Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
PSY 285
Course Title:
Psychology Seminar and Practicum
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores psychology as an academic discipline, a career, and as a body of research. Focuses on critically understanding research, professional writing, and oral presentation skills. Includes a 60 hour (minimum) practicum in the community. Highly recommended: MTH 243 Prerequisites: PSY 201 or 201A and PSY 202 or 202A. Prerequisites/concurrent: WR 122. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

1. Effectively plan an educational pathway to support one€™s desired career in psychology through a realistic understanding of the discipline and its subfields.
2. Identify the strengths and limitations in peer reviewed and popular psychological literature.
3. Effectively write a literature review consistent with APA style.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will demonstrate achievement of intended outcomes by any combination of the following as determined by the instructor:

  1. Written and/or oral assignments designed to stimulate critical thinking.
  2. Written and/or oral assignments designed to promote integration of class material with personal reflection and experience.
  3. Completion of a review of psychological literature consistent with APA style and format.
  4. Collaboration with other seminar students in designing an original descriptive study; carrying out and analyzing data from the study, and presenting findings orally and visually to other members of the seminar.
  5. Active participation in class discussions, individual and group exercises, activities and/or class presentations.
  6. Short-answer and/or essay questions that require critical examination, application and integration of material covered in class.

Students will demonstrate achievement of intended outcomes by:

  1. Assessment of learning objectives by practicum supervisor.
  2. Completion of journal or other written assignments that promote reflection and integration of practicum experience.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the range of career options available to psychology undergraduates in business, academic and social fields such as: community and social services; human resources; public relations; residential care; probation/parole/law enforcement; management and business; student affairs and services; education; scientific research (market research, opinion survey researcher); research or teaching assistance; retail sales management; parent/family education, and customer relations.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the various subfields within the field of psychology and identify the range of roles psychologists with advanced degrees may assume in each of these subfields (e.g., clinical psychology, counseling psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, human factors or engineering psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, neuropsychology or psychobiology, quantitative psychology and psychometrics, social psychology, school psychology).
  3. Distinguish among psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and counselors.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of ways in which careers in the field of psychology may be explored (e.g., faculty mentors, career centers, library and internet resources, memberships in Psi Beta, Psi Chi, APA or APS, volunteer work, research experience, internships, becoming a member of various listservs, etc.)
  5. Demonstrate an awareness of the covert curriculum in the pursuit of academic goals, i.e., the development of good communication skills, analytic and critical thinking skills, technological skills, reading skills, listening and note-taking skills, organization and time management skills, self-management skills, the importance of networking, finding faculty mentors, how to secure substantive letters of recommendation, etc.
  6. Discuss advantages, disadvantages, and appropriate use of naturalistic observation, laboratory observation, survey, experimental, and quasi-experimental research.
  1. Distinguish between correlational and causal findings in psychological journal articles as well as research reports in the popular press.
  2. Describe and give examples of demand characteristics and sampling issues in survey research.
  3. Design and critique an original experiment to determine cause-effect, including an hypothesis, operational definitions, experimental and control groups; and discussion of placebo effects, internal and external validity, and confounding variables.
  4. Understand and calculate simple statistical measures and tests, including measures of central tendency, measures of variability, frequency distribution, statistical significance, correlational coefficients, t-tests, f-tests, and chi-square.
  5. Explain meta-analysis, longitudinal, and cross-sectional research, including appropriate use and interpretation of each.
  6. Design and conduct a simple, original descriptive study, and analyze data from the study using simple statistical methods. Present findings, orally and visually, to other members of the seminar.
  7. Write a review of psychological literature on a current topic using APA style and format.
  8. Acquire and/or improve professional skills as appropriate to the practicum placement and to the student learning objectives established at the beginning of the term. These competencies may include: basic research skills; introductory assessment skills; interviewing skills; presentation skills; group facilitation skills; community outreach and/or organization skills; crisis counseling and intervention skills, etc.