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Fielding Graduate University – PhD Media Psychology – Curriculum

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The Media Psychology PhD curriculum consists of the following requirements:

  • PSY 525, 526A, 526B, 526C and 533 (26 credits total)
  • 4 credits PSY 585 Media Psychology Practicum (160 clock hours)
  • 4 credits PSY 628 Special Topics Practicum (8 days total residency)
  • 4 credits PSY 685 Research Practicum: Media (160 clock hours)
  • 12 credits chosen from: PSY 702-708 (psychology core courses)
  • 12 credits chosen from: PSY 766, 767A/B/C, 771, 773 (media electives)
  • 16 additional elective credits chosen from: no more than two of MSC-552, 555, 557, 558, 566-569, and PSY 594, 702-708, 712, 715A, 718-723, 724A/B/C/D/E, 727, 728, 730, 731, 733, 734, 749, 752, 755, 756, 760, 761, 765, 766, 767A/B/C, 769, 771, 772, 773 
  • PSY 631 Qualifying Exam (4 credits)
  • PSY 638, 633, 639 Dissertation courses (18 credits)

You will complete 100 semester units of coursework in order to graduate. 

A master’s degree is awarded automatically upon completion of the following 54 credits: PSY 525; 526A/B/C; 533; 4 credits of PSY 585; 12 credits chosen from: PSY 766, 767A/B/C, 771, 773; and 12 additional credits chosen from: no more than two MSC courses numbered 552, 555, 557, 558, 566-569, and PSY courses: 594, 702-708, 712, 715A, 718-723, 724A/B/C/D/E, 727, 728, 730, 731, 733, 734, 749, 752, 756, 760, 761, 765, 766, 767A/B/C, 769, 771, 772, 773.
Effective date: 09/01/2015

To view course descriptions, click on the hyperlinked course number/title below. Printing the page will print all course descriptions.

Required Courses

PSY-525 Foundations of Critical Theory, 4 semester credits
This course addresses basic competencies relevant to student work in media psychology: academic writing from the perspective of organization and expression, generating a research question and following the research process, critical thinking, narrative structure, diversity, and ethics. The objective of this course is not mastery, but rather to familiarize students with these fundamental competencies, which they will further develop throughout their programs. Online activities provide an overview of program requirements, library resources, and the online learning environment. These activities include an overview of professional conduct expectations, and how students will be assessed throughout their program regarding those expectations.
PSY-526A Generating and Gathering Evidence, 6 semester credits
PSY 526A is the first course in the 526 Media Psychology research sequence. The course builds on the idea of research as a process of generating evidence as a warrant for a knowledge claim. The focus of the course is on the production and collecting of research evidence. Topics covered include the difference between gathering evidence about media and persons, the different properties of numeric and verbal/image evidence, methods for generating and gathering qualitative and quantitative data. Emphasis is given to the use of instruments for measuring media and psychological constructs. Students are introduced to the use of IBM SPSS to develop displays and statistical descriptions of numeric data.
PSY-526B Analysis of Evidence, 6 semester credits
PSY 526B is the second course in the 526 sequence. The course builds on the understandings and skills developed in 526A. A distinction between knowledge claims about local situations and about properties of populations divides the course’s two sections. The first section is focused on the production of local knowledge claims by different kinds of qualitative analyses, and the second section examines the production of general knowledge by different kinds of quantitative analyses.
Pre-requisites: PSY-526A
PSY-526C Types of Claims in Media Psychology, 6 semester credits
PSY 526C is the third course in the 526 sequence. The course begins with a continuation of the examination of complex numeric designs and their statistical tests with a focus on factorial designs. Then media faculty members present descriptions and examples of media research. The final section addresses construction of a literature review and the procedures for writing a research proposal.
Pre-requisites: PSY-526A, PSY-526B
PSY-533 Foundations of Media Psychology, 4 semester credits
Media psychology is the application of psychological theory and research to the analysis of media and technology use, development and impact. This course introduces six major domains in psychology--cognitive, social, developmental, biological/neuroscience, individual differences and positive--to provide a foundation for approaching media technologies from multiple dimensions. We will spend time exploring the question “what is media psychology” to think about why a definition matters and to give students the chance to examine their assumptions about media and technology. Each week we will address different topics in the current media landscape, such as social media, collective behaviors, games, media immersion, transmedia messaging, mobile devices and global impact, to see how different perspectives in psychology provide relevant theoretical and practical anchors. In every area, we will be evaluating media technologies based on: 1) inherent physical and psychological attributes; 2) impact on individuals and society; 3) design implications; and 4) user experience. The final project will focus on media’s ability to leverage ideas, cross boundaries, and connect people applied to the question: how can media technologies create social change?
PSY-585 Media Psychology Practicum, 4 semester credits
The purpose of the Media Psychology Practicum is to obtain skills in the hands-on application of theory, technology and practice of media applications necessary to conduct independent research in the field of media psychology. The practicum includes experience in any relevant phase of research, creation, production or assessment under the direct supervision of a Media Psychology faculty member and/or an accredited professional in the media or enabling technology industries. The purpose of this requirement is to complement the more didactic and independent learning about media that occurs in other contexts in order to develop the student's media competencies. The amount and types of practicum training necessary to achieve those competencies will vary as a function of the entering student's prior research education, training, and experience. The student may require more than the minimum hours of training in order to develop the competencies needed to conceptualize and carry out doctoral-level research and application. Media Psychology practicum training activities follow an apprenticeship model and include the following types of activities: (a) serving as an apprentice or an assistant to a qualified media producer; (b) assisting another student with supervised dissertation research or application under the supervision of that student's dissertation committee chair; (c) conducting a pre-dissertation media application under faculty supervision; (d) participating in a Fielding-sponsored institutional media project; (e) participation in Hands-On Media Labs offered at research and national sessions, in clusters, and online; (f) collaborate in the actual production, editing and/or engineering of a media or multimedia project; (g) participating in the research, design and production of a presentation for delivery before a professional audience or specialty application; (h) any other applied media activity approved by a Media Psychology faculty member.
PSY-628 Special Topics Practicum: Media Psychology, 0.5-4 semester credits
Workshops, seminars, conferences and special topics designated as PSY-628 accrue credit toward the 4 unit (generally 8 day) residency requirement required prior to the formation of a dissertation committee. Generally, each face-to-face workshop is valued at .5 credit hours per day. Multi-day workshops are valued at a maximum of 1.0 credit hours. Workshops are offered at national sessions, regional clusters and special events throughout the year.
PSY-631 Qualifying Exam, 4 semester credits
For the written portion of the qualifying exam, the student selects a central dissertation question, preparing an in-depth written analysis using methodological and theoretical analysis and scholarly argument. For the oral portion of the exam the student defends the written analysis in front of the QE committee, either in person at a session, or via conference call. The committee then votes on the student's readiness to advance to the dissertation work.
Pre-requisites: Complete all 74 credits of coursework excluding research practicum and dissertation.
PSY-633 Oral Review of Dissertation, Credit/No Credit, 0 semester credits
When the dissertation is approved by the dissertation committee, a Final Oral Review (FOR) is scheduled. Here the student makes a formal presentation of his/her dissertation. This includes a brief summary of the literature review, the reasons for the study and specific hypotheses, methods, results, and recommendations. Following the FOR, the committee may accept the dissertation or agree to require further revisions. The FOR is open to the entire community, and attendees are given the opportunity to question the student on his/her methods and findings. These meetings are well attended and provide other students with exposure to models for successfully completing the dissertation process.
Pre-requisites: Dissertation Proposal Approval
Delivery Method: In person
PSY-638 Dissertation in Progress, Credit/No Credit, 0 semester credits
Completion of this course signifies the student has a full dissertation committee and is working on their dissertation proposal.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-639 Dissertation Completion, 18 semester credits
Completion of this course signifies the full dissertation committee has reviewed the final draft of the dissertation and has indicated it is ready to be proofread and prepared for binding.
Pre-requisites: PSY-633
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-685 Research Practicum: Media Psychology, 4 semester credits
Research practicum consists of supervised, hands-on applied research training acquired through team research projects, and research projects at various organizations. Students with substantial prior research experience should plan their hours to develop skills in new areas. All research practicum hours must be reviewed and pre-approved (i.e., before the students begins the practicum). Approval of acquired hours is also required upon completion of the research practicum for these hours to be recorded as complete. Hours are recorded as the ratio of 40 clock hours equals one semester credit.
Pre-requisites: PSY-526A, PSY-526B. PSY-526C may be taken previously or concurrently.

Elective Courses

MSC-552 Global Psychology: Social Marketing in a Borderless World, 4 semester credits
We use a global perspective in this course to explore ways in which global broadcast and narrowcast media make an impact in society, and how these media are harnessed to actively promote the advancement of social concerns. We assess the use and misuse of traditional media (radio and television), the classical entertainment media (film, theatre, art and music) and the “new” media (internet, social networks, blogs, virtual worlds, and cell phone technologies) in reaching their desired audiences and convincing them of anything. We explore the techniques of social marketing --adapted from advertising -- for influencing attitudes and behavior. Students investigate media reach and the new forms of digital divides, and then explore media for social activism, including psychological concepts of empathy, altruism, persuasion and influence, all central to the theory and practice of social marketing. Readings emphasize the analysis of social campaign case studies, preparing students for a final project that combines media and psychology to advance a local or global social cause meaningful to them personally. Other class assignments emphasize active asynchronous discussion, short written work practicing a variety of media styles, and a team project to gain experience in the dispersed teamwork typical of global media campaigns.
MSC-555 Positive Psychology and the Social Entrepreneur, 4 semester credits
What character traits, emotions, and personal virtues contribute to human fulfillment and happiness? How can media serve to promote the development of these qualities at the individual, group, and organizational level? Throughout this course, students will explore the scientific discipline known as positive psychology as it relates to media consumption and development. Positive psychology is an emerging field of psychology that transcends the clinical disease model and serves to examine the source and nature of human strengths. Students will gain an understanding of the symbiotic and interdependent relationship between pro-social media and human traits such as optimism, resilience, creativity and compassion.
MSC-557 Media and Political Psychology: Propaganda & Persuasion, 4 semester credits
For decades, media has been relied upon to call attention to policy conflicts and to identify likely alternatives available to those seeking a resolution. In short-to define the public agenda. Interactive multimedia, blogs, social networks, virtual worlds, and other innovations are changing public discourse and those who shape it. Yet a major question remains unanswered: how do voters and consumers actually process information? What is the connection between political technique, political conviction and appeal to the heart and to the mind? This course focuses on political and advocacy psychology, and what happens when reason and emotion collide. What determines how people vote? How does one side in the political debate claim the political narrative? Why do people choose to support one cause over another? In any media, those who create advocacy and political messages seek to shape a narrative, to tell a convincing story that makes events come alive. Upon completion of this course, students will understand the application of Agenda Setting Theory to traditional print and television, and to newer Internet based media. We will explore and assess the link between media, message, and the political mind.
MSC-558 Cognitive Psychology and the Display of Information, 4 semester credits
For almost two generations, content creators have repeated Marshall McLuhan's "law" as if it were a mantra. "The Medium is the Message (or Massage)" became the guiding principle of film and television producers, music distributors and all manner of content creators. One after another they pronounced themselves platform agnostics. They were not only hoping that convergence was real, they were betting on it. The idea was simple: whatever was created could readily move from one medium to another, generating revenue along the way. Initially things looked good. Film moved to DVD to cable to television and to the small screen on the airplane seat back. The content creator was in control. Content was king. Things looked good - until they didn't. Convergence assumes that the cross-device user experience is the same, or at least similar. While it doesn't take a psychologist to explain that viewing Lawrence of Arabia on a PDA is different than in its original cinemascope format, this difference is where the cognitive action lies. Increasingly, content creators need to consider both their target delivery device and the principles of cognitive psychology driving the user experience. This course explains the impact of cognitive psychology on devices, visual display, and content design.
MSC-566 Brand Psychology and Social Storytelling, 4 semester credits
This course combines the psychology of branding and storytelling with the power of social participation and distribution to engage customers and promote brands across media technology platforms. Creating and applying storytelling to messaging today means orchestrating across multiple platforms and designing for social participation and brand-story coherence. It demands the integration of multiple elements: understanding the media environment, narrative structure, consumer behavior, brand psychology, technology attributes, audience targeting, and process management and evaluation. Storytelling is not new, but the new media environment creates a new approach to building stories and storyworlds for brands and organizations that creates an immersive experience. Social storytelling is not repurposing a message for multiple media channels. It is an additive, 360-degree approach to branding driven by story and user participation. Transmedia storytelling is the structural approach behind successful entertainment franchises, like Game of Thrones and Mad Men, and brand campaigns, such as Intel's Inside Films and TOMS Shoes, that built story around social participation. This has become the standard in branding and marketing because it increases profitability, longevity and customer engagement, making a more robust, integrative and vibrant marketing campaign that extends reach in an increasingly fractured marketplace.
MSC-567 The Psychology of Neuromarketing, 4 semester credits
This course examines an emerging field investigating the direct effect of advertising, media and consumer products or services on the brains of consumers. Traditional self-reports and observation-based research methods have often failed to provide a credible interpretation of the cognitive, affective and instinctive processes that influence consumer responses to multiple forms of stimuli. The widespread availability of neuroimaging technologies has allowed neuromarketing researchers to unveil new insights on how messaging or decision-making works in the brain. This fresh knowledge has radically transformed our scientific understanding of the modern consumer. This course provides an understanding of new psychological constructs as well as new modalities that are used to assess, understand and predict the effect of advertisements, media, corporate messages, public service announcements and many more stimuli on the brain. Student will also learn which aspects of the nervous system they need to understand to grasp the possibilities and limits of neuromarketing methods. This course is designed to make students not only better educated on neuromarketing but to help them hire neuromarketing vendors or even lead a neuromarketing project. Anyone working in media, advertising, branding, PR or communication will gain from knowing about this revolutionary approach to the psychology of consumer behavior.
Pre-requisites: MSC-569
MSC-568 Audience Engagement, 4 semester credits
We live in a world where attention is the scare resource. Audiences, users and consumers have high expectations thanks to real time data, 24/7 connectivity and social technologies. It is essential to identify and understand the audience to be able to create satisfying and engaging user messages, services, and products as well as to use resources wisely. This course examines the psychology of the user through persona development to find and engage your audience. The goal of the course is to identify and construct targeted audience profiles by developing personas. Personas will be created based on psychological theory, looking at the role of personality, motivation, needs, and perception in audience engagement. Students will then test their personas using a qualitative research approach with online data. Persona development drives effective communication and content development, organizational coherence and supports a wide range of applications, including user experience, marketing strategy, fundraising, design and recruitment.
Pre-requisites: MSC-566
MSC-569 Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience, 4 semester credits
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the fast growing field of consumer neurosciences. The course is designed to allow professionals of varied backgrounds to learn and apply persuasion theories based on ground-breaking brain discoveries. Traditional consumer research (surveys and focus groups) have often failed to provide a credible interpretation of the cognitive, affective and instinctive processes that influence consumer responses to multiple forms of advertising and media stimuli. The course first discusses the pros and cons of popular theoretical frameworks that have been used for decades to explain and predict the effect of advertising. Then, students will learn how new research modalities like eye tracking, EEG, GSR (skin conductance) and fMRI are used to produce neuroinsights that can help solve critical marketing, social advocacy, advertising communication, and public campaigns. More importantly, students will learn ways to improve the persuasive effect of any campaign they may create or support in the course of their professional career.
PSY-594 Applied Research Practicum: Media Psychology, 0.5-4 semester credits
The Applied Research Practicum is designed for students seeking to research and publish topics in academic journals or other juried media (books, e-journals, etc.) and/or for students seeking to research and present topics before professional or academic audiences. This practicum is offered under the supervision of Media Psychology Faculty. It may apply to publication or presentation outside those offered by the Media Faculty, at an external site, but must be supervised by a Media Psychology faculty member. Unit credit for activities under this practicum may range from 0.5 to 4 semester credits. The maximum that may be accrued is 4 semester credits.
PSY-637 Dissertation Research, 2 semester credits
PSY-637 Dissertation Research is a 2 credit course available for registration each term and is not associated with any particular step. It is the only dissertation course a student can register for directly. Students register with their chair as the instructor. If the chair is unavailable to supervise dissertation work during a term due to sabbatical or illness, or some other extenuating circumstance, another Fielding faculty member from the student's committee may supervise as a proxy for the chair. The course is designed to demonstrate active engagement with the dissertation from concept paper to final product. Students registered in the course should have a plan with their chair for said dissertation engagement for the term. A written summation of progress must be submitted to the chair before the end of the term. The course is graded pass/fail (CR/NC), or can be given an Incomplete as per the university grade policy. The course can be registered for a total of 6 terms; the terms need not be consecutive.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-702 Developmental Bases of Behavior, 4 semester credits
Normal human development across the lifespan is examined in this course. Included are the major theories and contributors to the understanding of emotions, cognition, language, social behavior, moral reasoning, intelligence, sex roles, and identity. Students analyze how different development approaches/models might conceptualize a given topic of interest.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-703 History & Systems of Psychology, 4 semester credits
This course offers a historical understanding of the field of psychology with attention to its major systems and the individuals who contributed to its evolution as an organized discipline. Students demonstrate independent and critical thinking and examine how psychological theory, methods of inquiry, and professional practice are historically and culturally embedded.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-704 Theories of Personality, 4 semester credits
The goal of this class is to develop an understanding of the conceptual and empirical bases of key theories of personality. The multitude of personality theories has been organized into five main approaches: cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-existential, narrative, psychoanalytic, and psychometric/descriptive. Each approach or school shares a set of basic assumptions about what people are like, their motives, course of development, and sources of change. Central to this course is your understanding of the shared issues across theories as well points of commonality and uniqueness.
PSY-705 Social Bases of Behavior, 4 semester credits
The functioning of the individual within the context of the social environment is examined in this course. It comprises an appraisal of current research and theory in the sub-areas of social psychology, including perception of self and others, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, attitudes and social behaviors, and cultural/sexual roles.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-706 Cognitive & Affective Bases of Behavior, 4 semester credits
This broadly conceived course includes knowledge derived from history, philosophy, early psychology, and contemporary neuroscience. Some of its foci, notably involving the nature of consciousness, address questions that remain insufficiently answered and possibly ultimately unanswerable by those with human brains and nervous systems. Students investigate how human behavior is shaped and modulated by cognition, affect, and their interaction. The course includes theories and empirical bases of learning, perception memory, language, motivation, affect, emotion, and executive function, as well as factors that influence cognitive performance and emotional experience and their interaction. Topics include (1) contemporary perceptual, cognitive and affective neuroscience, (2) false and distorted memories, (3) the nature of consciousness, (4) basic emotions, (5) culture, gender, cognition and affect, and (6) interrelationships among cognitions/beliefs, behavior, affect, temperament, and mood.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-707 Biological Bases of Behavior, 4 semester credits
This course surveys the structural and functional relations of the central nervous system, physiology, sensory processes, and behavior. Study is divided into two subsections: (1) physiological psychology and (2) evolution, genetics, and behavior. Students become familiar with the biology of memory and the biological/genetic aspects of psychiatric disorders. Knowledge of the functioning of the brain at the anatomical, cellular, and molecular levels underpins any understanding of behavior. Biological Bases of Behavior provides fundamental knowledge of brain functions in the interest of providing an understanding of the foundational grounding from which all behavior comes. Attention is paid to the physiology of the brain; the environmental, genetic and evolutionary influences on the brain; and the ways in which the brain processes information, records emotions, and instantiates memory and learning. The course includes an understanding of how information from the environment is processed, the underlying mechanisms of affect and reinforcement, how experience can alter the brain, and what limitations are imposed on an individual following neural damage. It also includes a solid understanding of the evolution of mechanisms involved in behavior, as well as the putative mechanisms of medications in the brain.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-708 Psychopathology, 4 semester credits
This course examines approaches to the systematic description of psychological disorders: historical, sociopolitical, ethno-racial, gender, age, SES, medical, behavioral, and epidemiological. Topics include the nosological system (DSM-5), the differential diagnoses among its subcategories, etiology, possible alternatives to the existing system, and research in this field.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-712 Multicultural Psychology, 4 semester credits
The Multicultural Psychology course has been designed to engage students in learning about the psychological foundations of the influences and effects of culture and society on individuals and groups, and their interactions. Students will learn about culture and society's potential impacts on the experience and management of similarity and difference in the therapeutic relationship, in clinical assessment, in research practices, in everyday life, and on the interpretation of empirical data. The course consists of an academic and an experiential component in order to provide exposure to the knowledge and self- and other- awareness that facilitates multicultural competence. Students will learn to place in psychological context American and cross-cultural experience, multiculturalism and diversity, and individual differences within and amongst people.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-715A Psychometric Theory, 3 semester credits
This course is designed to give students a broad understanding of psychometric principles related to psychological assessment. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding the science of psychological assessment including reviewing statistics which are foundational to the field of psychological assessment, the development of tests, reliability, validity, development of norms and item analysis. Classical and Modern Test Theory (including IRT) will be reviewed.
Pre-requisites: Must have completed PSY-526A or take concurrently.
Delivery Method: Distance/Electronically Mediated
PSY-718 Qualitative Data Analysis Software, 2 semester credits
This course will familiarize the student with using qualitative software for research analysis and exploration while learning basic qualitative methodology. Qualitative research usually involves the analysis of observations. Text transcribed from these observations (in the form of media episodes [television programs, radio shows, web events], interviews, focus groups, reports, field notes, social media postings, listservs, published text, etc.) can then be analyzed with software specifically designed for finding and extracting patterns and meaning. This course will set the basic groundwork for using and understanding qualitative software for performing analysis. The goal of this course is to prepare the student and provide the basic foundation for qualitative analysis including content analysis with software packages.
Pre-requisites: PSY-701A
PSY-719 Quantitative Data Analysis Software, 2 semester credits
This course will familiarize the student with using quantitative software for research analysis and exploration. The student will also learn how to read and analyze basic quantitative output. Quantitative research usually involves the analysis of statistical operations. Quantitative software facilitates quantitative analysis by applying predictive analytics to uncover patterns and associations. Quantitative Software analysis is designed to provide the student with an overview as to how to use statistical software (IBM SPSS) to analyze basic and intermediate statistics, construct data sets, and use syntax. The goal of the class is to acquaint the student with data analysis—the art of examining, summarizing, and drawing conclusions from data. The course will set the basic groundwork for using and understanding quantitative software for performing analysis. Students will learn the specifics of the software (IBM SPSS).
Pre-requisites: PSY-716 or 716A and PSY-701A or 701.
PSY-720 Special Topics in Research, 2 or 4 semester credits
This special topic course in research covers content not addressed in PSY 701A and 701B (Clinical). The specific content of this course must be negotiated and approved with a faculty member using an assessment contract. This course might include coursework in qualitative interviewing, qualitative data analysis, qualitative data presentation, construction of data collection instruments, and advanced research methodology.
PSY-721 Special Topics in Statistics, 2 or 4 semester credits
This special topic course in statistics covers content not addressed in PSY-716A and PSY-717 (Clinical). The specific content of this course must be negotiated and approved with a faculty member using an assessment contract. This course might include coursework in causal modeling, classification methods, multi-level modeling, etc.
PSY-722 Content Analysis, 4 semester credits
This course will provide the basic groundwork for using content analysis methodology. Content analysis is a scientific methodology used for making inferences by objectively and systematically identifying content and studying the content of communication. For educators, psychologists, teachers, consultants, and other professionals, it is valuable to examine media offerings that are deliberately designed to benefit individuals educationally, psychologically, and socially. Such analyses can be of film, television, print images, text, news, advertisement, and web pages. In this course, students will learn to conduct, assemble, and synthesize research on content. Lieblich’s model of analyses, including holistic-content, holistic-form, categorical-content and categorical form, will create systemic tools for the learner to identify themes in narrative. Learner generated written texts will give practice in “naked” as well as template coding of qualitative data.
Pre-requisites: CLINICAL: PSY-716A and PSY-701A MEDIA: PSY-526A
PSY-723 Qualitative Research, 4 semester credits
The goal of this course is to develop an understanding of the theory and practice of qualitative research so that the student is prepared to conduct such an inquiry. We will review the epistemological foundations of qualitative inquiry, current debates about its place in psychology and then proceed to a more practice-oriented consideration of issues in interviewing and techniques of analysis of qualitative data. We will conclude with practice in writing up qualitative results with attention to issues of forms of writing and conceptual framing of results.
PSY-724A Media & Cognitive Psychology, 4 semester credits
The problem of mediation, filters, organization, and censorship has often been studied as attributes of mass media. And yet, this issue is seminal to the study of cognition and how we process information. For the purposes of this course, perception will be broadly defined as the relationship between images and words that characterizes human thought and cognition. Using the psychology of advertising and photography as a point of departure, we will discuss selection, grouping, illusion and ambiguity as processes of visual perception, and briefly explore the role of memory and embedded subliminals in perception. This course will explore filters that occur at the level of personality and because perception involves words, we will discuss how words and rhetoric influence what we see. This discussion of mediation at the individual level will be integrated within the context of ideological, sociological, structural and cultural filters that occur at the level of mass media. The aim will be to show how mass media and audience effects are dependent on the psychology of cognition. In this course you will explore and consider possible alternatives to the problem of mediated perception for both media systems and cognition.
PSY-724B Media & Social Psychology, 4 semester credits
Broadly defined, social psychology looks at how people think and influence each other. If we think of mass media as cultural centers that influence public opinion and attitudes, then social psychology is inherently tied to the study of mass media communications. This course will provide students with an overview of social psychological processes as they are related to issues in mass media. We will explore processes of self concept formation, the formation of judgments, explanations, and expectations, along with an exploration of attitudes and behavior, and social identity embedded within the context of mass media influence and new media interactions. We will then turn to the core relationship that exists between media and social psychology: the study of social influence. We will explore conformity and minority influence as paradigms for passive and active resistance to influence and discuss the micro processes behind the creation of norms and standards. How do these processes of influence play out in various forms of media today? Finally we will explore the important relationship between media contents and attitudes, opinions, and behavior. Other topics discussed include: video games, violence-aggression, prejudice and the social psychology of social networks.
PSY-724C Narratives, Symbols and Imagery in Media, 4 semester credits
Media serve as vehicles for the communication of messages to audiences who interpret the meaning of the messages. The meanings intended by those who craft a message and the meanings understood by those who receive the message draw on a shared cultural repertoire of background codes and rules. This common background contains understandings of what words and images stand for and the kinds of meanings assumed by various presentation formats; e.g., scientific writing, narratives, poems, movies, twitters, and web-pages. The cultural background through which signs and symbols are linked to meanings is termed the semiosphere and its study is termed semiology. The content of this KA draws on the concepts and theories of semiology and their relationship to the crafting and interpretation of media.
PSY-724D Media & Political Psychology, 4 semester credits
Media is called upon to define the public agenda. Interactive and social media get a great deal of attention and in many instances supplant print, radio, and television, yet major questions remain unanswered. How do voters and consumers actually process information? What is the connection between political technique, political conviction, and appeal to the heart and to the mind? This course focuses on political psychology and what happens when reason and emotion collide. How does one side in the political debate claim the political narrative? At first look these approaches to narrative and agenda setting appear to be uniquely American. But American-style political messages and spin are being sold to the world - and the world is buying.
PSY-724E Media Literacy & Social Impacts of Technology, 4 semester credits
This course covers the basics of media literacy, which is defined simply as “understanding how to identify, evaluate, and apply the techniques of media persuasion.” This course addresses the theories of Marshall McLuhan and other media ecologists, and considers structured approaches to assessing the social impacts of media and other kinds of technology. Questions addressed may include: How does the evolving nature of media impact the nature of literacy? How do we critically examine technologies in order to understand their impacts, reactively and proactively? How is “the medium the message” and how does the nature of a medium impact the nature of the message it conveys? Students may be involved in creating media, as well using social media as part of the class structure.
PSY-727 Psychopharmacology, 4 semester credits
This course extends the study of brain chemistry into the topic of drugs and the chemical treatment of emotional and behavior disorders. This course provides an overview of drugs and biological interventions commonly used in clinical practice, their underlying brain mechanisms, and the research to support their effectiveness.
Pre-requisites: PSY-707
PSY-728 Neuropsychology, 4 semester credits
This course addresses the wide-ranging discipline of clinical neuropsychology. This field is represented by four emerging areas: the classic analysis of behavioral sequelae to brain damage, including substance abuse; pathology from slow development of specific cognitive functions; neuropsychological deficits based on unusual learning histories which have no organic basis; and the developing and aging brain.
Pre-requisites: PSY-707
PSY-730 Neuroanatomy, 2 or 4 semester credits
This course covers the structure and function of the various portions of the brain, what lies next to what, and what does what. Knowledge from this course will help students estimate the structures involved in a given trauma and the functions that are expected to be disrupted by it. This course can be taken for either 2 credits or 4 credits. For 2 credits one must only take the neuroanatomy examination. For a 4-credit course one must also write a 15 to 20 page (of text) paper on a topic within the realm of neuroanatomy.
PSY-731 Health Psychology, 4 semester credits
This course recognizes the broadening role of psychologists in health care settings. Students examine psychological principles and interventions to treat and prevent illness, promote health, and analyze and improve the health care system. Topics include research on the interaction of psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and the environment, as well as controversies, current research, and interventions in the field.
Pre-requisites: PSY-701A and PSY-707
PSY-733 Language, 4 semester credits
The development of language takes place from birth to adulthood and is directly linked to cognitive and cultural variables that can be understood from multiple perspectives. Language disorders, on the other hand, may involve central deficits in phonemics, semantics, syntax, morphology, and pragmatics. This course focuses on the basic concepts of language development in the early school age years and different forms of language and reading deficits and their remediation.
Pre-requisites: PSY-706, PSY-707.
PSY-734 Neurological Disorders, 4 semester credits
This course addresses the underlying neurological and organic bases, psychological ramifications, and neuropsychological consequences of common neurological disorders.
PSY-749 Marriage & Family Therapy, 4 semester credits
This course embraces historical and cross-cultural views of the complex and changing social unit known as the family, dealing with contemporary theories and current issues in marriage and family therapy.
Pre-requisites: PSY-711A1 and PSY-711A2
PSY-752 Positive Psychology, 4 semester credits
Positive psychology is an orientation to the field of psychology going beyond the emphasis on illness and pathology and instead examines areas such as happiness, well-being, optimism, and fulfillment. The course readings will examine topics including strength, virtue, and positive institutions; subjective well-being and happiness; the science of happiness; self-esteem; hope and optimism; resiliency; humor, flow, and emotional intelligence; creativity; and the role of religiosity.
PSY-756 Special Topics in Academic Writing Skills, 2 semester credits
This course assists both new students who wish to develop their graduate-level writing skills and ongoing students who wish to polish their skills.
PSY-760 Independent Study, 1, 2 or 4 semester credits
Students may propose and develop an independent study contract in subject areas or sub-areas of psychology not encompassed by another course.
PSY-761 Human Sexuality, 4 semester credits
The objective of this course is the development of information and attitudes that enable psychologists to deal effectively with sexual problems and sex-related issues presented to them. Topics include the physiology of sexual behavior, sexual development, and treatment of psychologically based sexual disorders.
PSY-765 Forensic Psychology, 4 semester credits
This is the basic core course in forensic psychology, required for all students in the forensic concentration. It provides an overview of the field of forensic psychology. Forensic psychology applies psychological art and science to legal and quasi-legal problems. This course addresses principles that underlie the use of psychologists in legal problem solving and the growth of forensic psychology. Topics include the role of forensic specialists in child psychology, neuropsychology, abnormal psychology, and psychological measurement.
Pre-requisites: PSY-710B, PSY-710C, PSY-715A. Media students can be registered without these pre-requisites by contacting
PSY-766 Special Topics in Media Psychology, 4 semester credits
Includes an approved project or paper where the student examines a particular area of interest in depth.
Pre-requisites: PSY-585
PSY-767A The Social Impact of Mobile and Immersive Media, 4 semester credits
Every new medium introduces new forms of narrative. Immersive media (IM), augmented reality (AR), transmedia storytelling, and more, create tremendous media disruption - and tremendous opportunity. Internet 1.0 (1994 - 2000) was all about the great disruption of a hyperlinked world, which was quickly watered down to online shopping. Internet 2.0 (2004 - 2009) was the decade it took to figure out what to do with a networked, rich web app, social media world. The advent (2009 - present) of IM, and particularly AR, is where broadband enabled mobile technology makes the Internet inescapable offering pitfall and promise. As we rapidly move toward a future where wireless is embedded in everything around us, these media innovations, combined with the modern tablets and smart phones, empower the user with extraordinary capabilities. In theory, almost anyone can know almost anything almost anywhere. This increased transparency leads to reduced privacy, timely access to information breeds constant access to entertainment and we can trust product marketers to use and abuse the medium. Can these developments be used to increase the cognitive understanding of social concerns? Can location based information (GIS) and spatial psychology be used to increase our cognitive relationship to physical place? What is the social impact of real time data delivery? This seminar recasts Marshal McLuhan's famous axiom where the device becomes the message. Public and private organizations as well as foundations and NGOs are adding GIS competence and functions. This development, combined with a layer of real time information accessed through immersive media and augmented reality, addresses the demand for media strategists rather than technologists. In this seminar, these new innovations are brought to life through case studies, research findings and a myriad of applications, product demos and false starts. It draws on the foundations of psychology that lead to effective data visualization, application design, increased human understanding and most importantly mobile advocacy. This revolution will not be televised.
PSY-767B Narrative & Digital Storytelling, 4 semester credits
This course examines how new media narrative both observes and adds to traditional forms of storytelling. Students create reflective media, using planning tools that help them visualize the overall arc and map of a story, as well as describe the media components of their stories in order to integrate and align media and narrative, deliberately and reflectively. The media that students produce is zero budget media in that students are not expected to have or use equipment beyond their own laptop and digital camera. In addition, students read narrative theory, synthesize their own concepts in this area, and present their findings in written work, particularly as it applies to their professional practice.
PSY-767C Digital Media Research & Production, 4 semester credits
This course examines the way in which media works are researched, developed and funded through a combination of readings and simulated exercises. The key objective of this course is to make the student fully conversant with all aspects of media production, including technical, creative, financial and distribution tasks.
PSY-769 Advanced Topics in Media Psychology, 2 or 4 semester credits
Designed to allow for a diverse array of electives. Each assessment involves an individual special topic agreed between the student and the faculty member. Students may choose from a large array of electives that reflect theories on psychology as applied to the media. These may be applied to media technologies in practica, research projects, and special studies in media effects.
PSY-771 Legal & Ethical Issues in Media Psychology, 4 semester credits
This course involves a review of pertinent research literature from the study of media effects. Some sample topics include court cases and legal principles involving such issues as freedom of expression, protected and unprotected speech, libel, obscenity, privacy, commercial expression, copyright, intellectual property, and related issues. The course will assist participants in developing an understanding of psychological theories that pertain to culture, the law, and media.
PSY-772 Media & the Comparative Identity of Nations, States and Cultures, 4 semester credits
This course explores the relationship between media, public opinion and the comparative and competitive identity of nations, regions and cultures. Ever since the introduction of "nation branding" in the mid - 1990s, there has been growing interest in the notion that countries, regions and cultures can build and maintain their own images. There is very little agreement on how, or even if, the techniques of brand management can apply to places. There is broad agreement, however, that the effect and power of the media drives public opinion in one direction or another toward a conclusion about the quality, openness, and desirability of visiting, doing business with or entering into agreements with a nation, region or culture. Just how is this public opinion "framed" and how can it be changed? What determines whether the media will accept or reject a country's perspective on how it would like to be viewed? What are the ways that encourage the open exchange of ideas between governments and the media and between the media and the public? What consequences does this new media environment have for how a country sees itself and how others see it?
PSY-773 Media Innovation and Online Education, 4 semester credits
Higher education is seeking those who both create innovative media psychology, emerging media and related content and are familiar with on-line delivery platforms. This seminar is designed to address emerging technology and the creation of virtual courseware for those seeking to deliver educational experiences within degree programs, private executive development and international development programs. Both advanced doctoral students and recent graduates are finding tremendous value in preparing for online course delivery. This seminar includes: -Comparative delivery platforms and forum management -Fully annotated syllabus development -Keys to innovative course content -Topic specific literature review -Managing your professional online identity

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"I was accepted into three programs but chose Fielding because it was flexible, had a great reputation, was accredited by the American Psychological Association, and the media psychology program allowed me to make my mark on an emerging field."

-Jon Cabiria, PhD, Alumnus
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