Chair: Peter S. Kaplan
Program Assistant: Kimberly Hill
BA and Psychology Minor Undergraduate Advisor: Mitchell Handelsman
BS and Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Minor Undergraduate Advisor: David Albeck
Director of Undergraduate Studies: David Albeck
Office: North Classroom, 5002
Richard Allen, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
James Grigsby, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder
Mitchell M. Handelsman, PhD, University of Kansas
Peter S. Kaplan, PhD, Indiana University
Kevin S. Masters, PhD, Brigham Young University
David Albeck, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder
Elizabeth Sandlin Allen, PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Joy L. Berrenberg, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder
Sondra Bland, PhD, University of Texas
Kristin Kilbourn, PhD, University of Miami
Amy Wachholtz, PhD, Bowling Green University
Jason Watson, PhD, Washington University
Michael Zinser, PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Edward Dill, PhD, University of Kansas
Benjamin Greenwood, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder
Carly Leonard, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
Erik Oleson, PhD, Wake Forest University
Krista W. Ranby, PhD, Arizona State University
Jonathan Schaffer, PhD, St. John’s University
Associate Professor, Clinical Teaching Track:
Joan Bihun, PhD, Wayne State University
Kevin Everhart, PhD, University of South Carolina
Assistant Professor, Clinical Teaching Track:
Vivian Shyu, PhD, University of Denver
Bethann Bierer, PhD, University of Denver
Rick M. Gardner, PhD, University of Nevada
Barbara Walker, PhD, The Ohio State University
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, consisting largely of the following major areas of study: experimental psychology, biopsychology, animal behavior, clinical psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, cognitive psychology, personality, industrial/organizational psychology and abnormal psychology. The requirements for the major are designed to introduce the student to the spectrum of Psychology, including an early exposure to research methods and statistics.
The Psychology major prepares students for employment and for graduate study in Psychology and related fields. The Psychology department also offers a PhD in Clinical Health Psychology.
Curriculum Goals and Essential Learning Outcomes
Goal 1: Knowledge Base of Psychology
Students will recognize, explain, and distinguish the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in Psychology.
Essential Learning Outcome: The development of Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World
Goal 2: Research Methods in Psychology
Students will demonstrate the statistical, organizational, writing, and analytical skills necessary to interpret and conduct meaningful and valid research in Psychology.
Essential Learning Outcomes: The development of Intellectual and Practical Skills, including Quantitative Literacy, Information Literacy, and Inquiry and Analysis skills.
Goal 3: Critical Thinking Skills
Students will use skeptical inquiry and scientific thinking skills to interpret and solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
Essential Learning Outcomes: The development of Intellectual and Practical Skills, including Critical Thinking skills.
Goal 4: Application of Psychology
Students will apply psychological principles to solve personal, social, and/or organizational problems.
Essential Learning Outcomes: The development of Intellectual and Practical Skills, including Problem Solving skills.
Goal 5: Values in Psychology
Students will evaluate evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, recognize and respect diversity, and/or reflect other values that are the underpinnings of Psychology as a discipline.
Essential Learning Outcome: The development of Personal and Social Responsibility, including Ethical Reasoning and Intercultural Knowledge and Competence.
Click here to learn about the requirements for the BA in Psychology.
Click here to learn about the requirements for the BS in Psychology.
Click here to learn about the requirements for the Minor in Psychology.
Click here to learn about the requirements for the Minor in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience.
There are two ways in which a student graduating with a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology can graduate with honors. First, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) awards the honor of graduating “with distinction” primarily based on the student having a high overall grade point average.
The second form of honors, “Latin honors,” is awarded by individual departments within CLAS, including psychology. The CU Denver Department of Psychology has approved a very rigorous set of requirements for Latin honors. Successful completion of an honors project is at least a year-long, multi-faceted process in which the student makes a contribution to our knowledge in psychology. A student who satisfies these requirements will have truly earned a noteworthy academic achievement of which they rightfully should be proud.
Students interested in research are encouraged to pursue opportunities as early in their academic career as possible. These early research experiences can be useful in helping formulate research ideas and hypotheses that can form the basis of an honors thesis project. Listed below are the policies and requirements for completing an honors project.
Am I eligible for the honors program?
To be eligible for the Psychology honors program, you must:
- Be a Psychology major
- Be at least a junior
- Have an overall GPA of 3.5 or higher at the start of the project
- Have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in psychology courses taken at UCD.
- Have a faculty mentor for your project
What types of projects are appropriate for an honors thesis?
An honors thesis can take one of the following forms:
- An original empirical study designed and carried out by the student. The experimental design must be substantially complex to warrant honors. Honors students may collect their own data for this project or may use archival data for the purposes of answering their own original question. A research question is considered to be substantially complex enough if the analyzed data would be of high enough quality to be presented at a regional research meeting.
- A substantive, integrative library review in an area approved by the honors committee, culminating in a high quality review article which includes proposed research directions designed by the student to gather knowledge lacking in the current scientific literature.
- A substantive, integrative critical analysis of a major theoretical issue in the field of psychology approved by the honors committee and culminating in a high quality theoretical paper.
What are the requirements for earning honors in Psychology?
In addition to formally proposing your project to your honors committee, completing the approved project, writing the thesis, and ultimately successfully defending your honors thesis, you must take three honors courses. They are:
- PSYC 4680 - Behavioral Sciences Research Seminar (1 cr.) - Every Semester
- PSYC 4780 - Behavioral Sciences Research: Ethics and Issues (3 cr.) - Spring Semester
- PSYC 4090 - Research Design and Development (3 cr.) - Fall Semester
You must register for PSYC 4680 every semester you are working on your honors thesis. The other two courses should be taken only once and can be taken in any order.
In addition to these courses, you can register for up to 6 credit hours of “PSYC 4880: Directed Research” if and when it is helpful to your project. You should discuss this with your faculty mentor.
What is an honors thesis committee?
You must arrange for three faculty members to serve on your thesis committee, only one of whom may be external to the Psychology Department. One of the faculty members must be designated as the chair of the committee. The chair must be a full time member of the CU Denver Psychology Department and be of tenure track rank, unless a waiver is granted by the Dean’s office. All members of the committee must be chosen during the semester in which the proposal is being written.
How are honors judged and awarded?
Enrolling in the Honors program and writing a thesis do not guarantee that you will receive Latin honors. Your faculty committee determines the worthiness of your project for Latin honors at the defense of your thesis.
For successfully defended projects, GPA determines the level of honors:
3.80-4.0: summa cum laude
3.60-3.79: magna cum laude
3.50-3.59: cum laude
How do I sign up for the honors program?
Students interested in research are encouraged to pursue opportunities as early in their academic career as possible. These early research experiences can be useful in helping formulate research ideas and hypotheses that can form the basis of an honors thesis project. Make an appointment to speak with your major advisor to determine if an honors thesis is right for you.
Exceptions to these rules may be granted via a student appeal supported by all of the committee members and submitted to the Psychology Department Chair. The appeal must be supported by all committee members and approved by the departmental chair.
Please go to the Graduate catalog to read about our graduate programs.