Psychology at SUA is committed to applying the methods of science to understanding the mind, brain, and behavior. Whether you are interested in mental health, happiness, love, or in psychology’s unique answers to the enduring questions, such as Who am I?, the courses we offer introduce students to basic and applied research in clinical, social, and developmental psychology.   

SUA faculty in psychology have varied research interests—from the study of forgiveness, adolescent social relationships, and the practice of mindfulness.

Course Offerings

This course offers an overview of the principal perspectives and content areas in psychology and prepares students to take upper-level psychology classes. Students explore different research methods in psychology as well as the distinction between basic and applied research and how this distinction is manifested in present-day divisions of psychology. Topics may include social and developmental processes, neurobiology, personality, psychological disorders, sensation and perception, learning and memory, language, and applied areas. 

Social psychology may be defined as: the influence of actual, imagined, or implied others on individual cognition, emotion, and behavior. Course content progresses from intra-psychic to interpersonal topics to small-group processes. Students learn and evaluate social psychological research methodology and think critically about course topics and presented research. They also learn to apply theories and concepts to real-world situations as appropriate. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

This course provides an overview of the growing field of positive psychology, which is the scientific investigation of positive experiences, positive character strengths, positive relationships, and the institutions and practices that facilitate their development. Consideration will be given to conflicting viewpoints and their respective empirical support, including the benefits of balancing positive with negative emotions, the measurement and development of happiness, and the implications of deliberately attempting to increase it. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

This course provides an introduction to a wide variety of psychological disorders and their treatments. Definitions of “abnormality” and methods of disorder assessment are examined. Different perspectives on the causes of disorders as well as their treatments are compared and contrasted. Topics include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Upon successful completion of the course, students will have a greater understanding of how psychological disorders are discussed both in professional circles and in the lay media. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

This course provides an overview of the principal theories of personality and human behavior. A wide range of perspectives on personality are presented and evaluated. Students investigate and evaluate various measures of personality assessment and different methods of researching personality. Basic principles of personality structure and personality development are covered. On completion of the course, students will be able to recognize, critique, compare, and contrast various theoretical perspectives on personality, as well as apply these theories to real-world situations. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the specialization of developmental psychology. Principles of lifespan development will be discussed and applied to all stages of development, from conception to older adulthood. Special emphasis will be placed on biological, cognitive, and psychosocial domains of development. Throughout the course, the influence of contextual factors, such as culture and historical time, will be considered, as well as the utility of a multidisciplinary approach to the study of human development. Practical applications of course material to “real world” examples will also be emphasized. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100. 

This course is an overview of how human behavior has been found to vary across cultural contexts and is designed to challenge students to evaluate the nature of human difference between and within social groups. Psychological research methods will be introduced and applied to understanding seminal studies in cross-cultural psychology. Topics will include cultural variations in perception, cognition, identity, socio-emotional development, health behaviors, and emotional regulation. Diverse cultures and cultural change will also be examined with a special emphasis on the East-West contrast. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

This course examines how the development of children’s cognitive competence and academic achievement from early childhood to emerging adulthood interface with relevant social educational environments, such as the home, school, and culture/society. This course draws material from social psychology, human development, and educational research, as well as relevant topics from sociology and policy analysis. Throughout the course, students will also discuss and debate enduring and current, sometimes controversial, issues in education in order to understand how the methods of psychology can be applied to better understand them. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

The course will provide an overview of the growing field of sport psychology, which involves applying psychological science to sports. Topics will cover how sport psychologists assist athletes and teams in setting and achieving sports, fitness, and exercise goals. Topics will also include theoretical foundations of behavior, psychological interventions for performance problems, adherence and maintenance of gains, and the impaired athlete. Prerequisite: PSYCH 100.

This seminar is designed to provide students with an in-depth understanding of both classic and contemporary psychological theories of human motivation and their applications in a variety of domains including education, sports, work, and psychological as well as physical health/well-being.  In addition, students will be introduced to contemporary theories and their research findings from the newly emerging field of positive psychology and asked to examine their validity and reliability from a cross-cultural perspective.  Finally, students will also be given an opportunity to conduct their own empirical research in the field. Prerequisite: PSYCH 310 or instructor consent.

This seminar is designed to provide students with a greater understanding of socialization processes and to examine the purposive nature of social relationships. Parenting issues will be explored across ethnicity, culture, and the lifespan (from conception to adulthood). Various theoretical perspectives will be introduced in understanding the role of others on children’s achievement and the psychological adjustment. It is expected that students will develop knowledge and skills to apply to the “real world.” Prerequisite: PSYCH 310 or instructor consent.