Undergraduate Students

Classes and Advising

Information about the Psychology Minor *

Information about the Psychology Minor

Minor in Psychology: (18 semester hours)

The minor in psychology is designed for students of any major and is tailored to the specific educational goals for each student. After taking PSY100, the student will choose 15 additional hours of PSY courses in consultation with the Department of Psychology's minor advisor. *NOTE: At least 50% of psychology minor courses must be completed at WCU.

Psychology Minor Advising Sheet (Prior to Fall 2022)

Psychology Minor Advising Sheet (Fall 2022 or Later)

Psychology Senior Seminar (PSY400) - Class Descriptions

Hill, Erin:  Digital Minimalism, Health and Well-Being

The Senior Seminar titled "Digital Minimalism, Health, and Well-being" will involve a critical analysis of how we use personal technology and its impact on our health and well-being.  Digital Minimalism is not necessarily about removing technology from one's life, but rather, it is about becoming intentional and conscious of the ways technology can support individual values and goals - rather than having our behaviors governed by technology. The topic for this senior seminar was developed based on the book "Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World" written by author Cal Newport. In this senior seminar, we will read Newport's book alongside peer-reviewed articles focused on the role of technology use (e.g., social media, cell-phone use, or screen time in general) in our physical and mental well-being. The seminar is discussion-based and hybrid in format, and will involve in-class and online discussions based on the Newport chapter readings and the peer-reviewed articles. Students will engage in reflections on the application of the readings/discussions in their personal and professional lives. The course will also involve regular critical analysis of research in this area of psychology.  Students will also work over the course of the semester in putting together their own research proposal focused on an aspect of digital minimalism in health and well-being.

Hyers, Lauri: Course Description Qualitative Inquiry

This course serves as an introduction to the theory, politics, ethics, and practice of qualitative research in psychology and the social sciences. Qualitative styles of research are largely overshadowed in psychology by the field’s overwhelming preference for quantitative research design. Yet many academics embrace qualitative methods and have developed some useful systems of analysis that compliment more quantitative methodologies. As interest in qualitative research has slowly grown, psychologists have borrowed and adapted some of these qualitative techniques. We will begin by examining some of the philosophical and political issues surrounding qualitative methods. Next we will examine qualitative research design. We will explore several qualitative research techniques, with attention to both conceptual and practical considerations. Students will read qualitative research related to their interests.

Hyers, Lauri: Course Description Climate Change

This course covers the Social Psychology of the contemporary Climate Crisis. As an in-depth study of advanced topics in psychology, students will prepare and present written and oral presentations describing and analyzing current research on Climate Change in psychology.  Humans have made and continue to make their indelible mark on the planet: rapid exponential growth of the human population, environmental pollution, deforestation, natural wild habitat loss, mass extinctions of non-human animals, abuse of captive animals for food, fashion, and pets, destruction caused by human overconsumption, war, and depletion of natural resources. We will explore the psychological implications of these human actions and the application of psychology to sustainability and conservation.  

McKibben, Jodi: Patterns and Course of Psychological Disorders

"Protecting health, saving lives - millions at a time." This is the mission statement of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  It is also an apt description of our subject matter for this senior seminar - patterns and course of psychological disorders (also known as psychiatric epidemiology).  Specifically, we will examin the methodologies used to understand the causes, prevalence, course, and consequences of various mental disorders.  In so doing, we will consider the risk and protective factors at the individual, environmental, and global levels and over time.  This knowledge can then serve to develop effective intervention strategies including prevention programs.

How do we distringuish between the ongoing rates of PTSD in Army soldiers versus the rate of the onset of new cases?  What is the typical course of schizophrenia amongst those with early onset?  Is diabetes risk factor for the development of major depressive disorder?  Can Prevention programs be designed and implemented that will reduce the current rates of suicide among adolescents with suicidal ideation?  These are the sorts of questions we will learn how to tackle as we explore the ever-changing landscape of psychiatric epidemiology.

Through this course, you will gain an understanding of the examination of mental disorders from a more global perspective.  This understanding will be assessed through multiple assessment techniques including written and oral presentations.

Mitchell, Karen: Fact and Fantasy: How the mind creates reality

The human cognitive system processes information that comes in from the outside world (perceiving) and it also generates information (thinking). In addition, both perceiving and thinking are constructive, that is, influenced by prior knowledge, beliefs, and expectations. In this seminar, we will consider the quandary presented by such a system: How do we discriminate between sources of mental experiences so that we do not find ourselves in a mental quagmire, unable to distinguish fact from fantasy? For example: How do you know whether you actually went on a hot air balloon ride yesterday or merely dreamt about it? How do you determine whether someone is currently speaking to you or you are only thinking (or hallucinating)? Did you pay your tuition bill, or just think about doing so? Did you actually see Lineup Person #3 shoot the clerk or do you only seem to "remember" that she did because the police showed you her mugshot later? How do authors, or directors, use the normal functions of our cognitive system to encourage us (their audience) to suspend reality and become immersed in the story? Where do false memories come from? How do clinicians, lawyers, judges, juries, or any of us for that matter, determine the truth of others’ memory reports? And, if we scale this up, what institutional mechanisms are in place to help us to monitor the "reality" of what is presented to us by the media, politicians, scientists, etc.? We will read and discuss primary scientific articles that inform such questions, considering what both behavioral and neuroscience data can tell us. In short, we will consider scientific evidence of how the cognitive system gives rise to our sense of reality in various contexts. We will consider this evidence primarily from the theoretical perspective of the Source Monitoring Framework of Marcia Johnson and colleagues. Consistent with the style of a seminar, the format primarily involves discussion of articles from scientific journals, though we will also watch videos and read papers from other types of sources. Consistent with the requirements of all PSY400 seminars, students will prepare both written and oral presentations. Although this seminar focuses primarily on cognitive theories and methods, you should be able to do well in the course without having had PSY475 (Cognitive Psychology) or a neuroscience/brain course.

Mitchell, Karen: Fake News: Processes and Problems

Fake news, the term is used to refer to everything from satirical sources like the Onion to objectively factual news reports in legitimate sources that people don't care for and want to delegitimize. In this course we will discuss how individuals assess the legitimacy (validity) and veracity (truth or accuracy) of news reports, why they make mistakes, and what can be done to improve our ability to accurately assess the news. We will extend our consideration to other areas, such as "fake science." We will also consider the news media as an important institution for monitoring the activities of other institutions that act in the public interest, such as the government, the courts, and science, which in turn monitor the veracity of what is reported in the news and the appropriateness of how reporting gets done. We will discuss how such institutional monitoring provides checks and balances designed to maintain the integrity of, and public trust in, institutions, as well as examples of how these checks and balances break down. We will consider these topics primarily from a cognitive psychology viewpoint, especially the theoretical perspective of the Source Monitoring Framework, but we will consider other views (e.g., legal, ethical), as well.

Consistent with the style of a seminar, the format primarily involves discussion of articles from scientific journals and other sources, though we will also watch videos and do exercises and demonstrations. Consistent with the requirements of all PSY400 seminars, students will prepare both written and oral presentations. Although this seminar focuses primarily on cognitive theories and methods, you should be able to do well in the course without having had PSY475 (Cognitive Psychology).

Rundus, Aaron: Comparative Sensation & Perception

Imagine what life would be like if you did not have the ability to see, smell, taste, touch, or hear. How would you survive without the ability to sense the world around you? It quickly becomes obvious that the processes of sensation and perception are vitally important with regard to our ability to function in the world around us. In this course we take an in-depth look at some of the sensory and perceptual processes found within the animal kingdom. This course will emphasize a comparative approach by highlighting, when possible, the similarities and differences in sensory and perceptual processes in humans and non-human animals. Furthermore, in this course we will focus on two major categories of empirical questions 1) ‘How’ questions dealing with the mechanisms through which organisms obtain and process information about the world around them and 2) ‘Why’ questions using an evolutionary approach to understand the function of these two processes in the behavior and survival of organisms. This course is organized in a seminar format, affording us the opportunity to survey current research in the field of sensation and perception through the discussion of peer-reviewed literature.

Samipour-Biel, Sabina: Team Cognition and Transactive Memory Systems

Due to a combination of factors, such as the increasing complexity and volume of work, organizations are increasingly relying on teams rather than work systems based around individuals. At times, a high-quality team can produce outcomes far beyond what even several individuals can do. But what does it mean to function as a team rather than a group of individuals? How does a team think? In this class we explore team interdependence and team cognition to provide a foundation for discussing the focal concept of the class – Transactive Memory Systems (TMS). TMS is a system in which knowledge or skills are distributed between team members but still used by the team as a whole. These systems hold a unique place in team science and are critical for teams ranging from sports to surgical. At the core of this class is reading about and discussing the aforementioned concepts, both through full-class and break-out group activities. The class also includes a TMS project in which students translate a technical research article into an easy-to-understand single-page document, as well as work with their group to present a conference-style symposium with a clear narrative based on their related articles.

Shivde, Geeta: Neuroscience of Cognition and Emotion (Fall)

We will explore how various neuroimaging methods and the study of patients with brain injury have informed our understanding of psychology from consciousness and cognition to social and emotional behavior and clinical disorders. We will learn about these different methodologies and the kind of data they produce, as well as discussing the promise and limitations of interpreting this data. You will be reading and discussing primary literature in the field, and will develop your own ideas about how cognitive and affective neuroscience methods can be applied to your individual topic of interest. Understanding how to read and think about research using these neuroscience methods should give you the ability to continue to follow developments in this quickly moving field as they apply to your chosen career, your personal development, and public policy.

Tahmaseb-McConatha, Jasmin: Culture and Psychology

Who we are and how we understand the world is shaped by the culture in which we live. This senior seminar addresses the intersecting influences of culture, society, and community on well-being across adulthood. The seminar focuses on an exploration of contemporary and socio-historical factors that have influenced our understanding of ourselves, our relationships, our sources of meaning, and our health and happiness. We will explore theoretical developments and methodological strengths and limitations in the field of cultural psychology. We discuss fundamental similarities and differences in models of the self, the structure of relationships and support, sources of meaning, emotional management, and well-being. We examine a series of topics on how culture and psychology interrelate in our increasingly globalized world. By taking this course students will be able to: 1. Become more informed about current theories and methods in cultural psychology. 2. Able to critically assess psychological theories with respect to their appropriateness and relevance across particular cultural groupings. 3. Prepared for further advanced study in cultural psychology, adult developed, and/or social-personality psychology. 4. Increase their sense of cultural competence by understanding how cultural patterns influence their own daily lives in a globalizing world. 6. Gain experience preparing a written and oral presentation on a chosen topic relating to the goals of the class.

Tahmaseb-McConatha, Jasmin: Adult Well-being

We all strive for happiness and well-being. As psychologists, the study of well-being and happiness in an important area of research. This course will address personal, social, and cultural factors influencing well-being during adulthood, from transitional adulthood to young and middle adulthood, to later adulthood. Well-being will be considered broadly and include happiness, satisfaction with life, subjective and objective physical health, emotional balance, engagement with life, satisfying relationships, meaning and purpose in life, and feelings of self-acceptance. We will explore culturally specific as well as universal factors influencing well-being. Gender, ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation, social class, religion, and nationality intersect to shape the course of people’s lives and therefore their well-being. This seminar focuses on an exploration of research and theory addressing the intersecting influences of these important factors in adult developmental. Students will conduct research, interview volunteers, develop health promotion programs, read research, and write a critical review of research paper on topics relating to the human condition. By the end of the semester students should understand the ways that global demographic changes (i.e. pandemic reality, fear, and anxiety, increased life expectancy, widespread obesity and chronic illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, technology, climate change, social inequality …) influence well-being.

Field Experience Information

Getting Involved

Peer Mentoring Program

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Lia O'Brien

The Psychology Peer Mentoring Program pairs incoming first-year Psychology majors with Jr/Sr Psychology majors. The program was developed to help incoming students cope with the transition to college by providing support and guidance from current Psychology majors. New students and mentors will engage in a variety of department sponsored activities throughout the upcoming year to enrich the college experience. Look for opportunities to sign up at the beginning of each Fall semester.

Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society)

Psi Chi (Psychology Honor Society)

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Deanne Zotter and Dr. Karen Mitchell

The Department of Psychology sponsors a chapter of this international honor society. Membership is by invitation, with scholarship as the major criterion. Psi Chi, an affiliate of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science endeavors to advance the science of psychology and encourages superior scholarship in all academic fields, particularly in psychology.

Requirements for Psi Chi Membership

Psychology Club

Psychology Club

Faculty Advisor: Dr.Ellie Brown

The purpose of this club is to provide experiences for students that enhance classroom instruction. Programs include presentation of current research by the Department of Psychology's faculty and students as well as guest speakers. Other programs provide information on graduate education and career opportunities in psychology and related fields. Members are also provided with opportunities for informal interchange with faculty, invited scholars, and others. Interested students may join by contacting club officers or the faculty adviser.

Student Life Committee

Student Life Committee

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Rebecca Chancellor, Dr. Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha

This committee gives students opportunities to interact with faculty for socializing with other students and faculty, organizing psychology-related informational sessions, and giving input on departmental matters such as hiring. The Committee also sponsors the annual Psychology Awards Ceremony each Spring.

SLC Nomination Form

Student Research Day

Sponsored by the Psi Chi

Each Spring, undergraduate and graduate psychology students have an opportunity to talk about their research activities with other students and members of the University, display posters in the Psychology Department, and give selected demonstrations of laboratory activities.

Winter Break Student Volunteer Opportunities

Winter Break Student Volunteer Opportunities

The holiday season is just around the corner. Get out of the cold and spend your winter break doing good on a volunteer adventure that makes a difference. Experience the true meaning of "it is better to give then receive" by joining one of GoEco's volunteer projects. We have selected some great projects that will take your winter break from ho-hum to life-changing!

Internships and Scholarships

Internship Opportunities

Scholarship Information

  • To explore scholarship opportunities at WCU click here
  • To explore scholarship opportunities through PASSHE click here
  • One outside source for searching for PSY-related scholarships can be found  here

Paid Positions

Psychology Undergraduate Merit Scholarship

Each fall, the West Chester University Psychology Department invites applications for the Psychology Undergraduate Merit Scholarship. The scholarship is a $500 award created for the junior-level Psychology major who excels academically. Applications will be solicited by email each fall semester. Eligibility is limited to junior-level Psychology majors who meet the following course completion and GPA requirements.

Psychology major that has completed 60 credits (at least 45 at WCU)
Overall and Psychology GPA of at least 3.5
Must have completed all of the following courses with a grade of C-or better: Psy 100, Psy
245, Psy 246
At least one Group A or B course with a C- or better
At least one Group C, D, or E course with a C- or better


Your Future

How to Avoid the Kisses of Death in the Graduate School Application Process

How to Avoid the Kisses of Death in the Graduate School Application Process

Personal statements

  • Avoid references to your mental health. Such statements could create the impression you may be unable to function as a successful graduate student.
  • Avoid making excessively altruistic statements. Graduate faculty could interpret these statements to mean you believe a strong need to help others is more important to your success in graduate school than a desire to perform research and engage in other academic and professional activities.
  • Avoid providing excessively self-revealing information. Faculty may interpret such information as a sign you are unaware of the value of interpersonal or professional boundaries in sensitive areas.
  • Avoid inappropriate humor, attempts to appear cute or clever, and references to God or religious issues when these issues are unrelated to the program to which you are applying. Admissions committee members may interpret this type of information to mean you lack awareness of the formal nature of the application process or the culture of graduate school.

Letters of recommendation

  • Avoid letters of recommendation from people who do not know you well, whose portrayals of your characteristics may not objective (e.g., a relative), or who are unable to base their descriptions in an academic context (e.g., your minister). Letters from these authors can give the impression you are unable or unwilling to solicit letters from individuals whose depictions are accurate, objective, or professionally relevant.
  • Avoid letter of recommendation authors who will provide unflattering descriptions of your personal or academic characteristics. These descriptions provide a clear warning that you are not suited for graduate study. Choose your letter of recommendation authors carefully. Do not simply ask potential authors if they are willing to write you a letter of recommendation; ask them if they are able to write you a strong letter of recommendation. This question will allow them to decline your request diplomatically if they believe their letter may be more harmful than helpful.

Lack of information about the program

  • Avoid statements that reflect a generic approach to the application process or an unfamiliarity with the program to which you are applying. These statements signal you have not made an honest effort to learn about the program from which you are saying you want to earn your graduate degree.
  • Avoid statements that indicate you and the target program are a perfect fit if these statements are not corroborated with specific evidence that supports your assertion (e.g., your research interests are similar to those of the program’s faculty). Graduate faculty can interpret a lack of this evidence as a sign that you and the program to which you are applying are not a good match.

Poor writing skills

  • Avoid any type of spelling or grammatical errors in your application. These errors are an unmistakable warning of substandard writing skills, a refusal to proofread your work, or willingness to submit careless written work.
  • Avoid writing in an unclear, disorganized, or unconvincing manner that does not provide your readers with a coherent picture of your research, educational, and professional goals. A crucial part of your graduate training will be writing; do not communicate your inability to write to those you hope will be evaluating your writing in the future.

Misfired attempts to impress

  • Avoid attempts to impress the members of a graduate admissions committee with information they may interpret as insincere flattery (e.g., referring to the target program in an excessively complimentary manner) or inappropriate (e.g., name dropping or blaming others for poor academic performance). Graduate admissions committees are composed of intelligent people; do not use your application as an opportunity to insult their intelligence.

Taken from Table 1 of:
Appleby, D. C., & Appleby, K. M. (2006). Kisses of death in the graduate school application process. Teaching of Psychology, 33(6), 19-24.

Appleby Graduate School Application Kisses of Death (2006)

More Info Coming Soon!! (e.g., Information on getting into graduate school and careers in Psychology)


Advising and Scheduling Classes

What is the "Enrollment Appointment" that appears on my MyWCU page? Is that an appointment with my academic advisor?
No, it is not an appointment with your advisor. It is the first day/hour that you are permitted to register for course for the next semester. You should see your advisor before this day/time so that you can plan out a schedule and so that your advisor can “unlock” your account.

How can I find out who my academic advisor is?
Your academic advisor (and his/her phone number) is listed on your MyWCU page (on the right side of the page).

How can I find out when my advisor has office hours?
You may contact them directly (via phone, as listed on your MyWCU page, or via e-mail). A list of all Psychology faculty is also available outside the Psychology Department Office (PB 02). The list includes the names of all department faculty, their office locations, their phone numbers, their e-mail addresses, and a list of their office hours for the current semester.

Why is there an advisor hold on my account? I can't register for courses with this hold.
Because students are required to be in contact with their advisors before they attempt to schedule courses. Your advisor will have to “unlock” your account after you've spoken to them regarding your scheduling plans, etc.

Why is there an advisor hold on my account for the semester I am graduating? 
The advisor hold is an automatic process. It does not distinguish between graduating and non-graduating students. In addition, if you have financial aid, you are required to complete an exit interview.

My advisor unlocked my access to scheduling but I still can't enroll in classes. Why? 
You may have a hold on your account. Holds can be placed on accounts by the Registrar's Office for a number of reasons. For example, if you have an outstanding bill at the Student Health and Wellness Center or you have not returned an overdue library book or you have unpaid parking tickets, your access to scheduling will be blocked. You should contact the Bursar's Office to pay an outstanding obligations.

What's the difference between dropping a course and withdrawing from a course? 
Please read about dropping and withdrawing courses in the Undergraduate Catalog


Grades, GPA, Course Repeats


Transfer Credits

Can I take courses at another university and transfer the credit? How many credits can I transfer?

I took a diversity/writing emphasis/interdisciplinary course at my previous university and the course transferred in to WCU. Why do I have to take another? Why are some courses recognized as interdisciplinary courses?
Diverse Community (J) and Writing Emphasis (W) designations do not transfer in to WCU. There is no way for WCU to know if the courses at another university actually meet all of the criteria required for those designations at WCU. The same is sometimes true for Interdisciplinary (I) courses. That is, some transfer courses are given “199” credit instead of the standard course credit because the appropriate standard course is an interdisciplinary course at WCU (and if credit for the standard course is given, the interdisciplinary , “I”, designation would automatically apply). This happens if WCU is unable to determine if the course being transferred in actually meets all of the criteria for an “I” designation. If a course transfers in, however, as a course that is a recognized interdisciplinary (I) course at WCU, the “I” designation does apply.
If you believe that one of your transfer courses should earn the “J”, “W”, or “I” designations, you may petition the university for it. Please see your advisor of the department chairperson or assistant chairperson for assistance with this process.