A bachelor’s in psychology program curriculum teaches students the broad theoretical issues of contemporary psychology which are later applied in a student practicum. Undergraduate-level psychology courses equip students with the knowledge and skills required for critical thinking, evaluating human cognition, and understanding the connection between biological systems and human behavior.
Skills, Concepts, or Opportunities Gained With a Bachelor’s in Psychology
Psychology courses typically cover the following areas:
- Critical thinking from a scientific perspective. Critical thinking is the ability to assess claims and make objective judgments based on well-supported, non-emotional reasons. It involves applying logical principles, rigorous standards of evidence, and a thorough reasoning process. Critical thinking is important in psychology because it allows for an objective conclusion without the risk of acting on a false premise. Through development of intellectual empathy, students can learn the art of suspending judgment through critical thinking.
- Biological stressors and human behavior. Physiological or biological stress is a person’s response to a stressor, such as a change in environment. Stress symptoms can affect both the mental and physical health of humans, and can also manifest as a change in behavior. Stress left unmanaged can lead to several behavioral problems, including social withdrawal, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, and a change in eating habits.
- Descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive statistics use numerical calculations from graphs or tables to provide descriptions of a population or groups of people. Inferential statistics use data taken from population samples to make inferences or predictions about a particular group of people.
- Fundamentals of human cognition. Cognitive psychology is the scientific investigation of all human mental abilities, including perception, learning, memory recall, thought, reason, and understanding. Students may learn the concepts behind methods to evaluate the cognitive abilities of patients.
- Multicultural psychology. Multicultural psychology is the study of how humans behave when people from multiple cultural groups interact. It includes aspects such as racial identity development, multicultural competence, and acculturation, as well as racial prejudice and stereotyping.
Common Courses for Bachelor’s in Psychology Students
These are some of the common psychology courses offered for this type of undergraduate degree:
Multicultural Psychology: This course addresses the issues of human diversity theory outlined by the American Psychological Association, including age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and language. The course also covers issues related to identity, oppression, prejudice, acculturation, and workplace diversity. Students may learn to use research methodologies to promote greater understanding and empathy.
Human Cognition: This course covers a general discussion of cognition and its neural basis. In this course, students can master the fundamentals of human cognition, including perception, attention, memory, language, problem-solving, and decision-making.
Critical Thinking in Social Science: Students can gain an understanding of the importance of scientific critical thinking and ethics in advancing scientific knowledge and understanding, and the application of that knowledge in social sciences. Students may also become critical thinkers by developing solid theoretical and scientific knowledge of critical thinking and values.
Understanding Statistical Inference: Students are introduced to descriptive and inferential statistics in this course and may be required to complete statistical software projects. Concepts and techniques discussed include sampling distributions, measures of central tendency and variability, interval estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation and regression, and chi-square tests.
Biological Psychology: Students may learn the connection between biological systems and human behavior. This course includes topics such as memory, emotion, stress and health, sleep and dreams, and psychological disorders. Instruction is given on the different parts of the brain, hormones, and the role of neurotransmitters. Other aspects studied include neural flexibility, the interaction between nature and nurture, and prospects for individual change.