Swift Thinking: Winter 2014

Registration Information

Spring Courses

A table showing our anticipated course offerings for Spring is available online. The table includes information on meeting days and times. In addition, it indicates which major and minor requirements each course can fulfill, whether a course is available for preregistration, and whether you need permission to enroll.

Please check this table and the registrar's website for updates.

Preregistering for Spring Courses

The psychology department will be offering preregistration through CAESAR for most of our courses the week prior to regular registration. All students listed as psychology or cognitive science majors or minors in the registrar's system should be able to preregister through CAESAR for these courses. The only courses not available for preregistration for Spring quarter are the PSYCH 397/398/399 research courses.   

Preregistration times are announced by the Registrar's Office. You can preregister for at most two courses. 

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. What should you do if a course you want to take has closed? For most of our courses, we will be using the "electronic wait list" function on CAESAR. If you try to add a course that is full, CAESAR will tell you that there are no openings and will ask if you would like to be on the wait list. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students who can enroll.

Registering for PSYCH 205-Research Methods

Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in psychology, cognitive science, or music cognition may preregister for PSYCH 205 through CAESAR. We are offering four sections next quarter (one also includes discussion sections). Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite before you enroll.  PSYCH 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology or an approved substitute is a prerequisite for all sections of PSYCH 205, and those who lack the prerequisite will be required to drop the course. You must complete the prerequisite before taking PSYCH 205.  For example, if you are in PSYCH 201 this Winter, you may sign up for PSYCH 205 for Spring because you will complete PSYCH 201 before Spring quarter starts. However, you may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter.

Registering for PSYCH 397, 398, and 399

One great way to learn more about psychological research is to become actively involved in research activities through PSYCH 399-Independent Study or the two-quarter PSYCH 397-Advanced Supervised Research. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well. To enroll in PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399, you should get an application in the department office, fill it out, and have it signed by the professor with whom you will be working. Then, take the signed application to the department office to get a permission number for the course; permission numbers will be available beginning Wednesday, February 16. Remember that PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for PSYCH 397. For more information on 397 and 399--including the differences between them, how they count towards requirements, and tips on finding a research adviser--see our webpage on doing research for course credit.

Special Courses For Spring Quarter

In Spring 2014 the psychology department will be offering two sections of PSYCH 314-Special Topics and two sections of PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology.  The topics and course descriptions for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites (when available), are listed below.

PSYCH 314 – SPECIAL TOPICS IN PSYCHOLOGY

All sections of PSYCH 314 count toward the 300-level requirement for psychology majors and minors. They do not count toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) or Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) requirement.

PSYCH 314-20: Concepts and Categories 

Lance Rips

This course examines cognitive theories of concepts—mental representations of individuals and categories. Possible topics include concepts of singular objects and substances, concepts of natural and artifact categories, concept combination, and concepts of actions and events.

Prerequisite: One course in cogntiive science, analytic philosophy, linguistics, or computer science.

PSYCH 314-21: Women As Leaders 

Alice Eagly

This course considers women as leaders by concentrating on the histories of eight women leaders whose lives have been recorded in film.  Each week students have the homework assignment of viewing one of these films as well as completing two readings, one on the historical context of each leader’s life and the other on leadership theory and research. Two of the films portray queens (Elizabeth I of England, Catherine the Great of Russia); two portray prime ministers (Golda Meier, Margaret Thatcher), three portray activists (Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, Rosa Parks, Erin Brockovich), and one portrays a business executive (Amanda Priestly/Anna Wintour).  The purpose of the course is to give students an understanding of leadership in general and of the particular issues that women leaders face, in the context of learning about the lives of important women leaders.

Prerequisite: at least two courses in Psychology and/or Gender and Sexuality Studies

PSYCH 357– ADVANCED SEMINAR IN SOCIAL, PERSONALITY, OR CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY  

PSYCH 357 counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) requirement and also fulfills the Row 2 (upper-level research) requirement for students majoring in psychology. In addition, it counts as a 300-level course for both majors and minors.

PSYCH 357-20: Advanced Seminar: Psychoneuroimmunology

Greg Miller

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the field of psychoneuroimmunology. We will:

  1. Explore the conceptualization of major psychological constructs in the field, including stress, coping, social relationships, and sickness behavior
  2. Explore the basic principles that govern the immune system, and the issues involved in accurately measuring its function
  3. Identify behavioral and biological pathways that might link psychological processes with alterations in the immune system’s functioning 
  4. Evaluate the empirical evidence linking psychological constructs to health outcomes in the domains of infectious disease, cancer, and inflammatory disease

Each session we’ll spend half our time discussing course readings, and the rest of the time will be allotted for students to present research proposals. The major assignments will include an oral research proposal, performance in one of the class debates, and a written research proposal.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205  

PSYCH 357-21: Cognitive Approaches to Psychopathology

Jutta Joormann

Cognitive theories of psychological disorders have not only inspired extensive empirical research on the mechanisms that underlie psychopathology but have also resulted in some of the most successful psychological interventions to date. This course will review prominent cognitive theories of psychological disorders with a special emphasis on anxiety and mood disorders. We will discuss the link between cognition and affect, the role of concepts such as emotion regulation and automaticity as well as novel developments, methodological issues, and recent empirical findings. The aim is to familiarize students with experimental designs used to assess core assumptions of cognitive models, to discuss existing empirical support and future directions, and to present recent research on the development of novel interventions that stem from cognitive approaches and target constructs such as attentional engagement and emotion dysregulation.

Admission by permission of instructor

New Faculty Member

We are excited to welcome Dan Mroczek to our department this year.  Professor Mroczek’s research focuses on how personality develops and changes over a person’s lifetime, and how personality can predict success in areas such as relationships, jobs, or school, and can even predict a person’s health and mortality. He has a joint appointment with Feinberg’s Medical Social Sciences department on the Chicago campus.  Professor Mroczek has ties to our department reaching back to his undergrad years at Loyola in Chicago. There he met current Northwestern Psychology Department Chair Dan McAdams, who at the time was a professor at Loyola. A Chicagoan at heart, Professor Mroczek describes himself as a Cubs fan and is excited to introduce his family to the city. His wife Jana, originally from New York City, is happy to be back in a big metro area and is looking forward to getting to know Chicago better. They have two children, Xander, age 6, and Ayla, age 4. The final member of the family is a black lab named Ruby who was originally bred to be a guide dog.

Graduation Petitions

All Northwestern undergraduates are supposed to complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date (e.g., by the end of this Winter quarter if you expect to graduate in March 2014, and during Spring 2014 if you expect to graduate in June 2014).  If it’s time to do your Graduation Petition, set up an appointment with an adviser via email at  psych-advising@u.northwestern.edu or contact Maria Candelario in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190).  Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Degree Progress report to the meeting.

Doing your Graduation Petition on time makes sure you are on appropriate graduation lists and that you, the adviser, and the Registrar’s Office agree on what requirements you still need to complete. It also provides an opportunity to talk about your experiences in the department thus far and your plans for the coming year and beyond.

You can read more about the petition process and access petition forms on the Registrar’s website. A good place to start is the Registrar's Graduation Page.

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

By: Zara Quader, UPA President

Welcome to Winter Quarter! Even through the polar vortex, the UPA board has been working hard to provide exciting opportunities for majors and minors this quarter!

Our first upcoming event is our quarterly Lunch with a Professor. This quarter, we are excited to invite all to come meet with Professor Carol Donnelly on February 20th! Dr. Donnelly is professor at NU as well as a practicing clinical psychologist here at the Family Institute, so this is sure to be an interesting and informative lunch. Participants are provided with a meal voucher to the Norris food court, and if you are interested in attending, please email upa.northwestern@gmail.com.

Along with our Lunch with a Professor, we are also excited to invite you all to a Career Panel at the end of the quarter. Panelists who specialize in all different areas of psychology will come speak, and UPA members will be able to get a better sense of the different types of psychology degrees, and gain a perspective for potential future careers. In the past we have had social workers, forensic counseling psychologists, clinical psychologists, and organizational psychologists, and this year is sure to be no different! Keep an eye out for more information!

UPA has also been working closely with the Psychology Department advising staff in order to both improve the advising system and foster more of a community within the department. Again, if you have any more suggestions, feel free to contact us!

This quarter also marks the transition from the old UPA board to a new one. Elections will be held at the end of this quarter, so if you are interested in running for a position, be on the look out for an email with more information as well.

To join the listserv and receive our most up-to-date news, send us an e-mail at upa.northwestern@gmail.com. Also be sure to check out and like our Facebook page, “Northwestern Undergraduate Psychology Association”. And as always, if you have any suggestions, comment, or questions about UPA, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are looking forward to a great quarter with you!

The Senior Honors Program: Announcement for Current Juniors       

Each spring a few juniors with outstanding records in psychology are invited into Psychology 398, the Senior Honors Program. Each participant in the honors program conducts a year-long research project under the guidance of a faculty member. The project culminates in the preparation of a senior thesis. In addition, honors students participate in a special honors seminar. Those students who fulfill all the requirements for the Honors Program are recommended to Weinberg College for graduation with Honors in Psychology. (Final decisions are made at the College level.)

Students interested in participating in the Honors Program next year will need to submit formal applications this spring. At this point prospective Honor’s Program candidates should be thinking about who might be their thesis adviser.  Updated information on this program, including details on how to apply, will be posted on our website on Honors in Psychology soon.  The deadline for applying is April 11, 2014.

University Resources for Students Interested in Research

Are you thinking about doing an internship in some area that interests you? Many psychology students do internships for academic credit through Northwestern’s  Chicago Field Studies program. Internships are available with a wide range of Chicago-area businesses and organizations—organizations focused on mental health, education, and other social services, legal and environmental organizations, financial services, health clinics, start-ups, and market research groups, among others. For more on options for psychology students, including a list of sites where psychology students have interned, see our webpage on Psychology and Chicago Field Studies.

Getting practical, hands-on experience in fields you find intriguing can help you see links between your academic studies and real-world issues. It is a good way to learn more about which career paths might be best for you. In addition, it can become a valuable credential when you apply for a job or for graduate study. Keep in mind that many work experiences not labeled as “internships” provide similar opportunities and benefits. See our webpage on Internships and Field Studies for more information and ideas. 

Resources for Students Interested in Research

The Provost’s office maintains a searchable database to assist you in learning about opportunities to get involved in research on campus.  The Undergrad ARCH (Accessing Research and Creative Help) currently has links to over 200 opportunities and is updated regularly!  Just click on this link for more information: Undergrad Research Opportunities.


Also, check out Northwestern’s undergraduate research website for all undergraduates interested in, or just thinking about, research. This site addresses such topics as how to get involved in research, how to find research opportunities throughout the university, outlets for presenting research findings, and more. It includes information on how to write a research proposal, as well as examples of successful student proposals from recent years.


Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Research Grants (URG) Program offers Academic Year Grants (up to $1000) and Summer Grants ($3000) to undergraduates pursuing independent research projects. The remaining deadlines for 2014 are February 18 (for Academic Year Grants) and March 14 (for Summer Grants). More information is available at http://undergradresearch.northwestern.edu/provost-sponsored-opportunities. Under faculty supervision, URG winners immerse themselves in novel scholarly projects in the laboratory, the library, or the studio, on campus and around the world.  All undergraduate students are eligible for these grants. For more information on summer funding, see the next article in this newsletter.

 

Research and Travel Awards for Undergraduates

Funds for Summer Research

Each summer the Psychology Department offers two or more undergraduates a Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship.  Professor Underwood was chair of the psychology department and a distinguished researcher in the field of memory. He worked to establish the fund that makes these fellowships possible. Last year, the amount of the fellowship was $3000. Students who accept these fellowships spend most of the summer working on research at Northwestern with a psychology professor. The exact schedule is worked out with the professor who supervises the research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award; priority is given to current juniors.  Work on an Underwood project often serves as the foundation for a senior thesis project. (Receipt of an Underwood fellowship does not guarantee acceptance to our honors program.)

If you are interested in doing research this coming summer, you should look into other funding sources too. All Underwood applicants should also apply for a Northwestern University Summer Research Grant from the Provost’s Office. Weinberg College also has funds for summer research by students (see the webpage on Weinberg College undergraduate research funds). Psychology students might also be interested in the Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant (SURA) program offered by the Institute for Policy Research. For more information, contact Cynthia Kendall at c-kendall@northwestern.edu.  The Cognitive Science Program at Northwestern also offers summer research funding for undergraduates. Different funding sources have different selection criteria, and applying to more than one will enhance your chances of receiving an award. 

To apply for an Underwood Fellowship, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a faculty member to supervise your research and talk with him or her about what you will be doing and what your time commitment will be. You should also talk with the faculty member about the need for Institutional Review Board approval for your planned project.
  2. Prepare an application in which you include (a) a statement describing your plans for this research (this can be the same proposal you submit to the university's grants committee); (b) a copy of your transcript (an unofficial transcript is fine); and (c) information about your general interests in psychology, your relevant course work, your previous research experience, and anything else that you think is relevant.
  3. Have the faculty member who will supervise your research write a confidential letter of support for your application.
  4. Get your application and letter of support to Joan Linsenmeier at j-linsenmeier@northwestern.edu by Friday, March 14.

The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award  

The Psychology department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award provides funds to support students presenting their work at conferences. The money can be used to pay for conference fees and travel expenses. Preference will go to students who are first author on the presentation. Applications for this award are considered on a rolling basis. Please submit your applications to Dr. Karl Rosengren via email at k-rosengren@northwestern.edu. Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, please include the following information:

  • Name
  • Class (e.g., sophomore, junior, senior)
  • Name of conference
  • Conference location
  • Dates of conference
  • Title of presentation
  • Author/s on presentation (in order)
  • Abstract of conference presentation (250 words or less)

In addition to providing this information, please ask your faculty sponsor to write a brief letter of recommendation describing your role in the research. This letter can be emailed to Dr. Rosengren as well. Please ask your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Students applying for the Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award should look into other funding sources too. The university provides grants to assist students who are presenting the results of their research at professional conferences through the Provost’s Office Undergraduate Research Grants program. Information on Weinberg College grants is available through the college website on funds for undergraduate research.