fMRI and high-density EEG. The Psychology Department also contains the internationally recognized Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotions Research (CAPER).

Admission to the Major

In accordance with University policy, the Department of Psychology has been designated a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP) ( www.lep.umd.edu/ ).  All first-time freshman who request psychology as a major will be directly admitted into the major. Other first-time freshman who wish to declare psychology as a major prior to the last day of classes of their first semester in residence will be allowed to do so.

In order to remain a psychology major, newly admitted freshman will be required to meet an academic performance review on or before the end of the semester in which they earned 45 University of Maryland credits. This standard includes:

a. Completion of PSYC100 with a grade of "B-" or higher (if the student has Advanced Placement credit for PSYC100, the student must complete PSYC221 with a grade of "B-" or higher)

b. Completion of MATH120 or MATH220 or MATH140 with a grade of "C-" or higher. MATH 140 is highly recommended for students pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. (MATH 130 is acceptable only for declared PSYC/BSCI double majors and for students who have taken the course prior to becoming a PSYC major.)

c. Completion of BSCI170 (Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology) and BSCI171 (Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab) with a minimum grade of "C-" in both courses.

d. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in all coursework taken at the University of Maryland.

All other students, including both internal and external transfer students, will be admitted to the program only if they have met the above LEP requirements and also have a minimum cumulative GPA based on all previous college-level coursework of 2.70 or higher.

For a more detailed discussion of LEP policies visit www.lep.umd.edu and then call 301-405-5866 to consult with one of our academic advisors.

Any student denied admission or dismissed from the major may appeal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology ( http://psychology.umd.edu ).

Internal transfer students may appeal to the Office of the Dean for Behavioral and Social Sciences ( www.bsos.umd.edu ).

External transfer students may appeal to the Office of Admissions ( www.admissions.umd.edu ).

Requirements for the Major

All students must complete at least 35 credits (11 courses) in Psychology. The required courses include:

  • PSYC100 – Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC200 – Statistical Methods in Psychology
  • PSYC300 – Research Methods in Psychology (4 credit lab)
  • A minimum of 2 courses from each of the following three thematic areas:
    • Mind, Brain, & Behavior
    • Mental Health & Interventions
    • Social, Developmental, & Organizational Processes
  • Two 400 level, 3 credit PSYC courses
  • One additional 4 credit PSYC lab course

A detailed list of courses by theme can be found at the following link:  http://psychology.umd.edu/undergraduate/courses-syllabi

A grade of "C-" or better must be earned in all 35 credits of psychology courses used for the major, except for PSYC100 (or PSYC221, if AP credit was earned for PSYC100), in which the grade must be "B-" or higher. No course may be used as a prerequisite unless a grade of "C-" is earned in that course prior to its use as a prerequisite.

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree option must complete a minimum of 5 courses/17 credits in mathematics and science. At least three courses must be advanced and at least two courses must contain a lab. The 5 courses/17 credits must be completed with at least a 2.0 average.  MATH140 (highly recommended) or MATH120 (formerly MATH220) and BSCI170 plus BSCI171, may be used to satisfy part of the requirement for the B.S. degree.  (MATH130 is acceptable only for declared PSYC/BSCI double majors and for students who have taken the course prior to becoming a PSYC major.)  Students should consult the following website for a list of approved advanced math and science courses for the Bachelor of Science in psychology:

Requirements for the Minor


The minor in Neurosciences will give the highly qualified and motivated undergraduate an opportunity to study Neuroscience. The emphasis includes study in systems, cognitive, and computational neuroscience in a manner that crosses the traditional boundaries of Psychology, Biological Sciences, and other related disciplines.  The minor is most appropriate for students who already have a background in the biological sciences or psychology.

  • All majors are eligible for the minor except students in the Physiology & Neurobiology (PHNB) track in Biological Sciences (BSCI).
  • There are a number of science course prerequisites for the required and elective classes. Students should carefully review the prerequisites for all courses listed for the Neurosciences minor.  A student without a sufficient science background may not be able to complete the minor in the allotted credits.
  • Students may only count a maximum of two courses (6-8 credits) toward both their major degree requirements and the minor in Neurosciences.

Eligibility and Application to the Minor

In order to apply for the minor in Neurosciences, a student must have:

1. Completed at least 30 college credits and at least 15 credits at UM.
2. Earned at least a "C-" in BSCI170&171 and CHEM131&132 or have AP equivalents.
3. Earned at least a "C-" in PSYC301 or BSCI330.
4. Be in good academic standing.

Applications for the Minor in Neurosciences will be considered three times each year on October 1, March 1, and June 1. Students will be notified via email regarding the status of their application within three weeks of the submission deadline so that students will know whether or not they are accepted to the prior to early registration for the next semester.

Interested students may submit an application for the minor to the Undergraduate Psychology Office (BPS 1121). Applications are available on the Neurosciences and Cognitive Sciences (NACS) Program website at www.nacs.umd.edu .

Course Requirements

There are five required courses (11-14 credits) and two elective courses (6-8 credits) for a total of 17-22 credits to complete the minor. The five required courses and their prerequisites are listed below. All courses usded to satisfy the requirements of the minor must be completed with a grade of "C-" or better. Students must have a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average across all courses used to satisfy the minor requirements. A list of eligible electives can be found on the program website at www.nacs.umd.edu .

Required Courses Course Prerequisites
(5 courses, 11-14 credits)    
PSYC301 or BSCI453 PSYC301 Biological Basis of Behavior (3) BSCI70&171, PSYC100
  BSCI453 Cellular Neurophysiology (3 ) BSCI330, CHEM231/232, PHYS122
PSYC401 or BSCI454 PSYC401 Biological Basis of Behavior Lab (4)

BSCI170&171, PSYC200, PSYC301
or equiv.

  BSCI454 Neurophysiology Lab (1) BSCI330, CHEM231/232, PHYS122
PSYC402 or BSCI446 PSYC402 Neural Systems (3) PSYC206 or PSYC301
  BSCI446 Neural Systems (3) BSCI330
PSYC403 or BSCI360 PSYC403 Animal Behavior (3) PSYC206 or PSYC301
  BSCI360 Principles of Animal Behavior (3) BSCI170&171, BSCI160&161, BSCI222
PSYC409 Topics in Neuroscience Seminar (1)

Permission of Instructor
& Department



The Department of Psychology's Office of Undergraduate Studies has three full-time academic advisors to assist you every step of the way.  Advising is not mandatory, but we encourage all students to schedule an appointment at least once a semester, particularly first year freshmen, new psychology majors, and first semester transfer students to take advantage of advising.  Advisors are located in the Biology-Psychology Building Room 1121.

Some examples of common advising services include assistance with:

  • Strategies for degree completion
  • Opportunities in the psychology major
  • Department and university policies
  • Career and internship opportunities
  • Research opportunities
  • Social and personal adjustment to university life
  • Preparation for graduate study
  • Other ways to enrich your undergraduate experience

For assistance via email write  PSYCadvising@umd.edu

Walk-in advising:  Monday through Friday 10 a.m. - noon. No appointment is necessary.

Appointments: Call 301-405-5866 to schedule afternoon appointments.

Contact information for the staff of the Office of Undergraduate Studies can be found on  http://psychology.umd.edu/undergraduate/psyc-advising

Undergraduate Research Experiences

Research experience is strongly encouraged for students who wish to pursue graduate training in psychology. The faculty welcome undergraduate research students into their labs, and every semester over 100 students take advantage of these opportunities. The Office of Undergraduate Studies advertises opportunities for students to participate in research. See http://ter.ps/PSYCblog  and subscribe to receive announcements by email. Many students also find research opportunities on their own by approaching individual faculty members and graduate students with whom they share common research interests.

Freshmen and sophomore students can participate as a Maryland Student Researcher in the Maryland Center for Undergraduate Research. Students participating in this program have the opportunity to work individually with faculty members.

If eligible, students can earn academic credit for research participation (maximum of 9 credits) through PSYC479, Independent Research in Psychology. Applications and requirements for PSYC479 are available here: http://psychology.umd.edu/undergraduate/research-assistantships


The Washington D.C. Area is rich in offering a variety of high-quality psychological research and practice opportunities. These include research organizations, training and service-delivery agencies, and institutions involved in legal, policy, and legislative concerns that intimately affect the psychological well-being of the nation. Opportunities for field experience exist in all areas of psychology.

Working with psychologists and related professionals in these settings can be a source of considerable enrichment for you. You can apply your classroom learning, test out your interests and skills in psychology, and receive training in a specialized aspect of psychology which is not available on campus.

The Psychology E-News Blog ( http://umdpsyc.blogspot.com/ ), the University Career Center and the President's Promise ( www.studentaffairs.umd.edu/university-career-center-the-president-s-promise ), and individual organizations in the area are all good sources for you to consult in your search for an internship experience. Some additional tips on finding internships are posted online here:  http://psychology.umd.edu/undergraduate/finding-internships

If you have identified a psychology-related internship opportunity and would like it to be considered for academic credit, you should download and submit the PSYC389 contract online ( http://psychology.umd.edu/undergraduate/psyc-forms ), once you are sure that you meet the requirements.

Honors Program

The Honors Program in Psychology is designed to enrich and accelerate the acquisition of knowledge in the field. The goals of the honors program of the psychology department include:

  • Train students to think as independent scholars.
  • Provide opportunities for close, scholarly analysis of significant topics in psychology.
  • Encourage and provide opportunities for students to undertake independent research.
  • Introduce students to a broad range of advanced psychological principles and methodologies.

Details about program eligibility and how to apply are posted here:  http://psychology.umd.edu/undergraduate/psyc-honors-program

For more information about the Honors Program in Psychology please call 301-405-5866 to schedule an appointment with the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

The University of Maryland chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology provides membership to students who meet the application requirements. Psi Chi members abide by the core values of scholarship, service, and community, receive academic recognition for their achievements in psychology, and have the opportunity to connect and build relationships with other members, faculty members, and professionals. Details and contact information about Psi Chi can be found on the chapter's website:  http://umdpsichi.weebly.com

Active Minds at Maryland is a student-run organization that focuses on mental health awareness and advocacy on campus. Members are students interested in psychology, medicine, and public health, students who have friends or family members with a mental illness, and/or students who are struggling with mental illness themselves. To learn more, please visit the Active Minds office in room 0208R in the Student Involvement Suite of the Stamp Student Union, or visit the Active Minds at Maryland website ( http://umdactiveminds.webs.com/ ) or facebook page ( www.facebook.com/ActiveMindsAtMaryland/info?tab=overview ).

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

Awards and Recognition

The Mark S. Harper Award for Excellence in Psychology is given annually at the spring commencement to the graduating senior who best exemplifies the spirit of Mark, a UM Psychology graduate.  The top 10 percent of the graduating class are eligible to be nominated by a faculty member for the award.

The Department’s Award for Excellence in Student Leadership goes to a student nominated by his or her peers for an outstanding commitment to advancing the opportunities and achievements of fellow psychology majors, students and community members. 

The Harper Travel Award provides travel support for students presenting their research at professional conferences.  Please contact the undergraduate office for more information and an application form.

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