Major Requirements

Jonathan Vides 2017

Requirements for the Major


1. Foundation Courses Major

  • General Psychology
  • Quantitative Methods or equivalent (prerequisite for all lab courses)
  • One 4-credit content course and lab combination
  • The prerequisites for declaring the major in psychology are completion of General Psychology and Quantitative Methods or equivalent statistics course with a grade of C or better.
  • Students must receive a C or better in the 4-credit content course and lab combination to complete the major.
    Note:  Content course will also apply toward either the core course or psychology elective requirement as indicated below.

2. Four Sub-discipline Core Courses 

A separate course must be selected from each of the following four sub-discipline clusters.  These four courses must be taken within the 01:830 subject index of the SAS Department of Psychology:

Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience

  • 830:310 Neuropsychology
  • 830:311 Learning Processes (formerly Conditioning & Learning)
  • 830:313 Physiological Psychology
  • 830:361 Developmental Psychobiology

Clinical Psychology

  • 830:310 Neuropsychology
  • 830:340 Abnormal Psychology
  • 830:346 Atypical Development in Childhood and Adolescence
  • 830:394 Community Psychology and Community Health

Cognitive Psychology

  • 830:301 Sensation & Perception
  • 830:303 Memory & Attention
  • 830:305 Cognition
  • 830:351 Psychology of Language

Social Psychology

  • 830:321 Social Psychology
  • 830:338 Personality Psychology
  • 830:373 Organization & Personnel Psychology
  • 830:377 Health Psychology

3. Six Psychology Electives

18 credits of psychology electives to be selected from the department's complete set of course offerings. These may include any additional courses from the sub-discipline core categories above (i.e., selections beyond those required to meet the sub-discipline distribution requirement) and 400 level courses.

No more than 6 credits of non-classroom courses such as fieldwork, research, or internships may be applied toward the major. The additional credits do, however apply toward the overall graduation credits and students are encouraged to take additional credits.

No more than two lower level psychology courses (7 credits) may be applied toward the major elective requirement.

A maximum of 12 credits of transfer psychology courses may be applied to the major. At least 6 credits of psychology electives must be completed with the Rutgers-New Brunswick SAS Department of Psychology. No more than two elective courses (6 credits) can be a transferred from psychology programs at two-year institutions (community colleges).

4. Upper Level Elective

Majors must complete one 400-level elective within the 01:830 subject index of the SAS Department of Psychology. 400-level courses require students to have declared the psychology major, to be of junior or senior status, and to have taken at least one core course. Individual courses may have additional prerequisites and instructors may grant special permission to enroll.

5. GPA Requirement

A cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.0 in all psychology (01:830) courses counting for the major.

Some Additional Considerations

Although all psychology majors earn the same degree, a B.A. in Psychology, our students have a wide range of career and graduate school plans. If you know which specific area of psychology interests you, you may wish to choose your minor and/or your free electives to build a knowledge base in that area. The following specialization areas indicate clusters of psychology courses and courses in related fields that may be of interest to you. Again, these are not official areas of study — just some suggestions:

Behavioral Systems and Neuroscience

Students interested in the biological aspects of psychology, graduate school in the neurosciences, or medical school may wish to complete all or many of the following courses:

From the Department of Psychology: 01:830:301,Sensation and Perception; 01:830:310, Neuropsychology; 01:830:311, Learning Processes; 01:830:313, Physiological Psychology; 01:830:412, Neuropsychopharmacology; 01:830:391, 392, 495, 496, Research in Psychology.

From other departments: 01:119:101-102,General Biology; 01:160:161-162 General Chemistry; 640:135,138, Calculus; 01:146:245, Fundamentals of Neurobiology; 01:146:445, Advanced Neurobiology; 01:447:380, Genetics; 01:447:384, Genetic Analysis I.

Clinical Psychology

Students with particular interests in Clinical Psychology should consider the following courses:

01:830:340, Abnormal Psychology; 01:830:310, Neuropsychology; 01:830:311, Learning Processes; 01:830:313, Physiological Psychology; 01:830:338, Personality; 01:830:348, Tests and Measurements; 01:830:453, Systems of Psychotherapy; 01:830:412, Neuropsychopharmacology; 01:830:451, Advanced Topics in Clinical Psychology.

Cognitive Psychology

Courses in cognition include those dealing with memory, language, attention, perception, cognitive development, thinking, and artificial intelligence. Students interested in pursuing careers in cognition are also encouraged to take courses in related fields, such as computer science, mathematics, linguistics, philosophy, and neuroscience. Consultation with cognitive faculty about course selection is strongly recommended. See also the description of the Minor in Cognitive Science.

Developmental Psychology

Students interested in developmental issues in Psychology may wish to complete all or many of the following courses:

01:830:271, Developmental Psychology; 01:830:331, Infant and Child Psychology, 01:830:333, Adolescent Development; 01:830:335, Adult Development and Aging; 01:830:346, Atypical Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 01:830:361, Developmental Psychobiology; and 01:830:431, Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology.

Students are encouraged to take a balanced array of courses within the discipline as a whole, participate in fieldwork courses, and to develop and carry out individual research projects with departmental faculty. Consult developmental faculty for advice on courses concerning developmental issues available in other departments.

Health Psychology

Students interested in the psychological aspects of physical health should take: 01:830:377 Health Psychology; and may wish to combine elements of the behavioral neuroscience specialization, e.g., 01:830:313 Physiological Psychology; 01:830:311 Learning Processes, and the Social Psychology specialization, e.g., 01:830:321, Social Psychology; 01:830:338, Personality; and 01:830:372, Psychological Approaches to Social Problems. Students interested in Health Psychology should also take 01:830:305,Cognition. Because Health Psychology is a research-oriented field, Independent Study and Honors Research are highly recommended. Relevant courses outside of Psychology include 01:070:307, Medical Anthropology; 10:832:232 Principles of Public Health; 10:832:335 Epidemiology; 01:920:210 Sociology of Medicine and Health Care; and 01:920:303, and Social Gerontology.

Social Psychology

Students with particular interests in Social Psychology may wish to complete all or many of the following courses:

  1. 01:830:321 Social Psychology and 01:830:338 Personality;
  2. 01:830:323, Research Methods in Social Psychology should be taken to satisfy the lab course;
  3. Four or more courses from: 01:830:326 Small Groups; 01:830:375, Prejudice and Conflict; 01:830:377, Health Psychology, 01:830:372, Psychological Approaches to Social Problems; 01:830:373 Organizational and Personnel Psychology; 01:830:348 Psychological Tests and Measurements; and any of the 01:830:421 Advanced Topics in Social Psychology, 01:830:441 Advanced Topics in Personality. Also any of the research opportunities in Social Psychology including 01:830:495,496, Research in Psychology; and/or 01:830:497,498, Honors Research in Psychology are highly recommended for those interested in attending graduate school in Social Psychology.

Learning Objectives

Students graduating with an undergraduate degree in psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, have many different aspirations and follow varied career paths after graduation. Thus, our curriculum allows students flexibility in choosing the trajectory and intensity of the psychological training they will receive. Our aim is two-fold, first to prepare students for graduate professional training  in neurobiology, cognitive, social, or clinical psychology or a closely related disciplines,  and secondly to equip all of our students with the basic concepts and skills in psychology appropriate to match the ever-changing demands of their fast-paced world.

To accomplish both goals there is a common set of core knowledge and concepts that students must acquire and a common group of skills that all psychology majors should master prior to graduation. In addition to the core knowledge and concepts, students are able to use analytic and quantitative approaches in their research methods, use higher-order cognitive skills to process and apply what is learned, and practice the application of psychological concepts to areas outside the classroom both professionally and  for civic engagement. These four learning objectives listed below are consistent with the Rutgers University Learning Goals and the American Psychological Association’s recommendations for undergraduate programs. These are the main goals of the major in psychology

Content in Psychology

Students should know the terms, concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

Research Methods in Psychology

Students should apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis and interpretation, to standard lab problems. Those students pursuing research careers also design new experiments, use a subset of modern laboratory techniques, analyze information and communicate their research effectively in reports that follow American Psychology research report style.

Higher-Order Cognitive Skills

Students should be able to use critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to ask, answer and understand questions related to behavior and mental processes. These skills are tested in different ways in different courses, from conceptual questions on standard tests to critiques of cases to presentation of research or programs or cases.

Civic Engagement

Students should have opportunities to apply psychological concepts and content to become engaged citizens.  Students may work in an applied setting under the supervision of trained mental health professionals. Here they will integrate academic concepts and ideas with personal observations and provide programmatic and case reports.

Checking Your Progress (Major Checklist)

You may wish to check your progress toward completion of the major by using the Degree Navigator system.  When using Degree Navigator to see your progress toward completion of the major, check with the department if you have any questions. One requirement that is unclear is that you may choose any lab/lecture combination to declare your major.   If you have not completed your lab by Fall 2017, you automatically fall under the  Fall 2017 major.  Below is the link to the current checklist for the  psychology major requirements.

Major Checklist


If you have taken courses at Rutgers Newark or Camden, they will appear on your overall Rutgers transcript (with grades), but some will not be automatically incorporated into your Degree Navigator profile for the psychology major. Please contact departmental advisor  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  to have courses added to your Degree Navigator profile

Please refer to our frequently asked questions for additional information.