Home < Schools, Colleges, and Programs < College of Letters & Science < Majors, Certificates, and Concentration Programs < Psychology

College of Letters & Science

Psychology

Requirements for the Major
Foundation Courses 
Breadth Courses
Depth Courses
Capstone Courses
Honors in the Major
Distinction in the Major and Thesis of Distinction
Courses

238 Brogden Hall, 1202 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608-262-1041; psych.wisc.edu

Professors Devine (chair), Abramson, Alibali, A. Auger, Berridge, Brauer, Coe, Curtin, Davidson, Devine, Gernsbacher, Goldsmith, Gooding, Harackiewicz, Hyde, Jenison, MacDonald, Marler, Newman, Niedenthal, Pollak, Postle, Ryff, Saffran, Seidenberg, Snowdon; Associate Professors Miyamoto, Rogers; Assistant Professors C. Auger, Bennett, Green, Li, Lupyan, Rokers, Shutts, Simmering

Undergraduate advisors in the major: Stephanie Osborn, 428 Brogden Hall; Melanie Jones, 426 Brogden Hall; Valerie Johnson, 430 Brogden Hall; advisor@psych.wisc.edu

Faculty diversity liaison: Bradley Postle, 515 Brogden, postle@wisc.edu

Requirements for the Major

The major consists of four levels of courses: foundation courses (introductory), breadth courses (intermediate), depth courses (intermediate), and capstone seminars (advanced). The following requirements apply to all students declaring the major Fall 2011 or later. Students may declare the major at any time after taking 202: Introductory Psychology or equivalent (201, 281). Students with AP credit for psychology need an AP score of 4 or 5 in order to declare.

FOUNDATION COURSES

The foundation courses provide a grounding in basic psychological facts and an understanding of the methodologies used to produce those facts. Four courses are required with grades as specified below.

1. Introductory Psychology*

Psych 202, 3 credits*
OR
Psych 201, 4 credits*
OR
Psych 281 (honors), 4 cr, with a grade of B or better to earn honors

OR

AP credit with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology Exam

2. Basic Statistics for Psychology*

Psych 210, 3 cr*
OR
Psych 280 (honors), 4 cr, with a grade of B or better to earn honors
(May substitute Stat 371, or Soc. 360, or Gen Bus 303. A student must, however, earn 34 psychology credits.

3. Experimental Psychology

Psych 225, 5 cr, with a grade of C or better
OR
Psych 285 (honors), 5 cr, with a grade of B or better to earn honors

4. Biology

AP Biology score of 4 or better
OR
Zoology 101 and 102, 5 cr, with a grade of C or better
OR
Zoology 151 and 152, 10 cr, with a grade of C or better
OR
Biocore 301–304, 10 cr, with a grade of C or better

Students are encouraged to complete the zoology courses in their freshman or sophomore years.

*Majors must have an average GPA of 2.75 or better across #1 and #2 in order to enroll in Experimental Psychology.

BREADTH COURSES

Breadth courses familiarize students with the breadth of psychology. Majors must take three (3) breadth courses (from at least three different topic groups listed below). Specific grades are not required, but majors must meet the L&S requirement of at least a 2.0 grade point average in all upper-level psychology courses (courses numbered 300 and above).  Note:  Some additional courses may count as Breadth courses.  Please watch Department announcements per semester and ask the advisor about specific courses.

Biological

Psych 449 Animal Behavior OR 489 (honors)
Psych 450 Animal Behavior—The Primates
Psych 454/455 Behavioral Neuroscience/Laboratory in Behavioral Neuroscience OR 484/485 (honors)
Psych 523 Neurobiology
Psych 524 Neurobiology II: An Introduction to the Brain and Behavior

Clinical

Psych 509 Abnormal Psychology or 589 Honors (concurrent enrollment in 509 required)
Psych 511 Behavior Pathology: Neuroses
Psych 512 Behavior Pathology: Psychoses

Cognitive and Perceptual Sciences

Psych 406 Psychology of Perception OR 486 Honors (concurrent enrollment in 406 required)
Psych 413 Language, Mind, and Brain OR 483 Honors (concurrent enrollment in 413 required)
Psych 414 Cognitive Psychology OR 481 Honors (concurrent enrollment in 414 required)

Developmental

Psychology 350 Human Sexuality
Psych 560 Child Psychology or Psych 580 Honors Seminar (concurrent enrollment in 560 required)
Psych 561 Psychology of Adolescence
Psych 564 Adult Development and Aging

Social and Personality

Psych 409 Psychology of Motivation or Psych 487 Honors Seminar (concurrent enrollment in 409 required)
Psych 507 Psychology of Personality OR 587 Honors (concurrent enrollment in 507 required)
Psych 522 Psychology of Women
Psych 528 Introduction to Cultural Psychology OR Psych 588 Honors Seminar (concurrent enrollment in 528 required)
Psych 530 Introductory Social Psychology or Psych 585 Honors Seminar (concurrent enrollment in 530 required)

DEPTH COURSES

Depth courses allow students to engage in depth with material in specific content areas in psychology. Depth courses include both a lecture component and a required discussion/lab section for all students, and they help students develop a deeper understanding of particular areas of psychology. Majors must take two depth courses at 4 credits each. Each depth course has a prerequisite of one relevant breadth course; please check each course for possible prerequisites.

Additional depth courses will be added to the departmental offerings in coming semesters; please watch for department announcements each semester and ask the advisor about specific courses.

Psych 501 Depth Topic: (Title) or Psych 581 Honors Depth Topic: (Title) (multiple separate topics offered each semester)
Psych 502 Cognitive Development or Psych 582 Honors Cognitive Development
Psych 503 Social Development or Psych 583 Honors Social Development
Psych 504 Affective Neuroscience or Psych 584 Honors Affective Neuroscience
Psych 526 The Criminal Mind: Forensic and Psychobiological Perspectives or Psych 586 Honors Seminar: The Criminal Mind

CAPSTONE COURSES

Capstone courses allow students to engage in depth with particular content areas in psychology in a seminar setting.

When specific criteria are met, two semesters of research with the same professor may be used to substitute for one capstone course. See the undergraduate advisor or the department website for details.

With permission from the professor, a senior with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better may use a graduate course or seminar as a capstone course; however, the following graduate courses may not be used for this option: 701, 703, 704, 706, 707. Students wanting to use this option MUST speak with an advisor prior to enrollment.

The following capstone courses are small (25-student enrollment limit), and include discussion, papers, and readings from original sources. They carry a "D" (intermediate or advanced) level designation.

Psych 410 Intermediate Statistics for Psychology
Psych 411 Current Topics (many separate topics each semester)
Psych 430 History of Psychology
Psych 517 Introduction to Clinical Psychology
Psych 550 Animal Communications and the Origin of Language
Psych 556 Hormones and Behavior
Psych 610 Statistical Analysis of Psychological Experiments

A number of other seldom-offered capstone courses are not listed here, but appear in the Course Guide.

All students are required to fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Psychology courses numbered 300 or above count toward this requirement.

Honors in the Major

Information concerning Honors in the Major in Psychology and admission materials are available from the psychology undergraduate advisor. Decisions on admission to the Honors in the Major in Psychology program are made each semester, in early October and February, by a committee of psychology faculty. Overall, criteria emphasize demonstrated ability and commitment to becoming a first-rate scholar. Performance in course work at the university, particularly honors courses in psychology and related fields, is among the criteria for admission. Consistent with the philosophy that there is more to honors scholarship than distinguished grades, commitment to excellence in the science of psychology, evidence of broad scholarship (including mathematics and sciences), and evidence of involvement within the university and the broader community enhance students' credentials. The same standards must be maintained to remain in the Honors in the Major in Psychology program following admission. Students pursuing Honors in the Major must maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison at the time of graduation.  Students are encouraged to apply early as the honors in the major curriculum begins in a student's sophomore year.  Contact advisor@psych.wisc.edu with any questions regarding the honors in the major program.

In addition to requirements for the psychology major, requirements for honors in psychology are:

Psych 386 Honors Topics in Psychology (fall and spring semesters)
Psych 681 Honors Thesis
Psych 682 Honors Thesis
Psych 686 Honors Seminar in Psychology (fall and spring semesters)

As part of the requirements for the psychology major, requirements for honors in psychology are:

A total of three psychology breadth or depth courses for honors.             

Students must earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3 in courses taken in the major.

Recommended course work for the honors degree in psychology includes:

Psych 281 Honors Introduction to Psychology
Psych 280 Honors Psychometric Methods

In general, honors students are encouraged to enroll in psychology courses offered for honors credits whenever possible.

Distinction in the Major and Thesis of Distinction

These designations are available to students who are not in the honors program. A student must earn a GPA of 3.5 in all psychology credits and complete a piece of independent work that is evaluated by the department. A thesis of distinction requires a senior thesis of high caliber, but no specific cumulative grade point average is required.