Chair: Susan K. Putnam, PhD


For a more detailed description of the program, faculty, facilities, academic and co-curricular opportunities please go to the Psychology website


Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA in the major and a 2.0 overall average to graduate with a degree in Psychology.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Major advisors are normally assigned in the sophomore year, but may be requested in the freshman year to supplement a student's freshman advisor (their GRIF 101 facilitator). Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Dual Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a dual major. The decision may be based on career goals or planned graduate studies. Before a student declares a dual major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement. Some dual major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional course work may be required. In order to declare a dual major, the student must complete the appropriate dual major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and the appropriate associate dean.


Minors provide students the opportunity to pursue additional interests but generally do not require as many courses as a major.  Minors generally range from five to eight required courses. The minors page provides a complete list of minors and provides links to each minor. Some majors and minors can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in some cases additional coursework may be required. Students must complete the appropriate minor request form.

General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum.

Free Electives

Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum or Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum of 120 credit hours required for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.

Major Requirements

Required Courses
PSY 101Introduction to Psychology I3
PSY 102Introduction to Psychology II3
PSY 201Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences3
PSY 202Research Methods in Psychology3
Core 1: Neuroscience & Cognition
Select one of the following:3
Cognitive Psychology
Psychology of Memory
Biopsychology of Stress
Neurobiology of Mental Disorders
Neurobiology of Childhood Mental Disorders
Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology
Sensation and Perception
Core II: Developmental & Psychosocial
Select one of the following:3
Lifespan Developmental Psychology
Personality Psychology
Abnormal Psychology
Social Psychology
Motivation and Emotion
Child & Adolescent Psychopathology
Core III: Outcomes & Applications
Select one of the following:3
Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Leadership and Motivation
Child, Family and Community Psychology
Behavior Modification
Assessment in the Behavioral Sciences
Techniques of Counseling
Theories of Counseling
Total Credits21

Major Electives

Psychology Electives: any three psychology courses listed in the catalog or substitutions approved by the department chairperson

Recommended Semester Schedule for Major Course

PSY 101PSY 102
PSY 201PSY 202
Psychology corePsychology core
Psychology corePsychology elective
Psychology electivePsychology elective

Learning Goals & Objectives

Student Learning Goal 1

Students will demonstrate knowledge in selected discipline-specific content areas of psychology.

Students will:
  • Objective A: demonstrate knowledge in learning theory, cognition, and memory;
  • Objective B: demonstrate knowledge of sensation and perception, and physiological psychology;.
  • Objective C: demonstrate knowledge in the areas of clinical and abnormal psychology as well as personality theory;
  • Objective D: demonstrate knowledge of social and developmental psychology.

Student Learning Goal 2

Students will demonstrate abilities related to scientific inquiry in psychology.

Students will:
  • Objective A: demonstrate knowledge of basic research methods; 
  • Objective B: use basic statistics to test hypotheses and correctly interpret the results of their analyses; 
  • Objective C: think critically about psychological phenomena and research;
  • Objective D: demonstrate the communication skills, information literacy, and technology literacy necessary for conducting and interpreting scientific psychological research.

Student Learning Goal 3

Students will demonstrate knowledge of psychological ethics and social responsibility.

Students will:
  • Objective A: demonstrate knowledge of the APA code of Ethics in the treatment of human and nonhuman research participants;
  • Objective B: demonstrate knowledge of ethical guidelines within the context of academic and professional psychology.

PSY 101 Introduction to Psychology I 3 Credits

The study of behavior from a psychological perspective. Topics include methods of psychological inquiry, motivation and emotion, thinking and language, learning, memory and physiological basis of behavior. Students taking PSY 101 are expected to be available for participation in research studies or equivalent activity.

Offered: every fall.

PSY 102 Introduction to Psychology II 3 Credits

The study of behavior from a psychological perspective. Topics include methods of psychological inquiry, human development, social behavior, psychological testing, personality, psychopathology and psychotherapy. May be taken before PSY 101. Students taking PSY 102 are expected to be available for participation in research studies or equivalent activity.

Offered: spring.

PSY 201 Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences 3 Credits

Descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing and inferential statistics. SPSS for Windows.

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 202 Research Methods in Psychology 3 Credits

Philosophical measurement and statistical concepts of common methods of experimental and non-experimental research. Design and execution of project required.

Prerequisite: PSY 201 or equivalent.

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 203 Lifespan Developmental Psychology 3 Credits

Psychology progresses through the lifespan starting with neonatal development and ending with older adulthood considering physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development at each period in the lifespan.

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 229 Industrial/Organizational Psychology 3 Credits

Selection, evaluation and training of personnel, facilitation of group dynamics on the job, leadership, worker motivation and effects of workplace environment on performance and morale. Emphasis on student career development.

Offered: fall.

PSY 230 Psychology of Religion 3 Credits

Psychology of Religion covers the measurement, biological processes, triggers, development, and behavioral correlates of religion and spirituality broadly defined.

Fulfills College Core: Field 1 (Religious Studies and Theology)

PSY 235 Health Psychology 3 Credits

Psychology of health-related behaviors, including coping with stress and ill health, physician-patient relationships, compliance with medication and psychological influences on specific disorders. Students conduct personal stress assessments and design interventions.

Offered: spring.

PSY 302 Personality Psychology 3 Credits

Covers modern theories on what personality is, different ways of approaching and assessing personality, how personality develops across the lifespan, causes of individual differences in personality, and the many important things personality influences such as physical and psychological health.

Offered: fall.

PSY 303 Abnormal Psychology 3 Credits

Overview of psychopathology: history, assessment, causes, DSM-IV, clinical symptoms and treatment. Review of major DSM-IV disorders with an emphasis on adults.

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 307 Adolescent Psychology 3 Credits

Physiological, psychological and emotional factors in achieving maturity. Focuses on time frame from pre-puberty to emerging adulthood. Extension of theoretical orientation to adolescent problems. Emphasis on real world problems and solutions. Spring Descriptive statistics, probability, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing and inferential statistics. SPSS for Windows.

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 310 Applied Behavioral Analysis 3 Credits

This course focuses on the principles of applied behavior analysis and their application in classroom and home environments. Students receive in-depth instruction in functional behavioral assessments as well as the application of ABA principles to intervention, skill acquisition, and data management.

Offered: spring.

PSY 312 Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities 3 Credits

This course provides an overview of the comprehensive needs and characteristics of and treatments for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs).

Offered: fall.

PSY 318 Social Psychology 3 Credits

The self in social interaction: social perception and cognition, development and maintenance of relationships, attitudes, prejudice, social influence, group dynamics and related gender issues. This course also counts for WST credit.

Offered: spring.

PSY 320 Cultural Psychology 3 Credits

Humans learn from our cultures in all aspects of our lives. Choosing a mate, political attitudes, prejudices, and even basic perceptions all depend on cultural learning. In all our actions we rely on ideas, values, strategies, feelings, and goals that have been shaped by our cultures. We cover both the psychological universals and the variations across cultures.

Fulfills College Core: Core Capstone

Offered: spring.

PSY 322 Prosocial Behavior 3 Credits

This course will examine the scientific evidence for what motivates people to behave in ways that benefit others. Topics include altruism, psychopathy, preferences for fairness, and the neuroscientific underpinnings of morality

PSY 323 Motivation and Emotion 3 Credits

Covers behavioral, cognitive and physiological theories of motivation and emotion with special focus on humanistic motivational theories. Through course activities and assignments, students will apply the theories learned in class to their own behaviors, examine the nature and progress made on their personal goals during the semester and understand the dynamic interplay between goal- directed behavior and emotion.

Offered: spring.

PSY 324 Cognitive Psychology 3 Credits

The psychological processes that enable us to acquire, store, retrieve and use knowledge. Topics include perception, attention, memory, language, thinking, and decision making. Applications in education, psychopathology.

Offered: fall.

PSY 326 Psychology of Memory 3 Credits

Examines the findings from laboratory research to gain a better understanding of the structure and organization of memory. Topics include working memory, encoding and retrieval processes, implicit memory and multiple memory systems, reconstructive processes in memory, eyewitness memory, developmental changes in memory, neuropsychological correlates of memory and memory disorders, source memory, memory improvement, and the repressed/recovered memory controversy.

Offered: spring.

PSY 329 Leadership and Motivation 3 Credits

Determinants of leadership effectiveness, factors influencing effectiveness in maintaining leadership position, influencing followers and accomplishing group objectives. Emphasis on communication competencies, group interaction, experiential learning.

Prerequisite: PSY 101 or PSY 102, & junior or senior standing.

Offered: spring.

PSY 334 Child, Family and Community Psychology 3 Credits

Effects of social and non-social environments on emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Psychological reactions and adjustments to the nature of community life. Deals with social problems such as AIDS, alcoholism and child and elder abuse. Also counts for CRJ credit.

Offered: fall.

PSY 360 Psychology and Law 3 Credits

Examines issues of considerable importance to the criminal justice system using empirical techniques from psychology. Topics include the conviction of the innocent, lie detection, the death penalty, the insanity defense, civil commitment, eyewitness memory, false and repressed memories, children in the courtroom, jury decision-making, and expert testimony.

Offered: spring.

PSY 365 Psychology of Aging 3 Credits

The arrival of the Baby Boomers at the top of the demographic pyramid has brought a growing focus to the study of aging. Gerontologists have long stressed the heterogeneity of the elderly population. People enter late life with the accumulated experience gained over six or seven decades - experiences that affect their attitudes, behaviors and resources. Wars, economic downturns, technology and cultural change have shaped the experience of old age for the cohort of elderly, but also the unique biographies of older individuals. The social gerontological approach to the study of late life allows students to understand the ways in which the larger society shapes the course and development of individuals. The course will portray the images of aging as presented in literature, film and music.

Fulfills College Core: Core Capstone

PSY 370 Introduction to School Psychology 3 Credits

An introduction to the field of school psychology including historical foundations, current issues, principles of assessment and service delivery models.This course focuses heavily on applying the scientific method and principles and evidence-based practice to psychology in schools. Issues involving schools as systems, cultural diversity, human exceptionalities, professional standards, legal/ethical considerations, and the interrelationship between general and special education are emphasized.

Offered: spring.

PSY 373 Behavior Modification 3 Credits

The application of conditioning principles to changing human behavior and cognitions, with an emphasis on practical problems.

Offered: fall.

PSY 384 Child & Adolescent Psychopathology 3 Credits

This course will introduce students to the signs and symptoms of various psychiatric disorders of childhood and adolescence (e.g., conduct disorder, ADHD).

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 391 Biopsychology of Stress 3 Credits

This course is designed to give students an understanding of the physiological and psychological components and effects of short-term and long-term stress. Material includes effects of stress on cardiovascular, digestive, reproductive, endocrine, and immune systems.

PSY 395 Assessment in the Behavioral Sciences 3 Credits

Addresses fundamentals of classic test theory, scaling, reliability, and validity and provides an overview of measures of intelligence, achievement, and personality for clinical, educational, and research use.

Prerequisite: PSY 201.

Offered: fall & spring.

PSY 397 Neurobiology of Mental Disorders 3 Credits

Examines the role of the putative biological underpinnings of the symptoms, etiology and treatment of various mental disorders. Includes introduction to neuroanatomy, neurophsyiology, and neurotransitter systems.

Offered: fall.

PSY 398 Neurobiology of Childhood Mental Disorders 3 Credits

This course is a sequel to Neurobiology of Mental Disorders and focuses on the neurobiological underpinnings of several developmental and other mental disorders affecting children today. PSY 397 or a Behavioral Neuroscience/ Neuropsychology course is a prerequisite.

Offered: spring.

PSY 401 Advanced Statistics Seminar 3 Credits

Topics include bivariate and multiple regression, least-squares estimation, model-building techniques, assumptions and diagnostics, mediation and moderation, the logistic model and exploratory factor analytic techniques. SPSS will be used throughout. Students will conduct a final research project through secondary analysis of a large national data set.

Offered: spring.

PSY 406 Positive Psychology 3 Credits

Seminar course focusing on topics such as happiness, optimism, resilience and courage. Considers what makes a life meaningful and ways to achieve a positive life.

Offered: spring.

PSY 410 Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology 3 Credits

An advanced course that provides students with a perspective on the neural mechanisms underlying behavior. Material covered in the course will include (but not be limited to) structure and function of the brain from the cellular to the structural levels, brain imaging techniques, and brain development, plasticity and neurological disorders.

Offered: spring.

PSY 431 Sensation and Perception 3 Credits

This course is an introduction to sensory systems and perceptual processes. Course focuses on each of the major sensory systems, beginning with the anatomy and physiology of the sense organ, and builds up to how we represent that information in the mind.

Offered: spring.

PSY 452 Techniques of Counseling 3 Credits

Foundations of counseling and psychotherapy with an emphasis on the mastery of technique and practical applications. Assessment and treatment planning to facilitate cognitive, emotional and behavioral change for a variety of patient populations.

Offered: fall.

PSY 453 Theories of Counseling 3 Credits

The theoretical background of selected counseling techniques. (Psychodynamic, behavioral, family systems) Students will form their own personal theories.

Offered: spring.

PSY 470 Controversial Issues 3 Credits

This course will address some of psychology's controversial topics in order to illustrate how psychologists address and debate the core issues. As is the case in complex human affairs, there are no easy answers, simple solutions or quick resolutions. You will use critical thinking and information literacy skills to arrive at answers to some of the most interesting and perplexing issues in psychology today. Come prepared to read, research, write, discuss and debate. Registration is restricted to Psychology Seniors. Others can request permission of instructor.

Fulfills College Core: Core Capstone

PSY 495 Guided Research in Psychology 1-6 Credits

Opportunity for students interested in designing and conducting empirical research to collaborate with faculty in research activities leading to undergraduate or professional conference presentations and possible publication.

Prerequisite: PSY 101, PSY 102, PSY 201, PSY 202, junior or senior status, & permission of instructor.

Offered: fall, spring, & summer.

PSY 497 Advanced Experimental Psychology 3 Credits

Intended for advanced students with the interest, prerequisites and commitment to experimental research. Involves students in hands-on data collection and statistical analysis.

Prerequisite: PSY 101, PSY 102, PSY 201, PSY 202, PSY 401, junior or senior status, & permission of instructor.

Offered: fall.

PSY 498 Psychology Practicum 6 Credits

Internships are available in clinical counseling psychology, forensic psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, school psychology, and sports psychology. Joint supervision by staff members and agency personnel. Registration requirements vary; six credit maximum. Please click on this link to find out how to register for a practicum PracticumRequirements.

Prerequisite: permission of chair or supervising faculty member.

Offered: fall, spring, & summer.

PSY 499 Independent Study 3 Credits

Independent studies allow in-depth study of a specific topic and are most often reserved for seniors who cannot otherwise fulfill a graduation requirement. Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.

Offered: fall, spring, & summer.