Psychology B.A.

Information and Policies

Academic Advising for the Program

Students are encouraged to approach faculty in their area of interest for further advising no later than the first quarter of their junior year to discuss an upper-division program of study and to plan for graduate training in psychology. As a supplement to academic advising offered by faculty members, the Psychology Department has an advising office located at 273 Social Sciences 2 Building, (831) 459-2002, psyadv@ucsc.edu. The advisers 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.

Getting Started in the Major

Students interested in pursuing the psychology major should complete PSYC 1, PSYC 2, and the precalculus mathematics requirement. PSYC 1 and PSYC 2 should be taken for a letter grade. After completing these three lower-division required courses, students may petition to declare the psychology major subject to the grade requirement described in the Qualification to the Major section below.

High school students considering psychology as their university major find that the best preparation is a solid general education in English writing, mathematics at least through precalculus, biological and physical sciences, and social sciences.

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.

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

MATH 4Mathematics of Choice and Argument

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

MATH 11BCalculus with Applications

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 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

Satisfying qualification to the major

Every student who satisfies qualification to the major and who petitions to declare the major by the campus declaration deadline will be admitted to the major. Students who satisfy the qualification to the major but who petition to declare the major after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis for admission to the major; admission is not guaranteed.

Transfer students should also consult the department's Transfer and Information Policy section below.

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 in the undergraduate advising office or by emailing psyadv@ucsc.edu. Students must file the appeal within 15 days of denial of major declaration. 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

To declare the major, students may attend drop-in advising and complete the paperwork with a peer adviser, attend a major declaration workshop, or book an appointment with an undergraduate adviser. Drop-in advising is available Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Transfer Information and Policy

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

Requirements for admission to the major include the following:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

Junior transfer students should express an interest in psychology on their UCSC application for admission.

While not required for admission, students are strongly recommended to complete PSYC 10 prior to transfer.

Getting Started at UCSC as a Transfer Student

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.

Letter Grade Policy

PSYC 1 and PSYC 2 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., STAT 5 and PSYC 10).

Course Substitution Policy

Students who want to fulfill requirements with courses taken at other colleges must petition for the substitution of their transfer courses at an orientation session or at an appointment with the department adviser. PSYC 100, Research Methods in Psychology, must be taken at UC Santa Cruz.

Double Majors and Major/Minor Combinations Policy

No upper-division course from another department that counts toward the psychology major may count toward another major or minor (See “Course Requirements,” “Upper-Division Courses,” below). Students wishing to pursue double majors or a major/minor combination are encouraged to meet with an adviser to create an academic plan to do so.

Study Abroad

Up to three courses taken through EAP may be approved for the major, prior course approval required. Please see the advising office if you are considering EAP 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).

Psychology Field Study Program

The Psychology Field-Study Program provides qualified students an opportunity to apply classroom learning to direct experience in a community agency. Each year about 200 students develop new skills and clarify personal and professional goals by working as interns in schools, corporations, law enforcement agencies, research organizations, mental health services, and other social service agencies where they are supervised by professionals. Psychology faculty members sponsor the students’ field study helping them to integrate their field experience with coursework and guiding them in related academic projects.

The two-quarter program is open to junior and senior psychology majors who must apply at least one quarter in advance. There are information meetings and individual meetings to help students develop a learning plan, select a placement, and choose an academic project. Application information is included in the information meetings.

General Psychology Major

Course Requirements

Twelve courses are required for the general major: four lower-division courses in preparation for the major and eight upper-division courses. The lower-division courses are prerequisites for virtually all of the upper-division courses and should be completed as early as possible, or by the end of the sophomore year. Some upper-division courses have additional prerequisites.

Lower-Division Courses

PSYC 1Introduction to Psychology

5

Plus one of the following courses:
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

Plus
PSYC 10Introduction to Developmental Psychology

5

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

5

MATH 3Precalculus

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

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:

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)
Three additional 5-credit upper-division courses in different areas from the following subfields:

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
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Education
  • Feminist Studies
  • History of Consciousness
  • Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology
  • Or CMPS 140, Artificial Intelligence
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.

At least five of the eight courses (including PSYC 100), must be taken through the psychology program at UC Santa Cruz, not transferred from elsewhere (the five courses include psychology courses only, not the out-of-department course). After all substitutions have been made, 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.

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.”

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).

Planners

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. The third planner is a suggested two-year guideline for transfer students.

Frosh Plan One


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) AM 3 PSYC 2 PSYC 10
PSYC 1    
   
2nd (soph) PSYC 20
(recommended)

PSYC 100

     
3rd (junior) upper-division
cognitive
upper-division
developmental
upper-division
social
     
     
4th (senior) upper-division
PSYC elective
upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
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
PSYC 1
     
     
2nd (soph) AM 3 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 upper-division
cognitive
upper-division
developmental
PSYC 10    
     
 4th (senior)

upper-division
social
out of dept.
course
upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)

upper-division
PSYC elective
upper-division
PSYC elective
clinical-personality

     

Intensive Psychology Major

Course Requirements

The intensive major is an option that any psychology major may choose to undertake. The intensive major would be advantageous for a student intending to go on to a graduate program in any area of psychology. 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. The intensive major requires 18 courses. Note: the intensive major designation appears on the transcript but it does not formally appear on students’ diplomas.

Lower-Division Courses

PSYC 1Introduction to Psychology

5

Plus one of the following courses:
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

Plus
PSYC 10Introduction to Developmental Psychology

5

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

5

MATH 3Precalculus

5

MATH 11ACalculus with Applications

5

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 from each of the following subfields:
  • Developmental (courses numbered PSYC 101-PSYC 119)
  • Cognitive (courses numbered PSYC 120-PSYC 139) 
  • Social (courses numbered PSYC 140-PSYC 159)
Three additional 5-credit upper-division courses in different areas from the following subfields:
  • Developmental (courses numbered PSYC 101-PSYC 119)
  • Cognitive (courses numbered PSYC 120-PSYC 139) 
  • Social (courses numbered PSYC 140-PSYC 159)
  • Clinical-Personality (PSYC 160-PSYC 179)
  • Independent Study (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 193ADevelopmental Field Study

5

PSYC 193BCognitive Field Study

5

PSYC 193CSocial Field Study

5

PSYC 193DClinical/Personality Field 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 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 

  • Ecology and Evolutionary

  • Biology Education 

  • Feminist Studies 

  • History of Consciousness 

  • Latin American and Latino Studies 

  • Linguistics 

  • Philosophy 

  • Sociology 

  • Or CMPS 140, Artificial Intelligence

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.”

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.” are designated in the campus catalog with the text “satisfies seminar requirement.”

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

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 2 PSYC 10
PSYC 1    

 
2nd (soph) PSYC 20
(recommended)

PSYC 100



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

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


 

 
4th (soph) AM 3 PSYC 2 PSYC 10



     
3rd (junior) PSYC 100
Upper-division
cognitive
Upper-division
social

Out of
department
course
Upper-division
developmental
     
4th (senior) PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
Upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)
Upper-division
PSYC elective
PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
     

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
cognitive
PSYC 10 Out of
department 
course
Upper-division
social 
     
4th (senior)

PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
(seminar)

Upper-division
PSYC elective
Upper-division
PSYC elective
PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
     
 

Frosh Plan One


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) AM 3 PSYC 2 PSYC 10
PSYC 1    

 
2nd (soph) PSYC 20
(recommended)

PSYC 100



     
3rd (junior) Upper-division 
cognitive science
Upper-division
developmental
Upper-division
social
Out of
department
course
   Upper-division
psychology
elective
     
4th (senior) PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
    PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
     

In addition to the specific courses shown in this planner, a student must complete courses satisfying the Entry Level Writing and Composition General Education requirements. The courses listed above will satisfy the PE-H, SR and DC General Education requirements.

Frosh Plan One


Fall Winter Spring
1st (frosh) AM 3 PSYC 2 PSYC 10
PSYC 1    

 
2nd (soph) PSYC 20
(recommended)

PSYC 100



     
3rd (junior) Upper-division 
cognitive science
Upper-division
developmental
Upper-division
social
Out of
department
course
   Upper-division
psychology
elective
     
4th (senior) PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
PSYC 193/
PSYC 194/
PSYC 195
Upper-division
PSYC elective
    PSYC 181/
PSYC 182
     

In addition to the specific courses shown in this planner, a student must complete courses satisfying the Entry Level Writing and Composition General Education requirements. The courses listed above will satisfy the PE-H, SR and DC General Education requirements.