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Swift Thinking: Winter 2016


A table showing our course offerings for Spring 2016 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, cognitive science or neuroscience 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 and students can register for a maximum of two courses at this time.

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. If a course you want to take has closed, use the electronic wait list function on CAESAR. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students to enroll.

Wait lists will be monitored until the last business day before classes begin. Students will then need approval from instructors to be added to the course.

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. Make sure you have the PSYCH 201 prerequisite or an allowed substitution before you enroll. You may not take both PSYCH 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter. Your records will be evaluated for this requirement and you will be asked to drop the course if you do not have it. Once regular registration begins, any student with the prerequisite may enroll.

Registering for PSYCH 397, 398, and 399

A 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 series. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well.

PSYCH 397 and 399

These independent study courses fulfill the upper-level research requirement for the psychology major. You can count at most 1 quarter of 397-1 or 399 toward the major. You cannot count both courses. 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 “Research for Course Credit.”

To enroll in PSYCH 397 or PSYCH 399, download the application, 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 and a student-specific permission number will be generated. Please note that you must turn in your application and register for the course through CAESAR before the last day to add a class for Spring Quarter, which is Friday, April 1, 2016. **Any application turned in on the last day is not guaranteed a permission number by the registration deadline and will then need approval from the Dean’s Office.**


Students who will be taking PSYCH 398-Senior Honors Seminar next quarter will also need permission to enroll. The course will be set up in CAESAR so that only those on the list provided by Dr. David Uttal, the Honors Coordinator, will be able to register for the course.


In Spring 2016, the Psychology Department will be offering one section of PSYCH 314-Special Topics, two sections of PSYCH 357-Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology and one section of PSYCH 358-Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience.  The topics and course descriptions for these special courses, as well as their prerequisites, are listed below.

Psych 314: Special Topics: Evolutionary Psychology

Mike Bailey

This course is an overview of two related disciplines: behavior genetics and evolutionary psychology. The first weeks of the class will address methods and findings in behavior genetics, focusing primarily on twin, family, and adoption designs, but also addressing contemporary molecular methods. The second half of the class will focus on topics in evolutionary psychology, including the evolution of mate preferences, violence, morality, and their application to life. Carries social science credit.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 110 or equivalent.

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personal, Clinical, or Social: Emotion

Wendi Gardner

The goal of this seminar is to provide students with a broad overview of the study of emotion in the field of psychology. Each class will cover multiple primary source readings (shared on Canvas), often accompanied by a book chapter. The first half of the class is intended to familiarize students with some of the major perspectives, classic theories and central controversies that have characterized the study of emotion in psychology; the second half covers special topic areas and newer discoveries. Some examples of topics covered include how to define and empirically study emotions, whether there are "basic" emotions, the controversy over "emotional intelligence," and how to foster emotional well-being. The course format is lecture and discussion, and students will also engage in research presentations of their own. Carries social science credit.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personal, Clinical, Social: Scientific Controversies in Social Psychology

Galen Bodenhausen

This is an advanced social psychology course designed to examine a variety of controversial topics in social psychology. Topics to be addressed include: Is there really such a thing as unconscious racism? Are stereotypes accurate? Does high self-esteem cause a variety of social problems? Are positive illusions about oneself beneficial or harmful? Is subliminal persuasion real? Are video games harmful to individuals and to society? Is parapsychology at all legitimate? Exploration of questions like these will form the basis for our class meetings.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Psych 358: Adv. Seminar in Cognitive Science or Neuroscience: Infant Cognition

Sue Hespos

Where does human knowledge come from? In this course we will explore the origins and development of human knowledge. We will learn about the earliest evidence of our cognitive capacities in infancy and describe what changes and what stays the same over development. This will be a class dedicated to big ideas writ large. Through this process we will gain information critical to understanding cognition in general.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205


Each Spring, select juniors with outstanding records in psychology are invited into to apply for the Psychology Honors Program. Each student in the program participates in a special honors seminar and conducts a year-long research project under the guidance of a faculty member. The project culminates in the preparation of a senior thesis. Students who fulfill all of 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 Honors Program candidates should be thinking about who their thesis adviser may be.  Updated information on this program, including details on how to apply, will be posted on our website under the Honors in Psychology link.  The deadline for applying is April 8, 2016.


All Northwestern undergraduates are to complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date. The latest to submit your petition is two quarters before you anticipate graduating (e.g., by the end of this Winter quarter if you expect to graduate in Summer 2016, and during Spring quarter if you expect to graduate in Fall 2016).  If it’s time to do your Graduation Petition, set up an appointment with an adviser via email at or contact Sheila Chhim in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190).  Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Degree Progress report to the meeting.

Completing your Graduation Petition on time ensures you are on appropriate graduation lists and that you, your adviser, and the Registrar’s Office agree on what requirements you have left 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.


We hope everyone is keeping warm this winter as we head into Week 6 of the quarter. We would like to start off by introducing Stephanie Yang, our new Secretary! The exec board has been planning a lot of cool opportunities for Psychology majors and minors this quarter, so we hope to see you guys there!

Earlier in January, we started off the quarter with an information session about how to get involved in research opportunities. There were representatives from the Office of Undergraduate Research, Office of Fellowships, and NU Library, as well as upper level Psychology undergraduates who are currently working in labs. This was a great chance for students to get all of their questions answered about how to develop their own research project and apply for grants.

Last week, we started our coffee chats, which is a time for general members to get to know the current exec board. Students can submit a general description of their background and any questions they may have, and we pair you up with an exec member who can best answer those questions over a free cup of coffee. Also, UPA will be holding elections for the new exec board at the end of this quarter, so coffee chats are a great way to get more involved with UPA!

Later this quarter, we are looking forward to having a Lunch with a Professor event and a possible presentation with the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Be on the look-out for emails with more information on these events and winter elections!

To be included on our listserv, please email us at Also, be sure to like our Facebook page “UPA Undergraduate Psychology Association” for current updates on events. If you have any suggestions, comments, and/or questions, feel free to contact us. We look forward to a great quarter with you!


Are you thinking about doing an internship an 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 consider intriguing can help you discover 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 Volunteering for more information and ideas. 

Also, check out Northwestern’s Office of 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 opportunities throughout the university, outlets for presenting research findings, and more. It includes information on proposal writing, as well as examples of successful student proposals from recent years.


URG offers Academic Year Grants (up to $1000) and Summer Grants ($3500) to undergraduates pursuing independent research projects. The remaining deadlines for 2016 are Tuesday, February 16th  (for Academic Year Grants) and Friday, March 11th (for Summer Grants). More information is available at 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.


The Psychology Department Undergraduate Travel Award

The Psychology Department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Undergraduate Travel Award provides funds to students who are majoring in psychology to support them in 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 listed as first author on the presentation. Applications will be considered on a “rolling” basis. Please submit your applications via e-mail to Sara Broaders at Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, include the following information:


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 Professor Broaders as well. Please inform your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Funds for Summer Research

It's not too soon to start thinking about summer – and about the possibility of spending your summer doing research in our department. Each year 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.

Acceptance of an Underwood Fellowship implies a commitment to spend most of your summer working on research here at Northwestern with a Psychology professor. Your exact schedule will be worked out with the professor who supervises your research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award. However, priority will be given to current juniors. Work on an Underwood project often serves as the foundation for a senior honors 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 offers funds for summer research by students. 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:

Get your application and letter of support to Sara Broaders at by Friday, March 11, 2016. This is also the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the University's Undergraduate Research Grants Committee.


All declared psychology major and minor students are added to our new Canvas course site. Here, you can find jobs, research opportunities and graduate school information. Announcements for on-campus or department-hosted events will be posted here as well. Please check back frequently to stay up to date on NU Psychology news.

If you are declared Psychology major or minor student and have not been added to the Canvas site please contact

For a .PDF version of Swift Thinking Winter 2016, click here.

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