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Swift Thinking: Winter 2012

Registration Information

Spring Courses

A table showing our anticipated course offerings for Spring 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 or cognitive science 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. 

Wait Lists

Psychology courses are very popular, and they often close during registration. What should you do if a course you want to take has closed? For most of our courses, we will be using the "electronic wait list" function on CAESAR. If you try to add a course that is full, CAESAR will tell you that there are no openings and will ask if you would like to be on the wait list. As students drop the course, we will check the electronic wait list and send permission numbers to students who can enroll.

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 through CAESAR. Make sure you have the statistics prerequisite (see below) before you enroll. 

Special Psych 205 Section. We will be offering a special section of Research Methods that includes discussion sections.  This section will be taught by Dr. Sue Hespos and meets Monday and Wednesday from 3:40 to 4:50.  Students will break up into smaller discussion sections once a week. When registering on CAESAR, students will sign up for the Monday lecture section and then pick a Wednesday discussion section. These will be at the same time as the other class meetings. Students in these classes must sign up for both the lecture and a discussion section.

Statistics prerequisite.  Psych 201-Statistical Methods in Psychology or an approved substitute is a prerequisite for all sections of Psych 205. We will check class rosters for Psych 205 during the registration process. Those who lack the prerequisite will be required to drop the course. You must complete the prerequisite before taking Psych 205.  For example, if you are in Psych 201 this Winter, you may sign up for Psych 205 for Spring because you will complete Psych 201 before Spring quarter starts. However, you may not take both Psych 205 and the prerequisite during the same quarter.

Registering for Psych 397, 398, and 399 

One 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. This is especially valuable for students considering graduate study in psychology, and it can be an educational and enjoyable experience for others as well. To enroll in Psych 397 or Psych 399, you should get an application in the department office, 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 to get a permission number for the course; permission numbers will be available beginning Wednesday, February 16. Remember that 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 doing research for course credit.

Special Courses for Spring


Psych 314 – Special Topics: Anxiety and Mood Disorders (Dr. Sue Mineka)

Psych 314 – Special Topics: Schools of Psychotherapy (Dr. Carol Donnelly)

All sections of Psych 314 count toward the 300-level requirement for psychology majors and minors. They do not count toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) or Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) requirement.


Psych 357 - Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: 
Emotion (Dr. Wendi Gardner)

Psych 357 - Advanced Seminar in Personality, Clinical, or Social Psychology: Scientific Controversies in Social Psychology (Dr. Galen Bodenhausen)

Psych 357 counts toward the Column A (personality/clinical/social) requirement and also fulfills the Row 2 (upper-level research) requirement for students majoring in psychology. In addition, it counts as a 300-level course for both majors and minors.


Psych 358 - Advanced Seminar in Cognition or Neuroscience: Left Brain, Right Brain (Dr. Mark Jung Beeman)

Psych 358 counts toward the Column B (cognitive/neuroscience) requirement and also fulfills the Row 2 (upper-level research) requirement for students majoring in psychology. In addition, it counts as a 300-level course for both majors and minors.

Graduation Petitions 

All Northwestern undergraduates are supposed to complete and submit Graduation Petitions one year prior to their intended graduation date (e.g., by the end of this Winter quarter if you expect to graduate in March 2013, and during Spring 2012 if you expect to graduate in June 2013).  If it’s time to do your Graduation Petition, contact Maria Candelario in the department office (Swift 102, 847-491-5190) to set up a meeting with a department adviser.  Be sure to bring a copy of your CAESAR Degree Progress report to the meeting.

Doing your Graduation Petition on time makes sure you are on appropriate graduation lists and that you, the adviser, and the Registrar’s Office agree on what requirements you still need 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

News from the Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA)

By Kathryn Rulon,

It has been another exciting quarter for UPA! This quarter we’ve focused our efforts on creating a mentoring program for underclassmen and searching for new ways to expand our reach. Based on the results of a survey we sent out, students appeared to be most interested in an e-mail based mentoring program where they could ask questions regarding class registration, research opportunities, and graduate school applications. We may begin offering this service to students during class registration for spring quarter. We are electing new officers during the last week of February, so if you are interested in getting involved with UPA, be sure to check your email!

The Senior Honors Program: Announcement for Current Juniors  

Each spring a few juniors with outstanding records in psychology are invited into Psychology 398, the Senior Honors Program. Each participant in the honors program conducts a year-long research project under the guidance of a faculty member. The project culminates in the preparation of a senior thesis. In addition, honors students participate in a special honors seminar. Those students who fulfill all the requirements for the Honors Program are usually eligible to graduate with Honors in Psychology.

Students interested in participating in the Honors Program next year will need to submit formal applications this spring. At this point prospective Honor’s Program candidates should be thinking about choosing an adviser.  Updated information on this program, including details on how to apply, will be posted on our website on Honors in Psychology soon.  

The deadline for applying is April 6.

New Resources for Students Interested in Research

The Provost’s office has developed a new searchable database to assist you in learning about new opportunities to get involved in research on campus.  The Undergrad ARCH (Accessing Research and Creative Help) currently has links to over 200 opportunities and is being updated regularly!  Just click on this link for more information.

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

Northwestern University Undergraduate Research Grants (URG), offered through the Provost’s Office, fund independent academic and creative work in all fields of study. 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. They can be used to support research during the academic year and summer.  For more information on summer funding, see the next article in this newsletter.

Research and Travel Awards for Undergraduates

The Lois Elizabeth Henrikson Undergraduate Conference Travel Award   

The Psychology department is happy to announce an award to fund student travel to professional conferences. The Henrikson Award provides funds to support students 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 first author on the presentation. Applications for this award are considered on a rolling basis. Please submit your applications to Dr. Karl Rosengren via email. Put "Undergraduate Travel Award" in the subject line of the email. In the email, please include the following information:

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 Dr. Rosengren as well. Please ask your faculty sponsor to put “Undergraduate Travel Award” in the subject line.

Students applying for the Henrikson award should look into other funding sources too. The university provides grants to assist students who are presenting the results of their research at professional conferences through the Provost’s Office Undergraduate Research Grants program. Information on Weinberg College grants is available through the college website on funds for undergraduate research.

Congratulations to our Conference Travel Award Winners

Several psychology majors were awarded Conference Travel Award Grants from the Henrikson Fund and/or the Provost’s Office in the recent months for their research in our department. Congratulations to the following students!

For Academic Year 2010-2011

For Academic Year 2011-2012

The Undergraduate Research Grants Program, funded by the Office of the Provost, offers Academic Year Grants (up to $1000) and Summer Grants ($3000) to undergraduates pursuing independent research projects.   The remaining deadlines for 2012 are February 21 (for Academic Year Grants) and March 9 (for Summer Grants). More information is available at

Funds for Summer Research 

It's still winter, but it's not too soon to start thinking about summer – and about the possibility of spending your summer doing research in our department. Each summer 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. Last year, the amount of the fellowship was $3000. Students who accept these fellowships spend most of the summer working on research at Northwestern with a psychology professor. The exact schedule is worked out with the professor who supervises the research. Both current juniors and current sophomores can apply for this award; priority is given to current juniors.  Work on an Underwood project often serves as the foundation for a senior thesis 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 has funds for summer research by students; see the webpage on Weinberg College undergraduate research funds. 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:

  1. Choose a faculty member to supervise your research and talk with him or her about what you will be doing and what your time commitment will be. You should also talk with the faculty member about the need for Institutional Review Board approval for your planned project.
  2. Prepare an application in which you include (a) a statement describing your plans for this research (this can be the same proposal you submit to the university's grants committee); (b) a copy of your transcript (an unofficial transcript is fine); and (c) information about your general interests in psychology, your relevant course work, your previous research experience, and anything else that you think is relevant.
  3. Have the faculty member who will supervise your research write a confidential letter of support for your application.
  4. Get your application and letter of support to Joan Linsenmeier at by Friday, March 9. This is also the deadline for submitting summer grant applications to the Provost’s Office and the Cognitive Science Program.


Upcoming Event

Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker will deliver the inaugural lecture for the Contemporary Thought Speaker Series at 6:00 p.m. on February 20 in the Ryan Family Auditorium of the Technological Institute. Pinker is the author of such books as “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined,” and “The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature.”  Tickets for the Pinker lecture will be available through the Norris Box Office beginning Feb. 13 for students, faculty and staff. Tickets are free but needed to reserve a seat.  See this link for more information: Pinker Talk.