Skip to main content area Skip to sub-navigation
Skip to main content

Psychology Major

Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Consistent with the liberal arts tradition, the Psychology Department at Colorado College is dedicated to providing an academic program that helps students develop the necessary skills and knowledge for achieving an intellectually enriched life, preparing them for both graduate studies and professional work. The psychology department provides broad coverage of academic psychology, emphasizing empirical research and a scientific understanding of human and non-human animal behavior. Psychology majors are expected to gain methodological competence in a variety of research techniques, which are introduced in research design and elaborated in the upper-level courses. Ethical responsibility is inherent in psychology, both in the treatment of research participants (human and non-human) and in the preparation of academic and professional work, and psychology majors are trained to uphold these principles. Psychology majors acquire a knowledge base in core areas of psychology, with an expectation for depth of inquiry in advanced study. Majors are expected to demonstrate effective oral and written communication and to show critical evaluation of assumptions and evidence regarding psychological phenomena.


Major Requirements (instituted 2016-17 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 may 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.

Note: Any substitutions or transfer courses must be approved by the psychology department.
(Submit your petitions 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

PY105: Introduction to Psychological Science


  1. ONE Methods and Statistics course:

PY202: Research Design (2 blocks)


  1. FIVE"Core" Psychology courses, one from each content area, plus one:
    A) PY296 Functional Neuroscience*...OR...PY299 Neuroscience (2 blocks)*t
    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 heret)
* PY202 is a prerequisite for all Core courses except for PY281, PY296, and PY299.

t  Because it is a 2 block course, PY299 can count as a core course and the +1 requirement.


  1. TWO 400-Level Psychology Department seminar courses

Thesis courses (PY451, PY452, PY453, PY454) are not seminar courses and do not satisfy this requirement.


  1. ONE Block of Research Experience (PY251 or PY451)

PY251 Psychological Investigations
 Final Project   


  1. ONE Mathematical Competency course:
    MA125 Pre-Calculus & Calculus ...OR... 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.


  1. 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 the psychology department 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 fulfill 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 PY101 or PY105) 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 (or PY101 or PY105) allows access to required courses: PY202, PY281, and PY296 or PY299.
Recommended: You may 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), (PY321, PY332 or PY344).
Complete PY296 or PY299.
Recommended: Complete all five Core courses during the second and third year.  Seek PY251 opportunities where available.

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

PY251 Psychological Investigations requires Intro Psych, PY202, and Consent of Instructor (COI) and may be taken any year.

PY451 Final Project requires Intro Psych, PY202, and Consent of Instructor (COI) and is usually taken during the fourth year.