Psychology Undergraduate Handbook – CHAPTER 3
Requirements for Psychology Majors
The Psychology Department is dedicated to providing high quality advising for psychology majors. This section explains the advising process and the requirements for obtaining a degree in psychology.
The Advising Process
Students interested in majoring in psychology are designated as psychology premajors until they complete the requirements for admission to the major. During the freshman year, students are assigned to an adviser in the Arts and Sciences Advising Center (second floor of the Student Services Building). Your adviser will guide you in registering for appropriate courses each semester, help you with any necessary forms or procedures, and answer your questions. If at any time you have a question about psychology or psychology courses that cannot be answered by your adviser, you should come to the Psychology Student Records Office (SRO) for assistance. Sophomores, students who have completed 29 or more credit hours, are advised by our Pre-Major Adviser. This office is in room 1120 Life Sciences Building.
You are eligible to become a psychology major when you have completed the following requirements:
PSYC 101, PSYC 201, and STAT 211 with a minimum grade of C in each, 58 credit hours with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.0, and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in all attempted psychology courses.
You may apply for admission to the major during the semester in which you will complete these requirements (typically the second semester of the sophomore year). You are encouraged to apply for admission to the major in the first two weeks of the semester in which you will complete these requirements so that you can be advised in the department for your next semester’s courses. Go to the Arts and Sciences Advising Center to apply for admission to the major; you will then be sent with your folder to the SRO.
As a sophomore premajor, you will be advised by our Pre-Major Advising Assistant. You will be assigned to a Psychology Department faculty member for advising when you are admitted to the major. This assignment is made by the Undergraduate Records Assistant (in Room 1120 of the SRO). You should meet with your adviser for preregistration advising each semester (following the steps listed below), and whenever needed for additional advice or assistance.
Some faculty use the SONA system to schedule advising appointments. Visit: http://wvu.sona-systems.com and log in to see if your adviser uses this method. Other faculty advisers post sign-up sheets near their office doors.
A faculty adviser will help to make sure that you fulfill the requirements for the major and degree. You should be aware, however, that you are ultimately responsible for being aware of and completing all requirements. Your faculty adviser also should help you select courses (both within and outside of psychology) that will match your needs and interests. Your adviser can answer your questions, or appropriately refer you to other people for answers, and can help you with various forms and procedures (like transient forms, course adjustment forms, D/F repeat petitions, etc.). Finally, your adviser should discuss with you and provide advice concerning your plans for graduate school and/or a career. You can help your adviser do a good job by coming to advising meetings prepared (see below) and by clearly communicating your questions and concerns.
Procedure for preregistration advising meetings
1. Make an appointment to see your adviser. During the pre-registration period, advisers will post on or near their office doors a schedule of times when they are available for advising meetings or will use the SONA system (http://wvu.sona-systems.com). You should sign up for a time at least 24 hours in advance.
2. At least 15 minutes before your appointment with your adviser, obtain advising materials from the SRO. You should also get a blank advising evaluation form.
3. Complete or update the information in your Advising Booklet. A copy of the Advising Booklet is provided in this Handbook. Note that your adviser may decline to meet with you until you have completed this information. Also complete the front page of the advising evaluation form and the top section of the registration form. Make a list of courses you think you would like to take and a list of any questions you have for your adviser.
4. Meet with your adviser at the scheduled time. The length of an advising meeting can range from 5 to 90 minutes; normally they last about 20-30 minutes.
5. During or after the advising meeting, write down the courses you plan to take. Your adviser also should sign the front of the advising evaluation form.
6. Complete the back of the advising evaluation form. Then return the following materials to the Student Records Office: your folder, the second copy of your registration form, and your completed advising evaluation.
7. Obtain any needed approval forms or signatures, and proceed to register through STAR and/or submit appropriate forms to Admissions and Records.
Requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
You should pay particular attention to the courses that precede and follow STAT 211 (Elementary Statistical Inference). The prerequisite for this course is Math 126 (College Algebra), which can only be taken if you score adequately on a math placement test or pass a pre-college algebra workshop. A minimum grade of C in STAT 211 is one requirement for becoming a psychology major, and the course is a prerequisite for PSYC 202 (Research Methods). PSYC 202, in turn, is a prerequisite for PSYC 301 (Biological Foundations of Behavior) and PSYC 302 (Behavior Principles), both of which are required for the major and are prerequisites for certain 300-level courses. As you can see, delays in getting through STAT 211 can potentially prevent you from graduating with a degree in psychology within four years. You are advised to take the courses in this sequence as early as possible.
All 300-level psychology courses require junior or senior standing and at least one 100-level course (see the course listing for details). In addition, priority in enrolling in these courses is given to psychology majors and minors. The courses usually fill with psychology majors and minors, so psychology premajors and non-psychology majors often cannot get in. You are encouraged to become a psychology major or minor on schedule so that you will have a better chance of getting into these courses during your junior and senior years.
Credit Limit: If you take only the required courses for a major in psychology, you will have completed 33 credits of psychology courses. If you are seeking a Bachelor of Arts degree, you are allowed to take up to 42 credits of psychology courses and have them count toward the 128 credits you need to graduate. Another way of saying this is that you need to take at least 86 credits of nonpsychology courses as a BA degree recipient. You can certainly take more psychology credits if you accumulate at least 86 non-psychology credits and thus end up with more than 128 total credits.
One exception to the 42-credit limit is PSYC 491 (Field Experience). The non-Capstone credits received for this course are counted as non-psychology credits. If you find you are taking a lot of extra psychology courses, check with your adviser to make sure you are not jeopardizing your graduation.
Students earning a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology may take an unlimited number of psychology credits, as long as they meet the GEC requirements and the additional 24-hours of natural sciences specified by the University.
Only a portion of the 86 non-psychology credits you must take to graduate will be filled by university and college requirements. The remaining credits are filled by taking free Error! Bookmark not defined.electives. A list of courses that might be of special interest to psychology majors is provided in this section of the Handbook. You are free, however, to take whatever courses you would like to complete these credits. Note that you are allowed to take one free elective course each semester (up to a total of 16 credits toward graduation) on pass/fail grading, so you may want to take this opportunity to take courses that you might otherwise not take because of their potential difficulty. Another approach to fulfilling your 128 credits is to complete a second major or one or more minors. In some cases this additional credential may even help you get a job. A second major in an Arts and Sciences field that offers the B.A. degree will not normally require that you take more than 128 total credits. To earn both a B.A. and a B.S. requires 158 credits. A number of fields offer 15-credit minors. See the Undergraduate Catalog or the Admissions and Records web site for more information about major and minor requirements in other fields.
GEC Advising Booklet for Undergraduate Psychology Majors
This curriculum applies to all students who FIRST entered West Virginia University in August 2005 or later. Students entering WVU for the first time PRIOR to Aug. 2005 may elect to complete the GEC requirements instead of the Liberal Studies Program (LSP). However, this change is permanent. This booklet includes requirements for the B.A. and B.S. degree in Psychology.
Click here for a PDF copy of the GEC Booklet.
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