GENERAL QUESTIONS

Q. How do you become a psychology major?

At Moravian, a major is typically selected before registration in the Fall term of the Sophomore year. Students planning to major in psychology are asked to delay their final decision until after taking PS 211 (Experimental Methods and Data Analysis I). It is possible to delay the decision longer than this or to switch majors once declared. Freshmen and undeclared upperclassmen are encouraged to get some assistance from a member of the Psychology Department if there is a possibility of their declaring a major or minor in the Department. We can help you with possible course sequencing even if you are undeclared or are majoring in another department. The process of declaring a major is relatively simple. Make an appointment with the Department Chairperson, who will complete a pink Declaration of Major form to send to the Registrar. Please bring your academic folder from your previous advisor to this meeting. (This form is also used for Change of Major). You will be given some introductory materials and assigned to one of the six psychology professors as an advisee.


Q. What does your major advisor do?

Your advisor will give you assistance and advice in planning your academic schedule. He or she is also a good source of information on planning for graduate school or career. Your advisor is also there to help you with academic difficulties. Office hours are posted on each advisor's office door. During registration period, your advisor will have a sheet posted. Sign up as early as possible to get a time most convenient to you.


Q. What are psychology learning goals and outcomes?

Below are the knowledge, skills, and values consistent with science and application of psychology.

  • Goal 1. Knowledge Base Psychology
    Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.
  • Goal 2. Research Methods in Psychology
    Students will understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.
  • Goal 3. Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology
    Students will respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
  • Goal 4. Application of Psychology
    Students will understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  • Goal 5. Values in Psychology
    Students will be able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline. Knowledge, Skills, and values Consistent with Liberal Arts Education that are Further Developed in Psychology
  • Goal 6. Information and Technological Literacy
    Students will demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technologies for many purposes.
  • Goal 7. Communication Skills
    Students will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
  • Goal 8. Sociocultural and International Awareness
    Students will recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.
  • Goal 9. Personal Development
    Students will develop insight into their own and others' behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
  • Goal 10. Career Planning and Development
    Students will emerge from the major with realistic ideas abut how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of setting.

Q, What is the difference between a B.A. and a B.S. degree in Psychology?

The B.A. and B.S. degrees are described in detail in the college catalog. There can be a considerable degree of overlap between the two degrees. A student pursuing the B.S. degree takes Experimental track courses and 5 additional courses in the sciences. This is an excellent major for some students who will wish to pursue graduate degrees. The B.A. degree is awarded to students pursuing the Individually Designed, Clinical-Counseling, Social/Developmental or Industrial/Organizational tracks. Students pursuing B.A. degrees are encouraged but not required to take additional science courses.


Q. Will my choice of tracks appear on my transcript?

No. Only the B.A. or B.S. distinction appears. Tracks are for advising purposes only. Department staff are committed to educating students in the discipline of psychology (see Departmental goals, above).


Q. Why do we need to study animals to learn about human behavior?

That psychologists study animals to learn about people indicates some of the assumptions made by psychologists. First, it is assumed that complex behavior is comprised of simple, and universal behavioral elements. The simple elements of behavior and their rules of combination identified in rats, pigeons, or other animals can then be applied to humans. It is further assumed that the difference in complexity between much of the behavior of humans and other animals is quantitative rather than qualitative. If we can understand the basic elements of behavior, we can understand both pigeons and people.

These assumptions justify the study of animals, but there is much to be gained by studying animals as well. The major advantage of studying animals is the control we can gain. Very simple environments can be constructed in which to study the behavior of animals. The past experiences and the genetic background of animals can be controlled. Further, animals can be exposed to conditions of stress and deprivation that would not be possible with humans. Moreover, with animals there is much less of a possibility that demand characteristics will be of concern.

You will most likely have the opportunity to work with animals in the Animal Behavior course (PS/BI 250) or Physiological Psychology course (PS 325), or the Conditioning and Learning course (PS 335). Using animals as subjects in experiments is a valuable part of learning about the field of experimental psychology, and we hope you enjoy and benefit from the experience.


Q. What is an interdepartmental major? How do you declare one?

An interdepartmental major is a major designed by one student and one or two faculty advisors. It is used in exceptional cases where a traditional major is not the optimal way of meeting a student's objectives. Examples of interdepartmental majors involving Psychology are Psychology/Management, and Psychology/Graphic Arts. All interdepartmental majors must be approved by the Interdisciplinary Committee of the faculty. The interdepartmental major consists of 6 courses in Set I and 6 in Set II. The department chosen for Set I is where the greater part of academic advising is done. It is best to consult with the Set I department for further details. An application form and rationale will need to be completed for submission to the Interdisciplinary Committee. Following Committee approval, a Declaration of Major form is submitted to the Registrar.


QUESTIONS ABOUT COURSE REQUIREMENTS

Q. Why do I have to take Experimental Methods and Data Analysis?

Looking back to our Departmental Goals, you will notice the priority placed on the scientific aspects of our discipline. If our field is to advance, we believe it will do so only on the basis of careful scientific investigation and observation. Our upper level courses stress analytical and critical thinking as the pathway to knowledge. This way of thinking must be learned, and we feel that the Experimental Methods and Data Analysis I and II courses are the best way to achieve this goal. Whenever possible, all six professors rotate through this course.


Q. Why are there prerequisites for courses?

We have tried to keep the number of prerequisites to an absolute minimum. An introductory course is the most typical prerequisite. Our introductory course (Psychology 120) is designed to orient the student to the field of Psychology. Prerequisites to some upper level courses (e.g. Organizational Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Tests & Measurement) are necessary to ensure that the instructor will not need to spend a great deal of time reviewing background material.


OPTIONS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT

Q. How do you join a student organization?

There are 3 student organizations within the Psychology Department. The Psychology Club is open to all majors as well as interested freshmen and non-majors. To join you need only contact one of the officers. The student chapter of S.H.R.M. (Society for Human Resource Management) is open to majors and non-majors who may be interested in pursuing a career in Human Resources (personnel). As with Psychology Club, students interested in joining should contact one of the student officers. Eligibility for membership in Psi Chi (The National Honorary Society for Psychology) includes:

  • Completion of at least 3 college semesters
  • Completion of 9 semester hours of psychology courses (*for us, that is 3 courses)
  • Ranking in the top 35% of their class in general scholarship

Students meeting the above criteria are invited to join in a letter from the President of Psi Chi and the Faculty Advisor to Psi Chi.


Q. How do I arrange to do an Independent Study or Field Study?

Students with an overall G.P.A. and 2.7 or above may wish to speak with their advisor prior to registration about the IS/FS options. Information about this option may also be found in our field study file and bulletin board.


Q. What are the opportunities for part-time employment within the Psychology Department?

The department employs work study students to do a variety of tasks. Work study eligible students should speak to the Chairperson or department secretary. Positions are usually available for general clerical and animal room assistant.


Q. What are the opportunities for research in the department?

We believe that student research is extremely important--particularly for students considering graduate school. Research projects are built into many of our courses. Independent Study (IS) and the Senior Honors project are other possibilities to discuss with your advisor. Most of the Psychology faculty is also engaged in their own research and some may have funding for students.