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Psychology

http://www.pacific.edu/Academics/Schools-and-Colleges/College-of-the-Pacific/Academics/Departments-and-Programs/Psychology.html
Phone: (209) 946-2133
Location: Psychology/Communications Building

Scott Jensen, Chair
Carolynn Kohn, Director of Graduate Studies

Program Offered

Master of Arts in Psychology

The department offers a graduate program of study that leads to the MA degree in psychology with special strengths in behavior analysis and behavioral psychology. All students take the same courses and receive formal academic training in behavior analytic principles and techniques. All students earn their stipends through supervised work in applied settings or through teaching assistantships (see explanation below). All students are required to engage in research throughout their graduate work and to conduct an empirical thesis and are provided with research mentorship and supervision.

The program prepares students for:

1) Sitting for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® exam (www.bacb.com) and subsequent employment in settings where applied behavior analysis is used.  Students seeking this option typically earn their stipend through BACB Approved supervised clinical experience.

2) Applying to PhD programs in behavior analysis.  Students seeking this option also typically earn their stipend through BACB Approved supervised clinical experience.

Supervised training in applied experience are available in many settings including homes, schools, care homes, and treatment centers, and include working with typically developing children, children diagnosed with developmental disabilities, and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses.

3) Applying to PhD programs in behavioral clinical or counseling psychology.  Students seeking this option typically earn their stipend through a teaching assistantship.  

Our course sequence and supervised experience have been approved by the BACB® and our students have had a high rate of sitting for and passing the BCBA® exam (2016 pass rates). Doctoral preparation students have a high rate of being accepted into quality doctoral programs. A list of former graduate students and their current employment or academic placements upon graduating our program is available upon request.

2017 Informational Brochure can be downloaded here

Answers to FAQs can be downloaded here

Master of Arts in Psychology

Students must complete a minimum of 30 units with a Pacific cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in order to earn the master of arts in psychology.

Minimum 28 units, including each of these required courses:

PSYC 207Psychology of Learning4
PSYC 251Behavioral Treatment/Applications4
PSYC 258Behavioral Assessment4
PSYC 262Ethical Behavior4
PSYC 278Controversial Treatments in Applied Settings4
PSYC 283Research Design4
PSYC 299Thesis2 or 4
Select one of the following options:2
A) Doctoral Preparation Track
Graduate Independent Research
B) Applied Behavior Analysis Track
Behavior Analysis Internship I
Behavior Analysis Internship II

Notes: 1) Students are expected to spend four semesters and one summer in residence in Stockton as part of completing the program. 2) All students must complete a one year research apprenticeship with the same faculty research mentor during their first year. During their second year, students may continue with the same faculty mentor, change faculty mentors, or remain with the same faculty mentor and join additional research teams. 3) Registration for Psyc297 and Psyc285e/Psyc285f is by instructor permission and is based on students' performance during their first year.

Psychology Courses

PSYC 101. Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology I. 5 Units.

This course is the first course in a two-course sequence required for the psychology major. This course will teach the student how to design, complete, analyze, interpret, and report empirical research used to test hypotheses derived from psychological theory or its application, and to be able to critically evaluate scientific research produced by others. Prerequisite: Fundamental Math Skills requirement. (GE3B)

PSYC 102. Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology II. 5 Units.

This course is the second course in a two-course sequence required for the psychology major. This course will teach you how to design, complete, analyze, interpret, and report empirical research used to test hypotheses derived from psychological theory or its application, and to be able to critically evaluate scientific research produced by others. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 with a “C-“ or higher.

PSYC 107. Psychology of Learning. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the scientific investigation of learning and behavior. Both experimental and related theoretical developments are considered, as well as applications of the basic principles of learning to issues of social significance. Prerequisite: PSYC 105 or permission of instructor.

PSYC 109. Biological Psychology. 4 Units.

This course investigates the relationship of the nervous system to mental processes and behavior. Lecture and laboratory exercises introduce current research and methodology, clinical application, and hands-on demonstration of this rapidly developing field. Topics include the evolution and development of the human brain, neuroanatomy and neural transmission, biological rhythms, sensory and motor systems, sleep, emotional control, brain damage and disease, and many others. Prerequisite: PSYC 105 with a "C-" or better, or permission of instructor.

PSYC 110. Psychoactive Drugs and Behavior. 4 Units.

This course is an intensive study of how drugs affect psychological processes and behavior. The course covers neuroanatomy, neuron physiology, basic psychopharmacological terminology, commonly used and recreational drugs, major psychotherapeutic drugs and the interaction between drug treatments and various psychotherapeutic and behavior change techniques. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or above is required. (GE1A)

PSYC 111. Abnormal Psychology. 4 Units.

Students study of the causes, classification and treatment of abnormal behavior. The class is of interest to any student who is curious about people and what they do, especially the unusual things that people do. The class addresses the distinction between being different and having a mental disorder, what we can change and what we cannot change, psychological testing, the DSM classification system, the role of genetic factors in abnormal behavior as well as the current status of empirically validated psychosocial and pharmacological treatments for mental disorders .The class is highly recommended for any student who aspires to go into clinical psychology, marriage family counseling, child psychology, forensic psychology, social work, or pharmacy. (GE1A, PLAW)

PSYC 115. Advanced Lab in Cognitive Psychology. 4 Units.

This course will focus on the in-depth exploration of one topic area within the field of cognitive psychology, with the specific topics varying by semester. This will be done through the reading and discussion of empirical research and review papers, and by conducting original research on the topic. Prerequisites: PSYC 015, PSYC 102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 117. Advanced Lab in Clinical Psychology. 4 Units.

This course is intended to give students a broad overview of the field of clinical psychology as well as experience grappling with some of the current controversies in the field. This course will cover the following topics as they relate to clinical psychology and clinical psychologists. Contemporary activities, employment settings, and subspecialties; foundations and early history; recent history; research design with a focus on single subject designs; major theoretical orientations (with a focus on behavioral and cognitive behavioral orientations); diagnoses, the DSM, and current controversies regarding both; psychological assessment including interviewing, observing behavior, cognitive and neuropsychological assessment tools; basic counseling skills and techniques; therapy interventions; ethical standards and guidelines; science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology; and, suggestions for those considering a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or a master’s degree in counseling, family therapy, or social work. The course includes a lab component during which students will explore several of these topics in greater depth. Prerequisites: PSYC 017, PSYC 053, PSYC 102 with a C- or better, or permission of instructor.

PSYC 118. Advanced Lab in Child Clinical Psychology. 4 Units.

This lab is a more in depth look at topics within the field of clinical child psychology. Each time the course is taught, a specific topic of study such as parenting, child mental health, etc., will be the focus. The course relies heavily on becoming aware of the available research within the field of Clinical Child Psychology as well as more effectively accessing and understanding research in general. Experiential opportunities will be included. Prerequisites: PSYC 017, PSYC 102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 125. History and Systems of Psychology. 4 Units.

This senior capstone course traces the development of "modern psychology" from its birth in early philosophy to its founding as an independent discipline in the late 1800s to its current status with an emphasis on modern behaviorism and cognitive psychology as the two dominant theoretical systems in psychology. In addition, other modern developments such as evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience are discussed. The course focuses on specific content areas and ideas in psychology and the individuals who are most credited with their development. Prerequisites: PSYC 105 and or permission of instructor. Junior standing. The course is required for psychology majors and it is recommended for the senior year.

PSYC 129. Advanced Lab in Developmental Psychology. 4 Units.

This course provides a survey of methods, theories, and findings most relevant to the contemporary study of human development. Major emphasis is placed on current directions in developmental research. Course content focuses on either an age period (e.g., early childhood, adolescence) or a topical area (e.g., emotional development, social relationships) to illustrate contemporary research questions about development and the methods used to address them. Observations may be required as part of a research project. Prerequisites: PSYC 029, PSYC 102 with a C- or better. (DVSY, ETHC)

PSYC 131. Adolescence and Young Adulthood. 4 Units.

This course is the psychosocial examination of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Topics include conceptual issues and moral development, sexual and personality changes, role conflicts and problems unique to adolescence. The material is selected to interest both majors who plan to work with adolescents and to students who want to better understand their own life cycle phase or their future role as parents of adolescents. Prerequisites: sophomore standing is required. (GE1A)

PSYC 133. Adulthood and Aging. 4 Units.

This course provides an overview of developmental issues that occur in the adult and aging population. Topics include developmental theories, research techniques, and the biological, psychological, and sociological aspects of aging. Some emphasis is placed on providing psychological services to the aging population. Some field experiences in nursing homes will be part of the course. Sophomore standing is required. (DVSY, GE1A)

PSYC 140. Psychology of Gender. 4 Units.

This course introduces students to psychological research on the experiences, behaviors, and abilities of men and women. A comparative approach is used to examine historical, contemporary, and cultural differences. Topics include gender differences and similarities in mental abilities, social behavior, mental health issues, and experiences of men and women in the workplace. Sophomore standing. (GEND)

PSYC 144. Psychological Assessment. 4 Units.

An overview of the statistical underpinnings of psychological tests which include reliability, validity, and test creation as well as an overview of the most commonly administered psychological tests and their appropriate applications and use. The ethics of test creation and administration as well as practical application of various assessment techniques are discussed. This class is recommended for students who plan to pursue graduate training in clinical psychology. Prerequisite: PSYC 103.

PSYC 149. Sensation and Perception. 4 Units.

This course is an introduction to human sensory systems and perception. Building upon a detailed analysis of visual processing, students explore through lecture, readings, demonstrations, case studies, and investigations how scientists research the various sensory systems and how they shape our experience of, and interation with the world. This draws on diverse fields such as biology, physics, philosophy and art in addition to psychology. This course is open to all students. (GE3C)

PSYC 152. Parenting. 4 Units.

This course discusses the role of parents in society as well as what is effective parenting. The course explores the available research on effective parenting as well as discussing and experiencing effective interventions to improve parenting skills. The course is intended to focus on both personal application as well as larger scale societal issues and interventions for others. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

PSYC 153. Advanced Lab in Behavioral Psychology. 4 Units.

This course focuses on both experimental and theoretical developments related to the study of learning and behavior, with an emphasis on applications of the basic principles of learning to understand issues of social significance. Topics include altruism, behavioral economics, behavioral research methods, choice, cooperation, concept formation, culture, drug use and abuse, free will, language, and self-control. Experimental methods and analyses are emphasized. A good understanding of Pavlovian and operant conditioning is necessary for this course. Prerequisites: PSYC 053, PSYC 102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 154. Child Mental Health. 4 Units.

Students study the casual factors that relate to the development of mental health problems in children. The emphasis is on the environmental issues associated with specific disorders that include behavioral learning histories, cognitive behavioral patterns, and family/parenting issues. Socio-cultural contributions to mental health are presented in addition to discussion of Evidence-Based Treatments for commonly diagnosed disorders and problems in childhood. Sophomore standing.

PSYC 155. Couples and Family Therapy. 4 Units.

This course is an introduction to couples and family therapy, theory, and practice. Behavioral psychology is used as the foundation, and students learn a broad systems perspective. Students are familiarized with the history of family therapy, as well as current family therapy strategies. Sophomore standing. (DVSY)

PSYC 156. Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology. 4 Units.

Students examine the overlapping fields of behavioral medicine and health psychology. The course focuses on a biopsychosocial model of illness, how this model compares to a more traditional biomedical model of illness, and the applications of a biopsychosocial model to the treatment and prevention of chronic illnesses. Topics include health promotion and medical compliance. This course may interest any student who aspires to become a health care professional in health psychology, clinical psychology, medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, or nursing. Prerequisite: PSYC 053. Junior or Senior standing recommended.

PSYC 158. Behavioral Assessment. 4 Units.

An overview of behavioral assessment techniques is examined. Specific topics include data collection, inter-observer agreement, social validity, treatment integrity, functional assessment, stimulus preference assessment, indirect assessment techniques, and functional analysis procedures. Prerequisites: PSYC 053 and permission of instructor.

PSYC 162. Ethical Behavior. 4 Units.

This course will cover professional conduct and ethical behavior within the broad discipline of psychology, as well as the specific ethical and professional guidelines for the Behavior Anaysis Certification Board (BACB®). This course addresses ethical decision-making, regulatory standards, and professional behavior in assessment, treatment, and research, in a variety of settings. Although this course will encompass a variety of disciplines and settings within psychology, primary attention will be given to those disciplines intersecting with the practive of applied behavior analysis and on those settings in which behavior analysts in practice are most likely to operate. Topics include accountability, confidentiality and informed consent, quality of services, quality of life, emergency management, research and academic settings, professional collaborations, boundaries, cultural competence, and ethical safeguards. Prerequisites: Junior standing or higher and permission of the instructor.

PSYC 166. Psychology of Personality. 4 Units.

This course is a survey of contemporary personality theories and research. The course focuses on the study of individual difference and how these differences are explained and measured using different personality assessment devices. This course is recommended for students who aspire to enroll in graduate study of clinical psychology, school psychology, marriage and family counseling, child development, or social work. It may interest those who want to learn more about themselves and the diversity of the species. Junior or Senior standing recommended.

PSYC 167. Psychology and the Law. 4 Units.

The course examines the contribution of psychology to the judicial system. Students explore both the role of forensic psychologists in criminal cases and applied psychological research designed to assist police and courts in their functions. Case studies illustrate forensic issues, such as examining serial killers and the uses and abuses of police interrogation in criminal cases. Topics include insanity and incompetency of defendants; psychopathy; problems with eyewitness testimony; issues involved with sentencing (including the death penalty); the mistreatment of children and adolescents by the justice system; and false confessions. Students visit actual course trials early in the semester. Not recommended for first-year students. (GE1A)

PSYC 169. Advanced Lab in Social Psychology. 4 Units.

Social psychology is the scientific study of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals in social situations. This advanced seminar is intended for students who have successfully passed PSYC 101 and PSYC 102 (with at least a C-), who have passed PSYC 069 (with a least a C-), and for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of major issues in the field. In this advanced topics course, we will read and discuss classic and contemporary theory and research in social psychology, with special attention given to how ideas develop. We will also choose one particular topic in social psychology to explore deeply. During this course you will also design and put into action a strategy that aims to eradicate a specific problem or enhance the quality of life on campus. Prerequisites: PSYC 069, PSYC 102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 183. Research Design. 4 Units.

This course is the design and analysis of research using single subject and group designs. Prerequisite: PSYC 105 and permission of instructor.

PSYC 187. Internship. 1-4 Units.

This internship course gives experiences in a work setting and is contracted on an individual basis. PSYC 187 represents advanced internship work that involves increased independence and responsibility. Students may register for only one course listed below in any semester and may receive no more than four units of credit for any of these courses. Pass/no credit is the only grading.

PSYC 189. Practicum. 4 Units.

The practicum offers non-classroom experiences in activities related to the curriculum under conditions that is determined by the appropriate faculty member. PSYC 189 represents advanced practicum work which involves increased independence and responsibility. Students may register for only one course listed below in any semester and may receive no more than four units of credit for any of these courses. Pass/no credit is the only grading.

PSYC 189A. Applied Psychology Practicum. 4 Units.

Students will acquire skills necessary to the application of principles of general psychology to solve personal, organizational and social problems while serving as assistants to faculty and professional psychologists.

PSYC 191. Independent Study. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 195. Seminar. 4 Units.

PSYC 197. Independent Research. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 207. Psychology of Learning. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the scientific investigation of learning and behavior. Both experimental and related theoretical developments are considered, as well as applications of the basic principles of learning to issues of social significance.

PSYC 220. Clinical Neuropsychology. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the relationship between human brain functioning and behavioral/ psychological functioning. The primary emphasis is on the diagnosis and treatment of brain dysfunction in humans. Methods to evaluate clients for the presence of various types of brain dysfunction using psychological testing are studied in depth, along with corresponding neuroanatomy and neuropathology. Research techniques to develop a clearer understanding of both normal and abnormal brain functioning are studied. Permission of instructor.

PSYC 251. Behavioral Treatment/Applications. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the application of behavior analytic principles and methods in applied settings, with an emphasis on behavior change procedures, maintenance and generalization of behavior change, and emergency interventions. Topics addressed include the definition and characteristics of applied behavior analysis, selection and evaluation of intervention strategies, measurement of behavior, display and interpretation of behavioral data, and behavioral assessment. Additionally, basic behavioral principles, single-case experimental design, and ethical issues are discussed in the context of behavioral assessment and intervention. Open This course is open only to graduate students with permission.

PSYC 258. Behavioral Assessment. 4 Units.

Students study an overview of behavioral assessment techniques is examined. Specific topics covered include data collection, inter-observer agreement, social validity, treatment integrity, functional assessment, stimulus preference assessment, indirect assessment techniques, and functional analysis procedures.

PSYC 262. Ethical Behavior. 4 Units.

This course will cover professional conduct and ethical behavior with the broad discipline of psychology, as well as the specific ethical and professional guidelines for the Behavior Analysis Certificate (BACB®). This course addresses ethical decision-making, regulatory standards, and professional behavior in assessment, treatment, and research, in a variety of settings. Although this course will encompass a variety of disciplines and settings within psychology, primary attention will be given to those disciplines intersecting with the practice of applied behavior analysis and on those settings in which behavior analysts in practice are most likely to operate. Topics include accountability, confidentiality and informed consent, quality of services, quality of life, emergency management, research and academic settings, professional collaborations, boundaries, cultural competence, and ethical safeguards. Prerequisites: Psychology major and graduate student status.

PSYC 278. Controversial Treatments in Applied Settings. 4 Units.

This graduate seminar covers the varieties and consequences of pseudoscience in the helping professions and how to avoid being influenced by them. The helping professions comprise a significant industry in the United States. This includes medicine, psychology (including behavior analysis), psychiatry, social work, and other forms of counseling. It includes community mental health centers, and other venues such as mental hospitals, crisis centers, and schools. Each profession has a code of ethics that calls on professionals to help clients, to avoid harm, to honor informed consent requirements and promote independence. Professional codes of ethics call on professionals to draw on practice-related research findings. What do we find if we look closely at their everyday behavior? To what extent do professionals and researchers honor obligations described in such codes of ethics? Although this course will encompass a variety of disciplines and settings, primary attention will be given to those disciplines intersecting the practice of applied behavior analysis and on those settings in which behavior analysts in practice are most likely to operate. Prerequisites: Psychology major and graduate student status.

PSYC 283. Research Design. 4 Units.

Students learn the design and analysis of research using single subject and group designs.

PSYC 285E. Behavior Analysis Internship I. 1 Unit.

This course provides clinical experience with the University of the Pacific Behavior Analysis Services Program. This course includes practice in conducting behavioral interventions, designing, implementing, and monitoring behavior analysis programs for clients. Students oversee the implementation of behavioral programs by others, attending behavioral program planning meetings, and reviewing program-relevant literature. Faculty and staff will observe interns engaging the activities in the natural environment at least once every two weeks, and provide specific feedback to interns on their performance. Multiple populations and sites will be available, including but not limited to, typically developing school-aged children in school and home settings, and individuals with psychiatric diagnoses and/or developmental disabilities in their homes or in community settings. Permission of instructor. Pass/No Credit grading only.

PSYC 285F. Behavior Analysis Internship II. 1 Unit.

This course provides clinical experience with the University of the Pacific Behavior Analysis Services Program. This course includes practice in conducting behavior analysis programs for clients, overseeing the implementation of behavioral programs by others, attending behavioral program planning meetings, and reviewing program-relevant literature. Faculty and staff observe interns engaging in activities in the natural environment at least once every two weeks, and they provide specific feedback to interns on their performance. Multiple poplulations and sites are available, including but not limited to, typically developing school-aged children in school and home settings, and individuals with psychiatric diagnoses and/or developmental disabilities in their homes or in community settings. Permission of instructor. Pass/No Credit grading only.

PSYC 287. Graduate Internship. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 289. Practium. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 291. Graduate Independent Study. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 295. Graduate Seminar in Psychology. 4 Units.

PSYC 297. Graduate Independent Research. 1-4 Units.

Pass/No Credit grading only.

PSYC 297D. Independent Research. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 297E. Independent Research. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 299. Thesis. 2 or 4 Units.

Psychology Faculty

Scott A. Jensen, Associate Professor and Chair, 2006, BS, Brigham Young University, 1998; MS, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, 2003; PhD, 2004., sjensen@pacific.edu

Carolynn S. Kohn, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, 2003, BA, University of California Santa Barbara; MA, Hahnemann University, 1996; PhD 2000; BCBA., ckohn@pacific.edu

Mahshid Ghaemmaghami, Assistant Professor

Jessica Grady, Assistant Professor, 2013, BS Lebanon Valley Colllege, 2006; PhD, West Virginia University, 2011, jgrady@pacific.edu

Matthew P. Normand, Associate Professor, 2007, BA, Western New England College; MA, Western Michigan University, 1999; MS, Florida State University, 2002; PhD, 2003, BCBA., mnormand@pacific.edu, http://www.theskinnerbox.com

Corey Stocco, Assistant Professor