The Bachelor of Science in Psychology curriculum reflects the discipline’s major functions — scientific research, teaching, acting as a healing profession and raising philosophical questions about the assumptions, values and ideals of human beings and their societies, which reflects psychology’s origin in philosophy. Through a core set of requirements the student systematically develops understanding and skill in scientific methods of inquiry, focusing on the human mind and behavior. To fulfill the degree requirements, students may pursue the standard curriculum by selecting courses from four content areas that introduce students to the healing and philosophical sides of psychology and provide a broad understanding of the field as a whole; or the student may apply to one of several more focused concentrations that draw upon the special strengths of the VCU Department of Psychology.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Understanding of content domain
    The curriculum of the B.S. in Psychology is designed to provide students with an accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of psychological concepts, principles and findings in the key domains of the field, including developmental processes, social processes, physiological and behavioral processes, and mental health and well-being.
  • Development of intellectual domain
    The curriculum of the B.S. in Psychology fosters the development of the intellectual skills required to generate theories, do research, communicate ideas and information to others, evaluate conclusions statistically and locate the information needed for these intellectual pursuits. Students will learn to think scientifically, understand the relationships between theories, observations and conclusions, and skillfully evaluate the empirical support for various theories and findings.
  • Development of affective and interpersonal domain
    Students seeking the B.S. in Psychology learn a number of practical, applied life skills pertaining to personal adjustment, relations with others and cross-cultural awareness.

Special requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology curriculum requires a minimum of 120 credits, with at least 30 credits in psychology courses. A maximum of 40 credits in psychology (this limit does not apply to PSYC courses numbered 490 and above) can be presented for the degree. At least 15 of the 30 minimum-required credits must be completed at VCU. All students must complete the following:

Psychology core requirements
PSYC   101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to PsychologyIntroduction to Psychology4
PSYC   214Applications of Statistics3
PSYC   317Experimental Methods3
Collateral requirements
BIOL   101
BIOZ   101
Biological Concepts
and Biological Concepts Laboratory
4
Select one of the following:3-4
Environmental Science
Human Biology
Or an approved biology course
STAT   210Basic Practice of Statistics3

This information outlines the requirements for students who are admitted and pursuing the applied psychology concentration. To be admitted, continue and graduate with this concentration, students must achieve a minimum cumulative VCU GPA of 2.5 and also achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the major. This concentration requires 31 credit hours in the major.

Core courses must be taken sequentially and ideally should be completed by the end of the junior year. Core courses are PSYC with a minimum grade of C; PSYC   214 with a minimum grade of C (PSYC   214 also has the prerequisite requirement of STAT   210 or its equivalent with a minimum grade of C); and PSYC   317 with a minimum grade of C (PSYC   317 also has the prerequisite requirement of PSYC   214 or its equivalent with a minimum grade of C).

PSYC   451 is the capstone course and must be taken in the senior year.

Degree requirements for Psychology, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in applied psychology

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)
HUMS   202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities3
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)
Approved H&S General Education electives6-8
Experiential fine arts 11-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-8
Total Hours11-23
1

Course offered by the School of the Arts

Collateral requirements

BIOL   101
BIOZ   101
Biological Concepts
and Biological Concepts Laboratory
4
BIOL/ENVS 103Environmental Science3-4
or BIOL   201 Human Biology
STAT   210Basic Practice of Statistics3
Total Hours10-11

Major requirements

PSYC   101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to PsychologyIntroduction to Psychology4
PSYC   214Applications of Statistics3
PSYC   304Life Span Developmental Psychology3
PSYC   308Stress and its Management3
PSYC   309Personality3
PSYC   317Experimental Methods3
PSYC   318Principles of Psychological Tests and Measurements3
PSYC   340Introduction to the Helping Relationship3
PSYC   407Psychology of the Abnormal3
Select one of the following:3
Independent Study
Fieldwork: Human Services
Research Internship in Psychology
Total Hours31

Capstone

PSYC   451History of Psychology3

Open electives

Select 29-44 open elective credits29-44

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
BIOL   101
BIOZ   101
Biological Concepts
and Biological Concepts Laboratory
4
PSYC   101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Psychology Introduction to Psychology (approved human, social and political behavior) 4
STAT   210 Basic Practice of Statistics (approved quantitative literacy and collateral) 3
UNIV   101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
HUMS   202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Approved diverse and global communities 3
Approved General Education elective 3
Approved literature and civilization 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
BIOL   103
Environmental Science
or Environmental Science
or Human Biology
3-4
HUMS   291 Special Topics in the Humanities and Sciences 1
PSYC   214 Applications of Statistics 3
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Foreign language (101 level) 4
 Term Hours: 14-15
Spring semester
PSYC   304 Life Span Developmental Psychology 3
PSYC   317 Experimental Methods 3
Approved General Education elective 3
Experiential fine arts 1-3
Foreign language (102 level) 4
Open elective 2
 Term Hours: 16-18
Junior year
Fall semester
PSYC   308 Stress and its Management 3
PSYC   309 Personality 3
Open elective (upper-level) 3
Open electives (upper- or lower-level) 6
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
PSYC   318 Principles of Psychological Tests and Measurements 3
PSYC   340 Introduction to the Helping Relationship 3
Open elective (upper-level) 3
Open electives (upper- or lower-level) 6
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
PSYC   407 Psychology of the Abnormal 3
PSYC   451 History of Psychology 3
PSYC   492
Independent Study
or Fieldwork: Human Services
or Research Internship in Psychology
3
Open elective (upper- or lower-level) 3
Psychology elective or open elective (upper-level) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
Open electives (upper-level) 6
Open electives (upper- or lower-level) 5
Psychology elective or open elective (upper-level) 3
 Term Hours: 14
 Total Hours: 120-123

PSYC   101. Introduction to Psychology. 4 Hours.Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Psychology

Semester course; 3 lecture and 1 computer-assisted instructional hours. 4 credits. A survey of the basic principles, methods of investigation and fields of study and application. Includes individualized application of principles and methods in computerized learning activities. This course is a prerequisite for upper-level work in the field of psychology.

PSYC   201. Career Development in Psychology. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture hours. 2 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Introduction to the discipline of psychology and the career alternatives available in various specialties. Self-assessment, career decision-making skills, educational program planning methods will be covered. Special topics will include graduate/professional school options, opportunities for minority students and job search strategies for the B.A. or B.S. psychology major.

PSYC   214. Applications of Statistics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: PSYC   101 and STAT   210 both with a minimum grade of C. Frequency distributions, measures of central tendency and variability; sampling, probability, correlation and significance tests as applied in psychological data.

PSYC   301. Child Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. A study is made of the growth and development of the child until puberty. Childlike is viewed in terms of physical, mental, social, emotional and educational factors. PSYC   304 Life Span Developmental Psychology also may not be taken for credit.

PSYC   302. Psychology of Adolescence. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: PSYC   101. A study of mental, moral, social and physical development from puberty to maturity viewed as in child psychology. Designed for secondary school teachers, youth leaders and professional psychologists.

PSYC   303. Personal Adjustment. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Surveys major theories of personality as a basis for studying theory, research and intervention into areas that require personal adjustment. Such areas include sense of self, stress and coping, work and career and several varieties of interpersonal relationships. Positive adjustment and growth as well as problems are discussed.

PSYC   304. Life Span Developmental Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Reviews the basic concepts and principles of physical, cognitive and social development at each major stage of life-prenatal, infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, middle childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. Consideration is given to the study of development at each stage of life and to different theoretical explanations for development. PSYC   301 Child Psychology may not also be taken for credit.

PSYC   305. Educational Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. The application of psychological principles to the teaching-learning process with special emphasis on theories of learning and development. Crosslisted as: EDUS   305.

PSYC   306. Psychology of Adult Development. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. The life stages and transitions of the young adult, middle age and young-old phases of the life cycle are considered, following a review of methods of research within life-span development psychology. Topics include the impact of events such as birth of the first child, job relocation, mid-life re-evaluation and anticipated retirement.

PSYC   307. Community Solutions: Multiple Perspectives. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Explores possibilities for addressing social concerns of the Richmond community by understanding the complex nature of social issues as essential to their successful amelioration via perspectives of life and social sciences. Toward this end, expertise from the social sciences, the life sciences and the community are integrated. Includes a service-learning experience (a 20-hour volunteer requirement). Crosslisted as: LFSC   307.

PSYC   308. Stress and its Management. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Physiological and psychological aspects of stressors and the stress response. Review of principles, research and methods of stress management, such as relaxation, self-suggestions, meditation and biofeedback.

PSYC   309. Personality. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. The study of the various approaches to understanding human behavior in terms of personality theory. Various theories will be examined for commonality and uniqueness in assumptions, dynamics and development of personality.

PSYC   310. Industrial Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Application of psychological principles and techniques to problems in personnel management and human engineering; recruitment, selection, training and placement in industry; criteria in testing and test development; morale evaluation and improvement, employee counseling; work-management communications; human engineering in equipment design, quality control, working conditions and safety.

PSYC   317. Experimental Methods. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 2 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   214 with a minimum grade of C. Introduction to experimental procedures and laboratory techniques in psychology. Demonstrations and experiments in sensation, perception, learning, emotion and motivation.

PSYC   318. Principles of Psychological Tests and Measurements. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: minimum grade of C in PSYC   101 and minimum grade of C in STAT   210. Concepts in psychological measurement and a survey of commonly used tests; testing procedures and rationale underlying these tests; tests of intelligence, aptitude, achievement, interest and personality critically examined, procedures described for selecting and evaluating specific group tests in these areas.

PSYC   321. Social Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Survey theory and research in social psychology. Topics include interpersonal and social influence processes, attitudes and social cognition, the impact of personality on social behavior, conformity, leadership and small group behavior.

PSYC   322. Personality and Behavior of the African American. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. A study of personality factors such as motivation, ego-functioning and the socialization processes, with special emphasis on living conditions of African-Americans. Crosslisted as: AFAM   322.

PSYC   323. Interpersonal Relations. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Analyzes human relations from various theoretical perspectives. Typical topics include the effects of attraction, friendship, love and dependency on relationships; the evolution of relationships from initiation through termination. Strategies for increasing effectiveness of communication between individuals also are addressed.

PSYC   333. Psychology and Religious Experience. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Religious belief and experience as viewed by major psychological theorists. How psychological methodology has been used to study religious experience. Topics include personality factors and development, conversion experiences, religious experiences and mental health and human values. Crosslisted as: RELS   333.

PSYC   335. Psychology of Women. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Overview of issues in psychology relevant to women. Topics include: research methods of women's issues; sex-role socialization; women and hormones; psychological androgyny; personality theory and counseling strategies for women; women and language; women and violence; and rape and abuse. Crosslisted as: GSWS   335.

PSYC   340. Introduction to the Helping Relationship. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Overview to the dynamics of communication in a helping relationship. Didactic material includes the principles of empathy, nonverbal behavior, problem-solving, crisis intervention and interview techniques. Basic paraprofessional counselor skills will be demonstrated and practiced through structured exercises.

PSYC   341. Group Dynamics. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Social and psychological principles and research related to the individual in groups. Specific topics include motivation for individuals forming and joining groups, performance and productivity of group members, group leadership and majority and minority influence. The group will be examined in relation to the larger society and as a subculture in itself. Crosslisted as: SOCY   341.

PSYC   401. Physiological Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Data from the fields of anatomy and physiology are presented, and their implications for psychology are discussed. The central nervous system, internal environment, vision, audition, reflexes, emotion, learning behavior disorders and their physiological components. Behavior of the human organisms is studied from the biopsychological point of view.

PSYC   404. Social Psychology of Emotions. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: PSYC   101, SOCY   101. An examination of the social shaping of emotion as well as its function in maintaining the social process. Cross-cultural uniformities and diversity in basic emotions and their expression are addressed as well as selected social psychological theories of emotions. Crosslisted as: SOCY 404.

PSYC   406. Perception. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Perception of information from sensory systems with concentration on vision and hearing. Research and theories on how we learn and judge color, form, movement, depth and how individuals integrate these in object identification.

PSYC   407. Psychology of the Abnormal. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Development of personality is discussed, with emphasis on factors leading to maladjustment. Lectures and reading cover the symptom groups of emotional disorders of both psychological and organic origin. Methods of assessing and treating these disorders are surveyed.

PSYC   410. Principles of Learning and Cognition. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Comprehensive treatment of learning and cognition with emphasis on humans, from behavioral, cognitive, biological and developmental viewpoints. Topics include conditioning, information processing, memory, sociobiology and cognitive and moral development.

PSYC   412. Health Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Application of the principles and techniques of psychology to the field of medicine, to health maintenance and to illness. The integration of theoretical, research and applied issues is emphasized in the analysis of such topics as psychological/behavioral factors contributing to and protecting against physical illness (stress, smoking, exercise), factors relating to treatment and recovery (coping, treatment compliance), psychological problems resulting from illness and injury, and specific techniques and problem areas in health psychology (such as biofeedback, pain management, pediatric psychology, geropsychology, rehabilitation psychology and lifestyle change.).

PSYC   414. Psychology of Women's Health. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Overviews the psychological research on women's health. Topics include health behavior change, personality and individual differences, cognitive factors, disease-specific behaviors and interventions. Crosslisted as: GSWS   414.

PSYC   426. Child Psychopathology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: PSYC   101. Principal childhood behavioral abnormalities. A review of causes, assessment and diagnostic methods, and treatment, intervention and prevention approaches.

PSYC   451. History of Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: PSYC   101 and senior standing. Traces the history of ideas about mind and behavior as they relate to the theory and practice of psychology.

PSYC   491. Topics in Psychology. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Maximum total of 6 credits in topics courses. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. An in-depth study of selected topics and issues in psychology. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered.

PSYC   492. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1, 2 or 3 credits per semester. Maximum of 6 credits for all independent study courses. PSYC   492, PSYC   493 or PSYC   494 may be repeated for a total of 6 credits but a maximum of 12 credits total for all three courses. Prerequisite: PSYC   101. Open only to students of junior or senior standing who have acquired at least 12 credits in the departmental discipline. Determination of the amount of credit and permission of instructor and department chair must be procured prior to registration of the course. Independent study is defined as student-conceived and initiated readings or research project which is supervised by a psychology faculty member. An oral examination or written, comprehensive paper is required at the end of the semester.

PSYC   493. Fieldwork: Human Services. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 credits. PSYC   492, PSYC   493 and PSYC   494 may be repeated for a total of 6 credits but a maximum of 12 credits total for all three courses is allowed. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Students are placed in an agency, which will provide supervised work experience in various aspects of helping other people. The setting might be a government or private community agency, or a corporation, depending on the student's goals. The student works eight hours per week at the placement site, attends several group discussion sessions during the semester and completes written assignments. This course is designed to enhance the psychology major's career pursuits for either graduate-level training or post-baccalaureate employment.

PSYC   494. Research Internship in Psychology. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1, 2 or 3 credits per semester. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits with adviser's approval. PSYC   492, PSYC   493 or PSYC   494 may be repeated for a total of 6 credits but a maximum of 12 credits total for all three courses. Prerequisites: PSYC   101 and permission of faculty research supervisor must be obtained prior to registration. PSYC   214 and PSYC   317, or permission of supervisor. Students will work on various phases of a research project (design, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing) under a psychology faculty member's close supervision. This course is designed to enhance the psychology major's career pursuits for either graduate-level training or post-baccalaureate employment.

PSYC   497. Honors in Psychology I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: PSYC   317 (co-requisite with permission) and admission to the honors in psychology program. First in a three course sequence to develop, execute and defend an empirically based thesis in psychology. Students will work with a mentor to develop ideas into a tangible research project, working toward a proposal.

PSYC   498. Honors in Psychology II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   497 with a grade of A. Students will refine research ideas developed in PSYC   497 into a formal proposal document with introduction, method and proposed results. Students are expected to propose the thesis to their committee members no later than the second week of this course and begin data collection thereafter.

PSYC   499. Honors in Psychology III. 3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: PSYC   498 with a grade of A. Students will complete the research project developed in PSYC   497 and 498 and generate the final thesis, including introduction, method, results and discussion. Students must orally defend the thesis to their committee members by the end of this course with time for revisions to be submitted within the semester’s defined grading period.