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Study Psychology in Best College For Psychology | Ashoka University | India
Majors in Psychology

Psychology at Ashoka University is organized around a scientific approach to the study of behavior and experience.

 

Psychology employs scientific methods and reflects scientific values in examinations of topics representative of the contemporary discipline, including human development, social influence, personality, cross-cultural psychology, cognitive processes and decision-making, human and animal learning, psychopharmacology and neuroscience, organizational behavior, psychopathology, and psychotherapy, counseling, and positive psychology.

 

The major emphasizes the development of analytic and expressive skills (e.g., research methods and statistics, writing and oral presentation) that are the basis of investigation, critical thinking, and communication in the field.

Courses

The Psychology Department offers a range of courses structured around three tiers: Fundamental Courses, Core Domain Courses, and Electives.

 

These courses give students both the breadth of the discipline and sufficient depth for students who wish to have a more narrow specialization within a domain.

 

Most courses is worth 4 credits (unless otherwise stated), and the workload for each 4-credit course is about 10 hours per week.

 

Note that some courses have prerequisites (courses that must be taken before enrolling in a particular course); co-requisites (courses that must be taken concurrently); and preclusions (courses that have sufficiently similar emphasis and must not be taken together with that course).

Major Requirements

Each student must complete 12 courses towards the major (12 x 4 = 48 credits). To complete a major in Psychology, one must take the following 8 required courses (8 x 4 = 32 credits) and any 4 electives (4 x 4 = 16 credits): 

  • PSY101: Introduction to Psychology/Thinking Like a Psychologist (Gateway Courses)

  • PSY201: Statistics and Research Methods- I (Statistical Course)

  • PSY 202: Statistics and Research Methods- II (Statistical Course)

  • PSY211: Introduction to Neuroscience (Core Domain Course)

  • PSY221: Cognitive Psychology (Core Domain Course)

  • PSY231: Developmental Psychology (Core Domain Course)

  • PSY241: Social Psychology (Core Domain Course)

  • PSY251: Clinical Psychology (Core Domain Course)

Students can also apply up to four 4-credit courses taken at accredited universities elsewhere (i.e., summer abroad or exchange programmes) towards the major requirements, contingent on the formal approval of Ashoka University and the Psychology Department.  

 

Other than cross-listed core courses or cross-listed elective courses offered by the Psychology department, students are not encouraged to fill up on more than 3 electives offered by other departments and accepted for cross-listing by the Psychology department.

Minor Requirements

Each student must complete 6 courses towards the minor (6 x 4 = 24 credits). The student must take the following three courses (3 x 4 = 12 credits): 

  • PSY1001/PSY1003: Introduction to Psychology/Thinking Like a Psychologist

  • PSY2001: Statistics and Research Methods- I

  • PSY 2002: Statistics and Research Methods- II

The student may take either 2 or 3 of any of the following courses (2 x 4 = 8 credits OR 3 x 4 = 12 credits): 

  • PSY2011: Introduction to Neuroscience (group A)

  • PSY2021: Cognitive Psychology (group A)

  • PSY2031: Developmental Psychology (group B)

  • PSY2041: Social Psychology (group B)

  • PSY2051: Clinical Psychology (group B)

Students are encouraged to ensure they take at least one course from Group A, and at least one course from Group B. The student may take 1 elective course, worth 4 credits. 

Students who are exempted from Statistics and Research Methodology I (e.g., those who have taken EC102 – Statistics for Economists; no other course is currently considered for exemption from SRM1) may take only 5 courses for their minor instead of 6 courses. Independent Study Modules do not count towards the minor. Students who have taken Quantitative Research Methods (Political Science) are no longer permitted to avail of an exception, although students graduating in 2021 with that understanding may do so after writing to the Head of the Department for permission.

 

Students should note that it may be difficult to complete a minor within three years because (i) the psychology courses offered may clash with their major courses; (ii) some courses require prerequisites; and (iii) some courses are offered only once a year. Note also that the courses specified in the above descriptions are tentative; exact course listings will depend on available faculty and their actual offerings.

 

 

 

Concentration Requirements

Each student must complete 4 courses towards the concentration (4 x 4 = 16 credits). The student must take the following two courses (2 x 4 = 8 credits): 

  • PSY1001/PSY1003: Introduction to Psychology/Thinking Like a Psychologist

  • PSY2001: Statistics and Research Methods- I

The student may take 2 of any of the following courses (2 x 4 = 8 credits OR 3 x 4 = 12 credits): 

  • PSY 2002: Statistics and Research Methods- II 

  • PSY2011: Introduction to Neuroscience (group A)

  • PSY2021: Cognitive Psychology (group A)

  • PSY2031: Developmental Psychology (group B)

  • PSY2041: Social Psychology (group B)

  • PSY2051: Clinical Psychology (group B)

Undergraduate exchange programs/ Summer abroad programs

Psychology majors intending to go for a summer abroad or semester-long exchange programmes should be aware that most upper-level psychology modules have prerequisites, which may not be explicitly mentioned in the host universities' webpages. In general, students should clear as many Fundamental and Core Domain courses before going for a summer or semester abroad. For courses taken at host institutions abroad to count towards their Psychology degree at Ashoka, students must fill a credit transfer form stating the courses they plan to take at the host institution and send this along with the detailed course syllabi and course timings to the HoD, copying the professors who offer the equivalent course at Ashoka. Ashoka University matches the number of transfer credits with the number of contact hours, subjected to OAA’s regulations for the maximum number of credits allowed to be transferred throughout a student’s candidature. A typical course at Ashoka is 4 credits (13 weeks x 3 hrs = 39 contact hours). The final decision on whether credits amassed at a summer/semester institution can be transferred to your degree requirements at Ashoka will be of the HoD. Students should follow this protocol and read the frequently asked questions here first before seeking advice from the Program Coordinator during their planning stages.

Independent Study Modules (PSY399)

Independent Study Modules (ISMs) are research modules. In general, students can do theoretical research (write review papers) or empirical research (e.g., conducting experiments), or both (e.g., propose a topic, run an experiment, and write results). Different professors have different ways of conducting an ISM. Enrolling for one requires the student to consult the relevant faculty and register one’s interest. ISMs are not necessarily pre-defined courses: while some faculty may offer a set of ISMs that align with their research, students may also propose novel ISMs to a faculty member. The decision to enroll a student in an ISM is ultimately that of the faculty member conducting the ISM. 

 

Only two courses/8 credits worth of Independent Study Module(s) can be taken by each student during their three-year UG Psychology program. 4th years/ASPs can take two courses/8 credits worth of Advanced ISMs that ideally build upon past research experience to the satisfaction of the faculty with whom you take it.

 

Because an ISM is a research module, it will help students gain research experience. Research experience is very important if you want to go on to masters/PhD degree. But even if you do not want to do this, and you are just simply curious at how knowledge is produced, or you want to try your hands at producing new knowledge instead of absorbing knowledge in a classroom, doing an ISM is a useful experience. In some sense, every theory that you know now stems from a research idea, which then turns into an exercise to find empirical evidence to prove/disprove the hypothesis.

Fundamentals

PSY 1001 Introduction to Psychology
This course introduces psychology as an empirical, behavioral science. It considers the approaches different psychologists take to describe and explain behavior. It covers a broad range of topics, including how animals learn, how personality develops and influences functioning, how the nervous system is structured and how knowledge of neuroscience may inform an understanding of mental disorders, how people acquire, remember and process information, how psychopathology is diagnosed and treated, how children and adults develop, and how people behave in groups and think about social environments.
Prerequisites: None.
Offered: Usually in Semester 2

 

PSY 1003 Thinking like a psychologist
This course is offered only to students who have student psychology at a pre-college level. The focus of the course is not on understanding introductory psychological concepts – we will barely cover (m)any – but on building the skills to think like a psychologist.
Prerequisites: None.
Offered: Usually in Semester 2

 

PSY 2001 Statistics & Research Methodology I
The primary focus of this course is on mastering basic statistical concepts and reasoning. In the process, students will learn characteristics of different types of research, and how to think critically about statistics. The course also includes a practical component where students learn how to use statistical software to analyse existing datasets (secondary data analysis). Students are advised to take this course as soon as possible.
Prerequisites: None.
Preclusion: Statistics for Economists (Economics Department); Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (Political Science Department), Probability and Statistics (Mathematics Department).
Offered: Usually in Semester 1

 

PSY 2002 Statistics & Research Methodology II
The primary focus of this course is on mastering different research methods and research designs, with more in-depth learning of statistical thinking. Students will embark on an empirical project where they will devise testable hypotheses, design a study to collect primary data, and then analyze, interpret, and present their findings. Students are advised to take this course as soon as possible.
Prerequisites: Statistics & Research Methodology I (Psychology Dept), or Statistics for Economics (Economics Dept), Probability & Statistics (Math Dept), Statistics for Social Sciences (Political Science Dept)
Offered: Usually in Semester 2

Core Domains

PSY 2011/ BIO 2103 Introduction to Neuroscience
This course provides an introduction to the relationship between brain and behaviour. The focus will be on key questions asked about the brain, such as: How is the brain organised? What activities in the brain affect behaviour? How is behaviour affected by drugs? How does the brain see, hear and produce movement? What does it mean to have a brain disorder? Selected clinical disorders will be integrated into the course, along with basic understanding of fMRI concepts.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology
 

PSY 2021 Cognitive Psychology
In this course, students will consider cognition, a subtopic within the field of psychology. The specific emphasis of cognition is on a scientific consideration of how people think and how they process information – tasks which are “invisible.” We will examine current models in cognitive psychology from a theoretical perspective as well as the research methods that allow us to make accurate inferences about the workings of the mind. Topics will include perception, attention, memory, imagery, language, comprehension, problem solving, and decision-making. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology

PSY 2031 Developmental Psychology
This course reviews the fundamentals of developmental psychology, a field of study devoted to understanding both the continuity and change that makes up human growth throughout the lifespan. Students will gain exposure to a range of developmental psychology theories and learn how these are applied to the normal developmental milestones across life-stages. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology

PSY 2041 Clinical Psychology
This module introduces the most common mental health problems such e.g. anxiety, depression, eating disorders, behavioural problems, attention deficits, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, personality disorders, sexual adjustment, substance abuse, suicide, and dementia. The course focuses on developing a holistic understanding of these mental health issues, as well as the nuances involved in diagnosing someone as “mentally ill”. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology

PSY 2051 Social Psychology
This course explores the scientific nature of social influence and interaction, covering topics such as social judgment, self-concept, attitudes, conformity, prejudice, and interpersonal relationships. We will also pay particular attention to the use of empirical evidence from which we build theories of social behaviour. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology

Elective Courses

PSY 3011 Advanced Topics in Neuroscience
This course explores brain processes that support various aspects of cognition and behavior, such as attention, vision, language, motor control, navigation, and memory. It introduces basic neuroanatomy, functional imaging techniques, and behavioral measures of cognition, and discusses methods by which inferences about the brain bases of cognition are made. In addition, we will see how the study of individuals with neurological dysfunctions (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, amnesia, etc.) can inform us about functional human cognition and behavior. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Neuroscience; Cognitive Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3012 Evolutionary Cognition
What is cognition? How did it evolve? What cognitive abilities do animals possess? Are they similar to those found in humans? This course provides a systematic review of different forms of cognition as viewed in the context of the theory of evolution.
Prerequisites: None

 

PSY 3032 Atypical Development
This course examines the psychological, biological, environmental, and cultural influences on the development of atypical infants and children. Specifically the emphasis is to improve developmental outcomes and study the implications of atypical development for intervention and education, for family adjustment, and for improving quality of life. Research studies that provide empirical evidence will also be reviewed to expand the scope of understanding  aberrations and atypical patterns of development.
Prerequisites: Developmental Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3033 Psychology of Language
Language is so crucial that a lot happens when we speak. Our ability to comprehend and express our ideas or thoughts is taken for granted every day, yet what is something that is so special and amazing about any language that comes naturally to all of us and how does it work? 
Prerequisites: Developmental Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3034 Embodied Cognition
This course will involve contrasting approaches to understanding cognition, helping us understand how cognitive agents interact with a complex environment, and how aspects of the environment contribute to cognitive processes.
Prerequisites: Cognitive Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3041 Psychopathology
This course will focus on understanding and analyzing the biological basis of psychological disorders. The course will be a mix of didactic lectures and problem-based learning sessions.Students will build upon their knowledge from the clinical psychology class to delve deeper into the subtleties of psychological disorders, including analyzing patient case studies. 
Prerequisites: Clinical Psychology; Statistics and Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3042 Introduction to Counseling
This course is designed to provide the student with an overview of counseling psychology as a profession. It will introduce the student to the scientist/practitioner model, and in so doing, define the subject matter of counseling psychology, the target population the counseling psychologist seeks to serve, the technical tools professional counselors use during their practice.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology I; Clinical Psychology

 

PSY 3043 Drugs and Behaviour
This course, with a focus on psychoactive drugs, will explore the neurotransmitter systems underlying abnormal psychology and behavior and how modern generation of drugs alter the faulty balance to restore functionality and behavior. The course is designed to introduce pharmacological concepts for students without prior exposure to college level biology and build upon the knowledge from clinical psychology to explore psychopharmacology-based treatment approaches. The course material will heavily draw from primary literature and randomized clinical trials of import in the field.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Neuroscience; Clinical Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3044 Violence as a Human Behaviour
This course brings in materials pertaining to violence and aggression across the disciplines of neuroscience, evolutionary biology, sociology, psychology and political science. The course will first try to break violence down to its neurobiological roots, and then rebuild it using perspectives from behavior, sociocultural patterns and aggression. We will examine mob violence, violent crimes, violence against women and children, violence against ethnic minorities and “legitimized” violence.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Neuroscience; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3051 Behavioural Change
Humans sometimes behave in ways that are dysfunctional not only to themselves, but to those around them. This course brings together insights from social psychology and other allied disciplines to address the promises, pitfalls, and challenges psychology can be used to address real-life problems in climate change, poverty, health, environment, public policy, and so on. 
Prerequisites: Social Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3052 Emotion
This course examines the nature of emotions various perspectives (e.g., cognitive, social, cultural, and biological perspectives.) The emphasis is on developing a nuanced understanding on how emotions affect behavior, and how behaviors affect emotions. Classic emotion research will be revisited, as well as the introduction of current advances in emotion research. 
Prerequisites: Social Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3053 Cultural Psychology
This course focuses on human cognitions and behaviors that are affected by our cultural differences and similarities across cultures. We will think about and understand how these processes occur and are shaped, and also question whether these characteristics are fundamental, and to what extent they are plastic.
Prerequisites: Cognitive Psychology; Social Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3054 Social Cognition
This course focuses on the cognitive mechanisms underpinning many forms of social behaviour. How do individuals perceive and reason about information related to other people and their environment? How much of the environment affects our behaviour -- and are these influences necessarily conscious?
Prerequisites: Cognitive Psychology; Social Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3055 Intergroup relations
Humans are social beings, and therefore, often identify with groups. These groups can be based on various social identities (e.g., religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) or they can be minimal groups (e.g., experimentally-assigned groups based on color of one's hat). This course introduces you to the psychological processes involved in how individuals, who are members of groups, think, feel, and behave towards other group members.
Prerequisites: Social Psychology; Statistics & Research Methodology II

 

PSY 3081 Psychological testing and assessment
Psychological constructs such as workplace motivation, intelligence, narcissism, conscientiousness, etc., are often abstract. To be able to study these topics, one must be able to translate abstract constructs into concrete operationalizations. This course introduces you to the fundamentals of measuring psychological constructs, selecting test instruments, and the ethics of psychological assessments.
Prerequisites: Statistics and Research Methods II; completed at least 3 out of 5 core domains

 

PSY 3082 Qualitative research methodology
Although quantitative methods feature heavily in modern psychological research, qualitative data is also useful in many ways; sometimes it is even indispensable when studying certain phenomena. But qualitative research methodology is not just about asking people what their opinions or feelings are about a particular issue. This course trains students to extract information from qualitative data to yield psychological insights.
Prerequisites: Statistics and Research Methods II; completed at least 3 out of 5 core domains

 

PSY 3099 Independent Study Module
The Independent Study Module (ISM) allows students to delve more deeply into research, either assisting an instructor on a specific research agenda, or in some cases, charting their own research agenda. Students must seek out an instructor in the department and work out a concrete plan with the instructor before signing up for the course. Students may do only one ISM at level-3000.
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology; Statistics and Research Methods I; with consent of instructor; subject to mutual interest between student and faculty

 

PSY 4041 Helping Skills
This course focuses on effective helping skills. Students learn about the effectiveness of helping skills by (i) learning about the theory and research on helping skills and (ii) practicing helping skills with each other. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Counseling

 

PSY 4070 Internship in Psychology Instruction
This instructional internship exposes students to the teaching of psychology where undergraduates serve as teaching assistants (UGTAs) in level- 1000 or -2000 courses of their choice, subject to mutual interest with the instructor and programme needs. Through this internship, students gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter, gain insights into how courses are planned, and learn how to communicate their subject matter in ways that will lead to successful learning. Only one student will be accepted per section of a course, per enrollment of 30. Interested interns should read the guide and syllabus for PSY 4070 here.
Prerequisites: UG4 psychology major; be in good GPA standing; possess the necessary psychological traits (e.g., emotional stability, motivation, positive learning attitude).

 

PSY 4089 Advanced Independent Study Module
The advanced Independent Study Module (ISM) is for UG4 students who are not doing an honors thesis, yet want further exposure beyond the initial PSY 3099 ISM which they have already taken. Students must seek out an instructor in the department and work out a concrete plan with the instructor before signing up for the course. 
Prerequisites: Introduction to Psychology; Statistics and Research Methods I and II; PSY 3099; subject to mutual interest between student and faculty
Preclusion: PSY 4099

 

PSY 4098 Honours Research Seminar
This is an 8-credit preparatory course for PSY 4099 Honours Thesis. Students will learn the process of research from their advisor and from one another. At the end of the course, students will produce and defend their research proposals, and critique other students' proposal.
Prerequisites: Completed 12 psychology courses; only for fourth-year students with at least 3.0 GPA, or with consent of a prospective advisor; students must have already secured an honours thesis supervisor.

 

PSY 4099 Honours Thesis
This is an 8-credit capstone course where students will complete a piece of scholarly work over two semesters that contributes substantially to the knowledge and/or application of the discipline. In addition, students are expected to defend their work in front of peers and members of their thesis committee. Students must seek out an instructor in the department and work out a concrete plan with the instructor before first week of the course. Students should read the guidelines for PSY 4098 and PSY 4099 here.
Prerequisites: Completed 12 psychology courses; only for fourth-year students with at least 3.0 GPA, or with consent of a prospective advisor; PSY 4098 Honours Research Seminar; subject to mutual interest between student and faculty.

Critical Thinking Seminars

CT Critical Thinking Seminar in Psychology

This course introduces what it means to think like a psychologist. We will focus on the nature of evidence from which we construct psychological theories, and the inferential errors we make when faced with this evidence. This course will be taught by different instructors in different semesters, with each instructor bringing in his or her own specializations into the course. This course is not required for a major/minor, but can count towards a major/minor.

Department Handbook

Click here

Curriculum Structure

The structure of the psychology curriculum resembles a pyramid, with Fundamentals (Gateway, Statistics and Research Methodology) at the top-tier, Core Domains (Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, Clinical, and Social Psychology) in the middle-tier, and Electives at the lower-tier. Students are encouraged to complete their Fundamentals and Core Domains as early as possible, because many of these are prerequisites for upper-level electives. For more information, please click here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Unclear about the plethora of information?
How are waivers granted? Do CTS count towards a major? Should you do an ISM? How about minor? And perhaps graduate school? Click here to find out more.

 

Ever wondered whether course codes for electives are arbitrary?
Do the three digits each have particular meaning, or are they chosen randomly? Indeed, how do you decipher the course codes? Let us demystify course codes here.

 

Thinking of Summer Abroad or Exchange Programmes?
Psychology majors intending to go for a summer abroad or semester-long exchange programmes should be aware that most upper-level psychology modules have prerequisites, which may not be explicitly mentioned in the host universities' webpages. In general, students should clear as many Fundamental and Core Domain courses before going for a summer or semester abroad. Students should read the frequently asked questions here first before seeking advice from the Program Coordinator during their planning stages.

Faculty