Course of Study for Minor
Course of Study for Minor in Critical Psychology
In the first semester, students will enroll in the 12-unit core course curriculum, as well as a required course for the minor in Critical Psychology : BIS 1409: Introduction to Critical Psychology (3-units).
The second semester students will enroll in the 8-unit core course curriculum as well the following required courses: BIS 1028: Research Methods and Data Analysis (3 units) and BIS 1017: Scholar's Toolkit (2 units). As part of the Research Methods and Data Analysis course student will explore traditional methodologies, feminist methodologies, and decolonizing methodologies with the goal of understanding the political ramifications of "science" and learning to responsibly participate in research. Students will also have the opportunity to take 2-3 units of critical psychology elective courses leading toward the required 15 units for the concentration.
In the third semester, students will enroll in the 8-unit core course curriculum as well as the 3-unit required course, BIS: 1234: Critical Psychology Senior Research Project. The Senior Research Project will provide students with an opportunity to develop an applied research project that is aimed at promoting social justice and well-being. As part of the senior project, students will be using a combination of skills to engage in participatory action research and/or community social change. Aside from this course, students will enroll in additional 2-3 units of critical psychology elective courses to complement their senior project and meet the 15-units required for the concentration.
Learning Outcomes for Minor in Critical Psychology
Develop a critical orientation towards psychological knowledge and practice that influences how they think about theory, context, and the practice of psychology.
Elaborate on how mainstream psychology works as a powerful way to depoliticize the experience of knowing one's self as a powerful form of subjectivity.
Explain the ideological and political ramifications of psychological research and practices.
Develop skills and participate in research using mainstream, feminist, and decolonizing methodologies.
Explore ways to engage in psychologies of liberation, one that transforms oppressive conditions and existences.
Develop integral approaches to understanding, relating to, and practicing psychology.
Produce a culminating project equivalent to an action-based Senior Capstone that integrates or synthesizes what they have learned in the program and concentration.
Sample Critical Psychology courses:
BIS 1028: Research Methods and Data Analysis (3 units) (satisfies math/statistics requirement)
This course provides students with basic research methodology and data analysis techniques. Approaches include both traditional and an introduction to decolonizing methodologies. Students will have an opportunity to not just develop qualitative and quantitative research skills, but also will engage in a critical examination of the production of "scientific" knowledge to understand how one way of knowing is privileged over another, and how that privileged system of knowing is used to maintain the status quo. This course is at an introductory level and does not have any math prerequisites.
BIS 1306: Decolonizing Methodologies (2 unit)
This course will explore the impact of European scientific methodologies and interpretations as a powerful form of control on colonized peoples. The construction of knowledge and role of research within an imperialist framework will be critically examined. Students will also have an opportunity to explore community-based research and action including, but not limited to the processes of: "testimonios;" (re)claiming; revitalizing; reframing; restoring; and naming. This course does not serve an intensive training in research methods but rather as an opportunity to begin to conceptualize alternative ways of engaging in research and to critically examine the role of the researcher.
Sample books: Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Handbook of Critical and Indigenous Methodologies by Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, and Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith
BIS 1400: Lifespan Development (3 units)
This course provides students with an overview of development through the lifespan, including childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and aging experiences. Physical, social, emotional, and cognitive issues are covered as well as the expected developmental milestones during each of these phases of development.
BIS 1407: Experiential Approaches to Psychotherapy (3 units)
This course is an overview of several alternative psychotherapeutic approaches, including somatic psychotherapy, expressive arts therapy, drama therapy and ecotherapy. Each week we will explore the different theories and techniques of these various rapidly emerging modalities. This will include both experiential exercises, as well as discussions of readings assigned from theorists and practitioners from each of these approaches.
BIS 1409: Introduction to Critical Psychology (3 units)
Students will have the opportunity to explore and contrast the values, assumptions and objectives of mainstream psychology with critical psychology. In particular students will explore the ways in which traditional psychological approaches hinder well-being and social justice, detrimentally impacting individuals and communities. Through critical psychology students will learn skills for engaging in emancipatory practices that promote human welfare and social justice. Topics covered include, but are not limited to: history and philosophies of psychology, clinical psychology, social psychology, community psychology, counseling and therapy, and research methodologies.
Sample book: Critical Psychology: An Introduction by Professor Dennis R Fox, Dr Isaac Prilleltensky, and Stephanie Austin
BIS 1450: Cross-Cultural Psychology (3 units)
This course examines a selection of the theoretical, empirical, and applied issues in the field of cross-cultural psychology, with the purpose of sensitizing students to a multicultural approach to psychology and its implications in the study of human behavior. Students will explore what is cross-cultural psychology and how it relates to constructs such as culture, ethnicity, race, social class, and identity, among others. The course will proceed with a discussion around aspects of human behavior that are universal and those that are culture specific, as part of developing an understanding of the basic dimensions of cultural variations and cultural influences on psychological processes.
Sample book: Doing Psychology Critically: Making a Difference in Diverse Settings by Isaac Prilleltensky and Geoffrey Nelson
BIS 1455: Ecopsychology (2 units)
This course will provide students with the opportunity to explore connections between restoring the earth and healing the psyche. From an eco-psychological perspective, well-being and sustainability are interdependent. In order to gain insight into this interdependent nature we will be covering topics that address indigenous traditions, variations in environmental activism, eco-feminism, consumerism, global impact, impact on psyche and strategies for promoting change in self and our larger communities.
Sample book: Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life (Suny Series in Radical Social and Political Theory) by Any Fisher
Additional Critical Psychology Resources• Dennis Fox's Critical Psychology Website
• Psychologists Acting with Conscious Together
• Ignacio Martín-Baró site
• Radical Psychology: A Journal of Psychology, Radicalism and Politics
• Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology
• Annual Review of Critical Psychology