The Department of Psychology at Middlebury College has a strong commitment to the scientific study of human mental processes, emotions, and behavior. In keeping with this philosophy, the department offers a broad range of courses that provides students with the opportunity to learn about basic research and its applications in a variety of areas, including social, cognitive, behavioral, cultural, clinical, environmental, biological, and developmental psychology.
Requirements for the Major in Psychology: The psychology major consists of a minimum of 11 courses in five categories: (I) Foundation courses, (II) Area core courses, (III) Electives, (IV) Labs, and (V) Advanced seminars and senior work.
I. Foundation courses: The foundation courses provide an overview of the field and provide students with the background and skills necessary to understand psychology as an empirical science. The required foundation courses are Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 0105) and the Statistics/Research Methods sequence (PSYC 0201 and PSYC 0202). Students are expected to complete the Statistics/Research Methods sequence by the end of their sophomore year, and no later than the end of their junior year.
II. Area core courses: Area core courses ensure that students have a broad understanding of various subfields within the discipline. Students are strongly encouraged to complete area core courses no later than the end of junior year. All students must take three area core courses, at least one in each of the two main areas of the curriculum.
Area 1 Biopsychology, Cognitive, and Physiological Psychology: PSYC 0301, PSYC 0302, PSYC 0303, and PSYC 0305.
Area 2 Clinical, Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology: PSYC 0203 (or PSYC 0230), PSYC 0204, PSYC 0224, and PSYC 0225 (or PSYC 0216).
III. Electives: Students choose three additional courses from any level of the psychology curriculum, including winter term. PSYC 0350, PSYC 0500, or PSYC 0700 can be used as one of the elective requirements. (PSYC 0701, 0702, and 0703 do not satisfy the elective requirement.)
IV. Labs: All students must take at least one course with a lab section in addition to Psychological Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology. This lab course also may fulfill another course requirement simultaneously (e.g., an area core or elective course). Lab courses are designated as such in the course descriptions. For 2015-16, these are PSYC 0301, 0305, and PSYC 0320.
V. Advanced seminars and senior work: Advanced seminars and senior work in psychology emphasize the synthesis and integration of theory and research. Each student must take two seminars (0400-level courses) in psychology; these may be taken during junior and senior years. Students who meet the department requirements also may apply to the department to complete a senior honors thesis in psychology, which requires students to apply their skills and knowledge to the completion of a year-long empirical research project. Students who complete an honors thesis in psychology can count PSYC 0703 for one of their two advanced seminar requirements. (See description below.)
Departmental Honors in Psychology: Students who seek to graduate with departmental honors should consult with a faculty member no later than their junior year to actively begin planning their research. Students intending to complete honors work are expected to submit a Thesis Intent Form by the stated deadline (early to mid-March) of their junior year. The psychology thesis requires three semesters (including Winter Term) of independent research. During the fall term of their senior year, candidates will enroll in PSYC 0701. During the winter and spring terms, after meeting the special requirements listed in the course description and being accepted into honors candidacy, they will enroll in PSYC 0702 and PSYC 0703, respectively. A minimum GPA of 3.5 in psychology department courses is required for admission to honors candidacy. Students who complete an honors thesis in psychology can count PSYC 0703 for one of their two advanced seminar requirements.
VI. Independent Research in Psychology or Optional Independent Work: Students may take Directed Research (PSYC 0350) or Advanced Research (PSYC 0500) under the supervision of a faculty member. Students need permission from a faculty member prior to enrollment in these courses. Students cannot take more than one independent research course in psychology per semester. PSYC 0350, PSYC 0500, or PSYC 0700 can be used to fulfill one elective requirement.
Requirements for the Minor in Psychology: Five psychology courses, including the following: (1) PSYC 0105; (2) two core courses from among PSYC 0201, PSYC 0202, PSYC 0203 (or PSYC 0230), PSYC 0204, PSYC 0224, PSYC 0225 (or PSYC 0216), PSYC 0301, PSYC 0302, PSYC 0303, PSYC 0305, (3) two electives (any fall, spring, or winter term PSYC courses; one of which can be PSYC 0350, PSYC 0500, or PSYC 0700).
Advanced Placement: Students can bypass PSYC 0105 and move directly to a higher-level course if they earned a Psychology AP Examination score of 4 or 5; or earned a score of 6 or 7 on the IB (International Baccalaureate) Higher Level psychology exam; or achieved a passing grade on the PSYC Department Placement Exam. Students with lower AP/IB scores, or who took the IB standard Level psychology exam, or who have done previous psychology course work may choose to take the placement exam. A passing score on the placement exam means that students may enroll in courses that list PSYC 0105 as a pre-requisite, but it does not provide course credit toward graduation or other College requirements. Credit for PSYC 0105 is given to students who achieve a score of 4 or 5 on the Psychology AP Examination. Credit for PSYC 0201 is given to students who achieve a score of 4 or 5 on the Statistics AP Examination.
Major in Neuroscience: See Neuroscience Program listing for a description of this major.
Major in Environmental Studies with a focus in Psychology: See the Environmental Studies Program listing for a description of this major.
Joint Major in Psychology and Sociology: The Departments of Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology no longer offer a Joint Major in Psychology and Sociology (as of 2011-12).
Education Studies Minor with a Psychology Major: Up to two of the Psychology courses required for the Education Studies minors may also be counted towards the Psychology major.
Restrictions Concerning the Transfer of Courses in Fulfillment of the Psychology Major: Effective fall 2007, students may transfer no more than two psychology courses while enrolled as a full time student at Middlebury. Students wishing to obtain approval to transfer more than two courses must petition the department in advance.