Baron Perlman & Lee I. McCann

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh


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The Undergraduate Psychology Curriculum: 1996-97
Baron Perlman & Lee I. McCann
Department of Psychology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

PREFACE

In October, 1996, Jill N. Reich, Executive Director of the Education Directorate, American Psychological Association provided a grant to support the authors with research focusing on an investigative study of the undergraduate curriculum in psychology. The APA sponsored 1991 St. Mary National Conference on Enhancing the Quality of Undergraduate Education in Psychology had recommended current curricular data. The events of the previous decade and a half since the 1985 APA Scheirer and Rogers study had changed higher education and no one had studied the most frequently listed courses in the curriculum since 1975.

The authors were and are interested in the undergraduate curriculum in psychology. One goal was to provide the next link in a study of the most frequently offered courses; the research goes back to 1938. We also wanted to learn what courses made up the required core for undergraduate majors, whether St. Mary's Conference recommendations on the core were being implemented in undergraduate programs, and were extremely interested in the place of laboratory work for the major. Further, we were unable to find data on prerequisites within the psychology major, that is, does the major build in a coherent fashion. While many curricular models had been proposed current data was lacking on which were most popular.

This report has two primary sections. The first section contains a manuscript published in the journal, Teaching of Psychology titled The Most Frequently Listed Courses in the Undergraduate Psychology Curriculum (1999, 26, 177-182). In addition, detailed tables not found in the manuscript are provided. Section 2 contains a manuscript accepted for publication in the journal, Teaching of Psychology titled The Structure of the Psychology Undergraduate Curriculum (1999, 26, 171-176), as well as detailed tables not in the manuscript. Both parts of the research were presented at the 1998 meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco.

Many individuals contributed to the success of this research. Jill Reich provided grant support and was most supportive of our work. We also thank the Faculty Development Board at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for its support. Charles Brewer, Jim Korn, and Thomas McGovern provided ideas on all phases of the study. Marcy Lemieux, Robert Koumal, and Nathaniel Perlman helped with data collection, coding, and analysis.

Baron Perlman and Lee I. McCann

Final Report
American Psychological Association
1998

Other Articles from Teaching of Psychology:

Stache, C., Perlman, B., McCann, L. I., & McFadden, S. H. (1994).
A National Survey of the Academic Minor and Psychology
Teaching of Psychology, 21, 69-74.

Brewer et al. (1993) recommended the collection of curricular information to support evaluation of undergraduate psychology programs We gathered basic information on the psychology minor, including national patterns of requirements and recommen-dations, chairperson opinions about the psychology minor as an academic program, and the minor areas of study that students with psychology majors are advised to select. Surveys were sent to 400 psychology departments; 275 (69%) returned surveys were usable. Discussion focuses on the structure of the minor, the need for advising minors, assessing the minor, and the type of attention psychology departments could give the academic minor, including the minors they recommend for their majors.

A National Survey of the Academic Minor and Psychology
This Article in
MS Word Format

Perlman, B., & McCann, L. I. (1993).
The Place of Mathematics and Science in Undergraduate Psychology Education.
Teaching of Psychology, 20, 205-209.

A national survey of Psychology departments (N = 520) revealed that their institutions' general education Programs require that undergraduates take an average of one course in mathematics (algebra or above) and two natural or physical science courses. Requirements for BA and BS degrees were nearly identical. Some psychology departments are attempting to increase the scientific literacy of their majors through a variety of course and proficiency requirements. Two recommendations for further research con-cerning mathematics and science education are offered.

The Place of Mathematics and Science in Undergraduate Psychology Education
This Article in
MS Word Format