The Major

See the Requirements for the Psychology Major for elaboration of the requirements referenced below.

Credit for Prior Courses

Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Transfer Credit (TC) from courses at other institutions can be used in some instances as credit toward the major and/or toward graduation. Confirm and arrange all credit requests with both the Registrar and the current Psychology Department Chairperson.

Psychology AP score of 4 or 5 qualifies for credit toward PY100 or PY105.

IB Higher Level (HL) Psychology score of 5, 6, or 7 qualifies for credit toward PY100 or PY105.  IB Higher Level (HL) Psychology score of 4 and Standard Level 5, 6, or 7 qualifies for graduation requirements but not Psychology major requirements.

Transfer Credit

A total of one or two courses of Transfer credit (C- or better) toward the major requirements are possible subject to Departmental approval. Course enrollment limits and the Seniority system used during preregistration might create significant enrollment obstacles in required courses for transfer students wishing to major in psychology, particularly for transfer students arriving after their sophomore year.  

Introduction to Psychology, Electives, Methods (I or II), or Core Courses might be satisfied by equivalent transfer credit.  Transfer credit is NOT possible for the Research (PY251/451) or Seminar (PY400-level) requirements; These must be completed at Colorado College.

Submit potential transfer course syllabi to and discuss options with the Chairperson of the department.

Steps to Declare the Major

The Psychology Major can be declared once you have completed an Introduction to Psychology course (PY100 or PY105 or AB or IB credit) and an Introduction to Methods & Statistics course (PY205; formerly PY202).  Declaring the major adds your name to the college's and department's lists of majors, helping to ensure you receive all important notices regarding the major.

  1. Complete the courses listed above with a C- or better grade.
  2. Review the requirements for the major in preparation for completing the forms.
  3. Review the CC Honor Code (highly recommended).
  4. Contact the Psychology Office to be assigned an advisor.
  5. Complete the Registrar's Declaration of Major listing the assigned advisor.
  6. Submit a professional-looking headshot photo of yourself to the Psychology Paraprofessional for the dept bulletin board and website (highly recommended).

NOTE: Discussion of your interests in the major and your career are not limited to your specific advisor - you can contact and discuss your interests with any faculty member in the department.

Prerequisites & Course Sequencing*

*Guidelines only - See the Registrar's catalogue listing for all official course prerequisites.

PY100-level courses (e.g., PY100, PY116, PY160, etc.) have no prerequisites.  An Introduction to Psychology course (PY100 or PY105) satisfies a major requirement and is a prerequisite for most upper level (200, 300, 400) courses.

PY200-level courses (e.g., PY205, PY281, PY296, PY299, etc.) generally require (PY100 or PY105) or another introductory course (e.g., ED101 for PY270 or MB131 for PY299) as prerequisites. Most 200-level courses count as a Core Course for the major requirements. PY205 and PY296/PY299 are important prerequisites for many upper level (300, 400) courses.

PY251 is COI and an important entry into learning to conduct research.  It satisfies the Research Experience major requirement (as does PY451).

PY305 (Methods II) and all PY300-level "core courses" require PY205 as a prerequisite. PY305 sections have topical foci such that multiple PY305 courses can be taken for credit.

PY400-level senior seminars typically require PY205 and/or PY296/PY299 and frequently another core course from that subfield (e.g., PY362 or PY374 for PY430).

PY451 is a COI capstone research project experience and highly recommended for anyone considering graduate work in Psychology or a related field.  It satisfies the Research Experience major requirement (as does PY251).

Graduating with Distinction in Psychology

Criteria for Graduating with Distinction in Psychology:

  1. Minimum GPA of 3.6 in Psychology with no more than two courses taken P/F.
  2. Final Project (PY451) judged worthy of distinction by the faculty.
    To graduate with honors the student must complete a final research project that deemed worthy of distinction. At a minimum, the project must be completed and submitted on time (i.e., first Monday Block 7 of senior year), and the student must present the project at Psychology and Neuroscience Poster Day (Block 8). Beyond these minimal requirements the faculty also consider:
    • The overall quality of the research question and project plan.
    • The quality of the written research paper.
    • The quality of the oral and visual presentation at Poster Day.
    • The number of blocks committed to the research (i.e., PY452 and/or PY453 are desirable).
    • Whether the project was also presented at any research conferences.

For cases that fall on the cusp of distinction the faculty may also consider whether the student took more than the minimum number of psychology courses, has had work experiences related to the course of study, or has contributed meaningfully to the Department community, enhancing its mission and benefiting other students.

Additional Departmental Honors

Cornelia Manley Sabine Award

This award is presented annually to the outstanding graduating psychology senior on behalf of Cornelia Sabine, Class of 1947, a longtime supporter of Colorado College and the Department of Psychology. This award serves as a tribute to Cornelia, who has had a long and distinguished career in public service as a psychologist, working with both children and adults in Colorado. Her advice to students was always to use their knowledge of psychology to bring peace and understanding into relationships in our fractious modern world.

Cornelia Manley Sabine Scholarship in Psychology

The Sabine Scholarship in Psychology Award was established in 2007 to recognize the accomplishments of a deserving Colorado College Psychology Department major. The selection of the recipient is based on the student's academic record and contribution to the total life of the college. This scholarship is intended to reduce the loan component of the recipient's financial aid award in the their senior year. The award is presented annually on behalf of Cornelia Sabine, Class of 1947, a longtime supporter of Colorado College and the Department of Psychology.

William Arthur Blakely Award

A small monetary award in honor of W. Arthur Blakely can be presented to an outstanding psychology major at Honors Convocation, usually to a non-senior. W. Arthur Blakely was a Colorado College Psychology Professor from 1931-1961. The prize indicates that the recipient has shown unusual seriousness of purpose in psychology.

Psi Chi International Honor Society

Psychology majors who have a 3.0 GPA in psychology courses and are in the top 35% of their class in overall GPA may be elected to Psi Chi, a national honorary society for undergraduate psychology students. The national society holds regional conferences and sponsors a number of scholarships. Election into Psi Chi normally occurs in the spring semester with an induction ceremony in Block 8.  Contact Lori Driscoll for information.

Margaret T. Barnes Scholarship

Prospective students who are interested in attending CC and majoring in psychology may be eligible for the Margaret T. Barnes Scholarship in the Natural Sciences. Students applying to CC who are interested in pursuing this scholarship should indicate their intention to major in psychology or neuroscience on their application. This scholarship provides full-tuition grants, renewable to four years, to outstanding students who plan to major in the natural sciences. To apply, see the instructions and contacts on the linked page.  


Report an issue - Last updated: 05/23/2023