Program: B.A., Psychology
The course of study and the requirements for the B.A. degree in Psychology provide an opportunity for students who (a) desire to extend their education in the liberal arts with an emphasis in psychology, (b) wish to prepare themselves for graduate work in psychology or (c) plan to enter one of several professional or occupational fields for which a substantial background in psychology is essential.
1. Lower Division Required Courses (10 units)
*A score of 151 or higher on the English Placement Test is prerequisite to PSY 250.
Supporting courses in Biology, Mathematics, Philosophy and the social sciences are recommended, but not required.
2. Lower Division Electives
Lower division courses other than those specified as required do not count toward a major in Psychology. These courses exist to inform students about topics of special interest and will count toward the total units required for graduation.
3. Upper Division Required Courses (26 units)
Note: Completion of the lower division writing requirement is prerequisite to all 300-level courses. Students are advised to complete the lower division writing requirement and to take PSY 301, 320/L and 321/L early in their program because these courses are prerequisites to other upper division courses required in the major.
a. Required Courses (9 units)
b. Breadth Requirement (12 units)
One course from each of the following four core areas (clusters) is required.
Cluster 1: Clinical/Personality Psychology (3 units)
Choose one of the following:
All courses in the Clinical/Personality Cluster cover the following Student Learning Objectives—1, 2 and 3, and at least one of the remaining objectives.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of history, theoretical perspectives (e.g., psychodynamic, trait, humanistic, evolutionary) and research on determining individual differences in personality and the development and maintenance of adaptive and maladaptive behavior.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of assessment, diagnosis or treatment in a cultural context.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of specific standards of research and practice established and maintained by the American Psychological Association.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of assessment, including test construction, testing standards and various test domains (e.g., objective tests, projective tests, structured interviews, behavioral assessments).
- Students will demonstrate their understanding and ability to use classification and diagnostic systems (e.g., the DSM) for identifying specific psychopathologies in a multicultural environment.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the intervention and treatment options available for the various clinical disorders, including limitations in general and when applied to certain populations.
- Students will demonstrate understanding of the different influences determining individual differences and the development of psychopathology (e.g., biological/neurochemical, environmental/learning, cultural context).
Cluster 2: Cognitive Psychology (3 units)
Choose one of the following:
All courses in the Cognitive Cluster cover the following Student Learning Objectives—1, 2 and 3, and at least two of the remaining objectives.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of key content areas in cognitive psychology, including perception, attention and the processes of encoding, storage and retrieval of information.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of at least one area of complex cognitive processes, including language, imagery, consciousness, metacognition, creativity, reasoning, problem solving and decision making.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the variety of methods used to study human cognition (e.g., reaction time, brain imaging, error analysis, performance accuracy).
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of major approaches to the study of human cognition, including the constructivist approach, information processing, parallel distributed processing and cognitive neuroscience.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the variety of influences on human cognition, including biology/genetics, the environment and the cultural context.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge about changes in cognition over the course of the human lifespan.
Cluster 3: Developmental Psychology (3 units)
Choose one of the following:
All courses in the Developmental Cluster cover the following Student Learning Objectives—1, 2 and 3, and at least two of the remaining objectives.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of key changes in development during specific periods of the lifespan.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the variety of influences on human development, including biology/genetics, the environment and the cultural context.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the variety of methods used to study human development (e.g., longitudinal, cross-sectional).
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of and apply major approaches to the study of human development (e.g., biological/maturation, environmental/learning, constructivist, cultural context).
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the distinction between quantitative and qualitative changes in human development.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of individual differences in human development.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the plasticity of human development.
Cluster 4: Social Psychology (3 units)
All courses in the Social Cluster cover the following Student Learning Objectives—1, and at least one of the remaining objectives.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the various research methods used by social psychologists.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in social thinking—how we view ourselves and others—such as the accuracy of impressions, intuitions and explanations.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in social influence—how our behavior is changed by others—such as persuasion, conformity and attitudes.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of key concepts in social relations—how we interact with others–such as attraction, aggression, helping and discrimination.
c. Capstone Requirement (5 units)
Choose one of the following:
PSY 471AA-ZZ/S Advanced Inquiry in Clinical/Personality Psychology and Seminar (3/2)
PSY 473AA-ZZ/S Advanced Inquiry in Neuroscience and Seminar (3/2)
PSY 475AA-ZZ/S Advanced Inquiry in Developmental Psychology and Seminar (3/2)
PSY 479AA-ZZ/S Advanced Inquiry in Social Psychology and Seminar (3/2)
PSY 485AA-ZZ/S Advanced Inquiry in Research and Analysis Methods and Seminar (3/2)
PSY 488AA-ZZ/S Advanced Inquiry in Cognitive Psychology and Seminar (3/2)
All Advanced Inquiry Capstone courses cover the following Student Learning Objectives:
- Students will demonstrate the ability to generate a researchable question.
- Students will plan and execute a design for research to answer that question (either generating new data or analyzing previously collected data).
- Students will compile, analyze, evaluate and interpret information relevant to their question (including previously published literature).
- Students will effectively communicate information in oral, written and graphic forms.
- Students will evaluate the possibilities for using findings relevant to their research in solving real-world problems.
- Students will recognize and address ethical concerns relevant to their research and the previously published literature.
4. Upper Division Electives (6 units or more)
Electives may include the above upper division courses not taken to satisfy other requirements or any 300- or 400-level courses in the Department of Psychology. Students may not double count the above courses as required courses and elective courses. No more than 6 units combined total of PSY 498 (Practicum) and/or PSY 499 (Independent Study) may be counted toward the major. No more than 6 units of PSY 498 and PSY 499 (12 units total) may be counted toward the B.A. degree.
Note that the number of units in Psychology must total at least 42 units; transfer credit for courses that reflect fewer units than those at CSUN must be compensated for in upper division Psychology elective units.
5. General Education (48 units)
Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog.
PSY 150 (Principles of Human Behavior) and MATH 140 (Introductory Statistics) satisfy both GE and major requirements. Students of Psychology are not exempt from any sections of the General Education program.
Total Units in the Major: 42
General Education Units: 48
Additional Units: 30
Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120
If you would like more information about this program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair: Jill Razani
Sierra Hall (SH) 376
Student Learning Outcomes
SLO 1: Knowledge Base in Psychology
Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems. Students completing foundation courses should demonstrate breadth of their knowledge and application of psychological ideas to simple problems; students completing a baccalaureate degree should show depth in their knowledge and application of psychological concepts and frameworks to problems of greater complexity.
- Describe key concepts, principles and overarching themes in psychology.
- Develop a working knowledge of psychology’s content domains.
- Describe applications of psychology.
SLO 2: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking
The skills in this domain involve the development of scientific reasoning and problem solving, including effective research methods. Students completing foundation-level courses should learn basic skills and concepts in interpreting behavior, studying research and applying research design principles to drawing conclusions about psychological phenomena; students completing a baccalaureate degree should focus on theory use as well as designing and executing research plans.
- Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena.
- Demonstrate psychology information literacy.
- Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving.
- Interpret, design and conduct basic psychological research.
- Incorporate sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry.
SLO 3: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World
The skills in this domain involve the development of ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity. Students completing foundation-level courses should become familiar with the formal regulations that govern professional ethics in psychology and begin to embrace the values that will contribute to positive outcomes in work settings and in building a society responsive to multicultural and global concerns. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should have more direct opportunities to demonstrate adherence to professional values that will help them optimize their contributions and work effectively, even with those who do not share their heritage and traditions. This domain also promotes the adoption of personal and professional values that can strengthen community relationships and contributions.
- Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice.
- Build and enhance interpersonal relationships.
- Adopt values that build community at local, national and global levels.
SLO 4: Communication
Students should demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills. Students completing foundation-level courses should write a cogent scientific argument, present information using a scientific approach, engage in discussion of psychological concepts, explain the ideas of others and express their own ideas with clarity. Students completing a baccalaureate degree should produce a research study or other psychological project, explain scientific results and present information to a professional audience. They should also develop flexible interpersonal approaches that optimize information exchange and relationship development.
- Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes.
- Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes.
- Interact effectively with others.
SLO 5: Professional Development
The emphasis in this goal is on application of psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project-management skills, teamwork skills and career preparation. Foundation-level outcomes concentrate on the development of work habits and ethics to succeed in academic settings. The skills in this goal at the baccalaureate level refer to abilities that sharpen student readiness for post-baccalaureate employment, graduate school or professional school. These skills can be developed and refined both in traditional academic settings and in extracurricular involvement. In addition, career professionals can be enlisted to support occupational planning and pursuit. This emerging emphasis should not be construed as obligating psychology programs to obtain employment for their graduates, but instead as encouraging programs to optimize the competitiveness of their graduates for securing places in the workforce.
- Apply psychological content and skills to career goals.
- Exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation.
- Refine project-management skills.
- Enhance teamwork capacity.
- Develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation.
ADT/STAR Act Degree Road Maps
Students who have graduated with a verified Associate Degree for Transfer and have been admitted to a CSUN program that has been deemed similar will be able to complete the baccalaureate degree within 60 semester units. For additional information, see ADT/STAR Act Degree Road Maps.