;

Psychology B.A.

Information and Policies

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the psychology major should demonstrate competency in:

  • Application of knowledge with critical thinking skills. Students should be able to use critical thinking to evaluate and interpret evidence, and to apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings to individual, social, and cultural issues.
  • Application of research methods with values and integrity. Students should be able to apply basic research methods in psychology, with sensitivity to ethical principles.
  • Communication skills. Students should be able to demonstrate effective communication skills following professional conventions in psychology appropriate to purpose and context.
  • Awareness of sociocultural diversity and societal inequality. Students should be able to understand the complexity of sociocultural diversity and societal inequality in the inquiry and analysis of psychological issues.

Academic Advising for the Program

The Psychology Department has an advising office located at 273 Social Sciences 2, (831) 459-2002, psyadv@ucsc.edu. The advisors assist students in obtaining information regarding major requirements and petitions, course planning, substitution of transfer courses for advance enrollment, careers, and graduate schools. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the advising office throughout their college career. Transfer students are encouraged to consult the Transfer Information and Policy Section.

Acceptance to the Psychology Major

Students are admitted to UCSC with a "proposed major" in most cases, and later petition to officially declare the major. Admission to UCSC does not guarantee acceptance into a particular major. Students must be declared in a major by the end of the sixth quarter (or equivalent), so learning about and preparing for a major is a primary goal for first-year students.

Getting Started in the Major: Frosh

Students interested in pursuing the psychology major should complete PSYC 1, the mathematics requirement, and the statistics requirement (see below for courses that can be used to satisfy these requirements). PSYC 1 and the statistics requirement must be taken for a letter grade. If the minimum grade (B-) is not met for PSYC 1, PSYC 10 or PSYC 20 must be taken for a letter grade. After completing these three lower-division requirements, students may petition to declare the psychology major subject to the grade requirements described in the Qualification to the Major section below.  Students are recommended to fulfill major qualifications as early as possible to avoid delays in the major declaration and enrollment processes. Refer to the Requirements and Planners section below, and consult with a department advisor early to begin the process toward the completion of major qualifications and major declaration.

High school students considering psychology as their university major find that the best preparation is a solid general education in English writing and mathematics (including precalculus), and social sciences.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

The following courses or their equivalents are required prior to transfer, by the end of the spring term for students planning to enter in the fall: 

  • Minimum grade of B- (2.7)* in a course articulated to UC Santa Cruz's PSYC 1, Introduction to Psychology (An AP Psychology score of 4 or 5 can substitute for PSYC 1.) *Note: If a grade of C (2.0) or C+ (2.3) was earned in an equivalent course, a student must earn a minimum grade of B- (2.7) in a course articulated to UC Santa Cruz's PSYC 10, Introduction to Developmental Psychology, or PSYC 20, Cognition: Fundamental Theories.
  • Minimum grade of B- (2.7) in a course articulated to UC Santa Cruz's PSYC 2, Introduction to Psychological Statistics, or STAT 5 or STAT 7 & STAT 7L, Statistics. (An AP Statistics score of 4 or 5 can substitute for PSYC 2 or STAT 5.)
  • Minimum grade of C (2.0) in a course articulated to UC Santa Cruz's MATH 3, Precalculus. (An AP Calculus AB or BC score of 3, 4, or 5 can substitute for MATH 3.) Please note that an acceptable course in calculus may be used as a substitution of this course requirement. Business calculus is also acceptable.

In addition, the following courses are recommended prior to transfer to ensure timely graduation: 

  • PSYC 10, Introduction to Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 20, Cognition: Fundamental Theories

Prospective students are also encouraged to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) or to complete all UC Santa Cruz general education requirements before matriculation.

Getting Started in the Major: Transfer Students

Students are admitted to UC Santa Cruz with a "proposed major" in most cases, and later petition to officially declare the major. Admission does not guarantee acceptance into a particular major, although transfer students' records are screened for preparation for many majors at the time of admission. In order to successfully transition to UCSC, Junior transfer students must be formally declared by the deadline in their second quarter of enrollment. Students are advised to set up and check their UCSC email regularly, make contact with their major advisors, submit course descriptions for articulation purposes, and consider taking summer session courses prior to their first fall quarter.

Transfer students who satisfy the requirements of the screening policy can declare the major at any time after matriculation at UC Santa Cruz. See the How to Declare the Major Section.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

Students may petition to declare the psychology major once they have demonstrated foundational skills by completing each of the following three requirements:

One of the following courses
Mathematics requirement
AM 3Precalculus for the Social Sciences

5

AM 6Precalculus for Statistics

5

AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

MATH 3Precalculus

5

MATH 4Mathematics of Choice and Argument

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Or take the placement exam

Score 300 or higher on the ALEKS Mathematics Placement or score a 3, 4, or 5 on either the AP Calculus AB or the AP Calculus BC examination.

Plus take the following course and obtain a B- or better
PSYC 1Introduction to Psychology

5

PSYC 1 must be taken in order to declare. If a B- or better grade is not achieved in PSYC 1, achieving a B- or better in PSYC 10 or PSYC 20 will fulfill declaration requirements.

Plus one of the following options and obtain a grade of B- or better
Either this course

PSYC 2Introduction to Psychological Statistics

5

or this course

STAT 5Statistics

5

or these courses

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam.

Appeal Process

Students who did not satisfy the major admission requirements but believe that there are extenuating circumstances concerning their performance in the foundational courses may file a written appeal describing these circumstances; however, such appeals are rarely granted. Appeals may be filed by emailing psyadv@ucsc.edu. The department will notify the student and college of the decision within 15 days of the receipt of the appeal.

How to Declare a Major

Students should submit a petition to declare as soon as they complete the major qualification courses or reach their declaration deadline quarter, whichever comes first.

Students petitioning when the campus declaration deadline is imminent (i.e., in their sixth quarter, for students admitted as frosh), will either be approved, denied, or provided with conditions (e.g., completion of some courses with certain grades) that will be resolved within at most one more enrolled quarter, even if they have not completed major qualification courses.

To petition to declare the major, students should follow the instructions on the department's psychology major website.

Letter Grade Policy

PSYC 1 and the statistics requirement must be taken for a letter grade. If alternative courses are taken to meet the major qualification requirements, they must also be taken for a letter grade (e.g., PSYC 10 or PSYC 20).

Course Substitution Policy

Students who want to fulfill requirements with courses taken at other colleges (excluding articulated courses from California community colleges) must petition for the substitution of their transfer courses via email to psyadv@ucsc.edu. PSYC 100, Research Methods in Psychology, and the senior seminar must be taken at UC Santa Cruz. Students planning to transfer to UC Santa Cruz should check with the advising office of their present college or refer to assist.org.

Double Majors and Major/Minor Combinations Policy

Upper-division courses from other departments taken to fulfill the psychology elective requirement may not be counted toward another major or minor (See “Course Requirements” in “Upper-Division Courses” below). Students wishing to pursue double majors or a major/minor combination are encouraged to meet with a peer advisor to create an academic plan to do so.

Study Abroad

Up to three courses taken through UC Santa Cruz study abroad may be approved for the major, and prior course approval is recommended. Please review the department's study abroad webpage if you are considering studying abroad and want to try to obtain approval for such courses to count toward the major.

Honors

Honors in the psychology major are awarded to graduating seniors whose UC Santa Cruz grade point average is a 3.6 or higher in psychology courses (1-189).

Highest honors in the major are reserved for students who meet the honors criteria as well as successful completion of a senior thesis, or whose UC Santa Cruz grade point average is a 3.9 or higher in psychology courses (1-189).

Research, Field Study, and Other Educational Opportunities

The Psychology Department offers a range of educational opportunities, including opportunities for undergraduate research and field study. For more information, see the department's educational opportunities website.

General Psychology Major

Course Requirements

Thirteen courses are required for the general major. Here is a brief overview of these courses:

  • Five lower-division courses are required before completing most upper-division courses. These should be completed as soon as possible, ideally by the end of the sophomore year. They include: 
    • three lower-division courses required for declaration (PSYC 1, mathematics requirement, and statistics requirement), and 
    • two additional lower-division courses (PSYC 10, PSYC 20)
  • PSYC 100, Research Methods, which is a prerequisite for many other upper-division courses and fulfills half of the Disciplinary Communication requirement. This course MUST be taken at UC Santa Cruz.
  • Six additional upper-division courses in psychology, including a senior seminar (see below for details)
  • One non-psychology upper-division course (see below for details)

Lower-Division Courses

Take this course:
PSYC 1Introduction to Psychology

5

Or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam.

Plus one of the following options:
Either this course

PSYC 2Introduction to Psychological Statistics

5

or this course

STAT 5Statistics

5

or these courses

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam.

Plus:
PSYC 10Introduction to Developmental Psychology

5

Plus:
PSYC 20Cognition: Fundamental Theories

5

Plus one of the following courses:
AM 3Precalculus for the Social Sciences

5

AM 6Precalculus for Statistics

5

AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

MATH 3Precalculus

5

MATH 4Mathematics of Choice and Argument

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

Score 300 or higher on the ALEKS Mathematics Placement or score a 3, 4, or 5 on either the AP Calculus AB or the AP Calculus BC examination. 

Appropriate equivalent courses may be substituted for any of the lower-division requirements.

Upper-Division Courses

Eight upper-division courses are required for the general major. At least four of the eight courses (including PSYC 100), must be taken through the psychology program at UC Santa Cruz, not transferred from elsewhere (the four courses include psychology courses only, not the out-of-department course). Students must satisfy the fundamental requirement that they take at least one upper-division UC Santa Cruz psychology course from each of the Developmental, Cognitive, and Social subfields.

Research Methods:
PSYC 10Introduction to Developmental Psychology

5

One course in each of the following subfields (three courses):
  • Developmental (courses numbered PSYC 101-PSYC 119)
  • Cognitive (courses numbered PSYC 120-PSYC 139) 
  • Social (courses numbered PSYC 140-PSYC 159)
One additional 5-credit upper-division course from THREE of the subfields listed below (i.e., a total of three courses, each from a separate subfield):
  • Developmental (PSYC 101-PSYC 119) 
  • Cognitive (PSYC 120-PSYC 139) 
  • Social (PSYC 140-PSYC 159) 
  • Clinical-Personality (PSYC 160-PSYC 179) 
  • Methods (PSYC 180-PSYC 189)
  • Independent Study (PSYC 193-PSYC 199)
One upper-division course outside of psychology:

One upper-division course from one of the following related areas outside of psychology The course must be 5 credits, and neither crosslisted with psychology nor taught by psychology faculty. These courses also cannot be counted twice in cases of double majors or minors:

  • Anthropology
  • Community Studies
  • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Feminist Studies
  • History of Consciousness
  • Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Or a specific course from the list below:
  • CMPM 146
  • CMPM 148
  • CSE 104
  • CSE 140
  • STAT 131
  • STAT 132
  • STAT 162
Upper-Division Seminar:

One of the upper-division courses must be an upper-division seminar; these courses are psychology courses identified within the General Catalog by their course descriptions containing the phrase “satisfies seminar requirement.” 

Students can access a full list of courses on the department’s website. Upper-division courses and their catalog descriptions are grouped within each of the subfields.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in psychology is satisfied by completing PSYC 100 and a seminar. Seminar courses are psychology courses identified within the General Catalog by their course descriptions containing the phrase “satisfies seminar requirement,” and are numbered PSYC 119, PSYC 139, PSYC 159, and PSYC 179.

Comprehensive Requirement

UC Santa Cruz requires that every student satisfy a senior exit/comprehensive requirement prior to graduation. Psychology students will satisfy this requirement by receiving a passing grade in a psychology seminar which is also part of the DC requirement (see above). To ensure that all students can meet the seminar requirement, students will enroll in only one senior seminar. 

Planners

The tables below are for informational purposes and do not reflect all university, general education, and credit requirements. See Undergraduate Graduation Requirements for more information.

Following are two recommended academic plans for frosh, and one additional plan for transfer students. Plan One is a suggested guideline for frosh who are committed to the major early in their academic career. Plan Two is for frosh who are considering the major or who need more preparation. Students should note that precalculus (AM 3, or see Lower Division Courses section for other qualifying courses or test scores) is a requirement for the major and is a prerequisite for PSYC 2 and PSYC 100. The third planner is a suggested two-year guideline for transfer students.

Frosh Plan One

  Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) PSYC 1 AM 3 PSYC 2
     
     
2nd (soph) PSYC 20
PSYC 10
 
     
     
3rd (junior) PSYC 100 upper-division
developmental
upper-division
social
     
     
4th (senior) upper-division
cognitive
upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
upper-division
PSYC elective
upper-division
PSYC elective
out of dept.
course
 
     

The courses listed above will satisfy the PE, SR, and DC general education requirements. All other GE requirements have to be satisfied.

Frosh Plan Two

  Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 2 AM 3 PSYC 1
     
     
2nd (soph) PSYC 20 PSYC 2 PSYC 10
     
     
3rd (junior) PSYC 100 upper-division
cognitive
upper-division
developmental
     
     
4th (senior) upper-division
social
out of dept.
course
upper-division
PSYC elective
upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
upper-division
PSYC elective 
 
     
 

The courses listed above will satisfy the PE, SR, and DC general education requirements. All other GE requirements have to be satisfied.

Transfer Plan

  Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) PSYC 100 PSYC 20 upper-division
developmental
PSYC 10 upper-division
social
 
     
 4th (senior)
 
upper-division
cognitive
out of dept.
course
upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
upper-division
PSYC elective

upper-division
PSYC elective

 
     

Intensive Psychology Major

Course Requirements

The intensive major involves additional upper-division coursework, including a requirement of an advanced methods class and independent study. Students intending to take the intensive major should declare this on their proposed study plan during the junior year, outlining their plan for completing the requirements. Note: the intensive major designation appears on the transcript but it does not formally appear on students’ diplomas.

Sixteen courses are required for the intensive major. Here is a brief overview of these courses:

  • Five lower-division courses are required before completing most upper-division courses. These should be completed as soon as possible, ideally by the end of the sophomore year. They include: 
    • three lower-division courses required for declaration (PSYC 1, mathematics requirement, and statistics requirement), and 
    • two additional lower-division courses (PSYC 10, PSYC 20)
  • PSYC 100, Research Methods, which is a prerequisite for many other upper-division courses and fulfills half of the Disciplinary Communication requirement. This course MUST be taken at UC Santa Cruz.
  • Seven additional upper-division courses in psychology, including an advanced research course and a senior seminar (see below for details)
  • Two quarters of independent study (research, field study, or senior thesis- see below for details)
  • One non-psychology upper-division course (see below for details)

Lower-Division Courses

Take this course:
PSYC 1Introduction to Psychology

5

Or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam.

Plus one of the following options:
Either this course

PSYC 2Introduction to Psychological Statistics

5

or this course

STAT 5Statistics

5

or these courses

STAT 7Statistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences

5

STAT 7LStatistical Methods for the Biological, Environmental, and Health Sciences Laboratory

2

Or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam.

Plus:
PSYC 10Introduction to Developmental Psychology

5

Plus:
PSYC 20Cognition: Fundamental Theories

5

Plus one of the following courses:
AM 3Precalculus for the Social Sciences

5

AM 6Precalculus for Statistics

5

AM 11A
/ECON 11A
Mathematical Methods for Economists I

5

MATH 3Precalculus

5

MATH 4Mathematics of Choice and Argument

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 19ACalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 19BCalculus for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

5

Score 300 or higher on the ALEKS Mathematics Placement or score a 3, 4, or 5 on either the AP Calculus AB or the AP Calculus BC examination. 

Appropriate equivalent courses may be substituted for any of the lower-division requirements.

Upper-Division Courses

Eleven upper-division courses are required for the intensive major:

Research Methods:
PSYC 100Research Methods in Psychology

7

One course in each of the following subfields (three courses):
  • Developmental (courses numbered PSYC 101-PSYC 119)
  • Cognitive (courses numbered PSYC 120-PSYC 139) 
  • Social (courses numbered PSYC 140-PSYC 159)
One additional 5-credit upper-division course from THREE of the subfields listed below (i.e., a total of three courses, each from a separate subfield):
  • Developmental (PSYC 101-PSYC 119) 
  • Cognitive (PSYC 120-PSYC 139) 
  • Social (PSYC 140-PSYC 159) 
  • Clinical-Personality (PSYC 160-PSYC 179) 
  • Methods (PSYC 180-PSYC 189)
  • Independent Study (PSYC 193-PSYC 199)
One of the following:
PSYC 181Psychological Data Analysis

5

PSYC 182Qualitative Research Methods

5

Two quarters of study from one of the following:
PSYC 193Field Study

5

PSYC 194AResearch Internship in Developmental Psychology

5

PSYC 194BResearch Internship in Cognitive Psychology

5

PSYC 194CResearch Internship in Social Psychology

5

PSYC 195ASenior Thesis

5

PSYC 195BSenior Thesis

5

One five-credit course outside of psychology:

One upper-division course from one of the following related areas outside of psychology The course must be 5 credits, and neither cross listed with psychology nor taught by psychology faculty. These courses can be counted twice in cases of double majors or minors:

  • Anthropology
  • Community Studies
  • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental Studies
  • Feminist Studies
  • History of Consciousness
  • Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Legal Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Sociology
  • Or a specific course from the list below:
  • CMPM 146
  • CMPM 148
  • CSE 104
  • CSE 140
  • STAT 131
  • STAT 132
  • STAT 162
Upper-Division Seminar:

One of the upper-division courses must be an upper-division seminar; these courses are psychology courses identified within the General Catalog by their course descriptions containing the phrase “satisfies seminar requirement.” 

Students can access a full list of courses on the department’s website. Upper-division courses and their catalog descriptions are grouped within each of the subfields.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in psychology is satisfied by completing PSYC 100 and a seminar. Seminar courses are psychology courses identified within the General Catalog by their course descriptions containing the phrase “satisfies seminar requirement” and are numbered PSYC 119, PSYC 139, PSYC 159, and PSYC 179.

Comprehensive Requirement

UC Santa Cruz requires that every student satisfy a senior exit/comprehensive requirement prior to graduation. Psychology students will satisfy this requirement by receiving a passing grade in a psychology seminar which is also part of the DC requirement (see above). Passing a seminar course is also required for the major. Courses that meet this requirement are designated as seminars in the campus catalog as “satisfies seminar requirement.”

Planners

The tables below are for informational purposes and do not reflect all university, general education, and credit requirements. See Undergraduate Graduation Requirements for more information.

Following are two recommended academic plans for frosh, and one additional plan for transfer students. Plan One is a suggested guideline for frosh who are committed to the major early in their academic career. Plan Two is for frosh who are considering the major or who need more preparation. Students should note that AM 3 is a requirement for the major and is a prerequisite for PSYC 2 and PSYC 100.

Frosh Plan One

  Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) AM 3 PSYC 1 PSYC 2
     
     
2nd (soph) PSYC 20 PSYC 10 PSYC 100
     
     
3rd (junior) Upper-division 
cognitive
Upper-division
developmental
Upper-division
social
    Out of
department
course
     
4th (senior) PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
Upper-division
PSYC elective
PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
Upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
     

The courses listed above will satisfy the PE, SR, and DC general education requirements. All other GE requirements have to be satisfied.

Frosh Plan Two

  Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) MATH 2 PSYC 1 PSYC 20
     
     
4th (soph) AM 3 PSYC 2 PSYC 10
     
     
3rd (junior) PSYC 100 Upper-division
cognitive
Upper-division
developmental
  Out of
department
course
 
     
4th (senior) PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
Upper-division
PSYC elective
PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
Upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
Upper-division
social
   

The courses listed above will satisfy the PE, SR, and DC general education requirements. All other GE requirements have to be satisfied.

Transfer Plan

  Fall Winter Spring
3rd (junior) PSYC 100 Upper-division
developmental
Upper-division
social
PSYC 10 Out of
department 
course
PSYC 20
     
4th (senior)
 
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
Upper-division
PSYC elective
PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
Upper-division
PSYC elective
Upper-division
cognitive