Academics

Course Sequence Recommendations

The following are general guidelines for planning your course sequence in Psychology. These will get you started thinking about this important aspect of your education, but this handbook is no substitute for an advisor, who can give you individual guidance.

a) Obviously, a major should start with Introduction to Psychology (Psych 101 or 100), as this course gives an overview of all sub-disciplines and is a prerequisite for all other classes. You may then want to take one of the intermediate level classes, to see whether advanced study of Psychology is really what you want to do. You may want to choose the intermediate course based on the topic area within Introduction to Psychology that was most interesting.

b) Once you have decided on Psychology as a major, however, we recommend that you take Research Methods (Psych 201) as soon as possible, for two reasons. First, you must take this course before you can take any upper-level class. Second, exposure to the course content in Research Methods will help you to understand the research issues at the core of all other Psychology courses.

c) Although not a requirement for the B.A. degree, we recommend that you take Statistics (Psych 370) as one of your elective courses. Quantitative thinking skills, which you will develop in this class, are crucial to a thorough understanding of psychology, and will help you get the most out of your advanced classes. Furthermore, a good understanding of statistics is crucial for many of the job opportunities often pursued by Psychology majors, and most graduate schools in Psychology as well as many Masters in Social Work programs require you to have taken a statistics course. Note that Math 114 (Quantitative Reasoning) or equivalent math placement or coursework is a prerequisite for this course.

d) Think carefully (and talk to your advisor and fellow students) about the order in which you would like to plan your psychology coursework, thinking about the course progression and the workload demands that each course might require. For example, many students find the content of Psychobiology and Cognitive courses to be more challenging than the content of courses in other sub-disciplines. Try to avoid putting off these classes until the last minute; try to complete them sooner rather than later. You may even find that you enjoy the challenge more than you thought you would! Likewise, many students find that advanced level courses have greater reading and writing requirements as compared to the intermediate level courses. For these reasons, it is important to think carefully before enrolling in multiple psychology courses within the same semester in order to try to balance the course demands as well as your interests. It is often valuable to be able to spread out your psychology coursework, balancing it with other University requirements.

e) Upper-level classes fill up quickly, and many are not be offered every semester. Therefore, you should create a course plan for several semesters ahead to identify upper level courses you would like to take and the prerequisites that proceed them. We recommend that you focus on one or two areas of concentration (e.g. Social or Cognitive Psychology) when choosing your advanced courses.