Psychology Major

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Nazish Salahuddin, Ph.D.

The undergraduate major in Psychology provides an introduction to the study of human behavior. This includes an understanding of the neurobiological, developmental, social, and evolutionary factors influencing our thought and behavior. Through that understanding comes the ability to modify behavior in beneficial ways. Courses are organized into three broad themes:

  1. Mind, Brain, and Behavior;
  2. Mental Health and Interventions; and
  3. Social, Developmental, and Organizational Studies.

The program emphasizes a strong foundation in quantitative and research methods. Beyond coursework, students will have opportunities to assist with and conduct research, an important advantage in any career path.

Students who are interested in the biological aspects of behavior tend to choose a program leading to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, while those interested primarily in the impact of social factors on behavior tend to choose the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. The choice of program is made in consultation with an academic advisor.

Courses offered by this department may be found under the following acronym: PSYC

Admission to the Major

In accordance with university policy, the Department of Psychology has been designated a Limited Enrollment Program (LEP). All first-time freshman who request psychology as a major will be directly admitted into the major. Other first-time freshman who wish to declare psychology as a major prior to the last day of classes of their first semester in residence will be allowed to do so.

In order to remain a psychology major, newly admitted freshman will be required to meet an academic performance review on or before the end of the semester in which they earned 45 University of Maryland credits. This standard includes:

  1. Completion of PSYC100 with a grade of "B-" or higher (if the student has Advanced Placement credit for PSYC100, the student must complete PSYC221 with a grade of "B-" or higher)
  2. Completion of MATH120 or MATH140 with a grade of "C-" or higher.
  3. Completion of BSCI170 (Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology) and BSCI171 (Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology Lab) with a minimum grade of "C-" in both courses.
  4. A minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.00 in all coursework taken at the University of Maryland.

All other students, including both internal and external transfer students, will be admitted to the program only if they have met the above LEP requirements and also have a minimum cumulative GPA based on all previous college-level coursework of 2.70 or higher.

For a more detailed discussion of LEP policies visit the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website and then call 301-405-5866 to consult with one of our academic advisors.

Any student denied admission or dismissed from the major may appeal to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology.

Internal transfer students may appeal to the Office of the Dean for Behavioral and Social Sciences.

External transfer students may appeal to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Program Objectives

Students in the B.A. and B.S. programs in psychology will have a broad exposure to the diverse approaches to studying human behavior. They will acquire the tools and experiences necessary for successful careers utilizing their skills in the behavioral and social sciences. Their training will include a foundation in research methods, critical and creative problem solving, and effective communication. Students will also master the primary concepts and ideas representing both the breadth and depth of the fields in psychology.

Program Learning Outcomes

Modeled after the American Psychological Association's (APA) guidelines for undergraduate training, our individual courses and the overall program curriculum are designed to prepare you as a well-rounded scholar with marketable, professional skills. For a detailed list of our learning outcomes, please navigate here:

  1. Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology (Knowledge base in psychology)
  2. Develop a working knowledge of psychology's content domains (Knowledge base in psychology)
  3. Describe applications of psychology (Knowledge base in psychology)
  4. Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena (Scientific inquiry and critical thinking)
  5. Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving (Scientific inquiry and critical thinking)
  6. Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research (Scientific inquiry and critical thinking)
  7. Understand sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry (Scientific inquiry and critical thinking)
  8. Understand and follow ethical practices in academic study and scientific research (Ethics)
  9. Understand the concepts and practice of ethical principles in a broad range of professional contexts (Ethics)
  10. Understand the role of academic, professional, and personal integrity in maintaining a healthy community (Ethics)
  11. Understand the socio-cultural influences on human development and behavior (Multiculturalism and diversity)
  12. Demonstrate critical awareness of one's own worldview, values, and biases (Multiculturalism and diversity)
  13. Exhibit the ability to work respectfully and constructively with individuals of different backgrounds, values, and experiences (Multiculturalism and diversity)
  14. Demonstrate the ability to integrate multicultural concepts into psychology research, theory, practice, and service to others (Multiculturalism and diversity)
  15. Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes (Communication)
  16. Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes (Communication)
  17. Interact effectively with others (Communication)
  18. Professional development (Professional development)
  19. Apply psychological content and skills to career goals (Professional development)
  20. Refine project management skills
  21. Enhance teamwork capacity (Professional development)
  22. Develop meaningful professional directions for life after graduation (Professional development)

All students must complete at least 35 credits (11 courses) in Psychology. The required courses include:

Course Title Credits
College Requirements
PSYC100Introduction to Psychology3
PSYC200Statistical Methods in Psychology3
PSYC300Research Methods in Psychology Laboratory4
Additional Courses (course selections must follow the parameters below):25
There must be a minimum of two courses from each of the following three thematic areas (one of these six courses must be a designated multicultural course): 1
Mind, Brain, & Behavior
Mental Health & Interventions
Social, Developmental, & Organizational Processes
Two of the courses must be 400 level, 3 credit PSYC courses
One of the courses must be a 4 credit PSYC lab course
Total Credits35

 A detailed list of courses, including multicultural courses, by theme can be found at the following link:

  • A grade of "C-" or better must be earned in all 38 credits of psychology courses used for the major, except for PSYC100 (or PSYC221, if AP credit was earned for PSYC100), in which the grade must be "B-" or higher.
  • No course may be used as a prerequisite unless a grade of "C-" is earned in that course prior to its use as a prerequisite.

Bachelor of Science: Math and Science Requirement

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science degree option must complete a minimum of 5 courses/17 credits in mathematics and science, as follows:

  • At least three courses must be advanced
  • At least two courses must contain a lab.
  • The 5 courses/17 credits must be completed with at least a 2.0 average.
  • MATH140 (highly recommended) or MATH120 (formerly MATH220) and BSCI170 plus BSCI171, may be used to satisfy part of the requirement for the B.S. degree.  (MATH136 is acceptable only for declared PSYC/BSCI double majors and for students who have taken the course prior to becoming a PSYC major.) 

Students should consult the following website for a list of approved advanced math and science courses for the Bachelor of Science in psychology:

Click here for roadmaps for four-year plans in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Additional information on developing a four-year academic plan can be found on the following pages: