On Tuesday, Oct.16, representatives of the Department of Philosophy and Psychology held a presentation in the Andrey Delchev Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. to introduce the new Psychology major.
In the beginning, Professor Ronald Harvey asked the audience, “Why do you want to study psychology?” One of the students answered, “Because I like people.” The presentation gave students an idea of what psychology actually is, what it studies, and provided information about future opportunities. Professors then gave a brief description of all the courses available.
Two professors from the Department of Philosophy and Psychology introduced themselves. Harvey, who is from Chicago, US, is a community psychologist who studied and did research on how people recover from drug addiction and other types of addiction. Harvey visited Bulgaria in 2007 for the first time and has been teaching in AUBG since 2016. Another representative is Professor Felix Diaz from Spain. He has concentrated on mental health and disabilities for 15 years. Diaz will give a presentation about his dissertation in November. The two professors invited a special guest, Scott R. Ross from DePauw University, Indiana. He will consult the department on improving the psychology program in AUBG.
Psychology is much broader than it seems. It addresses education, work study, health, environment, and many other fields. Harvey said he likes to remind the following during his classes: “The three pillars of psychology are thoughts, feelings, and behavior.” In other words, the goal of this program is to understand how people think, feel and act. Professors pointed out that AUBG is a golden place for teaching psychology due to the many students from different nationalities, which allows looking at one question from the perspective of different cultures. “Even if you hate people, it is interesting to take the psychology course,” Harvey said. “To hate them properly,” Diaz added. There are three required courses: PSY101, PSY102, and PSY200. PSY 101 is Introduction to Psychology where students can learn everything starting with neurons and ending with reasons for love and hate. PSY102, Introduction to Social Psychology, studies relationships between people and relevant theories. “People are meaning-making machines,” Harvey would always repeat in his classes. “But we are not accurate machines.” That is why there is PSY200, Psychology Research Methods, which teaches students to have more careful and more precise way of thinking. There is a wide variety of courses, such as Abnormal Psychology, Personality, Developmental (List of courses). If a student wants to go to a graduate school, he or she is highly advised to do a Capstone/Research Project. It also frees students from taking the Final exam.
Both professors claimed that psychology is an excellent complement to every major: Journalism and Mass Communication, Political Science and International Relations, Economics, and even Information Systems. They added that psychology is useful in every sphere. For now, Psychology is considered only as a second major. According to Harvey and Diaz, the main problem of this program is accreditation. The Psychology program in AUBG is only accredited in the US. However, taking it here is the same as taking it in Harvard, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Brown and other top universities in the USA, because the same agency accredits all of them. There are big hopes that the Psychology program will be accredited by Bulgaria and the EU, as the Department of Philosophy and Psychology will work on this in the following year. Balgyz Mammetyarova, a first-year student from Turkmenistan who wants to major in Political Science and International Relations said, “I had some hesitations whether to take Psychology as a second major or not, but after the presentation, I will certainly take it.”
Harvey concluded, “We want to put all things together and make this program complete. The reason for the Psychology program’s existence is that students wanted it. Everything was done thanks to the efforts of AUBGers.”
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