Undergraduate Learning Objectives
Psychology Department Mission
- To support students and faculty in the exploration, discovery, and dissemination of new knowledge in psychological science.
- To provide a collaborative environment for faculty and students that fosters intellectual curiosity and in which research and teaching a closely integrated and highly valued.
- To graduate students who evidence psychological literacy and thereby prepare students for advanced study in psychology or related fields and for employment. Psychological literacy includes having a critical understanding of psychological concepts, theories and methods; applying psychological principles and methods to solving personal, interpersonal, or social problems; understanding and fostering respect for diversity; and acting ethically.
- To serve the people and the communities of Montana by sharing our psychological expertise and collaborating with others.
The Psychology department is strongly committed to enhancing students learning and fulfilling our mission. Because of this, we engage in periodic assessment of our program to measure the alignment between our students’ learning and our mission. Upon collecting each year’s assessment, we will discuss our assessment results and consider potential changes in order to improve performance in each learning objective.
Program Learning Objectives.
Specific learning outcome goals for our B.S. degree are adapted from the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (2007). The APA outlines two sets of learning goals:
(A) learning goals central to Psychology curricula, and (B) learning goals common to a Liberal Arts education that are furthered by Psychology curricula.
- Demonstrate discipline-specific knowledge identifying ways in which psychology is an empirical science, explain the goals of psychology as a field, and list and explain important aspects of psychological functioning and theories of psychological function in domains such as learning, perception, cognition, memory, social processes, development, individual differences, mental health, and the biological and genetic bases of behavior.
- Demonstrate mastery of research methodology including relating theoretical ideas to empirical research methods, designing and critiquing experiments to test hypotheses, and explain the limitations of experiments, conducting and presenting appropriate statistical analyses using quantitative technology tools, and identifying and explaining important differences between correlational and experimental studies in psychology.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills in psychology including identifying the logic and flaws in existent research in the context of classroom, laboratory and field work, and using scientific methods and scientific attitude to approach problems.
- Apply psychological science, theory, and research findings to address practical problems such as promoting health and healthy life styles, retaining and enhancing cognitive function during aging and in groups, understanding everyday cognitive and perceptual processes, explaining and reducing prejudice and social disparities, promoting equal opportunities, recognizing and using persuasive methods that alter attitudes, recognizing relations between brain and behavior, and interpreting personal adjustment and clinical problems with psychological science.
- Demonstrate values in psychology such as objectivity in weighing evidence, using empirical evidence to support claims, outlining ways in which scientific explanations are tentative and how this is an aspect of the progression of science, identifying and explaining ethical principles in the conduct of research with humans and animals, and providing examples of human individual and cultural diversity in psychological functioning.
- Show information and technological literacy such as showing facility in literature searches using data bases such as PsycInfo, PsycArticles and PubMed, appropriately evaluating the sources and quality of the information, sharing information using technology such as webpages, electronic slide presentations, poster presentations, and appropriately using and explaining quantitative technologies such as statistical and graphics packages.
- Demonstrate communication skills such as presenting psychological information in class presentations, class discussions, formal and informal written papers, and in field work including theories and their testable implications, research goals and rationales, empirical findings, quantitative information, and engaging in discussions that exhibit critical thinking while appreciating the viewpoints of others while showing respect and sensitivity for others.
- Demonstrate sociological and international awareness such as giving examples of sociocultural or international contexts that can create differences among individuals and groups of people, recognizing the potential and actual sources of prejudicial attitudes and behaviors in oneself and others, and articulate the psychological factors that can lead to the use of social privilege and power for oppression on the one hand or to further equity on the other hand.
- Demonstrate personal development such as applying psychological science to explain one’s own and others’ behavior and psychological processes and use psychological science to develop effective strategies for relating to others and addressing personal deficits using psychological knowledge.
- Demonstrating engagement, outreach, and integration of learning and outreach.