Why take courses in this discipline?

Studying psychology, students learn how to read texts closely, design and conduct laboratory research, and analyze and interpret research results. In psychology courses, students investigate principles of behavior as a natural science and learn how to ethically apply them to real-world problems. Students can also participate in the seminar series, independent study, and internships. Majors can go on to graduate studies or careers in teaching, scientific research, clinical work, medicine, law, and more.

How does this discipline contribute to the liberal arts?

Courses in psychology provide experience with the natural sciences with a focus on the study of human behavior and society. Quantitative reasoning is heavily emphasized across the curriculum.

What kinds of questions are asked in this discipline?

Psychology is invigorated by the intellectual imperative to understand behavior, the ethical imperative to alleviate human suffering and promote human thriving, and the aesthetic imperative to find form and pattern in our lives. The psychology curriculum illuminates the behavior of biological organisms living in social habitats. Students of psychology learn to use empirical methods to investigate behavior and to use critical thinking to interrogate empirical methods. Situated in a liberal arts environment, the psychology curriculum empowers the student with tools for mindful inquiry.

How does a student get started?

Students interested in psychology must first take Introduction to Psychology (PSY 113) unless they received a 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam. Psychology majors should take Research Methods (PSY 225) by their fourth semester.

Students majoring in psychology must take MAT/SST 115 (Introduction to Statistics) or SAT 209 (Applied Statistics) as a prerequisite for PSY 225 unless they have received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam.

AP/IB Credit

A 4 or 5 on the AP psychology exam exempts a student from PSY 113 and serves as a prerequisite for courses, although the AP credits will not count toward the 32 credits of the major. Some students with AP credit opt to take PSY 113 in order to gain experience in laboratory work, writing in APA style, and reading primary literature.

A 4 or 5 on the AP statistics exam satisfies the course and major requirements for MAT/SST 115.

Courses in Psychology

All Courses in Psychology

Regularly Offered 200-Level Courses

  • Social Psychology w/ Lab
  • Industrial Psychology
  • Sensation & Perception w/ Lab
  • Developmental Psychology w/ Lab
  • Behavioral Analysis w/ Lab
  • Psychopathology and Clinical Science
  • Brain and Behavior
  • Cognitive Psychology w/ Lab

Recent Seminars

  • History of Psychological Theories
  • Advanced Social Psychology: Cross-Cultural Differences in the Self
  • Personality Psychology
  • Multicultural Psychology
  • Neural Plasticity
  • Psychology of Food and Eating
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Adult Development
  • Advanced Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology of Language
  • Advanced Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychological Measurement
Sample Four-Year Plan for a Psychology Major (without off-campus study)
Year Fall Spring

PSY 113

MAT 131 (if planning to take STA 209)

MAT/SST 115 or STA 209


Second PSY 225 PSY 2XX w/ lab, PSY 2XX
Third PSY 2XX w/ lab PSY 3XX
Fourth PSY 3XX PSY 495
Sample Four-Year Plan for a Psychology Major (with off-campus study)
Year Fall Spring
First PSY 113 MAT/SST 115 or STA 209
Second PSY 225 PSY 2XX w/ lab and PSY 2XX
Third OCS or PSY 2XX w/ lab and PSY 3XX OCS or PSY 2XX w/ lab and PSY 3XX
Fourth PSY 3XX PSY 495

Off-Campus Study

The department does not recommend specific programs, as they believe the off-campus experience can and should be used to work toward broader educational goals. Courses taken off campus count toward the major upon approved petition to the department. See Department Handbook for instructions.

Contributions to Other Majors/Concentrations

Courses in psychology can count toward a major in:

Some psychology courses contribute to the concentrations in:

Department Events and Opportunities

Students can become engaged in the life of the psychology department in a number of ways such as participating in the student seminar series or other social events hosted by student leaders. The Child Development Studies Program is one of several research programs in the department; it includes the Grinnell College Preschool Laboratory located on Park street and the Child Studies research rooms in the Noyce Science Center.

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.