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  • Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology
  • Minors in Criminal Justice, Industrial/Organization Psychology & Psychology


Psychology infuses every area of life, from physics to theology to the mundane activities we undertake each day. A holistic educational experience—one that balances academic rigor with various kinds of learning opportunities and fosters personal integrity and responsibility—is the primary aim of our department’s faculty. Students earning a bachelor’s degree from La Sierra University will be trained to think like psychologists, demonstrating the empirical habits, mastery of knowledge, and practical research skills that will make them competitive applicants for top graduate programs and jobs requiring strong analytical, information literacy, and communication skills. Metacognition—reflecting on how we think—is also emphasized throughout our curriculum as students practice the integration of faith with the discipline of psychology, practice self-awareness, and analyze their own worldviews. This includes learning to embrace the process of critical evaluation, and to value alternative viewpoints even when these create ambiguity and preclude simple solutions. Although life’s problems rarely have simple solutions, we believe that empathy and integrity are necessary components of any truly effective problem-solving.

One way in which we encourage all of these qualities, which we deem critical in psychologically-minded individuals, is to create a scholarly community where each student is cared for, guided, mentored, and challenged. Within this environment, we aim that the academic skills, social conscience, and spiritual development of our students will be strengthened through both coursework and the example of each of the faculty.


  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding representing appropriate breadth and depth in selected content areas of psychology.
  2. Design and conduct basic studies to address psychological questions, using appropriate research methods.
  3. Use critical thinking effectively.
  4. Identify appropriate applications of psychology in solving problems.
  5. Seek and evaluate scientific evidence for psychological claims.
  6. Tolerate ambiguity and realize that psychological explanations are often complex and tentative.
  7. Demonstrate information competence in relevant areas.
  8. Use information and technology ethically and responsibly.
  9. Demonstrate effective writing skills in various formats (e.g., essays, correspondence, technical papers, note taking) and for various purposes (e.g., informing, defending, persuading, arguing, teaching).
  10. Reflect on their experiences and find meaning in them, including as they relate to their personal spiritual commitments and the Seventh-day Adventist orientation of the University.


Psi Chi is the National Honor Society of Psychology founded in 1929 with the goal to encourage, stimulate, and maintain excellence in scholarship, and to advance the science of psychology. Since its establishment in the year 2000, La Sierra University has inducted 84 students into life membership providing them with access to grants, student research programs, presentations in national meetings, and publications.

The Psychology Department Honors is designed for highly-qualified students who wish to further their research experience in psychology. Students who complete the program must be members of Psi Chi, the national honors society in psychology; graduate with a 3.5 GPA; do an original research project under the supervision of the Psychology Department faculty (through either PSYC 495 or the Honors Program’s Scholarship Project ); and present their research in a public forum approved by the department faculty.


The Psychology Department believes deeply in the importance of undergraduate research and its curriculum fosters the development of empirical skills. In addition, interested students are encouraged to become actively involved in independent faculty-mentored research projects. Shelia Marshall McLean Student Research Grants are available to help fund outstanding undergraduate research projects.



The Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology provides a rigorous foundation based on both the science and application of psychology. It prepares the student for graduate school through a series of courses that include laboratory and extramural experiences while allowing sufficient options to pursue particular interests.

Required: 57.5 - 59 units as follows:

• PSYC 104, 104L, 261, 261L, 321, 321L, 322, 322L, 323, 323L & 488

• 319, 219 (0.5 unit for each year of residence up to 4 years; minimum 0.5 unit)

• Remaining 28 units selected from PSYC courses, two of which must be laboratory courses.

Required Cognates: 9 units as follows:

• BIOL 111 & 111L

• UNST 404M or UHNR 404M


The Bachelor of Science degree in psychobiology is a joint program of the Departments of Psychology and Biology. It emphasizes the biological correlates of behavior and it is designed for students who plan to go on to postgraduate work in psychobiology or the health sciences and to fulfill the requirements for pre-medicine or other health professions.


Required: 75 units including:

• BIOL 111, 111L, 112, 112L, 113, 113L, 221, 222, 301, 302 & 303

• One of the following:

301L, 302L, 303L

1 unit may be applied to the major from CHEM 491 or 492

2 units may be applied from CHEM 493

• PSYC 104, 104L, 234, 251, 261, 261L, 321, 321L, 322, 322L, 323 & 323L

• PSYC 385 or 452

• 1 class from PSYC 219 or 319 for each year of residence up to 4 years

• Remaining units selected from:

BIOL 434, 446, 466

HLED 225

PSYC 234L, 251L, 275, 314, 344, 364, 374 & 374L, 414 & 414L, 435 & 435L, 456 & 456L, 478, 482, 488, 495

One of the courses chosen must be or include a laboratory

Required Cognates:

CHEM 111, 111L, 112, 112L, 113, 113L, 371, 372, 372L, 373 & 373L


Criminal Justice

Required: 28 units including:

• PLSC 225

• PSYC 275

• 2 of the following 3 courses:

PSYC 482F, 482G, 482A

• Remaining units selected from:

PSYC 251 or SOCI 251

PSYC 356, 434 (2 - 4 units), 482A, 482F, 482D & 482G

PSYCH 488E or PLSC 488E


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Required: 28 units including:

• MGMT 304 & 356

• PSYC 356 & 474

• Remaining units selected from:

MGMT 475

MKTG 374

PSYC 251, 434 (up to 2 units), 482A


Required: 28 units (16 upper division), including:

• PSYC 104, 104L, 234, 234L & 344

• Remaining units to be selected in consultation with department advisor.


A minor must have a minimum of 12 units that are not used to fulfill the requirements for the major.

Some of these courses may be offered alternate years: check with the Department of Psychology or the offering department for more information.


A student must receive a grade of C or better in order for a class to count as a prerequisite for another course. This applies to both individual and sequenced classes unless otherwise specified. Waiver of any specified course prerequisite requires the approval of the course instructor.


PSYC 104 General Psychology (4)

Introduction to the scientific study of human emotion, motivation, cognition and behavior; includes a brief overview of the physiological, cognitive, and motivational aspects of behavior.

Prerequisite: ENGL 111 (can be concurrently enrolled)

PSYC 104L General Psychology Laboratory (1)

Experiences on asking research questions, descriptive statistics, probability. Written reports will follow APA guidelines and style.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104 (can be concurrently enrolled)

PSYC 219 Psychology Colloquium (0.5)

Freshman or sophomore students register for this colloquium, which is devoted to exploring current topics in psychology and professional issues in the field. Students register for this colloquium each year of residence as a psychology major. Enrollment in the quarter of the student’s choice for participation throughout the year. S/U grade. May be repeated up to 4 times for credit. Attendance at eight colloquia is required per half-unit of enrollment.

PSYC 234 Developmental Psychology (4)

Exploration of the physical, mental, emotional, social, and religious/moral development occurring within the family context from conception through adulthood. Includes Service-Learning experience. Not open to students with credit in SOWK 311/312.

Prerequisite: ENGL 111 (can be concurrently enrolled)

PSYC 234L Developmental Psychology Laboratory (1)

In conjunction with the Service-Learning requirement for the class, the laboratory provides experiences where students learn how to task research questions, acquire observational skills, learn how to code, analyze and report developmental data.

Prerequisite: PSYC 234 (can be concurrently enrolled)

PSYC 251 Social Psychology (4)

Review of social psychological knowledge and understanding of individuals, groups, systems, and culture, including conformity, persuasion, social cognition, self-justification, aggression, prejudice, and interpersonal relationships. Cross-listed as SOCI 251.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 251L Social Psychology Laboratory (1)

Experiences focusing on research methodology in social psychology. Includes the replication of classic and contemporary studies, the execution of a simple experiment, and APA style lab reports.

Prerequisite: PSYC 251 (can be concurrently enrolled)

PSYC 261 Physiological Psychology (4)

An introduction to the study of the biological substrates of behavior. Concentration is on the structure and function of the nervous system constituents and sensory and motor systems as they are involved in molar behaviors.

Prerequisite: BIOL 111, 111L, PSYC 104, & 261L (must be concurrently enrolled in this laboratory)

PSYC 261L Physiological Psychology Laboratory (1)

Investigation of the structural and functional organization of the brain and nervous system, including sensory and motor processing.

Prerequisite: PSYC 261 (can be concurrently enrolled)

PSYC 275 Abnormal Psychology (4)

Psychology of behavioral disorders, with emphasis on etiology, symptoms, and treatment.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 295 Directed Research (1-4)

Research project under the direction of an on-campus faculty member or an approved off campus research supervisor. May be repeated for additional credit and may extend through a second or third quarter. Approximately 40 clock hours of work per quarter per unit of credit.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104, 104L, consent of instructor & a minimum overall GPA of 2.50

PSYC 299 Directed Study (1-4)

Limited to department majors who wish to pursue independent investigations in psychology under the direction of a department faculty member. Approximately 40 clock hours of work per quarter per unit of credit.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

Restriction: Department majors


PSYC 314 Psychology of Gender (4)

Survey of theory and research on the psychology of gender. Topics include the psychological and physiological development of gender, gender differences in personality, and the social construction of gender.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 319 Career Colloquium (1)

Junior students enroll in this class to prepare for post-baccalaureate education and to learn strategies for successful application to and completion of graduate school, as well as future careers in the field of psychology.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 321 Methods and Statistics I: Description and Correlation (4)

Descriptive and correlational research methods and statistics in psychology, including questionnaire construction and administration, descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing applied to means and frequencies, correlation, and regression. Effect size and power are introduced. Special emphasis on writing reports using APA style. Concurrent registration in PSYC 321L is required.

Prerequisites: PSYC 104, 104L & either MATH 115, or 121, or 155, or CPTG 117

PSYC 321L Methods and Statistics I: Description and Correlation Laboratory (0)

Descriptive and correlational psychological research techniques and statistical methods are explored through replicating and conducting studies, analyzing data, and presenting results. Practice in the use of computer software to analyze results from these studies. Concurrent registration in PSYC 321 is required.

PSYC 322 Methods and Statistics II: Experiment and Inference (4)

Experimental research methods and inferential statistics in psychology, including multiple regression, mediation and moderation, causal relationships, reliability and validity, tests and ANOVA, and effect size. Special emphasis on conducting a literature search and theoretically justifying hypotheses, research ethics, editing and improving technical writing, and the visual and oral presentation of results. Concurrent enrollment with PSYC 322L required.

Prerequisite: PSYC 321

PSYC 322L Methods and Statistics II: Experiment and Inference Laboratory (1)

Experimental research methods are explored though replicating and conducting studies, and inferential statistics are explored through analyzing data and presenting results from those studies. Practice in the use of SPSS to analyze results from these studies. Concurrent registration in PSYC 322 is required.


PSYC 323 Methods and Statistics III: Conducting Research (4)

Conducting research in psychology, including validity; repeated measures and covariates; and the research process focusing on methodology, ethics, analyzing, and interpreting data. Students conduct research studies that are presented in a major paper and public poster presentations. Concurrent enrollment with PSYC 323L required.

Prerequisite: PSYC 322

PSYC 323L Methods and Statistics III: Conducting Research Laboratory (1)

Additional laboratory work in conducting research, analyzing data using SPSS, and reporting results. Concurrent enrollment with PSYC 323 required.

PSYC 344 Personality (4)

A survey of the major topics in the field of personality, including personality theory; personality assessment; and the physiological, behavioral, and cultural roles of perception, learning and motivation in personality.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 356 Psychological Assessment and Measurement (4)

Introduction to procedures used in psychological assessment, including assessment of cognitive, personality, academic, neuropsychological, and occupational functioning. Includes the integration of data from testing, interviews, case history, and direct observation. Focus on the reliability and validity of measures for particular applications

Prerequisites: PSYC 104 & MATH 251

PSYC 364 Introduction to Health Psychology (4)

Study of the interrelationships of psychological and behavioral factors in health and illness. A variety of basic topics in the field are covered, including stress and coping in illness prevention and health promotion, illness behavior, impact of hospitalization, and modification of health habits. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 374 Cognition and Memory (4)

An introduction to the psychological investigation of perceptual and cognitive processes, emphasizing pattern recognition, attention, memory, knowledge representation, problem solving, decision making, language, and intelligence. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 374L Cognition and Memory Laboratory (0)

Includes laboratory investigation of classic experiments and concepts such as iconic memory, short term memory search, attentional blink, word superiority effect, false memory, and decision making heuristics. Concurrent registration in PSYC 374 is required.

PSYC 385 Psychology of Adaptation and Survival (4)

Survival, adaptation, and change-related psychological mechanisms are explored, including kinship, mating, cooperation, aggression, moral decision-making, dominance hierarchies, and cognitive strategies.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 392 Essentials of Game Theory (4)

Introduction to the formal study of interdependent decision making. Topics include normal and extensive form games, strategic games, dominance strategies, the concept of the Nash equilibrium and various refinements of this concept, subgame perfect equilibrium, games of incomplete information, learning in games, repeated and sequential games, reputation and credibility, and cooperative and coalitional games. Applications in economics, political science, interpersonal relations, and business are emphasized. Cross-listed as ECON 392.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

PSYC 401 Senior Field Experience (4)

This class is designed for psychology majors and requires the completion of a supervised field experience and a theoretical application paper. Students must register for this class during fall quarter of their senior year. Students have up to one year to complete their required hours and theoretical application paper.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104 & consent of instructor

Restriction: Only for psychology majors with senior standing

PSYC 414 Interviewing and Counseling (4)

Development of basic practical interviewing and counseling skills and techniques central to therapeutic and educational counseling, crisis intervention, and vocational interviewing. Focus on legal and ethical issues in counseling and vocational interviews, structuring interviews, and facilitating growth and change.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 414L Interviewing and Counseling Laboratory (0)

Supervised group practice in interviewing and counseling skills, using hypothetical scenarios. Concurrent registration in PSYC 414 is required.

PSYC 434 Field Instruction (1-4)

This course is designed to allow psychology majors to gain outside field experience. The student will complete approximately 40 hours of work per unit per quarter and will attend supervision conferences. May be repeated for additional credit to a maximum of 4 units.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

PSYC 435 Learning and Behavior (4)

An introduction to the major theories and phenomena of human and animal learning and behavior, including associative learning, theories of conditioning, reinforcement and punishment, and cognitive learning. Includes discussion of analysis of their pragmatic relevance and application. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 435L Learning and Behavior Laboratory (0)

Replication of classic learning experiments and application of major learning theories to everyday tasks. Concurrent registration in PSYC 435 is required.

PSYC 452 Behavioral Neurobiology (4)

An advanced course on the functions of the mammalian nervous system. Neuronal substrates of behavior including perception, motivation, emotion, memory, consciousness, and abnormal thought and behavior are explored. Genetic correlates of behavior also considered. Cross-listed as BIOL 439. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisites: PSYC 104, 261 & 261L

PSYC 454 Psychotherapy (4)

Advanced examination of current theoretical models of psychotherapy. Focus on views of health and illness as well as techniques specific to each model.

Prerequisites: PSYC 104 & 414

PSYC 456 Sensation and Perception (4)

Introductory survey of the human senses and their role in perception. Consideration of how we sense the physical environment in many domains such as chemistry, physics, brain science, and physiology, in addition to experiments and observations on seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 456L Sensation and Perception Laboratory (0)

Includes laboratory investigation of experiments and observations on pattern perception, depth perception, visual and auditory illusions, color, music, gustatory, olfactory and tactile perceptions, and intermodal experience. Concurrent registration in PSYC 456 is required.

PSYC 464 The Exceptional Child (4)

Study of determinants, characteristics, problems, and adjustments of children with mental, physical, emotional, or social disabilities and of gifted and talented children. Intervention techniques used with children with disabilities are explored. Attention is paid to the rights of children under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Credit not allowed for both EDPC 460 and this course.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 464L The Exceptional Child Laboratory (0)

In conjunction with Service-Learning activities, students will have extensive experience with children with disabilities. Laboratory will focus on developing systematic observation skills, data collection and analysis of behaviors over time. Concurrent registration in PSYC 464 is required.

PSYC 474 Industrial and Personnel Psychology (4)

Introduction to the application of psychology in industry and business. Topics include psychological solutions to personnel problems, including human relations, effective employee selection, training, motivation, and morale. Includes discussion of employer/employee relations, including factors influencing efficiency of work and job satisfaction. Offered alternate years.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 478 History and Systems of Psychology (4)

Philosophical and historical background of psychology, with consideration of contemporary schools and systems of psychology.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 482 Advanced Seminar in Psychology

Topics of current interest in the field of psychology. Content varies as follows; different sections may be repeated for additional credit. See the class schedule each quarter for additional offerings.

PSYC 482A Prejudice (2)

An examination of the cognitive, affective, and behavioral aspects of prejudice, including prejudice based on such categories as race, gender, ethnicity, stigma, and age. Both laboratory and field research are emphasized.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104 or 234

PSYC 482B Physician-Patient Communication (2)

An advanced course on the characteristics of communication between physicians and patients. Emphasis placed on determinants of the quality of communication (including nonverbal cues), interaction of various communication styles, and impact on varied patient outcomes.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 482C Critical Thinking: Theory and Application (2)

Advanced class on development of basic skills in critical thinking. Topics include reasoning, logic, common fallacies, practical language, persuasion, problem solving strategies, and applying skills of critical thinking to the complex issues of everyday life.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 482D Eating Disorders (2)

The incidence, etiology, diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and prognosis of bulimia, anorexia, obesity, body dysmorphic disorder, and other eating disorders. Emphasis placed on the effects of media and advertising on the young, as well as perceptions youth have of their bodies.

PSYC 482E Psychopathology: Myth or Reality? (2)

An examination of current models of mental illness in light of cultural, social, and gender issues. Focus on debates about the existence and universality of categories of psychopathology as well as their social, economic, and political implications.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 482F Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood (2)

A focused study of the developmental period between late-childhood and early adulthood including developmental tasks related to attachment and autonomy, sexuality, intimacy, achievement, and identity.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104 or PSYC 234

PSYC 482G Eyewitness Memory (2)

Study of the factors influencing eyewitness testimony, including situational variables (i.e. temporal and violence factors), witness variables (i.e. witness expectancies, witness age, etc.), recovered memory vs. false memory, face recognition, the interview process, and expert evidence presented. Other topics include the impact of eyewitness testimony on the jury, child witnesses in sexual abuse trials, and other issues of pretrial identification methods.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 482H Psychology of Creativity (2)

Explores the psychological processes associated with creativity, including characteristics of creative people, development of creativity over the life span, creativity and flow, nurturing the creative process, and creativity and madness.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104 or 234

PSYC 482I Language Development (2)

An exploration of conceptual, social, and linguistic processes underlying children’s language development; similarities and differences in these processes when developing a second language.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104 or 234

PSYC 484 Topics in Psychology

Topics of current interest in the field of psychology. Content varies as follows; different sections may be repeated for additional credit. See the class schedule each quarter for additional offerings.

PSYC 484A Intergroup Relations (4)

An examination of the way individuals in groups relate to each other focusing on the cognitive aspects of intergroup relations and the relation between identity and intergroup relations.

Prerequisites: PSYC 251, 349, 349L & upper division standing

PSYC 484B Experimental Designs (4)

The logic of scientific thought in the preparation and execution of psychological research, focusing on the role of the experiment in psychology. Includes the preparation of a literature review and a research proposal.

Prerequisites: PSYC 349, 349L & upper division standing

PSYC 484C Perceptual and Cognitive Development (4)

Advanced class on the early development of cognition and perception. Topics include physiological basis of perception, color perception, oculomotor development, speech perception, intermodal perception, proprioception memory, language, intelligence, social cognition, and contextual influences, with theoretical perspectives on the nature of cognitive development and their application.

Prerequisites: PSYC 234, 349, 349L & upper division standing

PSYC 484D Cognitive Development (4)

An advanced class on early cognitive development with particular focus on the development of language, social cognition, and problem-solving skills. Theoretical perspectives and methods of inquiry are examined and critiqued, and practical application of empirical findings is emphasized.

Prerequisites: PSYC 234, 349, 349L & upper division standing

PSYC 486 Thanatology: Death and Dying (4)

Psychological and social implications of death and dying as experienced by the terminally ill patient and significant others. Introduction to investigative techniques in homicide and suicide, analysis of equivocal deaths, the psychological autopsy. Offered alternate years.

PSYC 488 Seminar in Psychology

Variable content to focus on the interface of psychology and one or more disciplines. See the class schedule each quarter for additional offerings.

PSYC 488B Psychology and Law (4)

An introduction to the application of psychological topics to law, including the legal process, trials and juries, eyewitness testimony, presentation of scientific evidence, and the use of social science in the legal system.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 488C Psychology of Religion (4)

An examination of religious behavior from a psychological (theoretical and methodological) perspective. Focus is on the development of religion and religious socialization, religious experience, religion and death, the social psychology of religious organizations, coping and adjustment, and religion and mental disorder.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 488D Psychology of Music (4)

Focuses on the perception and cognition of music. Topics include the sense and perception of sound, timbre, consonance, dissonance, musical scales, attention and memory of melody, rhythm and the organization of time, and cross-cultural universals.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 488E Political Psychology (4)

Application of psychological theory and research methods to political science topics. Examination of the way that politics is influenced by characteristics of people (abilities, personalities, values, and attitudes), as well as the way that people are influenced by the political environment (institutions, information, and norms). Major theories and approaches in personality and social psychology are used to explore the topics of political leaders, political followers, public opinion, tolerance and intolerance, and international relations. Cross-listed as PLSC 488E.

Prerequisite: PSYC 104

PSYC 488F Sport Psychology (4)

An introduction to sport and exercise psychology as an academic discipline with a focus on using empirical evidence in an applied fashion. The ways in which psychological factors influence participation and performance in sport and exercise will be examined, as well as the effects of sport/exercise on psychological well-being of an individual. Topics include goal-setting; team cohesion; psychological skills training; competition anxiety; self-confidence and motivation; coach-athlete communication, attention, concentration, and imagery; and burnout in athletes. Cross-listed as PETH 418E.

PSYC 495 Undergraduate Research (1-4)

Original investigation under the direction of an on-campus faculty member or an approved off-campus research supervisor. May be repeated for additional credit, and may extend through a second or third quarter. Approximately 40 clock hours of work per quarter per unit of credit.

Prerequisites: PSYC 349, consent of instructor & a minimum overall GPA of 3.00

PSYC 499 Directed Study (1-4)

Limited to departmental majors with upper division standing who wish to pursue independent investigation in psychology under the direct supervision of a department faculty member. Approximately 40 hours of work per quarter per unit of credit.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

Restriction: Department majors with upper division standing

UNST 404M Religious, Moral & Social Aspects of Psychology (4)

Senior-level seminar and capstone to the general education program and to each student’s major program of studies, considering epistemological, moral, and social issues raised by the student’s discipline. Students explore significant issues both theoretically and as specific problems of contemporary life, bringing their experience and knowledge to bear on the interaction of their values with their discipline.

Prerequisite: Senior standing in the major

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