You may wish to check your progress toward completion of the major by using the Degree Navigator system.
Also, a number of required or relevant forms can be found here.
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
- 830:310 Neuropsychology
- 830:340 Abnormal Psychology
- 830:346 Atypical Development in Childhood and Adolescence
- 830:394 Community Psychology and Community Health
- 830:301 Sensation & Perception
- 830:303 Memory & Attention
- 830:305 Cognition
- 830:351 Psychology of Language
- 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.
Requirements for the Minor
Minor in Psychology
A minor in psychology consists of 18 credits, General Psychology (01:830:101) and five additional courses of 3 or more credits. Students must receive a grade of C or better in General Psychology and overall GPA of 2.0 or better is required for all 01:830 courses.
- At least three of the six courses must be taken in the Rutgers-New Brunswick psychology program (01:830), and transfers from county or community colleges will be restricted to no more than General Psychology and two additional electives.
- No more than one of the six required courses may be an experiential course such as fieldwork, internship, or research.
- No more than two 200-level courses may be applied toward the minor. No college honors courses (non-830 subject index) may count toward this requirement.
Minor in Developmental Psychology
A minor in developmental psychology consists of 18 credits, General Psychology (01:830:101), Principles of Developmental Psychology (01:830:271) and 4 additional courses from the Developmental Psychology Minor electives list. Students must receive a grade of C or better in General Psychology and overall GPA of 2.0 or better is required for all 01:830 courses.
- At least three of the six courses must be taken in the Rutgers-New Brunswick psychology program (01:830), and transfers from county or community colleges will be restricted to General Psychology (01:830:101) and Principles of Developmental Psychology (01:830:271)
- No more than one of the six required courses may be a fieldwork course.
Both minors may be declared on the SAS website or in the office of your college dean. One may not declare both a psychology minor and developmental minor nor declare either minor with a psychology major. The minor in Developmental Psychology falls under the 835 subject code.
Developmental Psychology electives:
- 01:830:331 Infant and Child Development
- 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
- 01:830:394 Community Psychology and Mental Health
- 01:830:431 Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology
- 01:830:432 Advanced Topics in Developmental Psychology
- 01:830:484 Language Acquisition
Developmental Psychology Experiential Courses (a maximum of 3 credits accepted towards the minor)
- 01:830:380/381 Fieldwork: Foster Care
- 01:830:382/383 Fieldwork: Autism
- 01:830:388/389 Fieldwork: Child Development
Honors Major Requirements
- A cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.4 in all psychology (830 subject index) courses including 6 credits of Honors Research in Psychology.
- An overall grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.
- At least nine of the 3- or 4-credit courses counting toward the Honors Major must be taken at Rutgers New Brunswick (01:830)
- Satisfactory completion of a special 3-credit, writing-intensive seminar (01:830:490: Honors Research Design, Analysis and Presentation), which is a fall semester course normally taken in the senior year. Students will be automatically registered for this course after the submission of the Honors Proposal (see below).
- Successful completion of Honors Research in Psychology (01:830:497- 498) taken during each of the final two semesters and full participation in the departmental honors program
- A minimum of 47 credits in psychology (830 subject index) to complete the honors major.
Acceptance into the Honors Program: The Honors Proposal and Seminar
Many different types of projects are conducted by students enrolled in the Department of Psychology Honors Major. Most involve the conduct of an experiment, which includes the review of research and theory in a particular area of psychology, formulation of a set of hypotheses, design of a strategy for collecting data bearing on the hypotheses, data collection, statistical analysis, and write-up of the results and their interpretation. This is a significant undertaking, so many successful projects are started when the student is doing research in a faculty member’s laboratory prior to the senior year, though this is not a requirement.
Acceptance into the Honors program occurs in the first week of the senior year, when the student submits an Honors Proposal that is approved by the department. The Honors Proposal is jointly prepared by the student and the student's faculty sponsor and submitted to the Senior Undergraduate Administrator in the office of the Undergraduate Vice Chair in Tillett 101 by the end of the first week of the fall semester. A good Honors proposal briefly (about 5 pages) outlines the background and significance of the scientific question to be addressed, proposes a hypothesis, and lays out the methods to be used for data collection and analysis including the experimental design. Especially in cases where the student’s thesis will be part of a larger research project, it should make clear what the student will actually do and establish a clear goal or endpoint for the student’s role in the project. It is understood that some research projects will be well underway by this time, while others may just be getting started, and that projects may vary widely in scope. The purpose of the proposal is to ensure that the student and faculty adviser have clearly defined and agreed upon their expectations for the project and to confirm that the project has an appropriate scope. There is a prize (the Phillips Award) awarded annually for the best Honors Proposal after review of the proposals by a committee of faculty.
The Honors proposal is due in the first week of the fall semester of the student’s senior year. The mandatory weekly seminar (01:830:490 Honors Research Design, Analysis, and Presentation) begins on the second Friday of the Fall semester, from 10:20-1:20 in ARC-105. Students cannot register for this course directly! As each Honors proposal is accepted, the student will be automatically enrolled in the course by the Department registrar – be sure to leave that time open in your schedule. In the unlikely event that this registration process is delayed for some reason, be sure to attend the class anyway.
Completion of the Honors Program: The Honors Thesis and Poster Presentation
Whatever the exact nature of the project, two final products are necessary for the student to complete the Honors Major:
A formal, written Honors Thesis, which generally includes an introduction to the background and significance of the research question, clear statement of hypotheses, description of the experimental design and methods used to collect and statistically analyze the data, detailed description of the results, and a discussion of the conclusions drawn from the study and their implications. Additional sections include the acknowledgement of support and assistance from others and a list of works cited. The thesis is to be written by the student with assistance and feedback from the student’s faculty adviser. The deadline for Thesis submission is typically in early April.
An Honors Poster Presentation, in which the student displays an outline of the project, i.e., background, purposes, methods, results, and implications. All posters are presented simultaneously at a session held early in April and which is attended by students and their friends and family, as well as by faculty advisers and other interested members of the University Community.
Both the Honors Thesis and the Honors Poster Presentation will be evaluated by a committee of faculty members. If the committee agrees that the work is of sufficient quality to merit the Honors designation, the student will receive Honors in Psychology at graduation. The top Honors projects will be selected to receive special awards at Commencement, as listed below.
Some Special Awards
Alice M. and Walter F. Phillips Award- For Outstanding Honors Thesis
Alice M. and Walter F. Phillips Award- For Outstanding Honors Proposal
Established by Walter F. Phillips in loving memory of his wife Alice and in appreciation for his education at Rutgers. It is awarded to a student in the Psychology Honors Program in recognition of outstanding achievement in the senior year as judged by the honors committee. The winner of each award, will receive a monetary prize and the name of each year's award recipient will be permanently displayed on an engraved plaque in the Psychology Department.
Marilyn L. Shaw Award-For Most Research Promise
Given in memory of Professor Marilyn Shaw to the senior Psychology major who shows the most promise of a creative and productive research career. The winner of the award, designated by the Psychology Honors Committee, will receive a monetary prize and the name of each year's award recipient will be permanently displayed on an engraved plaque in the Psychology Department.
The Charles F. Flaherty Award-For Excellence in Undergraduate Research
To be given annually to an undergraduate psychology major who has demonstrated exceptional performance in research in any area of psychology. The winner of the award, designated by the Psychology Honors Committee, will receive a monetary prize and the name of each year's award recipient will be permanently displayed on an engraved plaque in the Psychology Department.
Tracey Shors Award-To a Behavioral Neuroscience Student
The Shors award will be given annually, as designated by the Psychology Honors Committee, to an outstanding undergraduate psychology honors major who has also demonstrated exceptional performance in research in Behavioral Neuroscience. The winner of the award, will receive a monetary prize and the name of each year's award recipient will be permanently displayed on an engraved plaque in the Psychology Department.
John R. Z. Abela Award –For Excellence in Research in Clinical Psychology
Given in memory of Professor John R. Z. Abela, an internationally renowned clinical psychology researcher who advanced understanding of positive psychology and the development of depression. The award will be given to the Psychology honors major with the strongest record in empirical research in clinical psychology. The winner of the award, designated by the Psychology Honors Committee, will receive a monetary prize and the name of each year's award recipient will be permanently displayed on an engraved plaque in the Psychology Department.
Henry Rutgers Scholars Award
The Psychology Honors Committee or individual faculty may nominate outstanding psychology honors students for the Henry Rutgers Scholars Award based on the quality of the student’s thesis and overall academic record.To be considered, a student must have presented his/her research at the Aresty Research Symposium, at a departmental-based research event or at a professional conference.
Students pursuing the honors major are strongly encouraged to get involved in research during their junior year.
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.
Focus Areas Within Psychology
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students with particular interests in Social Psychology may wish to complete all or many of the following courses:
- 01:830:321 Social Psychology and 01:830:338 Personality;
- 01:830:323, Research Methods in Social Psychology should be taken to satisfy the lab course;
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the prerequisites for declaring the major?Students following the Fall 2017 major requirements must complete the following courses with grade of C or better in each:
- General Psychology (01:830:101 or equivalent)
- Quantitative Methods (01:830:200 or equivalent)
A math requirement is no longer required for the major. Students must have completed Elementary Algebra (640:025 or higher), transferred an equivalent or higher course, or placed out of 640:025 to enroll in Quantitative Methods in Psychology
- Does a core course count if I get a D in it?
Yes; however, your overall GPA in the major must be 2.0 or higher for graduation. The only courses that have specific grade requirements are General Psychology, Quantitative Methods, and the Lecture/Lab combination, which must have grades of C or better to complete the major. (Note: All courses taken elsewhere must have grades of C or better to be transferred to Rutgers.)
- If I enroll in Study Abroad program, will I be able to take courses there that will count toward my psychology major or minor?
In most cases courses taken in a Study Abroad program will transfer as electives for the psychology major/minor providing that they are taken in a Psychology department or program at that university. In general, we believe that studying abroad is a valuable experience, and we work with students to assist them in completing the major as effectively as possible. See the psychology advisors before you leave to get courses pre-approved. When you return and the courses have transferred, contact us to have them moved into your major/minor on degree navigator.
- If I completed psychology courses at a county or community college, will they transfer toward the major at Rutgers?
Some will, but there are limits. General Psychology typically transfers, and equivalent courses are often available for Quantitative Methods in Psychology. Beyond that, only two psychology electives may be transferred as lower level electives for the major or minor. Transfer courses from community colleges do not substitute for the core courses, labs, or 400 level courses.
- May I apply credits from on-line courses to the psychology major or minor?
Usually yes. Submissions of syllabi or detailed course descriptions are required for approval. All online courses must meet for a minimum of 4 weeks.
- May I apply winter-session or other short-session courses to the psychology major or minor?
Usually yes. However, the courses must meet for a minimum of 4 weeks. Submissions of syllabi or detailed course descriptions are required for approval.
- Can a course in statistics be substituted for Quantitative Methods in Psychology?
You may substitute any of the following courses for Quant. Methods: 01:960:212, 01:960:384, 01:960:401, 01:220:322, 21:830:301, 62:830:301, 50:830:250, 33:623:385, 01:377:275, 01:920:312.. Courses not listed require submission of syllabi for approval.
- How many credits may I transfer toward the major in psychology?
Majors declared as of Fall 2017: The number of electives for the major increases from 15 to 18 credits and student must complete 6 of the 18 elective credits at Rutgers, New Brunswick. No more than two psychology electives (6 credits) may be applied from a two-year institution. No non-classroom courses (research, fieldwork, internship) will be accepted towards the major or minor.
- If I do volunteer work or have a job in some area that is directly relevant to psychology, can I obtain credit toward the major as an internship?
No. All of our fieldwork and internship opportunities occur through our formal course offerings. We encourage our students to participate in these worthwhile outside activities but do not give academic credit for them.
- If I get a D or an F in a course and re-take it, does the new grade replace the old one, or do I receive the average?
That depends. For calculation of your GPA in the major, we use only the higher grade and ignore the other one. However, SAS may have different rules depending on your academic status. You should consult with the SAS Advising Center to learn how retaking a course will appear on your transcript.
- Which grades are used to calculate the gpa in the major?
Psychology courses (830 subject number), the statistics course fulfilling the major requirements, taken at Rutgers (New Brunswick, Camden, Newark) and approved study abroad programs that satisfy major requirements, are used to calculate the major gpa on the Degree Navigator. When courses are repeated, only the higher grade is used. If you have completed courses beyond the requirements of the major, Degree Navigator will not include them in calculating your gpa—graduate schools and employers may want the extra psychology courses included in your major gpa.
- Am I required to take a non-classroom course such as fieldwork or research?
No. Under the current major you may use up to 3 credits of these courses toward the major or minor elective requirement. Majors declared as of Fall 2017: You may use up to 6 credits of these courses toward the major elective requirement; the minor maximum remains 3 credits.
- Do ‘psychology’ courses from other departments (e.g., Psychology of Sports) apply toward the major or minor?
No. All courses toward the major or minor must either (a) have the 01:830 subject index, (b) be an approved transfer course, or (c) be an official cross-listed course with another department.
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.
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.