Psychology Majors and Minors
office of international programs
Study abroad can be an excellent opportunity, especially when one takes courses that focus on the region in which the student studies or that reflect the academic strengths of the host university department. Ideal Psychology courses will be ones that are not available at BC. Before deciding to go abroad, Psychology majors should read the Advising Guide (see link below) closely and consult with their advisors. Students interested in completing a Senior Thesis in Psychology should consider how they will balance opportunities offered by study abroad and those offered by BC's Psychology Department--such as independent study and lab research.
When Can I Study Abroad?
Psychology majors are eligible to study abroad during either the fall or spring semester of their junior year. For students who plan ahead, it may be possible to study abroad for an entire academic year, but students must be in early contact with the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
What Classes Should I Take Before Studying Abroad?
Early planning is essential to make sure that students will meet all BC requirements, and to ensure that they will have a strong psychology background for study abroad. Since most international education systems require a higher degree of specialization at an earlier level, this strong background will allow students to take advantage of the best offerings at the host institution, including upper-level seminars.
The Psychology Department offers two majors: the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) major and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) major. At a minimum, all Psychology majors should take the following courses prior to study abroad:
- PSYC 1110 Introduction to Psychology as a Social Science
- PSYC 1111 Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science
- PSYC 1120 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research I
- PSYC 1121 Introduction to Behavioral Statistics and Research II
In addition to these courses, Psychology B.S. majors should be in good standing with their natural science requirements. It is recommended that B.S. majors have completed a minimum of two biology courses, two chemistry courses, and two math courses before studying abroad.
All Psychology majors must meet with their departmental advisor before studying abroad. Prior to this meeting, students should obtain their degree audits and map out a tentative schedule for the semester(s) abroad and for the remaining time on campus at Boston College to show how students plan to meet the remaining major requirements.
What Classes Should I Plan To Take Abroad?
The ideal type of course is one that fits with the psychology major but is not available at BC. Courses that focus on the region in which students are studying and those that reflect the academic strengths of the host university department are highly recommended.
To receive major credit for courses taken abroad, students must provide a course syllabus and obtain approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies. It is imperative for students to obtain approval before enrolling in the course.
Psychology students should remember that the department allows a maximum of three courses to be taken outside of the department with department approval. Study abroad courses are considered outside of the department (along with courses taken within other BC schools – e.g. the Lynch School of Education).
What If I Am Planning To Do An Honors Thesis?
Students who are planning to do an honors thesis are strongly urged to plan ahead. Students are advised to establish a thesis topic and identify a BC faculty member willing to supervise their work before departing and to maintain e-mail contact with their thesis advisor while abroad. Students should discuss whether or not they need to take a specific course while abroad.
In recent years, many students have used their experiences abroad to help generate or supplement a compelling honors thesis. For some Psychology majors who already have a topic in mind, studying abroad provides an excellent opportunity to conduct on-site research and establish contact with faculty at the host institution. All students are strongly encouraged to think about how their semester or year abroad can be integrated into an honors thesis.