Psychological Science

Chair: Corey Guenther
Associate Chair: Alicia Earl
Department Office: Hixson-Lied Science Building, Room 302

The Department of Psychological Science designs its courses and programs to provide

  1. one facet of the multidisciplinary study of humans,

  2. a personal and scientific understanding of behavior and mental processes,

  3. preparation for employment in a business, a social agency, or in secondary education, and

  4. preparation for continued study in a graduate school of psychology or in one of the professional schools.

Psychology, B.S.

Specific Requirements for Admission to the Psychology Major

Completion of PSY 201 Introductory Psychology with a 2.00 GPA in completed PSY courses, completion of at least 24 hours of undergraduate study, and at least one PSY course in residence at Creighton University.

Psychology Major requirements (38 credits)

Group A: Introduction and Research Methodologies of Psychology
Students must complete all courses in Group A.
PSY 201Introductory Psychology3
PSY 313Research Methods And Statistics I3
PSY 314Research Methods and Statistics I - Laboratory1
PSY 315Research Methods And Statistics II3
PSY 316Research Methods And Statistics II Laboratory1
Group B: Foundational Domains in Psychology
Students complete one course from each of the following four domains.
Domain 13
Cognitive Psychology
Principles of Behavior
Domain 23
Sensation and Perception
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Domain 33
Infant and Child Development
Adolescent And Adult Development
Domain 43
Psychology of Personality
Social Psychology
Domain 53
Students select a fifth course from the four domains above.
Group C: Applications of Psychology3
Students must complete one of the following courses.
Health Psychology
Industrial Psychology
Psychology and the Law
Organizational Psychology
School Psychology
Psychological Assessments
Forensic Psychology
Clinical Psychology
Group D: Diverse Perspectives in Psychology3
Students must complete one of the following courses.
Undergraduate Internship In Psychology
The Psychology of Prejudice
Cross-Cultural Issues in Psychology
Human Sexuality
The Psychology of Gender
PSY Elective Courses 16
Students must complete 6 credits (2 courses). 2
Total Credits38

NOTE: PSY 271 and PSY 510 will never fulfill any Psychology major requirement.


PSY 495 and/or PSY 497 can only account for 3 credits toward the major. PSY 326 and/or PSY 474 can only account for 4 credits toward the major. NES 466 and BIO 371 also count as electives.

Minor in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience

This program provides a systematic introduction to the neural basis of mental function. It includes research from experimental work done with humans and animals, as well as findings from clinical populations.  The goal of the minor is to provide a balanced, synthesized, and integrated view of what we know about the brain and its effects on cognition and behavior.

Minor requirements: 18 credits*

PSY 201Introductory Psychology3
PSY 437Behavioral Neuroscience3
Twelve credits from the following:12
Cognitive Psychology
Principles of Behavior
Sensation and Perception
Cognitive Neuroscience
Drugs and Behavior
Pharmacology of Drugs and Abuse
Total Credits18

Kingfisher Concentration requirements: Choose any 9 credits from list above.


PSY 120. General Psychology. 3 credits.

PSY 201. Introductory Psychology. 3 credits. FA, SP, SU, W

Introduction to the methods used in the psychological science and basic concepts, findings, and theories in the study of behavior and mental processes.

PSY 270. Personal Growth And Development. 3 credits. SP

Encourages students to explore, expand, and deepen their understanding of themselves. Activities are structured to provide opportunities for self-discovery, either working alone or with others in pairs or small groups. P: PSY 201.

PSY 271. Developmental Psychology. 3 credits. OD

An overview of psychological, emotional, social, and physical patterns of behavior related to the following stages: prenatal, infancy, and early childhood; late childhood; adolescence; early adult years; middle adult years; and late adulthood. P: PSY 201. This course does not fulfill any of the requirements of the psychology major.

PSY 272. Psychology Of Separation And Loss. 3 credits. FA

Discussion of the insights and scholarly research on the ramifications of separation and loss, as well as strategies for coping with these events. Areas of concern include death and dying, the loss of relationships, the loss of physical and cognitive abilities, employment loss, and loss of self-esteem. P: PSY 201.

PSY 313. Research Methods And Statistics I. 3 credits. FA, SP

This course will teach and apply the statistics and research methods utilized in non-experimental psychological research. The content covered in this course will provide a strong foundation for understanding psychology as a science and will include application of course material using statistical software. P: PSY 201; CO: PSY 314.

PSY 314. Research Methods and Statistics I - Laboratory. 1 credit. FA, SP

This laboratory applies knowledge gained in the lecture course. It includes research ethics, conducting descriptive research studies in the behavioral sciences, and writing research reports using APA writing style. You will learn how to design, implement, analyze, and report on an independent, descriptive research project. P: PSY 201; CO: PSY 313.

PSY 315. Research Methods And Statistics II. 3 credits. FA, SP

This course teaches and applies inferential statistics and experimental research methods. Statistical techniques emphasize univariate and between-groups analysis based primarily on normal distributions. The methods component concentrates on identifying and eliminating sources of error in psychological research. For Psychology Majors only. P: PSY Major; PSY 201; PSY 313; PSY 314; Understanding Social Science; Mathematical Reasoning. CO: PSY 316.

PSY 316. Research Methods And Statistics II Laboratory. 1 credit. FA, SP

This laboratory applies knowledge learned in lecture. It focuses on research ethics, conducting experimental studies, and writing research reports using APA style. By the end of the semester, you will have designed, implemented, analyzed, and reported on an independent research project. For Psychology majors only. P: PSY 201; PSY 313; PSY 314; Understanding Social Science; Ethics; Oral Communication; Contemporary Composition; CO: PSY 315.

PSY 326. Undergraduate Internship In Psychology. 3-4 credits. FA, SP

Provides advanced students with opportunities for field experience in clinical/counseling and human services. Carried out in cooperation with Omaha-area agencies that can provide adequate professional supervision of students. Experiences vary depending upon the characteristics of the student and the agency. In addition to placement time, there is a required discussion session on campus. May be repeated to a limit of eight hours. P: PSY major; Jr. or Sr. stdg.; IC.

PSY 341. Infant and Child Development. 3 credits. FA, SP

Development of the child from conception through late childhood. Covers such topics as emotional, physical, motor, cognitive, and social development, as well as issues encountered in child-rearing P: PSY 201.

PSY 342. Adolescent And Adult Development. 3 credits. SP, SU

Examines the second part of the lifespan. Human development in adolescence, young adulthood, midlife, and late adulthood is explored through discussion of various topics including: physical changes, cognitive development, social and personality development, the transition to adulthood, sexuality and relationships, marriage, parenthood, work and retirement, stress and coping, and death and dying. P: PSY 201.

PSY 343. Psychology of Personality. 3 credits. FA, SP

Principles and theories of personality from a scientific perspective. P: PSY 201.

PSY 344. Social Psychology. 3 credits. FA, SP

Exploration of the social factors that influence individual behavior and mental processes. Areas covered include social cognition, persuasion, conformity, aggression, altruism, and perceiving others. P: PSY 201.

PSY 351. Psychopathology. 3 credits. FA, SP, SU

Survey of psychological disorders of adulthood with emphasis on the clinical description of each disorder, explanatory theories, research on etiology and treatment, and issues in prevention. P: PSY 201.

PSY 352. Health Psychology. 3 credits. FA, SP

Explores the psychological factors involved in health and illness. Topics include stress, disease and personality, patient compliance, health transactions, medical decision-making, and training of health professionals. P: PSY 201.

PSY 353. Industrial Psychology. 3 credits. SP

An overview of industrial (personnel) and engineering (human factors) psychology. including the changing nature of work. Topics include technology in the workplace, test development and validation, job analysis, personnel selection, performance appraisal, training, and legal issues in personnel. P: PSY 201.

PSY 361. Neuropsychology. 3 credits. FA

An introduction to how the neurological organization of the brain influences the way people think and act. Discussion focuses primarily on dysfunctional systems. Topics include motor disorders, agnosias, attention, memory, and developmental disorders. P: PSY 201.

PSY 363. Psychology and the Law. 3 credits. FA

Examination of the interface between psychology and the law in criminal and civil issues. Topics include juvenile justice, civil commitment, the duty to warn, rights of victims and the accused, competency to stand trial, the insanity defense, use of confessions, eyewitness reliability, and use of expert witnesses. P: PSY 201.

PSY 367. Contemporary Trends in Psychology. 1-3 credits. OD

Our dynamic society gives rise to psychological issues of current importance. The flexibility of this course will permit exploration of current topics. May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: PSY 201.

PSY 369. Organizational Psychology. 3 credits. FA

An overview of organizational psychology. Topics include motivation, leadership, group processes, organizational stress, job satisfaction, communication processes, decision theory, power, and organizational effectiveness, development, and change. P: PSY 201.

PSY 370. Applying Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology. 3 credits.

This course will examine: a) the philosophical roots of empirical science, b) key topics in understanding social science (e.g., understanding the merits and limitations of descriptive and experimental research), and c) the application of these research methods and statistics to their own laboratory (i.e., experiments) and field data (e.g., surveys and naturalistic observation). P: Understanding Social Science course; Mathematical Reasoning course; PSY 201. This course does not fulfill any requirement for the psychology major.

PSY 376. School Psychology. 3 credits. FA

This course is designed to be an introduction to the application of psychology in the school systems. School-related issues, including those applying to systems and individuals, will be discussed. P: PSY 201.

PSY 377. Psychology and AIDS. 3 credits. SP

A study of the psychological aspects of HIV/AIDS, its impact on our health care systems, and society in general. P: PSY 201.

PSY 401. The Psychology of Prejudice. 3 credits.

This course will examine various theories, research methods and findings on the processes and mechanisms that promote stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as how to effectively reduce prejudice and discrimination. Each module takes a different perspective on this most complex and persistent human problem. P: PSY 201.

PSY 423. Psychological Assessments. 3 credits. FA

This course provides content in two key areas associated with the development and use of psychological tests and assessments. The course begins with basic psychometric issues such as reliability and validity. The course also focuses on how various types of tests and assessments are used in clinical, school, and work settings. These include personality assessment, cognitive ability assessment, aptitude and ability testing. P: PSY 201.

PSY 424. History And Systems Of Psychology. 3 credits. SP

Survey of some historical antecedents of modern psychology and a review of major contributors to psychology and their particular historical contexts. P: PSY 201. P: Jr. or Sr. stdg.

PSY 426. Evolutionary Psychology. 3 credits. SP

The course examines the mechanisms of the human mind through the lens of evolution. Human behavior is influenced by psychological mechanisms and adaptations that evolved to cope with the challenges of survival and reproduction in our evolutionary past, and understanding these procedures can unify diverse areas of psychology. P: PSY 201; Jr. or Sr. Stdg.

PSY 428. Cross-Cultural Issues in Psychology. 3 credits. SU (Same as BKS 428)

Explores gender, ethnic, and cultural factors that influence the beliefs, values, behaviors, and experiences of individuals. Provides a fundamental understanding of one's own culture and behavior through exploration of a variety of cultures. P: PSY 201. P: Jr. or Sr. stdg.

PSY 431. Cognitive Psychology. 3 credits. FA, SP

Survey of current psychological views of human information processing including such topics as attention, perception, short-term memory, long-term memory, reasoning, and problem solving. P: PSY 201.

PSY 433. Motivation and Emotion. 3 credits. FA

Surveys research and theories related to human motivational processes, goal pursuit, and approaches to emotional states such as anger, happiness and sadness. Relevant research will focus on biological, psychological, and environmental influences on motivation and emotion. P: PSY 201.

PSY 434. Principles of Behavior. 3 credits. FA, SP

Explores experimental paradigms of learning. Topics include classical and operant conditioning, discrimination, generalization, and extinction of learned responses. P: PSY 201.

PSY 436. Sensation and Perception. 3 credits. FA

Focuses on the psychological impact of physical stimulation. The processes whereby humans derive meaning from visual, auditory, tactual, olfactory and gustatory stimulation are discussed. P: PSY 201.

PSY 437. Behavioral Neuroscience. 3 credits. FA, SP

Examines biological bases of behavior with emphasis on mechanisms of neuron function and general neuroanatomy. Sensory function, motor control, and current information regarding the physiology of learning and memory are also discussed. P: PSY 201.

PSY 441. Cognitive Neuroscience. 3 credits.

This course will explore how thinking develops and changes throughout the lifespan. Topics discussed will include how neurocognitive architecture changes (i.e., brain changes) underlie behavioral changes in memory, attention, reading, and decision-making. Scientific experiments on development will be examined. P: PSY 201.

PSY 463. Forensic Psychology. 3 credits. SP

Surveys the intersection of mental health practice and the law. Focuses on what clinical forensic psychology has to offer legal processes and how the law may dictate the interests of and research conducted by practicing psychologists. P: PSY 201.

PSY 464. Developmental Psychopathology. 3 credits. FA

Introduction to the variety of psychopathological disorders that occur during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Conditions studied include attachment disorder, autistic disorder, conduct disorder,schizophrenia, eating disorders, and dissociative identity disorder. P: PSY 201 and PSY 341; Jr. stdg.

PSY 465. Advanced Behavioral Research. 3 credits. OD

A comprehensive research course that directs students to integrate classroom research concepts with hands-on experience through existing research programs. Especially recommended for majors planning graduate study. P: PSY 315, PSY 316; IC; Jr. or Sr. stdg.

PSY 470. Human Sexuality. 3 credits.

An empirical basis for understanding human sexuality; examination of personal sexual values and standards in the context of the physiological, psychological, and socio-cultural components of human sexuality. P: PSY 201; Jr. stdg.

PSY 471. Crisis Intervention. 3 credits. OD

Offers an introduction to the front-line interventions and basic therapeutic techniques used in crisis management. Skills are taught through their applications to specific crises including battering, sexual assault, substance addiction, suicide, and bereavement. P: PSY 201.

PSY 472. Group Dynamics. 3 credits. OD

An exploration of the social psychological aspects of group dynamics as they apply to all types of small groups. Topics covered include group goals, team development, group cohesion, leadership, decision-making, and dealing with diversity. P: PSY 201.

PSY 473. The Psychology of Gender. 3 credits. OD

This course will examine the topic of gender - the behaviors and attitudes that relate to (but are not entirely congruent with) biological sex. A critical review of gender research is at the center of this class. We will review empirical articles on sex, gender-related behaviors taken from the areas of psychology, sociology, biology, biochemistry, neurology, evolution, and anthropology to generate an overall picture of gender from a psychological perspective. P: PSY 201.

PSY 474. Undergraduate Internship In Industrial/Organizational Psychology. 3-4 credits. OD

Field experience in industrial-organizational psychology for upper-level students. Students are placed in Omaha-based organizations. Past placements have offered experience in employee selection, performance appraisal, training, compensation, affirmative action, test construction and validation, and various legal aspects of industrial-organizational psychology. May be repeated to a limit of eight hours. P: PSY major, Jr. or Sr. stdg., IC, PSY 353.

PSY 475. Clinical Psychology. 3 credits. SP

The purpose will provide students with an overview of the history, roles, responsibilities, activities, and theories in the field of clinical psychology. Topics include the history of clinical psychology, theoretical models, assessment and intervention approaches, specialization, ethics, and current trends in the field. P: PSY 201.

PSY 481. Drugs and Behavior. 3 credits. FA

This course will provide an overview of psychotropic drugs, both legal and illegal. Topics will include basic psychopharmacology, physiological brain effects, historical and current drug and drug-war American culture, social impacts and controversial issues related to drug use and abuse. P: PSY 201.

PSY 491. Honors Seminar. 3 credits. FA

Selected senior students, under the direction of the faculty member, will address some topic that has current prominence in the field of psychology. Students will do an extensive reading of the literature, discuss their findings with the group, and then produce a quality paper on the topic. Participants will be selected by the faculty of the Department of Psychology. P: IC; Jr. or Sr. stdg.

PSY 495. Directed Independent Study. 1-3 credits. FA, SP, SU

Provides the student an opportunity to design a course of study in a particular area of interest in psychology. The content may be applied or academic in nature, and the student is required to work with a faculty member in the design and implementation of this course of study. May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: PSY major; Jr. stdg.; IC.

PSY 497. Directed Independent Research. 0-3 credits. FA, SP, SU

Provides the student an opportunity to explore a particular area of interest. This exploration might be in the form of empirical research or library research. The content will be agreed upon by the student and a faculty member in the Department of Psychology. May be repeated to a limit of six hours. P: PSY major; Jr. stdg.; IC.

PSY 510. Growth and Development. 3 credits.

This course covers the theory and research literature of human development in every phase of life. Physical, cognitive, language, motor, personality, social, affective, moral, and spiritual development are considered as the course seeks to prepare students for roles in school, counseling, or therapeutic settings. P: EDU 170 or PSY 201. Please note: This course does not fulfill any of the requirements of the psychology major.

PSY 540. Introduction to Counseling: Professional Orientation and Ethics. 3 credits. OD (Same as COU 540)

A survey of the counseling process including the role of the counselor, characteristics of clients, helping and referral skills, and theories of counseling. The Code of Ethics supporting the profession is introduced. P: Sr. stdg.

PSY 590. Counseling Significant Losses. 3 credits. OD (Same as COU 590)

An investigation of the counseling process as applied to life events that occur in the area of significant loss. An investigation of the role of the counselor, characteristics of clients, helping and referral skills, and theories of counseling as applied to significant loss events.


Professors: Amy S. Badura Brack, Jill Brown, Alicia Klanecky Earl, Matthew T. Huss, Maya M. Khanna, Dustin Stairs

Professor Emeritus: Gary K. Leak, Mark E. Ware

Associate Professors: Thomas L. Budesheim II, Joshua A. Fairchild, Laura Lei Finken, Corey Guenther

Assistant Professors: Vanessa Minervini, Amber Witherby