Arts and Sciences Learning Objectives
The Biopsychology major focuses on the inter-relationship between
physiological and psychological systems. The primary objectives of this
discipline are to provide a deeper understanding of how physiology
influences behavior, and how behavior and experience affect physiology. The
main goal of the major is to prepare undergraduate students to ask and
answer science-based questions about human and animal behavior by
introducing students to the data, theories, and research methods from the
fields of biology and psychology.
Upon completing the bio-psychology major, students will:
- Be able to generate and to analyze data, to organize it
for presentation, and to draw appropriate conclusions based
on trends supported by statistics, and to formulate new
questions based on findings.
- Be able to apply theoretical models of behavior and
thought to real life settings and skills (e.g., clinical,
educational, organizational context.)
- Be able to find and understand primary literature
pertinent to a given topic in biological or psychological
sciences, to examine and interpret data presented in figures
and tables, and to evaluate conclusions based on the data
- Be able to understand techniques and methods described
in current literature, or to investigate such methods
through scholarly publications.
- Be able to perform standard laboratory techniques
accurately and safely.
- Be able to access and utilize pertinent large databases.
- Be able to report experimental results in a standard written
format and to write coherently and persuasively about
conclusions from such results and their significance.
- Be able to communicate scientific results, and to support
their significance and relation to the current framework of
- Be able to pursue scientific inquiry through formulating
hypotheses, designing controlled experiments or studies,
gathering or generating data, and analyzing and evaluating
- Be able to make connections between concepts in biology
and psychology and the foundations of physical sciences and
- Be mindful of ethical considerations and societal
outcomes in research and in technological advancement and
be familiar with the American Psychological
Association (APA) ethics guidelines, including the process
of submitting research proposals
to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or to the
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC.)
- An understanding of the major paradigms in biology,
including evolution, cell theory, genetic inheritance, and
the central dogma.
- An understanding of core psychological concepts and
processes such as evidence, hypothetical constructs,
operational definitions, and inferences.
- An understanding that behavioral traits can be explored
on four, mutually-illuminating levels of analysis.
- An understanding of the relationship between genotype and
- An understanding of the information flow between DNA,
RNA, and proteins, and a basic knowledge of the processes
that govern cellular function and division.
- An understanding of the processes through which evolution
occurs, and an understanding that selection acts on multiple
stages in the life cycle.
- An understanding of the dynamic nature of organismal
development from inception through growth and
differentiation, aging and death.
- Knowledge of how Biopsychologists use empirical methods
to understand the physiological bases of how individuals
behave, and how people think, feel and act.
- An appreciation of the morphological, physiological,
ecological, and behavioral diversity of life, and the
importance of that diversity.
- An understanding that biological processes are based on
chemical and physical principles, and that biology informs
medicine, community health, and environmental policy.
- A solid knowledge of the brain, including the neuroanatomical, neurophysiological, and neurochemical
processes that are important in behavior and cognition. In
addition, an understanding of how problems in brain function
may underlie maladaptive behaviors and mental disorders.
- An appreciation of the inseparable nature of the brain
and the mind.
Back to main Learning Objectives page >