Overview of the Programs

The psychology major programs at Lehigh start with a broad and comprehensive Introductory Psychology Course (Psyc 001) usually taken during the first year.

Lower division (100-level) courses provide a foundation for upper division offerings and are typically taken during the sophomore year. First-year students who have successfully completed Introductory Psychology (or have scored a 4 or 5 on the AP exam and have been granted 4 credits for PSYC 001) are permitted to take 100-level psychology courses.

Both the B.A. and B.S. psychology major programs include 100-level breadth courses that span distinct areas.  Four 100-level breadth courses, with a minimum of one from each of the following three areas, are required of all majors. The courses that are offered in the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience Area (Psyc 117; Psyc 176) focuses on the mental processes and internal representations that underlie language and thought; and the neurological basis of behavior. Courses in the Developmental Psychology Area (Psyc 107; Psyc 109)  focus on cognitive, social and emotional development across the life-span. Courses in the Social and Personality Area) focus on individual differences, emotion, social judgments and social context of behavior. Because many of the 300-level courses specify certain 100-level courses as prerequisites, students are encouraged to consider future course choices when selecting 100-level courses for their major program. A 100-level recitation section accompanying one of the breadth courses is also required.

Psychology is a science and the required courses in the Methodology Core  provide a foundation for understanding the use of experimentation and systematic observation as a means for gathering and analyzing data about human behavior.

For students graduating in 2018, 2019, or 2020: The Methodology Core includes a two-course sequence (PSYC 110 and 210). The first part (PSYC 110) is a course in statistics and experimental design. This course includes a computer lab in which students become acquainted with a widely used statistical software package (SPSS). This course is usually taken during the sophomore year and is followed in the junior year by a course in experimental psychology (PSYC 210). In PSYC 210, students continue their study of experimental design, conduct experiments of their own, and learn to write up experiments in the professional format and style that is required of psychologists. PSCY 210 serves as the junior year writing intensive course in psychology.

For students graduating in 2021 or later: The Methodology Core includes a three-course sequence (PSYC 201, 202, 203). The first two courses (PSYC 201 and 202) focus on developing research questions and answering them using appropriate research designs and complementary data analysis techniques. These courses include a computer lab in which students become acquainted with a widely used statistical software package (SPSS). PSYC 201 and 202 should be taken during the sophomore year and are followed in the junior year by PSYC 203. In this course, students will design, conduct, and analyze behavioral research studies and develop skills in scientific writing. PSYC 203 serves as the junior year writing intensive course in psychology.

Upper division (300-level) seminars reflect the diverse subject matter of psychology. Upper division courses span a wide range of topics; most are small (15 to 20 students) and emphasize writing, discussion, critical thinking and reading primary sources of information. Although all upper division courses draw heavily on theory and research, some focus on applied topics, such as health psychology, sports psychology, or psychology and the law. Other upper division courses, such as personality assessment or clinical methods, are designed for students who plan to pursue graduate study in counseling or clinical psychology. Other upper division courses allow for an in-depth exploration of topics that were touched upon in the core courses. These specialty seminars include such topics as social cognition and stereotypes, the psychology of language, personality and social development, and gender. Upper division courses vary from semester to semester with new courses continually added to the mix.

Students in the B.A. program are required to take four 300-level seminars, spanning at least two concentration areas.   While students in the B.S. program are required to take five 300-level seminars, spanning at least two concentration areas, and also must choose a concentration.  Completion of a concentration involves selecting two specific 100-level breadth courses and three 300-level seminars within the concentration area.   Concentration  areas are:  Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental; Social and Personality; and Clinical and Behavioral Health.   Some majors prefer the specialization that a concentration offers whereas others prefer to sample a wide range of offerings. Students who opt for a B.A. in Psychology can elect to complete a concentration.  Please note that thesis (Psyc 391, Psyc 392), Senior Project (Psyc 394) and Independent Research (Psyc 393) do not count toward the required 300-level course requirements.

Students who elect to complete a minor may find that certain 300-level courses are required or suggested for the minor.  For this reason, students are encouraged to explore these options with their academic advisor early in their college career. Please note that only one course can be used to fulfill both major and minor requirements.

Although the psychology requirements are defined in terms of formal coursework, majors are also encouraged to avail themselves of experiential opportunities that are individually tailored to meet their needs. Students who wish to receive academic credit for research opportunities can register for Supervised Research (Psyc 161) or Independent Research (Psyc 393).  Supervised Research and Independent Research provide an opportunity for students to become an apprentice in one or more of the labs of the psychology faculty. These experiences allow the student to become familiar with the methods and strategies of research in particular domains of psychology. Students, particularly those majors who hope to pursue graduate study in psychology, are strongly encouraged to seek out faculty members in their areas of interest. Faculty members in the Psychology Department are committed to undergraduate education and value the close mentorship relationship they develop with students working in their labs.

The Honors Program permits majors of unusual academic ability and interest to explore topics in greater depth than the curricula normally allow. Highly motivated undergraduates who plan to pursue graduate study in psychology are strongly encouraged to pursue honors work in psychology.  

Internships in a variety of applied settings can also enrich the major experience and help students decide what career path is best for them.  They also help build credentials for entry into graduate programs in associated domains. Students do not receive course credit for such internships, but they are encouraged to seek them out on a volunteer basis.