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Swift Thinking: Spring 2017

Planning for Fall 2017

A table showing our course offerings for Fall 2017 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 pre-registration, and whether you need permission to enroll.

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

Pre-registering for Fall Courses

The psychology department will offer pre-registration through CAESAR for most of our Fall Quarter 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 pre-register through CAESAR for these courses. The only courses not available for pre-registration for Spring Quarter are the PSYCH 110 and the PSYCH 397/398/399 research courses.

Pre-registration times are announced by the Registrar's Office. Students can pre-register for a maximum of two courses.

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 the course instructor to be added to a course during the first week of classes.

Registering for PSYCH 205-Research Methods

Students listed in CAESAR as majoring or minoring in psychology, cognitive science, or music cognition may pre-register for PSYCH 205. Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite or an allowed substitution before you enroll. You may not take both PSYCH 205 and the statistics prerequisite during the same quarter. Your records will be evaluated for this requirement and you will be asked to drop the course if you have not completed it. Once regular registration begins, any student with the statistics prerequisite may enroll.

Research Courses Requiring Department and Instructor Permission:

PSYCH 397-1, 397-2, 398-1, 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

You can count at most 1 quarter of 397-1 or 399 toward the major. You cannot count both courses toward the major requirements. PSYCH 205-Research Methods in Psychology is a prerequisite for PSYCH 397. The second quarter of the Advanced Supervised Research sequence, PSYCH 397-2, fulfills the upper-level research requirement for the psychology major.  For more information on 397 and 399, including the differences between them, how they count toward 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 psychology department office, Swift 102, 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 Fall Quarter, which is Monday, September 25, 2017.

**We cannot guarantee that an application submitted on the final day of the add period can be reviewed in time to generate a permission number before the add deadline.  Students will need to obtain permission for the late addition of a course from the Dean’s Office in this situation.**

PSYCH 398-Senior Honors Seminar

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

Special Courses for Fall Quarter 2017

In Fall 2017, the Psychology Department will offer 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 Psychology or Neuroscience.  The topics, course descriptions, and prerequisites for these special courses are listed below.

PSYCH 314: Special Topics: An Introduction to R Programming for Psychologists

William Revelle

R is open source statistical system that has become the lingua franca of statistical data analysis.  R is both a statistical system for processing data using traditional and modern statistics and a programming language for developing new methods.  This course will introduce you to R with an emphasis in using R for psychological research.  Time will be spent using standard R packages for data analysis including regression, factor analysis, test construction, and multilevel modeling.  Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of programming in R and will be shown how to modify existing packages to be more useful for their own work.  

Prerequisite: No prior experience in programming is required, although a willingness to learn is essential.

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Research Topics in Schizophrenia

Vijay Mittal

Students will learn about psychosis, survey popular research approaches, and design research proposals for hypothetical projects. In this class we will learn about major areas of cognitive, emotive, and behavioral dysfunction in schizophrenia as well as related psychotic disorders. We will also survey the most recent developments in the field of intervention, as well as biomarker development in high-risk and premorbid periods. The course will focus heavily on learning about relevant research methodology including eye tracking, motor assessment, psychophysiology, cognitive assessment, and neuroimaging (other modalities will be examined as time permits). This will involve reading about the methodologies and joining the class on a series of field trips to Northwestern Labs (Evanston and Downtown) that are currently employing these approaches.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Psych 357: Adv. Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Psychology of Sexual Orientation

Michael Bailey

This course will explore the science of sexual orientation. Likely topics include: What is sexual orientation? How do we measure it? How does sexual orientation differ between men and women? What causes people to vary in sexual orientation? Are unusual sexual interests, like pedophilia and autogynephilia, sexual orientations? Is sexual orientation related to gender identity?

Because this is an upper-level research course, we will focus on psychological theories, methodological issues, and empirical research in this area. Students will also plan and write research proposals.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205

Notice: This class will emphasize finding important scientific facts. In contrast, student comfort with either material, methods, or ideas will not be prioritized. Explicitly sexual matters will be discussed. I will also challenge common understandings of sexual identities. Students uncomfortable with either of these approaches should not take the course.

Psych 358: Adv. Seminar in Cognitive Psychology or Neuroscience: Psychology and ‘Weird’ Beliefs

Sara Broaders

Lots of people have beliefs that other people think are just plain weird. Why do people have these beliefs? We'll look at "weird" beliefs within our culture as well as some cross-cultural examples, and try to understand what leads people to develop and maintain these beliefs. Another issue is that one person's "weird" belief may be another person's firmly held conviction. From this perspective, we'll also try to understand which beliefs are rational. Among the topics we may cover are: superstition, parapsychology, ghosts, witchcraft, alien abduction, evolution vs. creationism, repressed memories of abuse, and dissociative identity disorder. Students will use a wide variety of academic and popular media resources (including empirical research articles, ethnographic descriptions, philosophical arguments, popular press books, and documentary films) to explore the bases for these beliefs and practices.

As an upper-level research course, we will focus on psychological theories, methodological issues, and empirical research in this area. We’ll do some hands-on research and data interpretation activities during class meetings.  Students will also engage in designing, conducting, analyzing, and writing up an empirical research project during the quarter. Note: This is a reading-intensive course.

Prerequisite: PSYCH 205


The Senior Honors Program

The psychology department has an outstanding group of honors students this year! Please consider attending the 2017 Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition to see many of these students present the results of their senior thesis research. Other psychology students will be participating as well. The Expo will be held in Norris University Center on Wednesday, May 31. In addition to learning more about the impressive research efforts of these students—and maybe getting ideas for research of your own—you can vote on your favorite posters. Students with the most votes receive “People’s Choice” awards.

Seniors Pursuing Honors in Psychology:

Katherine Bae                        Vilte Baliutaviciute                 Blair Batky                  Patsy Castro

Karishma Daftary                   Yasemin Dogruol                    Tiffany Fang                Ayla Goktan

Sarah Johnson                       Eric Mercadante                     Jay Park                      Ashley Radee

Katie Rim                               Jiaqi Yu

Summer Study in Psychology

Summer NU logo

Several psychology courses will be offered at Northwestern this summer. To learn more, see the summer session website. If you want to take courses elsewhere and count them toward psych requirements, see the WCAS webpage on taking classes at other US institutions. You should consider making an appointment with Professor Broaders or Professor Gorvine to discuss your plans. (See previous sidebar for how to make an appointment.)

Juniors: Graduation Petitions

All Northwestern undergraduates must complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date. The latest to submit the petition is two quarters before you anticipate graduating (e.g., by the end of this Spring quarter if you expect to graduate in Fall 2017, and during Fall quarter if you plan to graduate in Spring 2018).  To complete your Graduation Petition, set up an appointment with one of the department advisers by emailing or see Jeanette Jennings in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190). Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Academic Requirements report to the meeting with the adviser.

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.

Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA) News

The Undergraduate Psychology Association is excited for all of the events planned for this Spring Quarter! We have transitioned to a new executive board and are proud to introduce the new members:

Co-Presidents: Jamilah Silver and Kathy Tian

Treasurer: Lucy Kim

Research Coordinator: Jessie Li

Events Coordinator: Numaya Shahriar

In the upcoming year, UPA is planning more events that will foster community for its members. Members will be able to meet other students who share an interest in psychology, learn more about current events in Psychology, and be introduced to a variety of psychology-related extracurricular activities.

After midterm season, the UPA is hosting a Lunch with a Professor. The Lunch with a Professor events offer students an opportunity to interact with professors in a very casual setting and discuss topics more in depth. This helps students build stronger relationships with professors, while enjoying free lunch. Later in the quarter we will be hosting an ice cream social. More details to come soon!

To be included on our listserv, please email us at Also be sure to like our Facebook page “Northwestern Undergraduate Psychology Association” for event updates. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to chat about psychology, feel free to reach out to us! Thanks and we look forward to a great quarter with you! – Jamilah Silver & Kathy Tian, UPA Co-Presidents 2017-2018


Undergraduate Awards and Accolades

Northwestern University’s Undergraduate Research Grants (URG) Program

We had eleven outstanding students who were awarded and Academic Year and Summer URG for 2016-2017 to help fund their research:

Katie Branch                           David Huang                          In Jang                       Amy Lieberman

Samuel Osburn                       Jaclyn Pachicano                    Jay Park                      Ashley Radee             

Olivia Shay                             Glenn Xu                               Jiaqi Yu               

Summer Research Grants

A Psychology major received the URG/Benton J. Underwood Summer Research Fellowship from the Psychology Department to support their research this summer:

Megan Imundo         

In addition, two Cognitive Science majors received the URG/Cognitive Science Fellowship:

Lena Goren, Melissa Nickles

Conference Travel Awards

The students listed below have been chosen for the Psychology Department’s Undergraduate Travel Award to support the presentation of their research at conferences across the nation:

Rebecca Adler                    Katherine Bae                   Vilte Baliutaviciute             Megan Imundo

Sarah Johnson                  Ryan Loach                        Katie Lee Rim

Congratulations to all our students!


Graduation Reception, Friday, June 6, 2017 from 2-4 pm, Swift Hall 107

Swift Thinking Spring 2017 PDF

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