As part of Occidental's general Writing Program, students acquire discipline-specific written communication skills. Psychology majors are evaluated based on a portfolio of past writing samples.
Basic Departmental Criteria
As indicated in the Portfolio Evaluation Form, students must demonstrate the following abilities in their writing:
- Write clear, succinct papers following basic writing principles and using proper grammar.
- Select appropriate research materials.
- Summarize accurately and evaluate theory and research critically, making sensible judgments about the quality of published literature, including specific features of research designs and statistical analyses.
- Integrate concepts across the sub-disciplines within psychology, and, to some extent, integrate his/her foundation in psychology with other disciplines.
- Demonstrate an understanding of diversity between individuals, groups, or species, and can use psychological concepts and principles to explain how that diversity relates meaningfully to an issue of social justice and/or well-being.
- Format papers in proper APA Style. For more information, refer to our APA Style page or the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
Assembling Your Portfolio - Submission Requirements
You will need to gather past papers written in psychology courses. Specific instructions for assembling and submitting your portfolio are contained in the Writing Portfolio Submission Form. This PDF file can be filled out electronically, or printed and completed by hand. The completed form must be submitted along with your portfolio to your faculty advisor.
The collective set of papers in your portfolio should meet the following requirements:
- Contains a total of at least 20 full pages of written text (excluding title pages, references, figures, appendices, etc.).
- Includes at least one sample that is at least 8 full pages of written text in APA style.
- Contains a “integrative” writing sample that integrates material across 2 or more subdisciplines in psychology OR across 2 or more levels of analysis within psychology.
- Contains a “diversity” writing sample that explains the nature of differences between individuals, groups of people, or species and how those differences affect an issue of social justice and/or well-being.
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