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The Psychology Majors

The Psychology Department offers two majors: The Psychology Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) major, and the Psychology Bachelor of Science (B.S.) major. Both degree options introduce students to the broad range of topics that psychologists study, while also allowing students to choose an individualized course of study and focus on some aspects of psychology in greater depth. Both options allow students to gain research experience working in one or more of our psychology labs.

The Psychology B.A. major is particularly suited to students who wish to understand human behavior and mental functioning at the behavioral level. Students will take Psychology courses relevant to social, developmental, and cognitive psychology and will learn how animal models can be used to inform human behavior. Together these courses will provide students with an appreciation for the theories that have been put forth to explain human behavior and for the importance of considering clinical, cultural, social, and developmental factors when trying to understand why humans think, feel, and act as they do.

The Psychology B.S. major is particularly suited to students who wish to explore the brain mechanisms of human and animal behavior and mental functioning. Students will take courses from the Psychology, Biology, and Chemistry Departments that are related to evolution, genetics, physiology, neurobiology, and the neural basis of higher cognitive and emotional processes in humans. Together these courses will provide students with a strong foundation in the neurobiological processes that underlie behavior, motivation, and cognition. Pre-med students who are interested in majoring in Psychology are advised to pursue the Psychology B.S major.

Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The department has identified four primary learning goals for its undergraduate majors. Each goal is associated with several student learning outcomes.

Goal 1. Students will acquire a knowledge of the subfields of psychology in a manner that reflects both breadth and depth of understanding.

Student Learning Outcome 1a. Students will be able to demonstrate general knowledge of the theories, concepts, and findings of each of the subfields of psychology.

Student Learning Outcome 1b. Students will be able to demonstrate expertise in one specific area in psychology.

Goal 2. Students will acquire the knowledge and skills to read research reports critically and to carry out their own independent research.

Student Learning Outcome 2a. Students will be able to demonstrate anunderstanding of basic statistical applications in psychology including appropriate ways of describing data and the issues involved in inferring from a sample to a population.

Student Learning Outcome 2b. Students will be able to demonstrate anunderstanding of the basic methodologies used in psychological research and to evaluate critically the research design of an experiment.

Student Learning Outcome 2c. Students will be able to review the literature on a topic and frame the next question to be answered or problem to be solved and show an appreciation of the value of programmatic research.

Student Learning Outcome 2d. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the necessary laboratory techniques and procedures in their area of focus.

Student Learning Outcome 2e. Students will be able to demonstrate anappreciation of the ethical issues involved in human and animal research.

Goal 3. Students will acquire critical, scientific thinking skills.

Student Learning Outcome 3a. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for the need for rigor and healthy skepticism when making scientific arguments and drawing conclusions from data.

Student Learning Outcome 3b. Students will be able to evaluate critically the conclusions that are drawn concerning the causal relationship among variables, particularly the problems associated with correlational data and the need to isolate the effect of an independent variable.

Student Learning Outcome 3c. Students will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a scientific argument, including issues of validity, reliability, power, and operational definition.

Goal 4. Students will acquire skills to succeed in their professional, personal, and community lives after graduation.

Student Learning Outcome 4a. Students will be able to compete successfully for admission to graduate school in psychology and related fields and to succeed in their graduate training.

Student Learning Outcome 4b. Students will be able to succeed better in their chosen professions.

Student Learning Outcome 4c. Students will be able to communicate effectively in writing.

Student Learning Outcome 4d. Students will be able to understandthemselves and others better.

Student Learning Outcome 4e. Students will be able to assume better the responsibilities of membership in their community.

Undergraduate Program

Advanced Placement Credit
Substitution courses for high placement on the A.P. Psychology examination.

Advising for Majors
Information on advising and the degree audit.

Junior Year Abroad
Students planning to spend a semester or two studying abroad need to receive approval from their academic advisor.

Social Science Core
Fulfilling the Social Science Core requirement.

Transfer Credit
For a BC student who plans to take courses anywhere outside BC's College of Arts and Sciences.

Transfer Students
Transfer students may want courses taken at previous institutions to be considered as fulfilling the requirements of the major.

Course Requirements

The University Catalog contains the requirements for the Psychology B.A. and B.S. majors.