Requirements for the Majors in Psychology (PSY)

Completion of the major for either a B.S. or a B.A. in Psychology requires 58 to 67 credits.

All courses required for either the B.S. or B.A. degree must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

Study within Psychology

For both degree programs, 34 to 35 credits in psychology to be distributed as follows:

1. Core Program

  • PSY 103 Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY 201 Statistical Methods in Psychology or another statistics course approved by the Department
  • PSY 310 Research and Writing in Psychology

2. Survey Courses in Psychology

Three survey courses from the list below, two from either Group A or B, and one from the other group:

Group A

  • PSY 220 Survey in Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 230 Survey in Clinical Psychology
  • PSY 240 Survey in Social Psychology

Group B

  • PSY 250 Survey in Biopsychology
  • PSY 260 Survey in Cognition and Perception

3. Five PSY courses

For the B.A. student:

  1. One course numbered 200 or higher, excluding PSY 273, 283, 310, 399, 447, 475, 476, 487, 488, 495-496, and the discontinued PSY 300.           
  2. Four more courses from among advanced courses numbered 301 to 384, excluding PSY 310.           
  3. Although not required for B.A., the Department strongly recommends that any B.A. student planning to attend graduate school should gain research experience by becoming a research assistant (PSY 273). Undergraduate Research Opportunities can be found through the Department of Psychology Web page.

For the B.S. student:

  1. One course numbered 200 or higher, excluding PSY 273, 283, 310, 399, 447, 475, 476, 487, 488, 495-496, and the discontinued PSY 300.      
  2. A laboratory course (PSY 380-384; PSY 386).          
  3. Advanced statistics (PSY 301 or AMS 315).           
  4. Two more courses numbered 300 or higher, excluding PSY 310, 399, 447, 475, 476, 487, 488, 495-496, and the discontinued PSY 300.    
  5. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

The upper-division writing requirement can be fulfilled through a writing sample of at least six pages, submitted in PSY 310 or any other 300-level psych­ology course, that is judged by the instructor of that course to be satisfactory writing in the discipline of psychology.  The writing sample may consist of one or more reports or term papers that are prepared as part of the regular assignments for a course, or the sample may be prepared exclusively to fulfill the upper-division writing requirement. A student must obtain the permission of the instructor prior to submitting a writing sample for evaluation. An evaluation form that can be obtained in the Undergraduate Psychology Advising Office (Room B-115) must be submitted to the instructor with the writing sample.

A student who receives an "unsatisfactory" on the writing sample may, with the permission of the instructor, revise and re-submit the sample for evaluation. Alternatively, the student may submit another sample in another course. Since instructors are obligated to accept only a limited number of writing samples for evaluation in a given course, students are strongly advised to attempt to complete the writing requirement in their junior year.

Courses Outside the Psychology Department

In addition to the 34 to 35 credits in psychology, students must also complete 24 to 32 credits of courses outside the Department. This requirement differs in some aspects between the B.S. and B.A. degrees.

For the B.A. Student

One 3-4 credit course from each of the 4 categories below:

  1. Mathematics: Choose from among the following: AMS 101, CSE 110, MAT 118 or any higher AMS, CSE, or MAT course approved by the department. Note: PSY 201 (or equivalent introductory statistics courses) does not satisfy this requirement. Students who pass the Mathematics Placement Exam at Level 4 or above are not required to complete a course in this category.   
  2. Biology: Any one-semester BIO course   
  3. Philosophy: Any one-semester PHI course   
  4. Social Sciences: Any one-semester SOC, ANT, or POL course except SOC 201 or 202 or POL 201.
  5. A 12-credit (minimum four courses) concentration in one of the course subjects listed below. At least two courses must be upper-division (numbered between 300 and 499). Practica, research, and internship courses do not satisfy this requirement.
  • Africana Studies (AFS)           
  • Anthropology (ANT)           
  • Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS)           
  • Biology (BIO)           
  • Child and Family Studies (CFS)     
  • Computer Science (CSE)     
  • Economics (ECO)     
  • History (HIS)      
  • Linguistics (LIN)       
  • Mathematics (MAT)      
  • Philosophy (PHI)           
  • Political Science (POL)     
  • Sociology (SOC)     
  • Women's Studies Program (WST)

The concentration requirement may also be satisfied by an approved minor or a second major in any department or program.

Note:  If a student completes a concentration in Anthropology, Biology, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, or Sociology, the concentration will automatically satisfy the associated requirement listed in requirements 1 to 4 above for the B.A. student.

For the B.S. Student

All three categories below are required.

1. Mathematics:
a. Calculus I (MAT 125, 131, 141, or AMS 151) and       
b. Calculus II (MAT 126, 132, 142, or AMS 161)

Note: Passing the mathematics placement examination at level 8 or higher also satisfies this requirement. Ideally students should take courses in sequencial pairs (i.e., MAT 125, 126).

2. Biology:
a. Two courses from the following: BIO 201, BIO 202, and BIO 203       
b. Students enrolling in BIO 201, BIO 202, or BIO 203 in the fall 2007 semester and subsequent semesters will be required to take BIO 204 plus BIO 205* (lab components).
*BIO 207 may be substituted for BIO 205

Note: Students who elect the Biology concentration need only take one course from category a and BIO 204, for a total of one lecture and one lab course.

3. Any two concentrations from the following five choices:
a. Biology: Two BIO or biology-related courses. The list of approved courses to satisfy this requirement may be obtained from the Undergraduate Psychology Office.       
b. Chemistry: CHE 131 and 133, CHE 132 and 134; or CHE 321, 322, and 327.      
c. Mathematics: Two courses. The list of approved courses to satisfy this requirement may be obtained from the Undergraduate Psychology Office.       
d. Physics:  PHY 121/123 and 122/124; or PHY 125, 126, and 127; or PHY 131/133 and 132/134; or PHY 141 and 142. 
e. Computer Science: CSE 114 and CSE 215.

Notes for B.A. and B.S. students:

1. Transfer students must take at least 12 credits of psychology in residence at Stony Brook.
2. No more than six credits from among PSY 273, 283, 447, and 487 may be taken in one semester. Other restrictions on applying these courses toward graduation requirements exist; consult the Undergraduate Psychology Office and see also Course Credit and Grading Option Limits in the "Academic Policies and Regulations" chapter.
3. Students interested in a major in Psychology should meet with a Psychology Department Under­graduate Advisor (Room B-115). Additional meetings should be scheduled periodically to review progress toward fulfilling Depart­ment requirements.

Honors Program in Psychology

The Psychology honors program features:
1) a faculty mentor and
2) collaborative research with faculty which results in a senior thesis. Students are encouraged to apply for acceptance to the honors program by the first week of November during their junior year at Stony Brook. The latest point at which students may enroll is three semesters prior to graduation. Application forms and information are available in the Undergraduate Psychology Office. To be eligible for the honors program, a student must have a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.20 or higher and a g.p.a. of 3.50 or higher in courses required for the Psychology major. A student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.00 may be dropped from the honors program. Conferral of honors in Psychology requires the following:

1. A cumulative g.p.a. of 3.00 and a 3.50 g.p.a. in psychology.
2. Successful completion of a senior thesis while enrolled in PSY 495 and 496, see below.

The Psychology honors program is followed for three semesters. During the spring of their junior year, students enroll in PSY 399 Junior Honors Seminar; during the senior year they enroll in PSY 495 (first semester) and 496 (second semester) Senior Honors Seminar.