Skip to main content

Psychological Science


Psychology courses at Carthage provide a background for a better understanding of the modern world, other academic fields, and one’s self. Classes can be taken as courses for a major or minor concentration in psychology, as supporting courses for other majors, or because of general interest. Scroll down to read descriptions of the Psychological Science courses offered at Carthage, or click on the following links for additional resources.


  • PYC 1500

    Introduction to Psychological Science (SOC)

    A team-taught introduction to the methods and principles of psychological science.
    NOTE: Majors must pass this course with a C- or better to move on in the major courses.

  • PYC 1850

    Lifespan Developmental Psychology for the Health Professional

    The course integrates theory and research as they relate to neurobiological, cognitive, social, and emotional development of individuals in cultural context from conception throughout adulthood. The course emphasizes normal developmental stages and patterns of adjustment to differing lifetime demands. This course is designed for students in the health professions. This course may not be applied to the Psychological Science major or minor.
    Prerequisite: None

  • PYC 1900

    The Cognitive Science of Magic (SOC)

    This course will provide an immersive introduction to the burgeoning psychological "science of magic" with a specific focus on the contributions that stage magic can make to the study of cognition. Students will explore how magicians exploit the fallibility of the human mind through an examination of experimental work from the world of psychology and theoretical work from the world of magic. During the course, students will be exposed to a variety of magical styles and schools of thought via occassional visits from prominent magicians and scientists with an interest in magic as well as field trips to magical performance venues.

  • PYC 2010

    Research Methods and Statistics I (SOC)

    An introduction to statistical and research methods in psychological science, including the design and execution of research projects and the organization, analysis, and interpretation of results.
    Prerequisite: PYC 1500 with a grade of C- or better

  • PYC 2020

    Comparative Psychology (SOC)

    In this course, students will explore the key themes and classic studies of comparative psychology, or the psychological investigations of the similarities and differences of animal species. This course will cover the types of comparisons made in the discipline, the overarching questions that provide structure to the field, and the more recent expansion of new technologies and taxonomic scope that comparative psychology has experienced. Students will both critique and implement the way in which comparative psychology bridges both subfields of psychology (e.g. neurophysiology, cognition, emotion, perception) and other realms of social sciences and natural scienes (e.g. ethology, behavioral economics, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence).
    Prerequisite: PYC 1500

  • PYC 2110

    Interpersonal Dynamics

    A study of issues and concepts related to human interactions in pairs, triads, and small groups. Theoretical perspectives are reviewed with a focus on practical strategies and problem-solving in everyday encounters.
    Prerequsite: PYC 1500

  • PYC 2150

    Sensation and Perception (SOC)

    A survey of research and theory that addresses the complex question of how our sense organs communicate with our brain to process and organize the vast amount of sensory information available in the environment. Particular emphasis is placed on applying the scientific method to perceptual psychology.
    Prerequisite: PYC 2010 with a grade of C- or better

  • PYC 2200

    Social Psychology (SOC)

    A survey of research and theory that illuminates how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the presence of others. Topics include social cognition, attitudes, social influence, conformity, stereotyping and prejudice, emotions, attraction, close relationships, group processes, aggression, and prosocial behavior.
    Prerequisite: PYC 2010 with a grade of C- or better or permission of instructor

  • PYC 2300

    Cognitive Psychology (SOC)

    A survey of research and theory that attempts to explain human thought processes. Topics include perception, attention, memory, language, and problem-solving. An emphasis is placed on research methodology and the evaluation of data from online laboratories.
    Prerequisite: PYC 2010 with a grade of C- or better

  • PYC 2850

    Child and Adolescent Development (SOC)

    A study of behavioral changes during the first years of life through adolescence and of the important theories and models about these changes. Physical, language (normal and atypical), cognitive, and socioemotional changes will be considered with specific emphasis on the practical significance of these changes for educators and others.

  • PYC 3010

    Research Methods and Statistics II (SOC)

    An advanced introduction to statistical and research methods in psychological science, including the design and execution of research projects and the organization, analysis, and interpretation of results.
    Prerequisites: PYC 2010 with a grade of C- or better and PYC 2150, PYC 2200, PYC 2300 or NEU 2100

  • PYC 3200

    Psychological Science of Teaching and Learning

    The Psychological Science of Teaching and Learning helps us understand the social, emotional, and cognitive processes that constitute learning throughout the lifespan. Psychological theory and research address the multiple factors (e.g., cognition, creativity, social environment, motivation) that should inform the design of educational programs and interventions for learners in settings that include schools, communities, and organizations. Participants in the class will research, design, and test an evidence-based educational intervention for a specified learner, or group of learners.
    Prerequisites: PYC 2010 and PYC 2850

  • PYC 3400

    Hormones and Behaviors (SOC)

    This course aims to explore the role hormones play in the study of behavior and developmental across various stages in the life course. We will explore how biological mechanisms take part in explaining many different aspects of human (and nonhuman) behavior, and how these explanations fit into discourse from both psychology and the fields of evolutionary biology, neurophysiology, and behavioral economics.
    Prerequisites: PYC 2010 and one of PYC 2150, PYC 2200, PYC 2850 or NEU 2100

  • PYC 3500

    Abnormal Psychology (SOC)

    This course is an introduction to the study of abnormal behavior and psychological or mental disorders. Major psychological disorders will be reviewed. Each disorder will be examined by its description, the etiology of the disorder, and treatment.
    Prerequisites: Any PYC breadth course and PYC 2010

  • PYC 3600

    Organizational Psychology

    Organizational Psychology applies social psychological methods and principles to understand how interactions among individuals, groups, and the broader social context impact organizations. By examining topics such as motivation, leadership, intergroup dynamics, conflict, and organizational culture, this course will prepare students to be successful members and leaders in organizations.
    Prerequisite: PYC 2200

  • PYC 3650

    Childhood Psychopathology (SOC)

    This course concerns the diagnosis of, assessment of, and intervention with children and adolescents who are experiencing or are at risk for significant emotional, cognitive, or mental disabilities. Specific risk factors for children of the disadvantaged will also be studied.
    Prerequisites: PYC 2850 and PYC 2010

  • PYC 3750

    Psychology of Personality (SOC)

    An examination of the major approaches to the explanation of personality. How do various theorists understand the basic processes that are common to all people, the traits that are shared by some people, and the specific ways in which individuals are unique?
    Prerequisites: PYC 2200 and PYC 3010

  • PYC 3850

    Adult Development and Aging (SOC)

    The psychology of adult development and the processes of aging will be studied. Theories and empirical study of adult functioning during the contemporary long lifespan will be considered, including the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical domains. Practical implications for the education and societal care of a growing population of middle-aged and aging persons will be emphasized.
    Prerequisite: PYC 2850

  • PYC 4010

    Psychology of Stress

    This course places a timely emphasis on the role of stress in production of disorders in health and psychological status. Some treatment of subcultural and cultural definitions of stress will be included. This course can be counted as a depth course.
    Prerequisite: PYC 2200 or PYC 2150 or PYC 2850 or NEU 2100

  • PYC 4150

    Cultural Psychology

    This course places a timely emphasis on the global applicability of principles and research on human behavior. Further, cross-cultural research methodologies will be considered.
    Prerequsite: PYC 2200 or PYC 2150 or PYC 2850 or NEU 2100

  • PYC 4700

    Fieldwork in Psychological Science

    Seminar class with psychology instructor combined with field experience under the supervision of psychologists and other professionals in various selected agencies in the community.
    Prerequisites: By permission of the department chair, junior standing, and PYC 3010 with a grade of C- or better.

  • PYC 4800

    Thesis in Psychological Science

    In this course students develop a Senior Thesis. The course will culminate in a thesis and an oral presenation. Exceptional thesis will be considered for Honors in the Major.
    Prerequisites: By permission of the department chair, junior standing, and PYC 3010 with a grade of C- or better

  • PYC 4990

    Senior Thesis Completion

    Students should register for PYC 4990 during the semester that they intend to complete their Senior Thesis.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Winner of four national magic competitions, psychological science professor Tony Barnhart often performs rope tricks, coin tricks, and card tricks in class to demonstrate the psychological principle of inattentional blindness. “You know exactly what’s happening, and you still fall for it every time,” says Alison Mackey ’17.

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …