Undergraduate Plan of Study (Advising Guide)
Psychology Major Information
Psychology is the scientific study of human cognition, affect, behavior, and relationships. Psychologists seek to understand, predict and influence behavior through research in a wide range of issues which affect human functioning, including social, physiological, developmental, cognitive and emotional factors. Research methodology is central to the discipline, and all psychology majors learn about research strategies and methods of data analysis.
The psychology major earns a liberal arts BA degree while also preparing for a variety of post-baccalaureate options. These include: a) graduate education in such fields as psychology, medicine, law or business; b) work in business, industry and organizations; and c) work in mental health and social service settings.
Since graduate education is essential for students hoping to become psychologists, and since admission into graduate programs in psychology is quite competitive, students with graduate education goals are encouraged to work particularly closely with their advisors throughout their undergraduate careers.
Please note that for all upper division (300- and 400-level) psychology courses, prerequisites include successful completion of at least 12 college credits at the 100-level.
BA Program Goals – Graduates of the program will:
(adapted from the American Psychological Association’s Program Goals for undergraduate Education in Psychology)Goal 1: Knowledge Base of Psychology Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in Psychology Goal 2: Research Methods in Psychology Understand and apply basic research methods in Psychology, research design, data analysis, and interpretation. Goal 3: Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology Respect and use of critical thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, scientific approach to solve problems to behavior and mental processes. Goal 4: Application of Psychology Understand and apply Psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues. Goal 5: Values in Psychology Value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of Psychology as a science. Goal 6: Information and Technological Literacy Demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes. Goal 7: Communication Skills Communicate effectively in a variety of formats. Goal 8: Sociocultural and International Awareness Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of Sociocultural and international diversity. Goal 9: Personal Development Develop insight into one’s own and others’ behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement. Goal 10: Career Planning and Development Pursue realistic ideas about how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills, and values in occupational in a variety of settings.
BA Program in Psychology (33 credit hours in Psychology)
Students may apply in the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) to become psychology majors at any time. They will be advised in the COLA office until they transfer to the psychology department:
- Complete the following COLA Requirements in addition to Core I and Core II university requirements. (See below for listing of Core I and II requirements.)
- Foreign Language: Successful Completion of 12-hour sequence language course. Must earn a “C” or better to move to the next course.
- Humanities: Choose one: any Classics course except CL 230,231, 233, 234, 235, 236 or 237; any Philosophy course, and Religious Studies course except 304, 320, 325, or 351.
- Literature: Choose two: Classics 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, or 237; any 200\300\400 English level course in literature( writing courses do not count) and 300\400 level Latin; Religious Studies 304, 310, 320,325, or 351; any 300\400 level course in French, German, Japanese or Spanish Literature.
- Social Sciences- Choose three courses in three different fields:
- Criminal Justice and/or Criminology
- Geography; and course except 101, 230, 350, 425, 429, or 430
- Political Science
- Sociology; any course except 108
- Women’s Studies 101
- Natural Science: Choose at least one four hour course from one of the following fields:
- Geography 101, 230, or 350
- Integrated Science and Technology
- Physical Science
- Multicultural Credits
- International Credits
- Marshall and overall GPA’s of at least 2.0 at the time of application to be a major.
Upon completion of these requirements, students will be assigned to a fulltime faculty member for advising.
Required Courses: (21 credits)
- General Psychology – PSY 201.
- Elementary Behavioral Statistics – PSY 223.
- Experimental Psychology – PSY 323.
- Choose at least one from the Social/Personality Perspective: PSY 302, PSY 360, PSY 408, PSY 418, PSY 420, PSY 426, PSY 433.
- Choose at least one from the Experimental/Biopsychology Perspective: PSY 324, PSY 350, PSY 391, PSY 416, PSY 417, PSY 440, PSY 443.
- Choose at least one from the Developmental/Individual Perspective: PSY 311, PSY 312, PSY 330, PSY 406, PSY 465, PSY 475.
- Capstone Course: After consulting with your advisor, choose one of the capstone options. PSY 456, PSY 457, PSY 460, PSY 470, PSY 471, PSY 499. Not all will be available every semester, so you may not be able to enroll in your first choice. See description of “capstone” below.
Psychology majors can satisfy the capstone requirement by successfully completing one of several courses: Research in Psychology (PSY 456-457); an undergraduate practicum in either clinical or industrial/organizational psychology (PSY 470 or 471); the capstone seminar (PSY 499), which will focus on a variety of topics, or History and Systems of Psychology (PSY460).
In order to enroll as a capstone student in any of these courses, a student must have a 2.0 GPA in Psychology and overall, have completed at least 80 credit hours of undergraduate coursework, and satisfy the specific course prerequisites. Permission to enroll as a capstone student is required from the instructor, and there is an application process for admission to PSY 470, 471, 456, and 457. Advanced students can take more than one of these courses, but only one will be used for the capstone experience. Check with your advisor in your junior year for specific capstone requirements.
Electives: (12 credits)
Students may select any additional 4 courses (12 credits) in psychology to complete their major requirements. Students are strongly urged to consult with their advisors about these important choices. The groupings of courses listed below are intended to guide the selections of students with specific educational and career objectives.
- Majors intending to apply for graduate/professional schools (e.g., Psychology, Medical School, Law School): PSY 302, PSY 311/312, PSY 406, PSY 408, PSY 416, PSY 417, PSY 440, PSY 456, PSY 460. Suggestions for minor: consult with your advisor.
- Majors intending to work in business and industry after completing their BA degree: PSY 302, PSY 406, PSY 416, PSY 418, PSY 427, PSY 470, Economics 100, Accounting 215. We suggest a minimum of 2 computer courses beyond CSD 101, including PSY 427. Suggestions for minor: Marketing, Management, Safety Technology.
- Majors intending to work in mental health settings after completing their BA degree: PSY 204, PSY 311/312, PSY 330, PSY 360, PSY 380, PSY 408, PSY 433, and PSY 471. Suggestions for minor: Counseling, Social Work or Special Education.
- Majors who wish to use psychology as a general Liberal Arts degree: Follow requirements and any minor (whatever interests you, in consultation with adviser).
RBA Area of Emphasis
The State of West Virginia RRB guidlines prohibit RBA students from earning a major. However, RBA students may earn an area of emphasis in the RBA, which the state defines as a minimum of 15 hours of 300-400 level courses. Requirements are PSY 201 and any 15 hours of 300-400 level courses. A grade of C must be earned in each course in the area.
Minor in Psychology
Students may choose to minor in psychology, which requires a total of 15 credit hours in Psychology. Students are free to choose and 15 hours, but are encouraged to consult with a department faculty member about the appropriate choices, given their educational and career goals.
Remember, a minimum of 33 hours of Psychology is required for the major, but a student may take more hours than that.
Accelerated Masters Program
Students who have completed at least 90 hours towards their bachelor degree, have at least a 3.5 overall undergraduate GPA, and a 3.5 GPA in Psychology are eligible to apply for our Accelerated Master’s Degree program. Students accepted into the program can begin taking graduate coursework up to a maximum of 12 hours in place of elective undergraduate courses. Students reduce the number of hours required to complete the bachelor’s degree by the number of graduate hours they complete (up to a maximum of 12). They must meet all the other degree requirements for their bachelor’s degree while they work on their master’s degree. Interested students are encouraged to discuss this option with their advisor to obtain further details and information on the application process.
General advising suggestions and issues
- Meet with your advisor early and often. S/he can help you think about all aspects of being a successful major.
- Discuss your career goals with your advisor early and then again frequently as they develop or change. S/he can assist you with thinking about supplementary courses, field experiences, research opportunities, etc., that may help in this regard.
- Discuss possible minors with your advisor. S/he can help you think about the type of minors that may best complement your major or strengthen your record for graduate schools or for career goals. Minors are optinal to psychology majors.
- Begin your foreign language sequence as early as possible, and plan to work primarily on fulfilling the college course requirements in areas such as literature, natural and social science, etc., in your first two years.
- For the Social Science requirement, your psychology course will meet 9 of the required 15 credit hours. However, you are still required to complete courses from at least 2 other social science departments. See the discussion of the Marshall Plan requirements below, because Social Science courses are frequently used to meet part of these requirements.
- Integrated Science courses are high demand courses; realistically, you should may not be able to enroll in one until you are a senior, but don’t wait until your senior year to first consider a course in this area.
- Spring or Fall courses: not all courses are offered every semester. Discuss these with your advisor. For example, History and Systems of Psych (PSY 460) and our field practicum courses (PSY 470 and 471) are typically offered just once per year.
- Be sure you are clear about the rules associated with upper and lower division credit requirements. This is particularly important for transfer students, for whom courses taken at another institution may not transfer in the way that the student might have expected them to.
- Junior/Senior Evaluation: All seniors MUST schedule a Senior Evaluation meeting with the Academic Advisor (Kandace Napier) in the College of Liberal Arts office. You call the college to schedule the appointment. In this meeting, your academic record will be carefully examined, and you will receive an official list of whatever graduation requirements remain for you to complete. This is an important meeting! Though sometimes call a “senior” evaluation, you ought to plan to make that appointment near the end of your junior year (or as soon as you achieve senior status at the very latest) so that you have at least two semesters to meet any requirements that might have slipped by you!
*Please note that several PSY classes may meet writting intensive course requirements. PSY 302 and PSY 323 are writing intensive and PSY 426 is “multicultural.” These can change, so please check with your advisor prior to enrollment.
Choosing a Minor
- Majors intending to apply for graduate/professional schools (e.g., Psychology, Medical School, and/or Law School) should consult with their advisor for suggestions for a minor:
- Majors intending to work in business and industry after completing their BA degree, should take Economics 100 and Accounting 215.We suggest a minimum of two computer courses beyond IT 101, including PSY 427 and a minor in Marketing, Management, Safety Technology.
- Majors intending to work in mental health settings after completing their BA degree, should minor in Counseling or Social Work.
- Majors who wish to use psychology as a general Liberal Arts degree, can choose any minor, in consultation with your advisor.
- Minors are not required as part of graduation requirements in the psychology department.
Prerequisites for Marshall’s Graduate Programs in Psychology
Admission to the M.A. program requires the following coursework: Statistics PSY 223, Social Psychology PSY 302, Child Development PSY 311, Experimental Psychology PSY 323, Abnormal Psychology PSY 408, and Learning PSY 416.
Admission to the Psy.D. program requires the following coursework: Introductory Psychology PSY 201, Statistics PSY 223, Experimental Psychology PSY 323, Personality PSY 360, Abnormal Psychology PSY 408, and Psychometrics (or tests and measurements) PSY 406.
Both graduate degree programs require scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as a part of the application materials.