Why We Teach
A key strength of the Psychology undergraduate curriculum is the range of course options available to students. The Psychology major is designed to provide a solid grounding in the main areas of the discipline while allowing students to gain more exposure to specific areas of psychology that are of interest to them. At the heart of our program are key learning objectives that reflect the knowledge and abilities that are promoted by our curriculum. A useful summary of these objectives was recently formulated by Professors Pamela Shapiro and David Waxler.
What Knowledge and Skills Can I Expect to Develop with a Temple Psychology Education?
The Temple Psychology Undergraduate Program is designed to develop skills and knowledge that prepare students for a graduate education in Psychology and are also sought after by employers in a wide variety of fields. Below are some of the key learning objectives:
Psychological Literacy: Starting with a broad overview at the introductory level of psychology, its subfields, and methodology, students will acquire a deep understanding of what psychological science is, and how psychologists answer important questions about mental processes and behavior. In the senior year Psychology Capstone course, students delve deeply into specialized topics in psychology, and learn how to synthesize information from multiple sources.
Scientific Reasoning & Critical Thinking: Through critical analysis of classic and current psychological research studies, students learn to evaluate sources, arguments, and evidence to make sound judgments and come to independent conclusions. Students are given the opportunity to design studies in research methodology classes and learn to identify and control for design flaws that could affect the interpretation of the results. Students also have the opportunity to participate in mentored research to further develop these skills.
Quantitative Competency: Students will learn how psychologists use numbers and statistics to describe data and evaluate the results of scientific research. As part of this process, students will use statistical software and learn how to interpret the output. Importantly, students will also learn how to critically interpret statistical results found in psychology research articles and evaluate statistical claims.
Verbal and Written Communication: Through papers, lab reports, in-class presentations, and other assignments, students will hone their ability to synthesize complex issues and explain them at a level that is appropriate for a given audience. Furthermore, students will learn specifically how to write in a way that conforms to the scientific and psychological standards of the field (e.g., clarity, objectivity, citing all sources). This process culminates in a Capstone Project.
Ethical Behavior and Respect for Diversity: Ethical Behavior is emphasized throughout the curriculum, including issues related to professional ethics in psychology. Students develop the ability to critically evaluate real-world situations for issues such as bias, plagiarism, conflict of interest, mistreatment of research subjects/participants, violations of professional obligations, and misrepresenting scientific findings. These issues are explicitly addressed in courses such as Careers in Psychology, Critical Thinking in Psychology, and Conducting Psychological Research, and are also a common theme in other classes. Through the study of psychology and ethics, students are also expected to develop a respect for diversity, including but not limited to, differences in gender, race, nationality, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, mental and physical disability, and religion. Issues such as the psychology of stereotyping, implicit bias, and in group/out group bias are explored in cognitive and social psychology courses. Misconceptions about mental health are directly addressed in a variety of classes dealing with psychopathology.
Professionalism: The ability to act and present one’s self professionally, including adherence to rules and regulations, accountability, and appropriate demeanor and tone for workplace communications, is addressed across the curriculum through the expectations that students meet the requirements of individual courses, as well as department and university standards. Professionalism is practiced in advanced courses such as Conducting Psychological Research and Capstone in Psychology, with opportunities for students to lead discussion, collaborate in groups, and give formal presentations.
Understanding Interpersonal Dynamics: Through their exposure to research in social psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, behavioral psychology, and other areas, students will learn to apply their knowledge of psychological concepts to understand situations involving teamwork, problematic behavior, and conflict resolution. Furthermore, students will gain a deeper understanding for why people engage in certain behaviors in social contexts.