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Psychology Major

Applicable for the 2016-2017 academic year.


Major Requirements (instituted 2013-14 and going forward)

Download the printer-friendly summary of the Psychology Major Requirements.

Grading Requirement

A grade of C-minus or better is required for all courses used to fulfill the major. If a lower grade is received for a required course the course must be repeated. Grades of D, D+, or CR will count toward graduation requirements but NOT toward major requirements.

(See "Credit and Grades" in the Academic Policies section of the Catalog of Courses.)

Required Courses

A minimum of 12 courses over 13 blocks are required to complete the major - Ten (10) courses from within the Department of Psychology and two (2) courses from outside the department. These courses are listed below.

Current course offerings can be found on Course Schedules on the Academics page.

Note: Any substitutions or transfer courses must be approved by the psychology faculty.
(Submit your requests to the department chair.)

  1. ONE Introduction to Psychology course:

    PY100 Introduction to Psychology: Bases of Behavior OR
    PY101 Introduction to Psychology: Enduring Ideas and Present Principles (2 block FYE) OR
    PY111 Introduction to Psychology: General Laws and Individual Differences (2 block FYE).

  2. ONE Methods and Statistics course:

    PY202 Research Design (2 blocks)

  3. FIVE "Core" Psychology courses, one from each content area, plus one:

    A) PY297 Neuroscience I*
    B) PY281 Personality* ...OR... PY362 Abnormal Psychology
    C) PY309 Social Psychology ...OR... PY374 Lifespan Developmental Psychology
    D) PY332 Learning and Adaptive Behavior ...OR... PY344 Cognition ...OR... PY321 Perception
    +1 Core (from those listed here or PY298 Neuroscience II**)

    * PY202 is a prerequisite for all Core courses except for PY281, PY297, and PY298.
    **PY297 Neuroscience I is a prerequisite for PY298 Neuroscience II.

  4. TWO 400-Level Psychology Department seminar courses
    Thesis courses (PY451, PY452, PY453) are not seminar courses and do not satisfy this requirement.

  5. ONE Block (at least) of Final Project

    PY451 Final Project    (additional blocks possible with faculty approval: PY452, PY453)

  6. ONE Mathematical Competency course:

    MA126 Calculus ...OR... CP115 Computational Thinking ...OR... CP122 Computer Science I

    Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit may be used to fulfill the Mathematical Competency requirement.

  7. ONE Scientific Breadth course

    Any non-psychology course from the Natural Sciences Division: Molecular biology, organismal biology and ecology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, physics, or human biology and kinesiology (not including adjunct certification courses).

    Some environmental science (EV) courses, excluding policy courses, and some Studies in the Natural Sciences (NS) courses may fulfill this requirement.  Consult with your academic advisor about whether specific EV or NS courses qualify before enrolling.

    MA117 (Probability and Statistics) cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.

    Advanced Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit cannot be used to fill this requirement.

Course Sequencing

The program of study for the psychology major is highly structured with most courses requiring the completion of key prerequisites. For this reason it is important to carefully plan your progression through the major and begin completing prerequisite courses early.

First Year:

PY100 Intro. (or PY100 or PY111) is a prerequisite for all required courses in the major.
Recommended: Take an intro course during the first year.

First or Second Year:

Completing PY100 allows access to required courses: PY202, PY281, and PY297.
Recommended: Take these 200-level courses during the the first or second year.

Second and Third Years:

Completing PY202 allows access to required courses:  PY362,  (PY309 or PY374), (PY332 or PY344 or PY321).
Completing PY297 allows access to optional core course PY298.
Recommended: Complete all five Core courses during the second and third year.

Fourth Year:

400-level seminars generally require an intro course, PY202, and an additional Core course.
Recommended: Take 400-level seminars during the third or fourth year.

PY451 Final Project requires intro and PY202 and is usually taken during the fourth year.