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New Major Requirements for students entering as Freshmen & New Transfers Fall 2014: click here



The Psychology major requires 40 units of Psychology courses. Every major course must be passed with a minimum grade of C. At least 34 units must be upper-division Psychology courses (courses at the 300 level and above); 6 units may be lower-division courses (courses at the 100 or 200 level) or transferred from a Junior College. Statistics is required in addition to the 40 units. Courses must be taken for a grade unless Credit/No Credit is the only grading option. 12 units of Credit/No Credit classes may be counted to the major; and 12 units of Psychology courses must be in residence at SSU.

Required courses

Psy 250, Introduction to Psychology, or equivalent

Math 165, Statistics or equivalent Statistics course

Psy 306, History of Modern Psychology

Psy 307, Humanistic, Existential & Transpersonal Psychology

Students are advised to take Statistics in the Freshman year.

Upper-division GE Psychology courses (Psy 302; Psy 303; Psy 325) can be double-counted as courses for the major.

For information on meeting with an advisor: Advising Guidelines.

Recommended Courses

Students are strongly recommended to take a Research Methods course, as well as courses that enhance knowledge of diversity and multiculturalism, such as Psy 328, Cross-Cultural Psychology. See suggested Methods courses at .

Research and Teaching Internships (Psy 481, 482)

Students may further their knowledge of psychology by becoming research assistants (RAs) or teaching assistants (TAs). Students must work with a faculty member who sponsors them for Psy 481 (Research Internship) or Psy 482 (Teaching Internship); the units vary according to the work being completed. Students fill out a department form for these classes, found in the Psychology office, during the Add/Drop period at the start of the semester. Students must register for theses classes in PeopleSoft. Psy 481 and 482 are Credit/No Credit classes; 12 units of Credit/No Credit classes may be counted to the major.

Department Learning Goals

The Department is committed to students developing the following skills while being a Psychology major. Individual courses within the curriculum target one or more of these skills. Students are encouraged to take courses which develop all of these competencies.

  1. Be familiar with the major concepts, theories, and perspectives in psychology.
  2. Be able to apply psychological theories, concepts, and principles to individual experience as well as to broader social issues and social systems.
  3. Be able to reflect on personal experience in light of psychological knowledge.
  4. Be able to recognize and understand the complexity of cultural diversity, in light of psychological knowledge.
  5. Be able to understand and apply basic research methods in psychology and the social sciences.
  6. Be able to demonstrate skills that promote behavioral change at the individual, organizational, and community levels.

Incoming Freshmen

Incoming freshmen spend most of their first two years at Sonoma State fulfilling their lower-division (100 and 200 level) GE requirements. This means taking 42 units (14 classes) of the 51 unit GE requirement. From fall 2011- present all entering first-time freshmen will complete 50 units of GE. Two lower-division GE courses are required for the Psychology major, and students are encouraged to take them as early as possible. The required lower-division GE courses are Psychology 250, Introduction to Psychology (GE D1); and Math 165, Statistics (GE B4). Students who are given GE credit for AP or IB Psychology test scores are exempted from taking Psychology 250, Introduction to Psychology, for the Psychology major.

Two lower-division GE courses are recommended for the major. These are English 101, Expository Writing and Analytical Reading (GE A2); and Philosophy 101, Critical Thinking or Philosophy 102, Introduction to Logic (or GE Area A3). For information on GE course selection and requirements, see the GE section below. Students are encouraged to take lower-division GE courses in line with their interests and curiosities.

Incoming freshmen are encouraged to consider taking a Psychology-oriented Freshman Seminar class, Humanities 102. This is an Educational Mentoring (EMT) program with specific classes taught by Psychology faculty around psychological themes and topics. Freshman seminar courses provide a skills-based transition between high school and college, and introduce students to the Sonoma State experience. Some of the freshmen seminar classes are FIG-based.

Incoming freshmen are also encouraged to consider the residential and academic Freshman Interest Group (FIG) program for students interested in psychology. The Psychology FIG students are enrolled in the same section of Psychology 250, Introduction to Psychology, as well as in other lower-division Psychology courses offered each semester. The Psychology FIG students live in one area of the residence halls so that they develop close ties to other members of the group. For more information on the Psychology FIG program, contact Julie Greathouse.

Students are encouraged to take Psychology 306, History of Modern Psychology, as early as the second semester of the sophomore year. Psy 306 is required for the Psychology major, and is a prerequisite for other Psychology courses.

Minor in Psychology

The minor in psychology requires completion of Introduction to Psychology with a minimum grade of B; plus 20 upper-division psychology course units, with a minimum grade of C. Courses must be taken for a letter grade unless Credit/No Credit is the only grading option. A Change of Minor form should be completed and signed by the Department Chair.

GE Information

The GE requirements differ according to the time you’ve attended SSU. Students attending from their freshman year complete 51 units of GE, from fall 2011-present for all entering first-time freshmen complete 50 units of GE, transfer students complete 48 units of GE. The GE requirements are listed on the GE pattern sheets. The pattern sheets are available outside of the Psychology office, Stevenson 3092, or download from Transfer students should check their Academic Requirements Report to determine which classes they've received GE credit, the Department does not do this evaluation. Transfer students should bring their Academic Requirements Report to their advising session. For transfer credits, print out a Transfer Credit Report from PeopleSoft.

When you reach Junior status (the semester you reach 60 units) you must take 3 upper division GE courses (courses at the 300 level and above) in at least two different GE areas—save room for them when you plan your GE courseload.

Psychology majors often take the following upper-division GE courses.

  • PSY 302, Life Span Development (area E)
  • PSY 303, Person In Society (area D)
  • PSY 325, Social Psychology (area D)
  • WGS 350, Gender, Sexuality, and Family (area E)
  • GERN 300, Journey of Adulthood (area E)

All upper-division Psychology GE courses can be double-counted in both GE and the Psychology major.


Students must take the CSU writing exam, the WEPT, and pass it in order to graduate. Students should take it in their Junior year. Check this link for more information on the WEPT, test dates, registering for the exam, and how to prepare for it.

Minors in Other Fields

Many Psychology majors use their electives to acquire a minor in another field, such as Sociology, Criminal Justice, Spanish, Art, or English. Students should check each department for the minor requirements for that department--minor requirements vary by department. Minoring in another field is a good way to demonstrate to graduate schools and potential employers a disciplined commitment to knowledge in a related field.

Double Majors

Some students take a double major in Psychology and another field while at SSU. If you're interested in this, check other departments for their major requirements.

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