Information for Students
Information for and About Alumni
Table of Contents:
This student handbook is designed to be a guide to essential information about Ohio Wesleyan University's Department of Psychology. It may be used to help students answer frequently asked questions regarding our curriculum, get a feel for the opportunities available in the Department, and see what a major or minor in psychology entails and provides. The handbook provides more detailed course descriptions and requirements than are provided in the university catalog. The backgrounds and interest areas of our faculty are also included. Students may use the handbook as a supplement to our advising process when selecting courses, a major/minor, or even a vocation following graduation. Students are always encouraged to discuss these issues with either their academic advisor or any departmental staff member.
The program in psychology exposes the student to a broad spectrum of courses in psychology which are useful both to the general student and to those students who are interested in pursuing graduate or professional training. While the overall emphasis of the program is to provide students a broad background in the scientific aspects of the discipline, students are also required to obtain the skills necessary to apply that knowledge, whether that be in the laboratory or in an applied setting. One- on-one work with a faculty member is strongly encouraged for every major, either in empirical research or clinical experience. After satisfaction of the basic requirements of the major, students may focus their study on one or several different areas that encompass the field of psychology.
Curriculum for the Major
A minimum of nine psychology courses is required to complete a major in psychology.
The major consists of three core courses:
plus a minimum of six additional elective units of credit. Of these six units, at least one unit of credit must be from each of the categories listed below.
The remaining unit(s) can be from any category, including the additional category "Advanced Studies."
Credit-no entry courses will not count toward the major.
No more than 13 psychology courses will count toward the 34 units required for graduation although any additional courses will appear on a student's transcript and will be used in computing the student's GPA, both within the department and university.
A minimum GPA of 2.0 within the major is required for graduation. There are no specific course or grade requirements for declaring the major. Transfer credit applied to the major: All psychology credits to be used for satisfying the minimum requirements of the major which are transferred from another university must be approved by the department chair and the faculty member in the Department most closely aligned with that subject area. Normally approval for any transferred credit should be obtained prior to the student enrolling in the course for which OWU credit is desired. It is not recommend that the core courses of the major (PSYC 210 and PSYC 310) be taken at a different university. The Department reserves the right to deny credit toward meeting the minimum requirements of the major (based either upon its content or on the number of other courses being transferred) for any course taken at another institution.
Transferred courses are not computed in determining the student's university or departmental GPA.
Considerations regarding the major:
Students are encouraged to declare their major as early as possible so that they can be placed on the department's mailing list for special events and can become eligible for election to the Department's honorary and student governance organizations.
Because of increasing competition for admission to their programs, graduate schools in psychology are placing greater emphasis upon the applicant's areas of academic preparation. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that those students who desire to attend graduate school in psychology take additional courses in the biological sciences, mathematics, and philosophy and that they develop an independent research project or apprenticeship under the direction of a faculty member in the psychology department.
Courses with an asterisk (*) are especially recommended for students preparing for the GRE Advanced Placement Exam in Psychology. This exam is a prerequisite for admission to most graduate programs in psychology. Consult with your academic adviser or the department regarding specific electives within or outside of psychology that might best complement your graduate career goals.
(1) Quantitative emphasis: a minimum of five units
of credit in psychology including PSYC 110, 210, and 310 and at least
two other unit content courses from any category.
See the Description of the Courses for more information about the individual courses.
(required for the major)
NOTE: Freshman tutorials (open to freshman honors students only) may be substituted for PSYC 110 if the student elects to include PSYC 110 subject matter as part of the tutorial and satisfactorily passes the PSYC 110 exam(s) given by his/her mentor (see tutorial options listed below).
B. Thinking and Adaptive Behavior
C. Psychology Across the Lifespan
D. Social Aspects
E. Psychological Health
F. Advanced Studies
NOTE: PSYC 110 is a prerequisite for all courses except the freshman tutorials (PSYC 190) and PSYC 210 Quantitative Methods. Some courses may require additional prerequisites. See the "Description of Courses" section for that information.
The distinguishing feature of Group F courses is the degree of student involvement in the course. Those in this grouping are conducted as seminars or they require students to work primarily on their own. In seminars student enrollments are restricted and students are expected to make oral presentations of materials they have prepared. In independent studies and apprenticeships students are expected to complete a project (research, observation, etc.) with minimal faculty supervision. Typically apprenticeships provide off-campus opportunities for students to explore the profession of psychology in a mental health facility, social agency, court facility, or business.
Declaration of the major or minor
No special requirements or prerequisites exist in order for a student to declare psychology as a major or minor. Students are encouraged to make this declaration as early as possible. Forms are available in the registrar's office or the psychology office. Students are required to have the signature of the department chairperson and should make an appointment with him/her to discuss their proposed curriculum and career objectives.
Should a declared major/minor decide not to continue in psychology we would appreciate notification so that our records can be corrected.
Requirements for the major/minor
Infrequently a student might find it difficult to fully meet the distribution requirements for the major or minor. The Department will not consider fewer than the minimum number of courses for the major (9 units) or minor (5 units) but may consider a distribution of courses somewhat different than that prescribed. Students interested in a psychology major/minor should consult with the department chairperson if they believe they may be unable to fulfill the distribution requirements. Crucial for approval of a student's petition is the student's ability to prove that he/she cannot meet the distribution requirements due to scheduling conflicts and evidence that he/she has taken courses elsewhere within the university that partially overlap those required psychology courses that he/she is unable to take.
Maximum allowable courses in psychology
The Department sets no limit on the number of psychology courses a student may take. The University, however, will allow students to count no more than 13 units toward the 34 units required for graduation. STUDENTS MAJORING IN PSYCHOLOGY MUST HAVE AT LEAST 21 UNITS IN COURSES NOT LISTED AS PSYCHOLOGY TO GRADUATE. Similarly, the University allows students to take MORE than the minimum of 34 units to graduate. Students who take more than 13 units in psychology will receive credit for those courses, and their grades for these courses will appear on the transcript and will be included in the student's GPA.
Students who have accelerated their coursework or who plan to attend a graduate school in psychology should consider taking more than 13 units of psychology if that provides a more diverse background within the field for them. Psychology as a discipline is extremely broad; and students, in preparation for the GRE's, should have had coursework in the major areas of psychology including clinical/counseling, cognitive/learning, developmental, physiological, research/quantitative methods, sensation/perception, and social. In most of these areas the Department offers more than one course and students should carefully select those courses that best fit their career objectives.
The Department also encourages students to have a broad spectrum of non-psychology courses. Students should consider cognate courses in other departments to supplement their psychology major. Depending upon the student's primary area of concentration within psychology, cognate courses in chemistry, economics, philosophy, physical education, physics, sociology, or zoology should be considered. Your departmental advisor can help you select those courses outside the department that best complements your career interests.
Transfer of credit
Students who wish to have a course they take at another college count toward the major or minor should obtain departmental approval prior to taking the course elsewhere. Approval normally will be granted provided that the college offering the course is accredited and provided that the course is similar in content and rigor to the one offered at Ohio Wesleyan.
Students should seek approval from the instructor whose course at Ohio Wesleyan is most similar in content to the course they wish to take elsewhere. In the event that a similar course is not offered at Ohio Wesleyan, the student should consult with the department chairperson. Prior to requesting such approval students should obtain a copy of the course syllabus and the name of the textbook that will be used at the other institution.
The Department is extremely reluctant to allow students to transfer in credits for two of its core courses, PSYC 210 (Quantitative Methods) and PSYC 310 (Research Methods). These courses vary considerably from campus to campus and we much prefer students to experience them as they are taught here.
The above restrictions do not apply to transfer students. Transfer students who have taken psychology courses elsewhere prior to admittance to OWU should arrange an appointment with the department chairperson to review their transcript and to determine their remaining major/minor requirements.
Copies of examinations
In nearly all psychology courses an objective format (multiple choice questions) is used for at least a portion of each examination. Students typically will be asked to answer the objective questions on their examinations on machine scored answer sheets and they will be asked not to mark their answers on the question booklet. The question booklet must be returned to the instructor at the end of the class period and these booklets may not be returned to the student. Students have two weeks after the exam is graded to review, in the department office, copies of the question booklet. These booklets are available from the department secretary or course instructor between the hours of 8:30 - 12:00 and 1:00 - 4:30.
The same or similar multiple choice questions may be used by other instructors or may be used by the same instructor in a subsequent semester and therefore the booklets are not made available except for students to review their own performance. Students may not copy questions from these booklets, remove the booklets from the classroom or office, or share in any manner the nature of these examinations with other students. To do so represents an unfair advantage for some students and will be viewed by the Department as a form of cheating. The university judicial system considers cheating a serious offense and a student may be expelled if found guilty.
Students are expected to take examinations at the time and place scheduled. Each faculty member has his/her own stated policy regarding the nature of extenuating circumstances that qualify students to take make-up exams and the penalties associated with missing an examination. Please be aware of your instructor's policies and check with him/her prior to the exam date should it be necessary for you to miss a scheduled test. If approval is given for taking a make-up exam, please schedule a time with the department secretary that does not extend beyond her working hours.
Students may take either PSYC 210 or MATH 105 to meet the quantitative methods (statistics) requirement. Students are encouraged to take PSYC 210 since this course best meets their preparatory needs for PSYC 310 (Research Methods). Math, computer science, or physics majors who also wish to major in psychology should consult with Dr. Hall prior to selecting a statistics course.
Policy regarding plagiarism
It is the responsibility of a student not to commit errors, where intentional or unintentional, that constitute plagiarism. Guidelines for proper citations in order to avoid being accused of plagiarism may be found in the American Psychological Association style for citations and references (see APA Publication Manual.) Copies of this manual are available in the department office or can be purchased in the bookstore. Of course, under no circumstance should students use other students' work. The penalty for unintentional plagiarism varies depending upon the instructor and seriousness of the infraction. Intentional plagiarism could result in a failing grade for the course.
Enrollment in independent study courses
Enrollment in PSYC 490 (Independent Study), PSYC 491 (Directed Readings) and PSYC 495 (Apprenticeship) is limited and students must have prior approval from the instructor before signing up for these courses. Students are advised to discuss with their psychology advisor and proposed instructor the type of independent study they are considering well in advance of preregistration. It is the student's responsibility to make the necessary arrangements for placement in apprenticeships. In some cases students will be required to sign a "contract" outlining their proposed work effort for the semester.
Honors examinations (written exam)
In order to meet the university's requirements for graduation with university and/or departmental honors, a student must pass a comprehensive examination in the major. This exam must be completed and graded prior to the last week of classes in the spring semester. Students should arrange to take this exam by meeting with the departmental chair in the first week of the spring semester of the student's senior year in order to determine the areas to be tested and the dates for each examination. Normally four competency areas in psychology will be examined. These areas will be consistent with the student's course electives and determined by the departmental chair in consultation with the student. Each of the areas will be examined by the faculty member normally associated with that area and the exam will be of the essay type. Students are encouraged to discuss the nature of the exams with individual examiners once the subject areas are established.
To graduate with university honors, in addition to passing the written comprehensive examination in the major, the student must meet the minimum GPA requirement of 3.5 by graduation and have taken the prescribed number of honors courses (2 units of tutorial and independent studies and 2 units of honors seminars) as specified in the university catalog. (PSYC 410 can be used for one unit of independent studies.) To graduate with departmental honors, the student should have attained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 in the major after the fall semester of the junior year and by graduation completed a research project that involved at least two semesters of work for which the student earned up to two units of independent study credit (PSYC 410 and/or PSYC 490)
Honors examination (oral exam)
This exam is required for those students graduating with departmental honors. The oral exam is normally associated with a defense of the student's year-long research project and is conducted by a group of faculty both from within and outside the department. The makeup of this group is determined by the Dean of Academic Affairs in consultation with the student's mentor (project supervisor) and departmental chair. Forms for establishing this committee can be obtained in the Dean's office.
Election of student board
Each year seven students are elected to the student board. This board is intended to be representative of students taking psychology courses and majoring in the field. Among its duties are serving in an advisory role in matters relating to faculty evaluations, curricular modifications and the general welfare of the Department.
The seven-member board normally consists of two sophomore, two juniors, and three seniors. These students are elected by secret ballot in the spring semester of each year. Students can nominate themselves or others to the board and ballots are sent to all registered majors/minors by the department secretary. Announcement of the newly elected board members is made at the Department's annual spring picnic.
Departmental faculty are not involved in the nomination or election process. The board is a student organization and its personnel deliberations are confidential and are coordinated by the university's Faculty Personnel Committee.
Resolution of disputes
In the unlikely event that a dispute develops between a student and his/her instructor, the University's formal policy for resolution should be utilized. This policy appears in the student handbook and is monitored by the Dean of Academic Affairs.
The Department believes that in most cases a frank discussion between the instructor and student can resolve the problem and recommends this as a first step. Should this attempt prove unsuccessful, the student is encouraged to discuss the matter with the department chairperson.
Listed below are the courses in the Psychology Department and the year(s) in which the department suggests you take each course. These suggestions are just that--they should not be interpreted as iron-clad requirements.
The following courses are not offered every year. Most are offered every other year. Plan your schedule accordingly. Faculty leaves and temporary curricular or enrollment pressures may result in other courses not listed below being offered on an alternate year basis.
PSYC 210 and PSYC 310 are offered each semester. Students are encouraged to complete PSYC 210 by the end of their sophomore year and PSYC 310 during either in their sophomore or junior year. Advanced students are urged to complete PSYC 310 and 410 by the end of their junior year so that they may take PSYC 490 or 495 during their senior year.
Psi Chi is the national honor society in psychology. It was founded in 1929 for the purpose of encouraging and maintaining scholarship in psychology and to advance the science of psychology. There are chapters on over 900 college and university campuses. Among the national membership requirements are the following: a overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and rank in the upper 35% of his/her class in general scholarship and a minimum GPA of 3.3 in psychology courses. Also, our chapter requires that a student has completed at least four units in psychology and that he/she be a declared psychology major or minor. New initiates are inducted during Monnett Weekend in April at our annual Awards Banquet.
Each year, at the Honors and Awards Banquet, the department gives an award for outstanding scholastic achievement, an award for excellence in research, and an award for departmental citizenship. The recipients are selected by the psychology faculty and each receives a certificate of merit and a small honorarium. Their names also appear on plaques located in of the Psychology Department office (PH 52).
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL SOCIETY STUDENT CAUCUS
Students are encouraged to join the Ohio Wesleyan Chapter of the American Psychological Society. Membership is open to all students interested in psychology. The purpose of the national society is to advance the discipline of psychology, to preserve the scientific base of psychology, to promote public understanding of psychological science and its application, to encourage the "giving away" of psychology in the public interest, and finally to enhance the quality of education of the science of psychology. This is not an honor society, and membership in the local chapter is contingent exclusively on a student's ability to maintain Student Affiliate status with the American Psychological Society. Membership forms for the National Student Caucus can be found in the Department office and a $25 membership fee is required. Student members receive a subscription to the society's journal, a newsletter, convention programs, and materials available to members of APS. The local chapter has invited speakers to campus and sponsored other events of general interest to students.
The specific goals of the local chapter are to promote student research, provide opportunities for contact between students and psychologists in the field, make policy recommendations to the national APS about student concerns, and assist in students' professional development by arranging funding for travel to conferences and for other extracurricular educational opportunities.
For students who are considering graduate school in psychology, the timing of courses, research, and apprenticeship activities is particularly important. Virtually all graduate programs in the United States and Canada expect psychology students to have demonstrated research competence in the field and to have a breadth of psychology course work under their belts. Further, Graduate Record Examination scores, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation are required with most applications. In some programs at some graduate schools, participation in apprenticeships outside the classroom is given moderate to heavy weight in making admissions decisions. To get all of the course work and application materials completed in time to apply (generally from November to January of your senior year) requires planning. Below we suggest a timetable for completing your graduate school preparation. In no way is this meant as a substitute for conferring with your advisor; it is simply a short general guide to the preparation you should make if you are interested in graduate school.
Summer between junior and senior years:
- Virtually all graduate programs expect students to have demonstrated research competence in a field of psychology and have a breadth of course work that represents the diversity of the field. In clinical/ counseling programs, apprenticeships outside the university are also given moderate to heavy weight.
- Typically clinical and counseling programs have a higher ratio of applicants to acceptances and thus initially can be more competitive in their acceptance requirements than other programs in the field.
- Graduate schools tend to favor students who have completed their undergraduate course requirements by selecting the most rigorous courses in the curriculum. This especially applies to the natural science requirements and to the major. Within psychology, the following elective courses are strongly recommended: PS343 (Physiological Psychology), PS410 Advanced Research Methods, PS420 Quantitative Methods II, and PS430 Psychological Issues: Past and Present.
- Take the Graduate Record Exam and Psychology Advanced Test either in June of your junior year (GRE subject test in psychology not offered at this time) or in October of your senior year. For those programs with deadlines after February 1, you can retake the exam in December, if necessary. Check to see if the Miller Analogies Test is required for the schools your are considering.
- Apply to at least 8 to 10 programs with several as "safety schools" in December of your senior year. In your application attempt to link your specifics research interests to topics investigated by faculty at the graduate institution. Acceptances and rejections are normally sent out by mid-April.
- Teaching and/or research fellowships are often available for those accepted into a graduate program. The size of these fellowships may vary across programs and universities but they often include a tuition waiver and a nominal living allowance. In some cases the amount of the award is negotiable especially if you are one of the school's top candidates.
- Apply where other OWU students have gone. Our majors have completed psychology programs at:
Arizona State University
(refer to the psychology alumni database for complete list).
- Ask professors where they have contacts. Former OWU psychology majors are currently teaching in a number of different academic programs and institutions including psychology departments at Duquesne, George Mason, Georgia Tech., Harvard, Jefferson College, North Dakota State, Ohio State, Purdue, Southern Methodist, Southern Illinois, SUNY at Buffalo, Univ. of AZ, Univ. of Baltimore, Univ. of CT, UC at Riverside, Univ. of Iowa, Univ. of Miami, Univ. of Windsor (refer to the psychology alumni database for complete list).
Listed below are our current faculty members, the graduate schools they attended, and their specialty areas.
Bahrick, Harry P. - Ohio State University - Human Memory
- Also consult publications in the psychology office and Career Services for more information. Suggestions: Careers in Psychology; Career Opportunities for Psychologists: Expanding and Emerging Areas; Graduate Training Programs in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology & Related Fields; Preparing for Graduate Study in Psychology; Not for Seniors Only!; Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical; APA Graduate Study in Psychology; How to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination - Advanced Psychology Test;, and Peterson's Annual Guides to Graduate Study
Advanced degrees (M.A. and Ph.D.) in psychology can be applied in such area as:
Despite the four-year commitment to a graduate program, the doctoral degree in psychology opens up many career opportunities within the profession. Positions within psychology are typically readily available and provide the person abundant independence, advancement, gratification, and a modest income level. The major fields at the doctorate level include:
Graduate programs leading to the Ph.D. in psychology are highly selective in their admittance policies. The large number of applicants, especially in the more applied areas of the discipline, make entry into the program of a student's choice extremely competitive. The ratio of applications to admissions for accredited, traditional doctoral programs in psychology is 100:7 overall (1994 study by Keith-Spiegel, Tabachnick and Spiegal). For clinical and counseling programs the ratio is approximately 25:1 and for nonclinical programs the ratio is approximately 10:1. The development of a competitive application and the selection of various programs should be carefully discussed with your faculty adviser.
The primary selection criteria used by graduate selection committees are:
Given the large number of applications to a given program, the use of the above three criteria are often not enough to narrow the field to the small number of slots available. Among the most important next level selection criteria are research experience, "good match" factors, and writing skills. While clinical programs place more importance on relevant field/volunteer work and social/personality style than do nonclinical programs, both types of programs place a great deal of importance on undergraduate research experience.
Factors that might affect your admission include your:
Therefore, graduate school planning is not something that should wait until the senior year. Students who begin an active plan in their junior year or earlier have many advantages.
But what if you don't succeed in getting into an acceptable 4-year graduate program on your first attempt? Your career possibilities are not over. You have several options.
Applying to a Master's program
The general master's program serves several purposes:
The typical 2-year, general master's program includes:
Graduates of general master's programs often continue doctoral work at prestigious graduate schools and develop promising careers that might never have begun without the separate M.A. degree. For example, over the past 25 years, Wake Forest has awarded master's degrees to approximately 200 people. Of these, 70% have applied to doctoral programs, and virtually all have been accepted.
Persons with master's degrees in psychology can work in a variety of different areas including:
community college teaching
Graduate school in areas other than psychology is another possibility for those who have a degree in psychology. The following is a list of some of the non-psychology graduate school programs that our recent graduates have attended:
The following is an abbreviated list of psychological-related jobs requiring post-graduate study but not in psychology:
Exactly what are employers looking for in prospective employees?
Which specific factors do employers believe important when reviewing a candidate's credentials? Although it may vary for different employers and in different workplaces, a survey by Eison (1988) indicated the following ranking for 15 factors:
Personality of the applicant and grades in the major were judged significantly more important than any of the other factors.
One empirical project (Edwards and Smith, 1988) that asked respondents to rate the usefulness of skills learned in psychology generated the following priority of skills. Listed below are these skills and the percentage of respondents in a variety of work situations who thought they would be very useful in the workplace.
writing proposals and reports......................90% conducting interviews..............................84% doing statistical analysis.........................84% ability to identify problems and suggest solutions.80% coding data........................................75% designing / conducting research projects...........71% job analysis.......................................69% using canned computer programs to analyze data.....60% constructing tests and questionnaires..............56% observing and recording human behavior.............51% administering standardized tests...................31%
This same study then noted the knowledge areas that were judged to be very useful.
how people think, solve problems, process info 78% formation and change of attitudes and opinions 75% structure and dynamics of small groups 75% principles and techniques of personnel selection 72% how people sense and perceive their environment 70% organizational development 69% organizational behavior, work, and productivity 68% effects of physical environment on feelings/actions66% principles of human learning and memory 63% theories of personality and individual differences 63% principles of human needs and motivation 62% theories of human development and life stages 50% symptoms, causes, treatment of mental illness 37%
Success in life is dependent upon a number of factors. Not to be underestimated or overlooked in the workplace, regardless of the level and/or complexity of the position, is one's motivational level, sensitivity to others, and sense of humor.
Information in this handbook was compiled by the Department of Psychology, Ohio Wesleyan University.