For either the B.A. or B.S. degree, students are required to take 11 courses in psychology and one in biology or neuroscience (BIOL 140 or BIOL 182L or NESC 120) and earn a grade of C- or better in each. Any student who must repeat a required course to attain the required grade of at least C- will be allowed only one opportunity to do so. Students should consult with their adviser to choose a set of courses that is consistent with the students’ goals and that offers broad exposure to the discipline of psychology, as well as depth in one or more of the diverse sub-areas. Psychology majors are strongly encouraged to take cognate courses in the humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences that enhance topics and issues in psychology that interest them. Students are expected to arrange their course work according to the following system:

Foundation courses: PSYC 101. Introduction to Psychological Science, PSYC 221L. Research Design and Analysis, PSYC 261. Brain and Behavior, and BIOL 140. Biological Systems, BIOL 182L. Evolution of Life, or NESC 120. Nervous Connections are required foundation courses. Students are advised to complete these courses by the end of their sophomore year, but must have taken PSYC 261 by the end of their junior year.

Core courses: Students must complete three core courses, two of which must include a laboratory. The labs of PSYC 261 and PSYC 332 may be counted toward the lab requirement. (See the reference to laboratory courses under the section for advanced courses below.) The core course requirement is designed to provide students with a multifaceted perspective on human behavior. Thus, students are encouraged to sample courses from different sub-areas of psychology. Students may not count both PSYC 270 and PSYC 273 as core courses. The following core courses count for this requirement:

  • PSYC 226. Social Psychology*
  • PSYC 255. Cognitive Psychology*
  • PSYC 270. Clinical Psychology or PSYC 273. Psychopathology (formerly Abnormal Psychology)
  • PSYC 293. Perception*
  • PSYC 295. Child Development*
  • * These courses are ordinarily offered with laboratories.

Advanced courses: Students must complete three advanced courses that have as prerequisites core courses from the section immediately above. Students are required to select these courses from three different categories listed below (listed A through H). A course may appear in more than one category. The psychology prerequisites that apply to an advanced course within a specific category are in parentheses. The Writing Intensive Part II requirement is fulfilled by one of the following advanced courses in categories A through G below. The following advanced courses apply:

A. Neuroscience

  • PSYC 302. Behavioral Neuroscience (261)
  • PSYC/NESC 320. Neuroscience Across Lifespan (261 or NESC 201)
  • PSYC 339. Developmental Psychopathology (261)
  • PSYC/NESC 364. Neuropsychopharmacology (261 or NESC 201)
  • PSYC 365. Cognitive and Social Neuroscience (261)
  • PSYC 392. Human Neuropsychology (261)

B. Social/personality

  • PSYC 315. Development and Culture (226)
  • PSYC 324. Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination (226)
  • PSYC 346. Intergroup Relations (226)
  • PSYC 384. Cultural Psychology (226)

C. Cognition

  • PSYC 334. Boundaries of the Mind (255 or 293)
  • PSYC 350. Executive Functioning (255)
  • PSYC 365. Cognitive and Social Neuroscience (255)
  • PSYC 392. Human Neuropsychology (255)

D. Development

  • PSYC 315. Development and Culture (295)
  • PSYC 327. Family Processes (295)
  • PSYC 339. Developmental Psychopathology (295)

E. Clinical

  • PSYC 327. Family Processes (270 or 273)
  • PSYC 339. Developmental Psychopathology (270 or 273)
  • PSYC 344. Evaluation and Treatment of Addictive Behavior (270 or 273)
  • PSYC 370. Psychotherapy (270 or 273)
  • PSYC 375. Development, Progression and Treatment of Psychosis (270 or 273)

F. Assessment

  • PSYC 332L. Psychological Assessment (221L and four other courses in psychology)

G. Perception

  • PSYC 334. Boundaries of the Mind (255 or 293)
  • PSYC 348. Focusing the Mind: Psychology of Attention (293)

Specialized/electives: Students must complete one specialized course from the following options.

  • PSYC 205. Neuroscience, Learning, and Memory
  • PSYC 206. Environmental Psychology and Sustainability
  • PSYC 207. Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health
  • PSYC 212. Landscape Planning and Environmental Education for the Brain
  • PSYC 219. Science and Practice of Well-Being
  • PSYC 236. Adolescent Psychology
  • PSYC 243. Emerging Science of Consciousness
  • PSYC 244. Human Sexuality
  • PSYC 248. Nature and Brain Health
  • PSYC 265. Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC 294. Forensic Psychology
  • PSYC 390. Research Internship
  • PSYC 399. Independent Study
  • PSYC 490. Research Assistantship
  • CPSC 352. Artificial Intelligence
  • ENGR 311. Electrophysiology of the Central Nervous System
  • HFPR 201. Health Fellows Program: Topics in Health Care
  • MUSC 248. Psychology of Music
  • NESC 101. The Brain
  • NESC 103. Adolescence and Drug Use
  • NESC 205. Neurons, Learning, and Memory
  • NESC 305. Neurolaw
  • NESC 325. Hormones and Social Behavior
  • RELG 260. Meditation, Medicine, and Mind

From time to time new courses will be added or substituted for those in the above listings. Students should consult with the chair concerning courses taken at other institutions or other matters pertinent to requirements for the major.

Capstone/senior project: To fulfill the senior exercise requirement, students must complete one senior seminar (PSYC 401 in the fall or 402 in the spring) or a year-long senior thesis. In exceptional cases the chair may allow students to substitute for these options an internship in which they engage in research. Students who choose the internship option must secure written approval from the chair and the faculty internship supervisor before commencing this activity.

  • Senior seminar: Each senior seminar, a one-semester course, will adopt an integrative perspective to examine major issues in several different subdivisions of psychology. The purpose of the seminar is to give students the opportunity to discern common themes that give coherence to psychology. To be properly prepared, students should have completed the three core courses and most of the other requirements of the major.
  • Senior thesis: The senior thesis is a two-semester research project sponsored by a member of the psychology department. The senior thesis also entails enrollment in the two semester Senior Thesis Colloquium with a prospectus presentation during the fall and a final presentation to the psychology department in the spring, along with a poster presentation at the all-college research symposium in early May.


Internships: The College’s beautiful campus in a metropolitan setting offers the opportunity for testing cutting-edge theories and practices learned in the classroom. Trinity is only blocks from Connecticut’s state court system, as well as city offices and health-care providers—such as Hartford Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Center and the Institute of Living—ensuring rich ground for internships and independent study and research in walking distance of the College. For example, internships at the Institute of Living have involved the teaching and counseling of adolescents, involvement in a variety of research studies on different aspects of mental health and the testing of individuals with brain damage using fMRI. Classroom experience is also enhanced by collaboration with the community through Community Learning, in courses such as Community Psychology, Child Development, Human Neuropsychology, Psychology of Aging and various first year and senior seminars.

Study away: The Psychology Department encourages its majors to study away. With careful planning, it should be possible for most students to study away, if they so choose. Students wishing to count psychology courses from an approved study-away site must get the approval of the chair of the Psychology Department. Typically, the department will allow up to two courses to be counted toward the major—one course from the core category and one course from the specialized category.

Research opportunities: Trinity undergraduates conduct research with faculty members in courses, course labs, independent studies, research assistantships, summer research, the interdisciplinary science program (ISP—a first-year gateway program), and senior theses. These research opportunities often result in joint conference presentations or publications with faculty. Research conducted during the school year is presented in the all-college research symposium poster session in early May. Summer research is presented in September.

Honors: Students with at least a B+ average in psychology, an overall grade point average of B or better, and six courses (of at least one credit each, taken at Trinity’s Hartford campus) toward the psychology major with a grade of A- or better (excluding PSYC 498-499) are eligible for a program in which they might earn the distinction of honors in psychology. To graduate with honors, students must enroll in PSYC 498-499 and earn a grade of A- or better. Students must also enroll in the two-semester Senior Thesis Colloquium (PSYC 491-492) and receive a grade of P. Honors students will present a preliminary account of their work during the fall semester and a summary of their thesis results during the spring semester to the psychology department. They must also present their work at the all-college research symposium poster session in early May. Honors students will present a summary of their thesis at a departmental meeting during the spring semester. Students who believe that they have attained eligibility for honors should consult with their adviser during the spring semester of their junior year to plan for enrollment in PSYC 498-499. The two course credits earned from this sequence fulfill the requirements for the senior exercise and the specialized course.