Learning goals

Psychology Department Learning Goals: We have based the CU Denver Psychology Department’s student learning goals on those recommended by The American Psychological Association. 

                Goal 1: Knowledge Base in Psychology –  Students learn about some of the “5 Pillars” of psychology covering biological, cognitive, developmental, social/personality, and mental and physical health approaches and perspectives. Students will be able to identify the main people and concepts in the field, differentiate among related constructs and integrate across these pillars to more comprehensively understand psychological concepts. Bachelor of Science majors will also gain knowledge in the fields of Biology and Chemistry, providing necessary background for those going further in neuroscience, medicine or related fields. The goal of increasing knowledge in relevant fields is addressed throughout the entire curriculum, via multiple exercises and assessed in exams, presentations and papers.

                Goal 2: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking – Students will develop a basic understanding of scientific method in psychology, including scientific reasoning, tolerance for ambiguity, information literacy, and basic research skills. Students will be introduced to the scientific method in psychology through mandatory research participation in a psychological study, classroom exercises demonstrating parts of a research study, critiquing and evaluating scientific journal articles and other information resources for validity and reliability, and learning to recognize and dispel myths and misconceptions about psychology. This goal is first addressed in our Introductory Psychology courses (PSYC 1000 and 1005), continues in the Statistics and Research Methods courses (PSYC 2090 and 3090), and into the upper division electives (i.e. PSYC 3822 Aging, Brain and Behavior, 4054 Behavioral Neuroscience).

                Goal 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World – Students learn about the values psychologists use in dealing with people and when practicing psychology. Students will apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice. Students will recognize and respect diversity by evaluating their own biases toward groups and discussing ways to overcome them. Students will explain how psychology can promote interpersonal, civic, social and global outcomes that benefit others.  Ethics and responsibility is introduced in General Psychology, explored in Research Methods and further covered in upper division classes that delve deeper into psychological topics, i.e: PSYC 4730 Clinical Psychology Ethics and Issues or PSYC 4780 Behavioral and Biomedical Science Ethics and Issues. 

                Goal 4: Communication – Students are asked to demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills by presenting their thoughts and understanding through written work (short papers/reflections) and oral presentations (interacting with others on in-class exercises and presenting a group’s insight on a topic).  These learning activities are required in both lower (PSYC 2220, Biological Basis of Behavior) and many upper division psychology courses including PSYC 3090 Research Methods in Psychology, PSYC 3263 Hormones and Brain, PSYC 3205 Human Developmental Psychology 1).

                Goal 5: Professional Development – Students apply psychological content and skills to their own career goals (whether in psychology or not) and measure self-efficacy and self-regulation by completing self-assessments on performance quality and describing self-regulation strategies (reflection, time management) using in class questionnaires, reflection prompts, and completing post exam analyses.  Interaction with these concepts happens first in Introductory Psychology courses, is revisited in Psychological Statistics and Research Methods and in some of the more advanced classes such as PSYC 4111 Senior Seminar, Career Capstone.