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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Considerations for an Integrated Undergraduate Comparative and Clinical Psychology Course


It has been established that comparative psychology is in danger of becoming a footnote in the history of psychology. Six pieces of evidence to support this problem are few graduate psychology programs; little of no mention in introductory psychology textbooks or courses; insufficient number of undergraduate courses in comparative psychology; few teaching exercises; declining membership in Division 6 of APA; no recent textbooks in comparative psychology. Therefore, this article sought a viable solution to promote comparative psychology’s interconnections to different psychology areas. Specifically, a solution for combining comparative psychology into clinical fields by creating a course that combines comparative and clinical psychology was conceptualized. The rationales, history, barriers, benefits of creating a comparative and clinical psychology course were all examined to make a case for this solution. Concrete approaches to a course development covering domains such as cognitive, behavioral analysis, and scientific reasoning were presented. Also, the consideration of a ‘capstone course’ that is approached from the perspective of ‘challenge-based learning’ was recommended. This capstone course could offer students flexibility and promote problem-solving and innovative-think skills needed for careers. The rationales and recommendations covered in the article established that providing a course on comparative and clinical psychology can actually facilitate students to think differently about psychology and how exactly the different areas of psychology interconnect. In conclusion, it was determined that developing a course on the connectedness of comparative and clinical psychology is one way to help strengthen comparative psychology’s rightful place in the broad field of psychology.


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