College of Education
Valdosta State University
Dept of Psychology and Counseling
Course Syllabus
PSYC 4950
3 Hours

Text (Required):
Thorne, B. M., & Henley, T. B. (2005) Connections in the history and systems of psychology (3rd ed). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Course Description: Traces the origins of psychology from philosophy and physiology and its development into the science psychology is today.

Education Outcomes Specific to Psychology

6.   use appropriately the technical language of the science of psychology in

      oral and written communication

8.   compare and contrast theoretical perspectives within  psychology

Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, the student

  1. Will be able to identify the major issues in psychology and be able to compare and contrast the differing schools of though and perspectives in psychology using these major issues.
  2. Will be able to explain how psychology arose from philosophy and physiology and explain the role that evolution played in its development.
  3. Will be able to describe the development and growth of psychology in the 20th century.
  4. Will understand and be able to describe how psychology has impacted society and the development of its institutions.
  5. Will understand and be able to describe how the social context and various historical events impacted the development of modern day psychology.

Course Activities/Assignments/Requirements

    3 Exams. Each exam will be based on material from the class lectures and the textbook. All exams are a combination of short answer and essay questions. Each exam will be worth 100 points (8 out of 10 short answer and 3 out of 4 essays). MAKE-UP POLICY: If for some reason you must miss a test, you must notify me as soon as possible (either by telephone, stopping by, or e-mail). You need to have a valid excuse that can be verified with documentation (Gee, I forgot is NOT a valid excuse). You must take it BEFORE I give back the exams to the class and you must take it on the date and time that we decide (i.e. no making up the make-up). You cannot make up the test during class time and you cannot have more than one make-up exam.

 Comprehensive Final - There will be a comprehensive final during finals week worth 200 points. The class will break into teams of 3 people. I will ask a question and all of the groups in the class must come up with the answer in the time allotted (2 minutes). You must pick your own group. The final will be based upon the questions that you create. THE COMPREHENSIVE FINAL IS ONLY FOR THE FALL/SPRING
    Questions - Every Wednesday on BlazeView. The questions are to be written in short answer, definition format (MC or T/F will not be accepted). The questions are to be based on a topic that we covered that past week and are to be posted in the appropriate blog section under discussions. The discussions for that week with be locked Weds. evening, so if you miss posting, then you will not be able to post for that week. You also need to look through the questions and develop ones that are at least somewhat different from everyone else’s! These questions will not be accepted if they are late, the format is incorrect, or the answer is wrong.


   2 Papers.  One of your papers requires you to trace a person’s life history and other paper requires you to take a historical perspective on a topic. The papers should be approximately 5-7 pages long (not including the title page or references) and are to be typed. It is highly recommended that you discuss with me your paper topic so that you do not choose too broad of a topic (for example, the study of abnormal behavior throughout psychology would be too broad). Historical means through time – discussing modern day therapy is not historical, even if you do spend 2 paragraphs discussing history. The life history is to be about the person, not their theories (except to discuss when AND why they were developed). For every day either paper is late, 5 points will be deducted. Please note that it is to be in YOUR words, not someone else’s (so NO quoting). At least half of your references MUST be other than websites (books or journals should be used!). You may write either paper 1st. When referring to the articles or websites you chose, be sure to write them in your own words.   Usually, if there are 5-7 words in a row that are exactly the same as in the article then its plagiarism. Further, do not use the thesaurus option in Word to change a word or two in a sentence since this still counts as plagiarism. If I can find the exact sentence in the paper or website that your sentence is based on, you have not paraphrased enough.


   Class Participation. This class is designed to be a capstone senior level course in which you show your understanding of psychology. Course participation is a requirement. You will be graded on your participation level. While I don’t require perfect attendance, obviously if you are not here, you are not participating. Part of your grade will be based on class attendance (for those questions everyone shouts out an answer to). However, attendance does not equal participation- that is, for you to earn a good grade in this area means more than showing up and breathing or asking me to explain something over again. When you do make comments, make sure they are relevant to the discussion at hand. You have the questions before class – that will be the discussion we will be having. Go through the book and make an outline of the response that would answer the question. There will be some answers that will not be found in the book but the majority of the information is there. As a rule of thumb, we will cover approximately 2 questions per class time. Make sure to bring your answers and your book to class with you every day. If I must wait more than 5 minutes for an answer to a question because no one in the class has prepared for that answer and everyone is looking up the response in class, then everyone will be responsible for that material on their own time – I will not answer any questions about that material outside of class either.

Points for class participation
For each class attended, you will get 2.5 points. If you participate that day, you will get 2 more points. This means that if you never participate but show up every day, the highest grade you can obtain on this section is a 67.5. The highest point total that you can get is a 100 (although there are enough points for 121.5).

Course Evaluation:
3 exams @ 100 points 300

Final 200 points

Questions 15 @ 3 points 45

Class participation 100 points
Paper 50 points each 100
A 745-671 B 670-596 C 595-521 D 520-447 F<447


Attendance: While I do not have a strict attendance policy, it is expected that you will attend class regularly. If for some reason you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out any information that was discussed in class. When in class, I ask that you be courteous to myself and to others. Refrain from constant chit-chat and note-passing. If you come in late or plan on leaving early, sit near the door so as not to disturb others. Please make sure your cell phones are off and beepers on vibrate. In addition, I can see when you are doing other work besides mine – I don’t want to see it. It is especially annoying when people who are doing other things then ask questions that obviously indicate they were not paying attention. My other pet peeve is when people walk into class late and want to turn something in or pick something up after I start class. Again, don’t do that, please.
    One final note – if you are having difficulty, don not wait until the end of the semester to come talk to be and plead for me to give you a B when your grade is an F or to give you extra credit. Please talk to me as soon as possible if you are having personal difficulties or are having a problem with course material.

Special Needs Statement: VSU, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities act will make accommodations for students who require special assistance because of a disability. If you require some assistance, do not hesitate to make me aware of your situation, but you must also register with Special Services in Nevins Hall.

Dr. Deb Briihl
Rm 18 Phone 333-5994 or –5930