2020-21 Pomona College Catalog 
    Jun 24, 2024  
2020-21 Pomona College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG] Use the dropdown above to select the current 2023-24 catalog.

Psychological Science

Professor Sharon Goto, department chair

Professors Goto, Hurley, Lewis, Smiley, Weekes
Associate Professors Pearson, Sher
Assistant Professors Bacio1, Masland3
Visiting Assistant Professors Amir, Keil
Lecturer Corona
Sandra Lundergan-Price, academic coordinator
Nashla Feres, Research Support Specialist

The ability to engage in the critical analysis of ideas and evidence lies at the heart of the major in psychological science. Critical thinking is a fundamental part of a liberal education, a valuable personal asset and a key to success in many professions, including academic, clinical and applied psychology, but also medicine, business, law, social work, education and other fields.

The course of study in psychological science enables students to develop a broad background in empirical findings and theories. Students focus on critical analysis of the methods, ethics and significance of research in order to become critical consumers of knowledge and to understand how psychological science can be applied to solutions of real world problems. The Psychological Science major prepares students for life in a diverse society by emphasizing the sociocultural context of behavior in courses throughout the curriculum. Several courses in the curriculum contribute to the College’s aspiration for students to engage in critical thinking about the dynamics of difference and power. Psychological Science coursework enables students to develop informational, quantitative and technological literacy, as well as skills in written and oral communication through Writing Intensive and Speaking Intensive seminars. The department also offers a minor in psychological science.

Department faculty believe that firsthand experience in planning, performing and interpreting research is the best teacher of critical thinking in the field of psychology. Consequently, many psychological science courses have an associated laboratory. Students are also encouraged to take the Independent Reading and Research courses (PSYC 199DRPO  and PSYC 199IRPO ) and to seek out opportunities for research with faculty members. The capstone experience for majors is the completion of a senior thesis. The thesis is an independent, empirical research project in an area of special interest. It allows students to demonstrate their ability to develop and test hypotheses and to reflect on the significance of their research questions for psychological science theory and application.

The department offers excellent facilities for research including a dedicated computer lab and a wide range of specialized research equipment for exploring the cognitive, developmental, social, clinical and neural perspectives of human behavior. Graduate schools in both clinical and experimental areas of psychology, not to mention many other fields of study, look for a strong laboratory and technical background in their applicants.

All majors are required to have their academic advisor within the Psychological Science Department in order to receive guidance that will tailor the major according to the student’s interests and goals. Majors are also encouraged to practice the application of psychological science to the solution of human problems by participating in fieldwork in psychology, particularly if interested in pursuing a career in clinical or community psychology. Several courses have fieldwork components or involve critical analysis of contemporary social issues. Internship opportunities are also available through the Pomona College Internship Program.

Students may pursue the Psychological Science major in conjunction with study in other Pomona programs and departments, as well as several intercollegiate departments, learning to integrate psychological science with perspectives from related fields. Each such program or department has an advisor in the Psychological Science Department.

Psychological Science/Public Policy Analysis is a joint major designed to integrate psychology with the study of how society formulates and implements public policy (Mr. Hurley).

Psychological Science faculty are co-appointed in and students may pursue joint majors with the intercollegiate departments of Asian American studies (Ms. Goto), Africana studies (Mr. Hurley) and Chicano/a-Latino/a studies (Ms. Bacio).


1On leave fall 2020 2On leave spring 2021 3On leave 2020-21


Read more about our learning objectives:

Students are advised to consult the listings of the psychology departments of the other Claremont Colleges, including Claremont Graduate University, for additional courses that complement the offerings at Pomona College.