Student dissecting brain

Advising Information

Requirements for the Psychology Degree

Students who major in psychology must meet requirements for the B. S. degree. The major in psychology requires thirty-eight (38) semester hours in the following courses. The major is divided into three sets of courses called the Psychology Core, the Approved Electives, and the Senior Thesis. All majors must complete Math 140: Statistics, normally taken during the second semester of the freshman year and serves as a prerequisite or co-requisite of Psych 200: Experimental Methods.

The Psychology Core:

Psych 200 with lab Experimental Methods Reid McQuiston Bopp
Psych 220 Abnormal Psychology Nowatka  Lefebvre
Psych 230 with lab Biological Psychology Pittman Steinmetz
Psych 240 Child Development Nowatka
Psych 300 with lab Learning & Adaptive Behavior Reid
Psych 310 with lab
Psych 315 with lab
Cognitive Science

Sensation & Perception
Bopp, Steinmetz

Psych 320
Psych 350

Social Psychology

Nowatka McQuiston

The Senior Thesis

Psych 451 or Psych 452 Senior  Thesis I or II
Prerequisite: The Psychology Core
All Psychology Faculty

Approved Electives

All psychology majors must take three additional courses as electives, selected from the following list. Some psychology electives do not fulfill this requirement. You can see the entire list of courses offered by our program by clicking on Courses.

Advanced Quantitative Methods Psychological Assessment Adult Development & Aging
Personality Health Psychology Behavioral Medicine
Cognitive Science Industrial Psychology History of Psychology
Clinical Psychology Behavioral  Neuroscience Psychopharmacology
Genetics & Development (Bio 212) Clinical Neuropsychology Psychology & Law

Psychology Program Structure

The Psychology Program is designed to provide broad exposure to the core areas of psychology, followed by considerable opportunities for exposure to those areas most related to your career goals. Courses listed below in red are the required courses of the Psychology Core. Courses listed in black are electives. Although Social Psychology (Psych 250) is also a required part of the Psychology Core, it is not listed below because it does not have an established prerequisite. These core courses serve as prerequisites leading to upper-division electives that build on this knowledge. You should complete the required courses of the Psychology Core during your sophomore and junior years. You may enroll in the upper-division electives only if you have completed the appropriate prerequisites. Prerequisites may be waived by the department chairman on an individual basis to allow certain students with adequate preparation to enroll in an advanced elective, but such waivers do not alter the course requirements of the major.

Experimental Methods (200) Learning & Adaptive Behavior (300)
Advanced Quantitative Methods (360)
Cognitive Science (310)
Abnormal Psychology (220) Clinical Psychology (420) or Clinical Neuropsychology (480)
Personality (320)
Psychological Assessment (430)
Biological Psychology (230)  Sensation & Perception (210)  
Behavioral Neuroscience (330)
Child Development (240) Adult Development & Aging (340)
Health Psychology (270) Behavioral Medicine (370)

Getting Started in Psychology

If you think you might major in psychology, you should start taking the appropriate classes as early in your academic career as is feasible. Students rarely take psychology courses during their first semester of their freshman year. Instead, students usually take courses that fulfill the general education requirements for natural science. We recommend Biology 111 and Biology 212, even though it may require you to skip a semester between them. Ideally, as a prospective major, you should begin taking psychology courses in the second semester of your freshman year -- courses such as  Introductory Psychology or Psychology of Adjustment. At the same time, you should take Math 140: Statistics because this course is a prerequisite  or co-requisite to Psych 200: Experimental Methods, taught in the fall semesters. You should complete the Psychology Core during your sophomore and junior years, leaving your senior year to carry out your Senior Thesis and take advanced electives that are most beneficial for your career goals. There is some flexibility in the scheduling of courses, but you should be aware that some of the core courses in psychology are offered only in the fall semesters. This means that fall semester of your sophomore and junior years will be particularly important to plan carefully. 

Here is our suggested sequence of courses:

Freshman Year Fall Biology 111  
Spring Math 140 Psych 110 or 104 or 160
Sophomore Year Fall Psych 200 Psych 230 or 240
Spring Psych 300 Psych 250
Junior Year Fall Biology 212 Psych 230 or 240
Spring Psych 210  


Our Department considers advising a joy, and we take this responsibility seriously. All psychology majors have two advisors: The department chairman (Dr. Lefebvre) becomes the Academic Advisor for all psychology majors as soon as you declare your major. However, he normally divides this responsibility among the psychology faculty. You you may be able to select your own academic advisor, or one will be assigned to you. In addition,  each major selects a professor as Career Advisor that best matches your career goals.

Feel free to call on your advisors at any time and for any reason. You may simply wish to stop by and say hello. However, it is most important that you see your Academic Advisor:

  • Before pre-registration and registration periods
  • Whenever you wish to change your schedule (i.e., drop/add)
  • Whenever you encounter academic difficulties
  • Anytime you are uncertain of program requirements

You should see your Career Advisor several times each semester -- even if it is just to chat. The Career Advisor plays an essential role for the student. This is the professor that knows the most about the educational background necessary for your career. The Career Advisor is also a great source of advice about applying to graduate school, selecting graduate programs or work environments, strategies of getting into graduate school or obtaining particular jobs, and ensuring that you have the research and educational background appropriate for the career you desire.

Although each major is assigned a specific advisor, we feel the entire Department serves in an advising capacity to all students. Please feel free to call on any member of the staff for the assistance you need. We all want to get to know you well, and it is to your benefit to be well known by the professors who will write letters of recommendations for you.

How to Become a Psychology Major

The steps to becoming a psychology major are quite simple. At any point during your freshman or sophomore year, you should go to Dr. Lefebvre and "declare your major." This involves filling out a brief form, then taking a copy to the Registrar's Office. It is that simple!

Selecting a major is a big step in the life of most students, but it is not permanently carved in stone. Changing majors is always possible, but the further along you are in your college career, the harder it becomes, until a point is reached where it is impossible to change your major and complete college in the normal four years. This is particularly true when required courses have prerequisites.