Dr. David Pan, Department Chair
Lora Magnum Shields Building, Room 249
Phone 505-454-3375
FAX: 505-454-3331

Full information about the undergraduate and graduate programs, faculty and course catalog can be found on the Department of Psychology landing page.

Mission of the Department of Psychology

The mission of the Department of Psychology is to provide psychological and sociocultural service and expertise for the region, as well as the greater global community, and to contribute to meeting the educational needs in psychology, the career needs in psychological services and research, and the training for careers in education engineering, physical and biological sciences, medicine, and other science fields.



Nariman Arfai, Ph.D.
Daniel Chadborn, Ph.D.
Lara Heflin, Ph.D.
Linda LaGrange, Ph.D.
David Pan, Ph.D.
Sarah Tracy, Ph.D.
Leon Bustos, M.S.

group photo

NMHU Psychology Faculty (left to right): Gerald Russell, Ian Williamson, Sarah Tracy, Lara Heflin, David Pan, Nariman Arfai, Julia Jarvis, Linda LaGrangeTenure/Tenure-track Faculty*:

♦  Daniel Chadborn, Ph.D. (Educational Psychology with Experimental Focus), Assistant Professor of Psychology, Texas A&M – Commerce

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Social identity, internet fan communities, self-categorization

♦  Lara Heflin, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology), Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Southern California

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Neuropsychology, health psychology, stress and coping, cancer, brain and head injury

♦  Linda LaGrange, Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology), Professor of Psychology, University of Alberta

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Hepatoprotective and fetoprotective properties of flavonoids in treatment of alcohol abuse, Identification of biological markers of excessive alcohol consumption, biochemical correlates of personality traits/pathology

♦  David Pan, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology), Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Southern California

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Treatment outcomes, anxiety and mood disorders, behavioral interventions, cultural identity, cultural adaptations

*Only tenure/tenure-track faculty members can serve as research advisors for Masters students


Contingent/Visiting Faculty

♦  Gerald Russell, Ph.D.(Clinical Psychology), Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology & Neuropsychology, University of California, Los Angeles


Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV


♦  Leon Bustos, MS (General Psychology), Lecturer, New Mexico Highlands University


        Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV


♦  Sarah Tracy, Ph.D. (Counseling Psychology), New Mexico State University


Farmington Center & Online | CV


♦  Nariman Arfai, Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology), University of New Mexico


Rio Rancho Center & Online | CV

Affiliated Faculty:

♦  Jean Hill, Ph.D. (Emeriti)

♦  Ian Williamson, Ph.D. (Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs)


Department of Psychology Programs


Undergraduate Coordinator: Lara Heflin, Ph.D.;; (505) 454-3547


Graduate Coordinator: David Pan, Ph.D.;; (505) 454-3375


Psychology, the study of human behavior and mental processes, includes such topics as learning and memory, cognition, motivation and emotion, sensation and perception, personality, development, attitudes, social interactions, brain-behavior relationships, human sexuality, psychopathology, and mental health interventions.

The special focus in this field is the individual rather than human societies or cultures. Although the study of psychology contributes to the understanding of abnormal human behavior, knowledge of psychology also enhances the understanding of normal human behavior.

Psychological research is conducted exclusively with the scientific method in applications that range from multifactorial laboratory experiments to single case studies. At Highlands, students experience the diversity within the field through a broad selection of courses. There is a cognitive-behavioral emphasis offered in the study of mental disorders, while research psychology is represented by cognitive, biological, social, and personality approaches.

Career goals of psychologists include teaching, research, and applied psychological service. Psychologists, counselors, and psychometricians work at such sites as schools, mental health centers and hospitals, geriatric facilities, and correctional institutions. The psychological profession also includes school psychologists and human relations or organizational behavior psychologists for industry or government.


Resources and Facilities

The human riches of Northern New Mexico provide an outstanding context for psychological, social, and cultural studies at New Mexico Highlands University. Students may engage in psychobiological research, and clinical practicum.  Studies of human behavior emphasize field data and computer applications for analysis and interpretation.

The department provides a computer laboratory for student use. Students have access to word processing, spreadsheets, and statistical packages, as well as the Internet.

Student professional societies and organizations, such as Psi Chi, provide opportunities for student participation and program enrichment beyond the classroom.

Information on Psychology Scholarships (external website)


Graduate Program Data

Number of applicants 2016-17: 13
Number of students admitted 2016-17: 10
Number of students admitted 2016-17 who accepted offer of admissions: 8
Total number of students enrolled in program during 2016-17: 25
Number of students who graduated in 2016-17: 14




Major in Psychology (BA)

All transfer students majoring in psychology must complete a minor approved by their major adviser.

Required courses: 11 credit hours
PSYC 1110 Introduction to Psychology (3)
PSYC 3010 Psychological Research Methods (4)
PSYC 3020 Statistics for the Behavioral Science (4)

Other Requirements: 16 credit hours, minimum

Choose courses as indicated below in consultation with your major adviser.

Choose at least one course from each of Groups A, B, C, D, and E below, including one laboratory or techniques/methods courses.


  1. A) Social (choose one)

PSYC 3210 Social Psychology: Theories and Research (3)

PSYC 4050 Positive Psychology (3)


  1. B) Personality and Developmental (choose one)

PSYC 3280 Theories of Personality (3)

PSYC 3400 Developmental Psychology (3)


  1. C) Learning and Cognitive Processes (choose one)

PSYC 3170 Learning: Basic Processes (3) AND

PSYC 3180 Experimental Techniques in Learning (1)

(Corequisite: PSYC 3170)


PSYC 3190 Memory and Cognitive Processes (3) AND

PSYC 3200 Research in Memory and Cognition (1)

(Corequisite: PSYC 3190)


PSYC 4660 Psychology of Eyewitness Testimony (3)


  1. D) Psychobiological (choose one)

PSYC 4080 Drugs and Behavior (3) OR

PSYC 4100 Physiological Psychology (3) AND

PSYC 4110 Techniques in Physiological Psychology (1)

(Corequisite: PSYC 4100)


  1. E) Clinical (choose one)

PSYC 3240 Abnormal Psychology (3)

PSYC 4190 Introduction to Behavior Therapy (3)

PSYC 4450 Behavior Disorders in Children (3)

PSYC 4750 Abnormal Psychology in Literature (3)

Electives: 9 credit hours

Additional requirements for this major (not counted toward the 36 credit hour minimum):
In the core curriculum, select the courses SOCI 1110 and ANTH 1215 (or 1140), or substitutes approved by the major adviser. For computer proficiency, select CS 1010 or an equivalent approved by the discipline. Completion of MATH 1215, 1220, 1250, and 1510 is also recommended.

Major Total: 36 credit hours, minimum

Minor Total: 20 credit hours, minimum

Core Requirements: 21 credit hours

Flex Requirements: 10 credit hours

Extended Requirements: 8 credit hours

Proficiency Requirements: 11-17 credit hours

General Electives to 120 (if needed):  8-14 credit hours

Total for degree: 120 credit hours

*A minor is required. For the minor, at least 11 credits must be taken with NMHU; for the major, at least 18 credits must be taken with NMHU.  The number of proficiency credit requirements will vary based on student placement scores. The University requires a minimum of 45 upper-division units for the degree.



Major in Psychology (BS)
An academic minor in a science field is required and is not waived by the associate’s degree. Consult with a program adviser to select an appropriate science minor. For the Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, complete the Bachelor of Arts program described above, with the following changes:

  1. Complete 3 credits of PSYC 4990 as one of the electives.
  1. Select within the science options of the core curriculum (Laboratory Science category) either one year of biology or chemistry.
  1. Complete MATH 1220, 1250, and 1510 in the core curriculum.
  1. Select an academic minor in one of the science fields.

Major Total: 36 credit hours

Minor Total: 20 credit hours minimum

Core Requirements: 21 credit hours

Flex Requirements: 10 credit hours

Extended Requirements: 8 credit hours

Proficiency Requirements: 11-17 credit hours

General Electives to 120 (if needed):  8-14 credit hours

Total for degree: 120 credit hours

*A minor is required. For the minor, at least 11 credits must be taken with NMHU; for the major, at least 18 credits must be taken with NMHU.   The number of proficiency credit requirements will vary based on student placement scores. The University requires a minimum of 45 upper-division units for the degree.



Minor in Psychology
Required courses: 3 credit hours

PSYC 1110 Introduction to Psychology (3)

Electives: 21 credit hours

Choose courses as indicated below in consultation with your minor adviser.

Choose at least one course from three of the four groups of courses listed above for the major in psychology (BA), including at least one laboratory or techniques/methods course. In addition, the student may select one other elective psychology course to complete the 24 credits for a psychology minor.

Minor Total: 24 credit hours

Psychology (PSYC), Courses in

PSYC 1110. Introduction to Psychology (3); Fa, Sp
This course will introduce students to the concepts, theories, significant findings, methodologies, and terminology that apply to the field of psychology. Previous NMHU PSY 101.

PSYC 3010. Psychological Research Methods (4); Fa
This class gives students a basic understanding of the types of research methods that apply to psychology. Students will be introduced to experimental, quasi-experimental, and correlational designs, among others. Majors will be required to conduct their own research project in psychology over the year in conjunction with the PSYC 3020. Previous NMHU PSY 301.

PSYC 3020. Statistics for the Behavioral Science (4); Sp
The first purpose of the course is to reduce the fear of statistics by using examples that make sense to everyone. The second purpose of the course is to teach students basic statistics. Students will be deriving answers with hand calculations to obtain a good basic overview of simple statistics, including descriptive, correlations, t-test, and ANOVAS. Majors will be finishing the research project they began in PSYC 3010 by analyzing their data with the statistical techniques they learn in the class. Previous NMHU PSY 302.

PSYC 3050. Psychology of a Serial Killer (3); Var
The course critically examines serial killers from a psychological perspective.  Students will explore myths and facts associated with the most popular case examples.  Additionally, the course will explore the psychopathology and development of serial killers as well as their portrayal in mass media and the effect on culture and society. Previous NMHU PSY 305.

PSYC 3170. Learning: Basic Processes (3); Sp
A review of the primary phenomena associated with instrumental and classical conditioning. Some attention is given to adaptations of conditioning principles to behavior modification. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110 or permission of instructor. Corequisite: PSYC 3180. Previous NMHU PSY 317. 

PSYC 3180. Experimental Techniques in Learning (1); Sp
Laboratory experimental work demonstrating basic phenomena in animal learning and memory. Corequisite: PSYC 3170. Previous NMHU PSY 318. 

PSYC 3190. Memory and Cognitive Processes (3); Fa, Sp
A review of human processes involved in encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Recommended PSYC 3010 and PSYC 3020. Previous NMHU PSY 319. 

PSYC 3200. Research in Memory and Cognition (1); Fa, Sp
This course is an exercise in critical thinking directed at one’s own mind. The aim of this course is to familiarize students with key cognitive psychological studies by means of practical experimental demonstrations and critical analysis of research articles. The course will cover topics such as selective attention, automatics vs. conscious processing, reconstructive memory processing and semantic integration, forms of learning, and the role of generic knowledge and heuristics in everyday thinking. This course complements PSYC 3190. Previous NMHU PSY 320.

PSYC3210. Social Psychology: Theories and Research (3); Sp, Even
A review of the major social-psychological theories and research. Topics include person perception, attributional processes, attitudes, stereotyping, group processes, aggression, interpersonal attraction, and altruism. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110 or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 321.

PSYC 3240. Abnormal Psychology (3); Fa
An analysis of each of the major syndromes of psychopathology in terms of basic psychological processes. Special attention is given to the clinical observation and experimental research underlying the delineation of each syndrome. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110 or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 324.

PSYC 3280. Theories of Personality (3); Var
A review of the major theories of personality such as those introduced by Freud, Jung, Horney, and Erickson. A sampling of non-Western approaches to this topic is also addressed including the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic perspectives. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110 or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 328.

PSYC 3350 – 4350. Selected Topic in Psychology (1-4 VC)
Course in a topic or topics in psychology. May be repeated with a change of content. Previous NMHU PSY 335-435.

PSYC 3400. Developmental Psychology (3); Fa
In-depth coverage of developmental theory and research with emphasis alternating among child, adolescent and adult development. Cross-listed as ECED 1110. Previous NMHU PSY 340. 

PSYC 3770. Environmental Psychology (3); Var
An examination of environmental factors affecting behavior and socio-psychological functioning, including such topics as physical/architectural factors, crowding, and personal space. Previous NMHU PSY 377. 

PSYC 4050. Positive Psychology (3); Var
This course provides an overview of the dynamic field of positive psychology. What does this mean? Positive psychology is oriented to the study of optimal human performance, quality relationships, well-being, and flourishing. How can we be happy? How can we enhance our own lives and the lives of others? How can we be creative, productive, satisfied, and live meaningful lives? These are a few of the questions we would like to tackle in this course. Previous NMHU PSY 405. 

PSYC 4070. Theories of Counseling (3); Var
This course will enhance students’ awareness of the primary methods, goals, and philosophical/scientific of psychological and related forms of counseling. The course will include the study of research-supported counseling theories as well as the less empirical/tangible elements of this unique form of human encounter. Multicultural issues as they impact counseling will be a primary focus. Previous NMHU PSY 407.

PSYC 4080. Drugs and Behavior (3); Sp
This course will focus on psychoactive drugs, or drugs that influence how people think, feel, or behave. Because this is fundamentally a biological psychology course, it will focus primarily on the physiological action of drugs, including how they influence brain functioning and, consequently, behavior. It will examine the addictive potential of drugs, the neurological and psychological mechanisms by which drugs become addictive, and treatments for drug abuse. Previous NMHU PSY 408. 

PSYC 4090. Domestic and Sexual Violence (3); Var
This course focuses on physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that occurs within families. A particular emphasis will be a focus on the psychological consequences of exposure to physical and sexual trauma and neglect. Victim and offender characteristics will be discussed in the context of family dynamics. Typical and potential criminal justice system responses will be explored. Previous NMHU PSY 409. 

PSYC 4100. Physiological Psychology (3); Fa
An overview of the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological processes underlying behavior. Topics include brain-behavior relationships, neurological disorders, brain organization, sensory systems, language systems, memory systems, sleep, and sexual functioning. Corequisite: PSYC 4110. Previous NMHU PSY 410. 

PSYC 4110. Techniques in Physiological Psychology (1); Fa
Laboratory work designed to enrich understanding of physiological psychology. Exercises include sheep brain dissection and the use of physiological psychology instruments. Corequisite: PSYC 4100. Previous NMHU PSY 411. 

PSYC 4160. Motivation and Emotion (3); Var
A review of the major phenomena and theories that relate to motivation and emotion. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 1110 or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 416. 

PSYC 4190. Introduction to Behavior Therapy (3); Var
Introduction to and survey of behavior therapy procedures and their application to child and adult populations in a variety of settings including homes, schools, prisons, and hospitals. Previous NMHU PSY 419. 

PSYC 4220. Human Sexuality (3); Fa, Even
Review of contemporary, socio-psychological issues relating to human sexuality. Topics include sexual anatomy, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual attitudes and mores. Previous NMHU PSY 422. 

PSYC 4240. Sport Psychology (3); Var
The overall objective of this course is to identify and understand important psychological concepts related to sport and exercise psychology and application of these concepts to teaching, coaching, and consulting situations.  This class focuses on the application of psychological principles of behavior to individuals and groups involved in physical activity. This course examines the questions of how variables influence individuals’ psychological development and how they affect their participation and performance in physical activity.

Various mental skills (e.g., imagery, goal setting) will be introduced through discussion of pertinent theory and research. This class is specifically designed to help students begin formulating practical strategies for teaching various psychological skills. The application of knowledge grounded in theory and research will be stressed.  Cross-listed with HLED 4240.

 PSYC 4250. Introduction to Group Psychotherapy (3); Var
An overview of group therapy, theory and techniques. The course includes an experiential component designed to provide experience with group process and group leadership. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 425. 

PSYC 4300. Gender Roles (3); Var
An examination of gender roles and role theory in understanding the behavior of women and men. Topics include development, stereotyping, sex differences in personality, abilities, achievement, and status. Attention is given to implications of changing female and male roles in society. Previous NMHU PSY 430. 

PSYC 4330. History of Psychology (3); Var
Review of the major figures associated with the development of psychology as a science from Plato’s time to the present, with special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 1110, or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 433. 

PSYC 4450. Behavior Disorders in Children (3); Var
Etiology and treatment of behavioral problems in children in a variety of settings, including home and school environments. An eclectic coverage of the major theories, approaches, and research is provided. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110, or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 445. 

PSYC 4500. Seminar in Psychology (I-4 VC)
Seminar course in a topic or topics in psychology. May be repeated with a change in content. Previous NMHU PSY 450. 

PSYC 4660. Psychology of Eyewitness Testimony (3); Fa
This course is designed to provide students with an in-depth examination of the way human memory process impacts a person’s ability to accurately recall the details of various scenarios such as phone conversations, visual identification of individuals involved in a crime, chronological order of events, and more. In addition to internal memory processes, students will be exposed to the many external influences on memory accuracy, which includes pressure from attorneys, threats from acquaintances, implanted memories, etc. Finally, the impact of age, mental disabilities, and emotional disturbances upon the ability to offer accurate eyewitness testimony will be a third focus of this course. This course is particularly salient to psychology and criminal justice majors. Previous NMHU PSY 466. 

PSYC 4720. Cognitive Science (3); Var
An interdisciplinary investigation of the foundations of human knowledge representation and understanding, the functioning of the human mind, and how these impact on recent computer technologies. Cross-listed as PHIL 4720 and CS 4720. Previous NMHU PSY 472. 

PSYC 4750. Abnormal Psychology and Literature (3); Var
Characters from many literary works analyzed in terms of psychopathology. Various theories of abnormality will be utilized. Previous NMHU PSY 475. 

PSYC 4770. Culture and Mental Illness (3); Var
An examination of current descriptions and explanations of mental disorders in a sample of countries from all major regions of the world. Historical, technical, ethical, and pragmatic aspects of international research in the realm of psychology/psychiatry are also addressed. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110, PSYC 3240, or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 477.

PSYC 4790. Psychology of Religion (3); Var
An examination of the relationship between the discipline of psychology and mysticism. Perspectives addressed include the historical, cultural, philosophic, psychoanalytic, and scientific. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110. Previous NMHU PSY 479. 

PSYC 4800. Community Psychology (3); Var
An introduction to community psychology with emphasis on theories and research regarding prevention and consultation. Prerequisite: PSYC 1110 or permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 480. 

PSYC 4900. Independent Study (I-4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su
Individual, directed readings and library research arranged with an instructor on a topic of mutual interest to the student and instructor. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 490. 

PSYC 4980. Field Experience (1-4 VC); Var
A field placement in a local service agency providing opportunity for observation and learning under staff supervision. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: Senior classification in psychology and permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 498. 

PSYC 4990. Independent Research (I-4 VC); Fa, Sp, Su
An individual, directed research investigation arranged with an instructor on a topic of mutual interest to the student and the instructor. Projects require a final written report that includes a presentation of the problem, review of the literature, description of procedures, data analysis, and interpretation of results. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Previous NMHU PSY 499.


This department is under the College of Arts and Sciences