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Undergraduate Study in Psychology

Psychology is one of the most popular majors at CSUF. This is the page for psychology majors and minors, as well as students who are considering psychology as a major, to learn more about the department. Once you've decided to major or minor in psychology, be sure to see an advisor. Although all psychology faculty serve as advisors, the best place to start is the undergraduate Advisement and Internship Center located in H-830J, and the phone number is 278-3102. Sign-up sheets for appointments are posted outside the office. You should also obtain a copy of the Undergraduate Student Handbook. After you look at the information on this page, take a look at the Peer Mentor page for more good information about resources in psychology.


General Goals of the Program

Major Requirements (Fall 2001)

Minor Requirements

Frequently Asked Questions

CSUF Catalog and Admissions

Download the Student Handbook

Download the 'Careers for Psychology Majors' Handout

General Goals of the Program

Psychology is a science that has as its central theme the study of behavior. Psychology involves studying about how we interact with one another and our environment. Psychology is practical; it is concerned with improving the quality of life. In order to achieve these ends psychologists work in a broad range of research and applied settings. The psychology major is designed to provide each student with a comprehensive overview of the major fields of psychology, the methods used in psychological research, and the applications of psychological knowledge. The major is also designed to assist the student in selecting elective courses which can form a concentration in an area of each student's interest. These specialty areas might include clinical, social, developmental/child, industrial/organizational, learning/cognitive and biological psychology. The major provides a basis for careers in a variety of psychology related occupations including mental health agencies, hospitals, teaching, business and public organizations. The major also prepares students for graduate training in fields such as clinical psychology; marriage and family therapy; teaching; social work; law; business management, and public administration.

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Major Requirements effective Fall 2001

The psychology major consists of a minimum of 41 units. Nine of these units are lower division courses and the remaining 32 units must be upper division. To be counted toward the major, each course must be completed with a grade of "C" or better.

Lower Division Requirements (9 units)
PSYC 101 Introductory Psychology (3 units)
PSYC 201 Elementary Statistics (3 units)
PSYC 202 Research Methods in Psychology (3 units)

Upper Division Requirements (32 units)
PSYC 300 Computer Applications in Psychology (3 units)

Two of the following experimental psychology lecture courses (6 units):
PSYC 302 Learning and Memory
PSYC 303 Sensation and Perception
PSYC 304 Comparative Animal Behavior
PSYC 305 Cognitive Psychology (Information Processing)
PSYC 306 Biopsychology
Go the the department Experimental Psychology web site for more information on these courses.

One of the experimental psychology laboratory courses (you must be concurrently enrolled in corresponding lecture course or have taken the lecture course previously) (2 units)
PSYC 302L Lab in Learning and Memory
PSYC 303L Lab in Sensation and Perception
PSYC 304L Lab in Comparative Animal Behavior
PSYC 305L Lab in Cognitive Psychology
PSYC 306L Lab in Biopsychology

Two of the following courses (6 units):
PSYC 331 Psychology of Personality
PSYC 341 Abnormal Psychology
PSYC 351 Social Psychology
PSYC 361 Developmental Psychology

One of the following courses (3 units):
PSYC 311 Educational Psychology
PSYC 317 Legal Psychology
PSYC 362 Psychology of Aging
PSYC 391 Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Both of the following senior-level courses (6 units):
PSYC 461 Psychological Testing (3 units)
PSYC 495 Field Placement in Psychology (3 units)

Electives (6 units):
Upper-division Psychology courses

TOTAL: 41 units

For more information, consult the undergraduate handbook and see a psychology advisor. Because some courses may be required for different types of graduate programs or professional certificates, it is a good idea to seek advice on choosing the best experimental courses and electives for you. Early advisement is especially important if you are planning on becoming a K-12 teacher.

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Minor Requirements

The department offers a 21 unit minor. To be counted toward the minor, each course must be completed with a grade of "C' or better. The minor program consists of the following courses:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do I do after completion of Psych 101--Introductory Psychology (with a 'C' or better)?
A: Many of the courses in the major have Psych 101 as a prerequisite. These include such courses as developmental, social, personality, abnormal, and industrial/organizational psychology. However, a number of courses require completion elementary statistics and research methods courses. We urge you to not delay taking these courses along with computer applications.

Please come and see us!
Do not hesitate to make an appointment with a faculty advisor (H-830J; 278-3102).

Q: What is a 'Grad Check'

A: A form that list all the requirements for graduation, and the student's standing in relation to those requirements. It is a form that one needs to apply for following the completion of a minimum of 90 units of coursework. The grad check form will tell you how many more units you need, how many general ed. courses still are required, and how many more psychology courses are still required in order to graduate at the end of the following semester.

Q: How do I get a grad check?

A: You initiate the grad check with an application form available in the Admissions and Records Office in Langsdorf Hall (a fee is required). Approximately two months later you will receive in the mail a partially completed grad check form. As soon as possible, make an appointment with a faculty advisor in the psychology advisement office (H-830J; 278-3102), and bring the partially completed grad check form to the appointment. Your faculty advisor will help you complete the grad check form. You will then turn in the completed form to the Graduation Unit (LH-108) in Admissions and Records. This form must be turned in by the last day of the semester before the semester you plan to graduate. You have now completed the grad check process.

Q: Can I go through the graduation ceremony in May even though I will still have to finish up more units?

A: Yes, you can go through the May graduation as long as you will be completing those remaining units in summer school. If you plan to complete those remaining units the next Fall semester, you must then plan to go through the next May ceremony the following year.

Q: Where do I go for advice on classes to take in psychology?

A: 830J! Sign up with a faculty advisor ASAP. A sign-up sheet is posted outside the door of 830J). Please dial 278-3102 to speak to, or sign up to speak with, a faculty advisor.
Please note that faculty advisement hours are less frequent during Summer and intersession (January). No hours are available during Spring and Fall breaks; office hours during finals week are also irregular.

Q: Will courses I took at the community college transfer to CSUF?

A: Most courses will transfer but the exact evaluation of all your courses is done by the Office of Admissions and Records. Some may count toward the lower division requirements of the psychology major: See a psychology faculty undergraduate advisor at CSUF; bring your community college transcript and/or the evaluation of your units that you received from the CSUF admissions office (a blue form.

Q: Can I complete the BA in psychology at night?

A: Yes, you can. The university defines "night" classes as those beginning at 4pm or later. There are fewer choices for classes offered at night than there are during the day, but by carefully watching your schedule you can complete the BA in psychology (even with fewer courses offered).

Q: How many classes should I take if I'm also working?

A: Many CSUF undergraduates do have to work while going to school in order to support themselves. This is less than an ideal situation in terms of school work, but is a reality! Often times, students entering the university for the first time, either from high school or community college, underestimate the amount of time required to do well in their classes at CSUF. Unfortunately, many students take too many units and/or have too many hours at their job, and end up with low grades as a result. In addition, students often do not have time to take advantage of other opportunities offered within the psychology department including: research, membership in various student organizations, planning graduate-level work, and opportunities important in defining a future career. Hopefully you will quickly reach a proper balance between work and school.

Many students find it necessary to work and go to school. A frequently asked question is how many units should be taken if you are working. This question is difficult to answer precisely because one needs to take into account many factors such as the type of courses you are taking, your ability, the commuting time to school and work and family or social commitments. Nevertheless, a good estimate would be:

Hours worked per week Recommended number of units

Hours Worked Recommended Units
40 3
30 6
20 9
10 12
0 15

Many students enter CSUF, especially community college transfer students, having had successful experiences with workloads in excess of those recommended. Unfortunately, as one progresses in the major, the workload per unit, competition, and number of term papers and research reports usually increases. Not making a downward adjustment in the number of units or in the number of hours worked will, undoubtedly, lead to lower grades and excessive amounts of stress. Frequently, these symptoms show up about two thirds of the way through the semester when it is too late to drop a class. The solution to the problem is to try and use the above recommendations when you are in the process of registering for classes. This means you will have to make some sacrifices either in terms of slowing down your educational progress (fewer units per semester) and/or reducing your income. For some students it's even necessary to convince parents that pursuing a college education full-time (12-15 units) is a full-time job! The benefits of doing so are substantial. Following the above recommendations will allow you sufficient time to study, use the library, meet with faculty, and in general, maximize the chances that your grades will reflect your true potential. In addition, and equally important, it will allow you time to get involved in department and university activities (see section on Involvement elsewhere in the handbook). In summary, if you are working 30 hours a week and taking 12 units you are more than likely collecting units and missing half your education. The Psychology Department and CSUF have a lot to offer; don't miss it!


Q: How can I enhance my training in psychology?

A: Students can take Psych 498--Directed Empirical Research, or Psych 499--Directed Libray Research, both of which allow a student to do research with a professor in the psychology department.
Be sure to look at the faculty research interest listing found in the psychology department office. Students should plan an appointment with a professor whose research and teaching interests match their own to discuss the possibility of taking Psych 498/499 units with that professor.
Psych 495--Field Placement in Psychology also provides hands-on experience with applied aspects of psychology and associated settings (including clinical, Industrial/Organizational, developmental, and gerontological work settings). As of Fall 2001, this course is required of all psychology majors. For more information, see the Internship web site.

Q: How do I choose electives in my major or decide on a career path?

A: Talking with faculty advisors is very helpful. Faculty advisors are more than happy to help you decide on future study and career plans. It is especially important to choose elective courses both in psychology and in other departments that will help you meet your goals.

Q: What are course prerequisites?

A: Many courses can only be taken following completion of other classes. These prior classes that must be completed first are known as course prerequisites. Course prerequisites are not found in the Class Schedule listings. The only place to find prerequisites are in the Undergraduate Student Handbook, or in the University Catalog. You should already have a CSUF catalog, but if not, they're available in the CSUF bookstore. Please buy one and read it! You will need to plan ahead by taking earlier the prerequisite courses you need to complete in order to take later the 300 or 400-level courses you are interested in.

Q: I am an undergraduate seeking information about grad training in psychology (schools and programs). Where can I find this information?

A: Either make an appointment with a faculty advisor (see above), or take a look at the APA Gradute Study in Psychology book that is available to read in the Advisement and Internship Center. You may also purchase it at Titan Bookstore or directly from the American Psychological Association.

Many graduate training links are available on the CSUF Psychology resources page; check it out.

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CSUF Catalog and Admissions

 The CSUF on-line catalog Follow this link to find course descriptions and prerequisites, and program and admission requirements

 CSUF Admissions Looking for more detailed information pertaining to the application process? Use this link to reach information for prospective students.