Wendy Sternberg, Ph.D Professor of Psychology and Associate Provost
Q What is the difference between the psych majors at Haverford and Bryn Mawr?
A The Haverford and Bryn Mawr Psychology Departments share a close working relationship, and courses taken at either institution count for major credit at the other. Bryn Mawr\'s department has a larger focus on clinical and developmental psych than Haverford\'s Department (Developmental Psychology courses are offered exclusively at Bryn Mawr). All students that major in Psychology at Haverford are required to complete a senior thesis project, whereas the Bryn Mawr major does not require a thesis of all students. The introductory and laboratory courses are structured somewhat differently across the two departments, but the statistics/research methods courses (Psychology 200 at Haverford, Psychology 205 at Bryn Mawr) were developed in collaboration, and the courses offer equivalent preparation for conducting research in either department. Feel free to ask any Haverford or Bryn Mawr Psychology professor if you have further questions!
Q I noticed that Haverford has very few statistics course offerings. What do psych majors typically do to take advanced statistics necessary for research?
A Our approach to statistics is both formal (in the classroom) and applied (as used in original research). Haverford Psychology majors must take Psychology 200 (or its equivalent, Psychology 205 at Bryn Mawr), a statistics/research methods course (with required weekly laboratory sections). Statistics used in research are also reinforced in advanced laboratory courses (two of which are required for the major) and in the data analysis done while conducting original research in the senior year (or prior). Advanced statistics courses are offered in the Math Department (a course in Multivariate Analysis is offered in 2008-2009) but majors are not required to take these courses.
Q i desperately need a personalities class for a grad school prereq. i heard a rumor that it would be offered fall 2008 even though it isnt online. is that true? if not, will it be offered in the spring? i\'m going to be a senior--help!!
A YES!! Psychology 215 Intro to Personality Psych will be offered in the Fall, WF 2:30-4PM!! Dr. Amy Neeren, our newly hired visitor will be teaching it.
Q Does the major program have a particular focus or emphasis?
A Yes, there are two specific goals of our major program: one is to expose students to the breadth of the field of psychology, and the other is to train students to critically evaluate and carry out research in the discipline.
Q What distinguishes Haverford’s psychology program from that of other undergraduate institutions?
A Haverford’s Psychology Department is one of the very few that requires all majors to complete a senior thesis project. Coupled with the two laboratory courses required of the major and the laboratory accompanying PSY200 – Experimental Methods and Statistics, this means that all of our students graduate with at least 2.5 years of research experience (and often more if the student becomes involved in faculty research). This gives our students an edge in graduate school admission or obtaining research positions at another institution after graduation. Haverford also participates in a consortium with Bryn Mawr College, Swarthmore College, and the University of Pennsylvania. This consortium offers a broad and diverse range of psychology courses available to students.
Q How many majors do you typically have?
A Psychology is one of the most popular majors at Haverford; we typically have 20-30 students declare the major each year.
Q Can I get departmental credit for AP Psychology?
A Yes, a 4 or 5 on the Psychology AP test will allow students to skip Foundations of Behavior (PSY100) and enroll in advanced (i.e., 200-level) courses. However, we’ve found that students may still want to take PSY100, even if they do have AP credit, as an orientation to the Psychology Department at Haverford. Also, it should be noted that Psychology majors with AP credit who choose to skip PSY100 need to take an additional psychology course at Haverford/Bryn Mawr to complete the major, in order to have the same number of college-level psychology courses as their classmates.
Q What do Psychology students do when they graduate?
A We recently surveyed our alumni and discovered that Haverford psychology majors follow diverse career paths after graduation. As one might expect, a significant proportion have attended graduate school and now have careers in various areas of psychology (e.g. clinical, social, cognitive) or in neuroscience. In fact, almost two-thirds of our graduates have gone on to obtain an advanced degree. These degrees include not only the Master’s or Ph.D. in psychology, but also degrees in law and medicine, as well as education, social work, business, and the arts.
Q I’m interested in majoring in Psychology; which courses should I take first?
A The gateway course to the Psychology major is Foundations of Behavior (PSY100), preferably taken sometime during your first three semesters. Once you complete PSY100, you can take 200-level courses. Some advanced courses at the 300-level may require a 200-level pre-requisite. For lab courses, PSY200 – Experimental Methods and Statistics must be taken before or concurrently with the lab course itself.
Q Can I be a Psychology major and study abroad during my junior year? If so, how can I best structure my schedule of psychology courses?
A Many psychology majors do participate in the study abroad program. If at all possible, it is best to take PSY 200 - Experimental Methods and Statistics and at least one (if not both) lab courses before going abroad. In many cases, this is not possible and students still need to complete a lab course during their senior year. In that event, the student may want to take this lab course during the Fall semester, because the year-long senior thesis project is typically more time-intensive during the Spring semester. In some study-abroad programs, lab courses are available within the Psychology department of the respective institution, and these may be able to satisfy a lab requirement. Many psychology courses without labs are also available in study-abroad programs, and such courses can count towards the major. However, please note that you must receive permission from the chair of Haverford’s psychology department in order to have a course taken abroad count towards the psychology major.