James Wages, Ph.D.


Social Psychologist

History and Systems of Psychology


PSYC 4340 History and Systems of Psychology


What is this course?
History and Systems of Psychology is a senior-level "capstone" style course to help psychology majors better understand the historical figures, contexts, and ideas that have shaped contemporary psychology as a science and profession. This course will grant students the ability to understand, evaluate, discuss, and publicly communicate the key history and systems of psychology. Students will also develop marketable skills transferable to careers in psychology and beyond, such as clear communication, formal presentation, innovative creation, effective collaboration, and critical thinking. A significant amount of time will be spent in and out of class reading and discussing texts, preparing materials, and working with team members.

What are the course goals?
  1. The first goal of this course is to familiarize students with the key people, contexts, and ideas that shaped modern psychology through readings and discussions. 
  2. The second goal is to learn about the landmark articles that changed the direction of psychological research through formal oral presentations. 
  3. The third goal is to collaboratively create and present imaginative projects that teach psychology to the public. 
  4. A final goal is to help develop professionally valuable skills. 

What will students learn?

Students in this course will learn:
  1. What are the historical and systemic foundations of psychology, 
  2. Who were key figures that influenced contemporary psychology,
  3. What were the ideas and contexts that shaped modern psychology,
  4. What are the landmark empirical research articles that changed psychology,   
  5. How to formally present empirical research in psychology using Google Slides,
  6. How to collaboratively create innovative projects that can be used to inform the public about psychology, 
  7. How to work collaboratively in teams for a collective goal and how to provide evaluative feedback to teammates,
  8. How to actively read and discuss course texts with peers using Perusall,
  9. How to produce work that is professional, prompt, ethical, and credible.