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Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Psychology

UNDERGRADUATE STUDY

FAQ

The following information should serve only as a general guideline and should not be used as a substitute for meeting with a department academic adviser.

How much credit do I receive for taking AP or IB Psychology tests?

See information on how the University applies AP/IB credit.

Should I obtain a bachelor of science (BS) or bacheor of arts (BA) degree?

For most students, including those who plan to attend graduate school in psychology, there are no clear reasons to choose one of these over the other. The BA degree offers the most flexibility.

Students interested in medical or life-science fields, the physical sciences, math and computers, or cognitive psychology and/or neuropsychology might want to consider the BS degree, and/or a concentration in cognitive neuroscience. The BS program provides a comprehensive program of study, requiring psychology as a major and two minors (one must be in a computer or natural science), or psychology as one of two majors (with the other in a computer or natural science).

If you are a psychology major who plans to go to medical school or enter another biomedical health field, you should talk to an adviser in the Department of Biological Sciences.

What do I need to do to either change my major or add a second major?

Download our form to declare, add or change your major (PDF). Then make an appointment with an advisor in that department.

What do I need to do to declare a minor?

You can complete an online form to declare, add or change a minor. Then make an appointment with a Psychology advisor.

What minors best complement a psyhology major?

This depends on your career plans and interests.

If another department overlaps with your interests and career goals, you should consider that department for your minor. For example, if you think you want to work in the criminal justice system, criminology might be a good minor, as it provides coursework on social systems in general and criminal justice in particular.

Or, if you are interested in working with children as a teacher or school counselor, a minor through the Morgridge College of Education may be a good choice. If you think you might want to work in business, a minor through the Daniels College of Business would be useful.

Some students minor in a language if they are interested in the delivery of mental health services or research with non-English-speaking populations. Some students minor in biology if they are interested in psychiatric nursing, medical school, or related careers that combine psychology and health care. There are many possibilities.

To get the most out of your minor, you should meet with an academic adviser in the department you have selected for your minor.

If you would like to discuss your options with an adviser, you can make an appointment by following these directions.

What if I exceeded the University 6-credit-hour limit on psychology credits for the BA?

All courses on your Academic Progress Report (APR) that have a PSYC prefix are counted as psychology credits, no matter where they appear on your APR.

If you are earning a BA, these courses are counted against the 60-hour maximum for the BA. With the exception of specific psychology honors courses, any hours in excess of 60 are not counted toward anything. You simply pay for these credits but lose them with respect to degree requirements.

If you are earning a BS, there is no limit on the number of psychology credit hours that may be applied.

How many University elective credit hours do I need?

"Elective" hours are simply all those classes that do not count toward University, major or minor requirements. Thus, there is no set number; it is just the number of additional credit hours you need to reach the total credit hours required for your degree.

In general, 183-credit hours are required for the BA or BS degree.

How can I write an honors thesis or earn honors or distinction in psyhology?

You can earn University honors through the University Honors Program, which requires distinction in psychology.

Even if you are not part of the University Honors Program, you can earn distinction in psychology [link to B4a] by taking advanced research methods and writing a senior thesis. This program also allows you to meet thesis requirements for graduating magna cum laude or summa cum laude in Latin Honors.

Do you offer scholarships for current students?

Yes. The Vandergrift Scholarship is for first- and second-year students, and the Spilka Scholarship is for juniors and seniors.  Learn more about these scholarships.

Do I need to go to graduate school to use my degree in psychology?

Most psychology graduates do not go to graduate school, and there are many career options for these students.

If you want to practice as a psychologist or other mental health professional, however, you do need to attend graduate or professional school. Our program provides education for students with both types of goals. Learn more about our program.