Psychology

Undergraduate Program Information

Students may take a major in psychology either as an area of emphasis in a liberal arts program or in preparation for further graduate education leading to professional careers in psychology. A major in psychology may be appropriate for the liberal arts student who wishes to pursue a career involving extensive social interaction and requiring solutions to people-related problems. Such careers include law, business, parenting, government, education, and management. Professional careers in psychology generally require some post-baccalaureate education. These careers include provision of clinical and counseling services, conducting research, applying research findings in industrial or government settings, and doing teaching and research in colleges and universities. All students, but especially those planning to apply to graduate school, are encouraged to take PSY 310 Experimental Methods, no later than the Spring semester of their junior year.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology are listed here. Satisfying these requirements should provide an adequate exposure to psychology for the liberal arts student and a basic foundation for students seeking a career in psychology. Students wishing to prepare for a professional career in psychology are especially encouraged to work closely with an advisor, as early as possible.

Graduate Program Information

Admission

The Department of Psychology offers graduate work leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. To maximize consideration for admittance, candidates should submit applications by January 15. Note that the Psychology Department does not offer training in counseling or clinical psychology.

Students will be admitted to graduate study on the basis of their potential for achievement in research, scholarship and teaching. The most promising applicants will be accepted. The number of students that the department can successfully accommodate is limited, therefore it will not always be possible to admit all qualified applicants. The admissions committee will consider any material that a candidate for admission wishes to present.

Students with bachelor degrees should apply for admittance to the master’s program even if their eventual goal is a Ph.D. 
Students with a master's degree in psychology-related disciplines or from other institutions may apply directly to the Ph.D. program.

A completed Graduate School admission application (online only) should include all of the following:

  1. Complete transcripts of all college work (minimum 3.0 GPA).
  2. Scores on the General Graduate Record Examination. Applicants to the MA program are most likely to be considered with minimum scores of 155 Verbal, 156 Quantitative, 4.5 Analytical Writing. Applicants to the PhD program are most likely to be admitted with minimum scores of 158 Verbal, 159 Quantitative, and 4.5 Analytical Writing. Scores on the GRE Psychology test are not required.
  3. Three letters of recommendation from professors, employers or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate work .
  4. A letter explaining your research interests and experience, career goals, and an indication of the faculty member(s) whose work is of particular interest to you .
  5. A curriculum vitae or résumé.
  6. A writing sample (e.g., a paper you wrote for a course, a senior thesis, or a master's thesis) uploaded through online application system. Ideally, the sample should demonstrate your ability to write clearly about psychological research.

As per NMSU Graduate School policy, admission to the doctoral program is conditional upon passing a qualifying exam. In Psychology this generally involves giving a presentation about a completed, empirical Masters thesis project to an examining committee. Also, If there are perceived gaps in preparedness, once at NMSU, candidates may be asked to complete certain coursework/research projects to address deficiencies.

A number of potential minors are available to interested students, including a minor in statistics. Additional information about a minor may be found in the listing of the home department in this catalog.

Associate Professor, Dominic A. Simon, Department Head

Professors Thompson, Trafimow; Associate Professors Dolgov, Guynn, Ketelaar, Kroger, MacDonald, Madson, Marks; Assistant Professors Chen, Hout;  Emeritus Faculty Cowie, Johnston, McDonald, Paap, Schvaneveldt, Stephan

D.A. Simon, Department Head, Ph.D. (California- Los Angeles)– cognition, learning and performance; J. Chen (Purdue) -- human performance, decision making, automation, cyber security; I. Dolgov, Ph.D. (Arizona State University)– perception and action, natural user interfaces, embodied cognition, human factors; M. J. Guynn, Ph.D. (New Mexico)– human memory; M.C. Hout, Ph.D. (Arizona State University) - visual cognition; T. Ketelaar, Ph.D. (Michigan)– social psychology, emotion; J. K. Kroger, Ph.D. (California-Los Angeles)– biopsychology, cognitive neuropsychology; J. MacDonald (Purdue)– engineering psychology, auditory perception; L.J. Madson, Ph.D. (Iowa State)– scholarship of teaching & learning, gender, sexuality; M.J. Marks, Ph.D. (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)– social psychology, sexual behaviors, relationships; L.A. Thompson, Ph.D.(California-Santa Cruz)– developmental psychology, cognitive psychology; D.Trafimow, Ph.D. (Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)– social cognition.

PSY 201G. Introduction to Psychology

3 Credits

Methods and principles of behavior. Topics include human evolution and development, biopsychology, perception, learning, thinking, motivation, social interaction, and the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behavior.

PSY 266. Applied Psychology

3 Credits

Explanation of the psychological principles of everyday living. Emphasizes motivation, learning of intelligent behavior, and applications of psychology to social issues. Community Colleges only.

PSY 274. A Study of Substance Abuse through Service Learning

3 Credits

Physiological and psychological impact of drug use on human behavior. Emphasizes practical applications of intervention and prevention in the community. Community Colleges only.

PSY 290. Psychology of Adjustment

3 Credits

Analyzes the responses people have to conflict, emotional stress, and frustration. It focuses on adapting to these problems and examines both normal and neurotic responses. Community College campus only.

PSY 301. Introduction to Psycholinguistics

3 Credits

Psychological aspects of language, including linguistic theories of grammar, psychological factors influencing language performance, primary language acquisition and the relationship of language to thought processes. Same as LING 301.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311; and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 302. Abnormal Psychology

3 Credits

Introduces the types, causes, and treatment of mental disorders. Descriptions and explanations of the neuroses, affective disorders and the psychoses. Case histories are also analyzed.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, MATH 120 and ENGL 111G.

PSY 310. Experimental Methods

4 Credits (2+4P)

The basic skills of literature search, experimental design, research methodology, and research reporting are emphasized; includes laboratory.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 201G, and either STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311.

PSY 311. Advanced Research Seminar

4 Credits (2+4P)

Psychological research in conjunction with designing, conducting, writing, and presenting an independent research project. May also include various computer applications. Will discuss issues regarding application to graduate programs. Course should be taken no later than the first semester of senior year.

Prerequisite: PSY 310.

PSY 315. Emotion

3 Credits

An overview of the past century of research on human emotion from WIlliam James to Antonio Damasio. Explores a cognitive science perspective on emotion that includes questions about developmental, physiological, and evolutionary aspects of emotion and an exploration of the proximate and ultimate functions of emotion. Topics range from understanding the feeling component of emotion to understanding the role of facial displays of emotion.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251, STAT 271, or A ST 311G, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 317. Social Psychology

3 Credits

Ways in which people are influenced by the behavior of others are analyzed. Includes aggression, altruism, conformity, attraction, sexual behavior, prejudice, and nonverbal behavior.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, MATH 120, and ENGL 111G.

PSY 320. Learning

4 Credits (3+2P)

Covers: habituation, Pavlovian conditioning, Thorndikian learning, stimulus generalization, transfer of training, and the learning and forgetting of related and unrelated material.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310.

PSY 321. Psychology of Personality

3 Credits

Introduces personality theories and supporting research. Psychoanalytic, physiological, and behavioral theories as they apply to personality are examined. Focuses on normal personality functioning.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310.

PSY 324. Sexual Behavior

3 Credits

Examines viewpoints of the evolution, control and function of human sexual behavior. Includes human sexuality, reproduction, male-female conflicts and the social implications of sex. Prerequisites: PSY 201G, MATH 120, and ENGL 111G

PSY 325. Health Psychology

3 Credits

Life stress, surgical stress, coronary-prone behavior, biofeedback, pain control, psychosocial approaches to geriatrics and cancer, behavioral treatments for addictions, obesity, and interpersonal issues in health care.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 330. Psychology and the Law

3 Credits

Discretionary practices in the judicial system including pretrial procedures, jury selection, jury decision making, eyewitness testimony, insanity, expert witnesses, and probation judgments.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 340. Cognitive Psychology

3 Credits

Review of research and theory in the study of human cognitive processes. Topics include information processing, pattern recognition, memory, attention, language, problem solving, decision making, and reasoning.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310.

PSY 342. Cognitive Neuroscience

3 Credits

Introduction to the study of the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive processes. Topics include relations between neural processes and attention, perception, memory, thinking and language; measuring changes in electrical activity, blood flow , and metabolism in the brain during cognition; the problem of consciousness; and evolutionary perspectives.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G and PSY 310.

PSY 350. Developmental Psychology: Conception through Childhood

3 Credits

Covers a wide range of topics concerning human psychological development from conception through childhood with special emphasis on current research and theory.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 351. Developmental Psychology: Adolescence through Old Age

3 Credits

Covers a wide range of topics concerning human psychological development from adolescence through old age with special emphasis on current research and theory.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 359. Psychology of Women

3 Credits

Examines theories and research on the psychological functioning of women in North American society. Influential theories of gender in psychology and current controversies in the psychological literature. Topics include women's development across the lifespan, women and work, women's physical and mental health and sexuality, the victimization of women, gender stereotypes, biological, social, and cultural influences on women's behavior, and gender comparisons in abilities and personality. Same as W S 359.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 370. Special Topics

1-3 Credits

May be taken under different subtitles announced in the Schedule of Classes for unlimited credit. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 375. Psychology and the Brain

3 Credits

An exploration of how the brain produces thinking, emotion, and behavior.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311 or consent of instructor.

PSY 376. Evolutionary Psychology

3 Credits

This course introduces the student to the science of Evolutionary Psychology. In this class we will explore how evolutionary psychologists think about a variety of topics ranging from our capacity for (and appreciation of) art, emotions, and beauty to an exploration of the "design" of our minds in regards to mating, status striving, social behavior and cultural production.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251, STAT 271, or A ST 311G, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 380. Perception

4 Credits (4+4P)

Primary emphasis on vision. Topics include measurement of sensations, development of visual-motor coordination, reading, speech perception, picture perception, illusions, 3-dimensional space, and causes and consequences of visual abnormalities.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310.

PSY 383. Memory

3 Credits

Examines facets of human memory from the information processing viewpoint, including encoding, storage, and retrieval and memory-aiding techniques.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 384. Perceptual and Cognitive Development

3 Credits

Development across the lifespan in perception, memory, attention, reasoning, language and academic skills.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 400. Research

1-3 Credits

Individual research projects supervised by a department faculty member. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.

Prerequisites: PSY 310 and consent of instructor.

PSY 401. Directed Readings

1-3 Credits

May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G and consent of instructor.

PSY 402. Field Experience

1-3 Credits

Working with preschool, juvenile delinquent, handicapped, aged, convict, or mentally ill. Approximately five hours scheduled work per week per credit. May be repeated to 6 credits.

Prerequisites: 6 psychology credits and consent of instructor.

PSY 417V. Intercultural Relations

3 Credits

Exploration of cultural and subcultural differences from a psychological perspective. Emphasis on modern cultural settings. Issues may include: ethnocentrism, stereotyping, intercultural communication, culture shock, cultural differences, nonverbal behavior, conflict management, and developing intercultural interaction skills.

Prerequisite: PSY 201G.

PSY 430. Human-Computer Psychology

3 Credits

Theories, methodologies, and data from psychology applicable to interface design, with an emphasis on construction and application of conceptual psychological models.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 440. History and Systems of Psychology

3 Credits

History of scientific method emphasizing outstanding methodological problems of contemporary science, especially psychology. Also covers recent history of psychology and development of schools of psychology.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 442. Thinking

3 Credits

Research and theory pertaining to human thinking and problem solving. Effective problem-solving methods and common obstacles to problem solving are analyzed.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G and PSY 310.

PSY 445. Clinical Psychology

3 Credits

Basic theories in clinical psychology and techniques of psychotherapy.

Prerequisites: PSY 201G, PSY 302, and one of: STAT 251G, STAT 271G, or A ST 311, and PSY 310 or consent of instructor.

PSY 450. Senior Thesis

3 Credits

A laboratory or field research project conducted under faculty supervision. Requires written research proposal, conduct of research, data analysis, and final written report. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.

Prerequisites: PSY 310, 6 additional psychology credits, consent of supervising faculty member, and junior or above standing.

PSY 470. Special Topics

1-3 Credits

Specific subjects to be announced in the Schedule of Classes. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits.

PSY 507. Quantitative Methods in Psychology I

3 Credits

Statistical concepts emphasizing distributions and methods most appropriate to the data, models, and theories in psychology. Emphasis on distributions, probability and basic inferential statistics in Psychological research.

Prerequisite(s): An elementary statistics course or consent of instructor.

PSY 508. Quantitative Methods in Psychology II

3 Credits

Statistical concepts emphasizing distributions and methods most appropriate to the data, models, and theories in psychology. Emphasis on Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) in Psychological research.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 507 or equivalent.

PSY 509. Quantitative Methods in Psychology III

3 Credits

Statistical concepts emphasizing distributions and methods most appropriate to the data, models, and theories in psychology. Emphasis on multiple regression in Psychological research.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 507 or equivalent.

PSY 510. Computer Methodology

3 Credits

Use of computers in psychological research with emphasis on developing experimental control programs.

PSY 520. Learning

3 Credits

Classical areas of learning, including instrumental and classical conditioning paradigms, habituation, reinforcement variables, stimulus generalization and transfer, and memory.

PSY 522. Sensation and Perception

3 Credits

Stimulus and decision variables in judging auditory and visual events. Topics include: detection of signals; signal intensity versus perceived strength; size, shape, and movement perception; reading and listening.

PSY 523. Methods in Cognitive Psychology

3 Credits

Experimental and correlational methodologies appropriate for investigating cognitive psychological theories and problems.

Prerequisite(s): PSY 524 or consent of instructor.

PSY 524. Cognitive Psychology

3 Credits

Examines theoretical and empirical work on human cognition. Topics include: information processing theories, pattern recognition, memory, attention, language, problem solving, decision making, and reasoning.

PSY 525. Behavioral Neuroscience

3 Credits

The biological basis of behavior with an emphasis on human cognitive functioning.

PSY 527. Social Psychology

3 Credits

Current and traditional theories, research findings, and research methodologies of social psychology.

PSY 529. Methods in Social Psychology

3 Credits

Experimental, quasi-experimental, and correlational methodologies appropriate for investigating social psychological theories and problems.

Prerequisite(s): Graduate student in psychology or consent of instructor.

PSY 530. Human-Computer Interaction

3 Credits

Issues associated with human-computer interface design. Concepts, methods, and data from HCI, cognitive psychology, human factors, artificial intelligence, and psycholinguistics that apply.

PSY 531. Human Memory

3 Credits

Current and traditional theories and research findings related to human memory.

PSY 535. Developmental Psychology

3 Credits

Examines theoretical and empirical work in lifespan developmental psychology, with an emphasis on perceptual and cognitive development, language development, and social cognitive development.

PSY 540. History and Systems of Psychology

3 Credits

History of scientific method emphasizing outstanding methodological problems of contemporary science, especially psychology. Covers recent history of psychology and development of schools of psychology.

PSY 543. Cognitive Neuroscience

3 Credits

Introduction to the study of the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive processes. Topics include relations between neural processes and attention, perception, memory, thinking and language; measuring change in electrical activity, blood flow, and metabolism in the brain during cognition; the problem of consciousness; and evolutionary perspectives.

PSY 547. Engineering Psychology

3 Credits

Covers concepts, methods, and findings of human performance. Treats the human as a subsystem that receives, stores and processes information, makes decisions, and acts within a human-machine environment system.

PSY 550. Teaching of Psychology

3 Credits

This class serves both new and experienced teachers. It will help new teachers design and conduct a successful course and help experienced teachers improve their teaching.

PSY 570. Special Topics

1-3 Credits

Specific subjects to be announced in the Schedule of Classes.

PSY 590. Research Seminar in Psychology

1 Credit (1)

Presentations on research by students, faculty, and guest speakers. May be repeated for credit.

PSY 598. Special Research Programs

1-3 Credits

Individual investigations either analytical or experimental. May be repeated for credit.

PSY 599. Master's Thesis

15 Credits

Thesis.

PSY 600. Doctoral Research

1-15 Credits

This course number is used for assigning credit for research performed prior to successful completion of the doctoral qualifying examination.

PSY 698. Special Research Programs

1-3 Credits

Individual investigations either analytical or experimental. May be repeated for credit.

PSY 700. Doctoral Dissertation

15 Credits

Dissertation.

Administrative Assistant:  Bea Guzman

Office Location: Science Hall, Room 220

Phone: (575) 646-2502

FAX: (575) 646-6212

Mailing Address:
Department of Psychology, MSC 3452
New Mexico State University
P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
USA

Website: https://psychology.nmsu.edu/