Academics

Psychology, BA

The Psychology major is a 12 course major.  The requirements of these 12 courses provide students with a foundation in each of five core areas of the discipline of psychology, upper level coursework in one or more areas and basic information about the research practices used in the field.  The basic structure of the major is represented by four parts.

The description below provides an outline of the major.  The phrase “major requirements” refers to the minimum number and distribution of psychology courses a student must complete successfully in order to graduate as a psychology major. We encourage students to take more than the minimum number of courses in psychology and allied disciplines. Only one of the 12 required classes may be taken pass/fail; the other 11 classes must be taken for a grade.  Eight of the 12 courses for the major must be taken in residence at UMass Boston.

 

 INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY: (2 courses)

Students begin the major with an introductory survey course (Psych 100 or 101- Introductory Psychology) or its equivalent.  This course acts as a prerequisite for all other Psychology coursework.  Students also take a basic course focusing on the research methods (Psych 201 - Research Methods) used across Psychology.  While the Research Methods course does not have to be taken immediately after the introductory course we strongly encourage students to take the research methods course early in the major.

 

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL COURSE WORK: (5 courses)

Following completion of the introductory course students begin taking intermediate level courses in each of five areas of psychology.  These areas include:  Personality/Clinical (Psych 210  - Personality Psych or Psych 215 - Abnormal Psych), Developmental (Psych 241- Infancy and Child Psych or Psych 242 - Adolescence), Social (Psych 230 - Social Psych), Cognitive (Psych 250 - Learning and Memory or Psych 255 - Perception) and Psychobiological (Psych 360 - Behavioral Neuroscience).  Each area has either one or two specific courses. Students complete the intermediate level course work by taking one course in each of these five areas.  These courses provide students with more in depth information about each of the main areas in which psychologists work.  There are no requirements regarding the order in which these courses are taken.

 ADVANCED LEVEL COURSE WORK:  (3 courses)

Each of the five areas represented by the intermediate coursework has a set of advanced courses that students can select to further their knowledge.  Advanced courses have at least one intermediate level course as a prerequisite as well as the Research Methods course.  Students can choose to concentrate their advanced course work within a single area or they can select from advanced courses in more than one area.  All majors must have at least three advanced level courses but many students choose to have more than that.

Among these three advanced courses at least two must be at the 400 level (Please see notes and clarifications at the bottom of this page).  Students who declared the major on or after September 1, 2003 will need to meet the capstone requirement. Capstone criteria include a grade of C- or better in a 400-level course taken in residence after completing at least 3 of the 5 intermediate core requirements.  The third advanced course could be at the 300 level (with the exception of Psych 360, Behavioral Neuroscience which is a required intermediate course).

 ADDITIONAL ELECTIVES:  (2 courses)

 Majors must also take at least 2 additional courses from anywhere in our curriculum. 

 

Notes and clarifications:

  • Eight of the 12 courses for the major must be taken in residence at UMass Boston.
  • Only one of the 12 courses counted toward the major may be taken pass/fail
  • Only one of the following courses can be counted as an advanced level course: Psych 430, 479, 486, 488, 489, 496-499. 
  • Six credit internship courses (Psych 430, 479) count as one advanced level course.