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 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 email@example.com.
Chair: Jill Razani
Sierra Hall (SH) 376
Student Learning Outcomes
- Goal 1. Knowledge Base of Psychology: Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings and historical trends in psychology.
- Goal 2. Research Methods in Psychology: Students will understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis and interpretation.
- Goal 3. Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology: Students will respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.
- Goal 4. Application of Psychology: Students will understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social and organizational issues.
- Goal 5. Values in Psychology: Students will be able to weigh evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a discipline.
Knowledge, Skills and Values Consistent with Liberal Arts Education that are Further Developed in Psychology
- Goal 6. Information and Technological Literacy: Students will demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for many purposes.
- Goal 7. Communication Skills: Students will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of formats.
- Goal 8. Sociocultural and International Awareness: Students will recognize, understand and respect the complexity of sociocultural and international diversity.
- Goal 9. Personal Development: Students will develop insight into their own and others’ behavior and mental processes and apply effective strategies for self-management and self-improvement.
- Goal 10. Career Planning and Development: Students will emerge from the major with realistic ideas about how to implement their psychological knowledge, skills and values in occupational pursuits in a variety of settings.