Interested to join us? The following Smith College courses serve as good preparation.
Psychology 202: Research Methods
Laboratory. This course provides a foundation for understanding how psychologists conduct scientific research. Students will learn major methods of research design, assessment, and basic applications of quantitative data analysis. Completion of PSY 201 (Statistical Methods) prior to enrollment is recommended.
Psychology 140: Health Psychology
Lecture. This course will provide a broad overview of the field of health psychology using foundational concepts, theories, methods, and applications. We will examine critically state-of-the-art research and current gaps in knowledge to explore topics including: conceptualizations of health and illness, stress and coping, and health behaviors. Our focus will be on how health is constituted by and interacts with its multiple contexts, particularly social and environmental ones. Students will gain competency in this field through lectures, small group discussions, weekly quizzes, and written work.
Psychology 240: Health Promotion
Colloquium. This project-based course culminates in students identifying a policy change on campus that could be made to promote human health, informed by cutting-edge research in psychology. The United Nation’s Fall 2018 report on climate change is the backdrop for helping students think about and act upon health promotion locally, and connect environmental health studies with the empirical literature on psychosocial factors (e.g., identity, emotion, motivation) on message framing and behavior change. Emphasis is on critically evaluating scholarship to then “give psychology away” in service of the wider public. Prerequisites: PSY 100 (Introduction to Psychology) and 202 (Research Methods). Recommended, PSY 140 (Health Psychology).
Psychology 340: Psychosocial Determinants of Health
Seminar. We will examine scientific perspectives on how psychological and social factors influence the development and progression of physical health and illness. Major topics will include psychosocial origins of health disparities, relationships and health, emotion and disease, placebo effects, and complementary and alternative medical approaches. Emphasis will be placed on critically evaluating current research and designing appropriate future studies. Prerequisites: PSY 100 and 202. PSY 240 is recommended. Enrollment preference will be given to those who have completed PSY 140 or the equivalent.
Psychology 343: Psychosomatic Medicine
Calderwood seminar. How we think and feel can have a profound impact on our health. Through the interdisciplinary lens of psychosomatic medicine, we critically evaluate empirically-supported embodiment practices (e.g., breathwork, meditation, visualization) for preventing metabolic and cardiopulmonary diseases, major causes of death globally. We highlight recurring psychologically-mediated processes including placebo effects, emotion, and patient-practitioner relationships. More broadly, we consider how individual healing is embedded in social structural, cultural, and historical contexts, and begin to envision what decolonized and liberatory healing means in the 21st century. The key emphasis of this course is ethically translating scientific research in this domain for public non-specialist audiences.
PSY 345: Feminist Perspectives on Psychological Science
Research seminar. In this advanced methods course, we will study feminist empirical approaches to psychological research. The first part considers several key feminist empiricist philosophies of science, including positivist, experiential, and discursive approaches. The second part focuses on conceptualizations of gender—beyond difference-based approaches—and their operationalization in recent empirical articles. The capstone will be an application of feminist perspectives on psychological science to a group research project in the domain of health and well-being. Prerequisites: PSY 100, 202, and a gender studies course (from any department).
PSY 347: Psychological Perspectives on Healing Racism
Seminar. We explore a range of psychological perspectives on racism: what it is, how it operates, and resulting approaches to healing it. We then consider racialization of key resource domains globally: e.g., time, power, and health. Students apply their understandings to a topic of their choosing, and practice communicating their findings for academic and lay audiences, respectively. Prerequisites: PSY 140 and PSY 202.