Psychology Major, B.A.

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Visit Program Website

Davie Hall, CB# 3270

(919) 843-0174

Donald T. Lysle, Chair

dlysle@email.unc.edu

Regina M. Carelli, Associate Chair

rcarelli@email.unc.edu

Karen Gil, Associate Chair

kgil@email.unc.edu

Jeannie Loeb, Director of Undergraduate Studies

loeb@unc.edu

Desiree Griffin, Director of Undergraduate Psychology Advising

dgriffin@unc.edu

Kelly Giovanello, Director of Neuroscience Curricula

kgio@email.unc.edu

Rachel Penton, Director of Undergraduate Neuroscience Advising

pentonre@email.unc.edu

Peter Gordon, Director of Cognitive Science Minor

pcg@email.unc.edu

Kaitlin Blakemore, Student Services Manager

blakek@email.unc.edu

Christopher Coffey, Undergraduate Instructional Program Coordinator

ctcoffey@email.unc.edu

In the undergraduate study of psychology, the emphasis is on a broad acquaintance with the behavioral sciences, not specialization. The subject matter is preparatory to a career in psychology either in basic research and teaching, or in any number of professional applications to various human problems. A psychology major may prove valuable to those planning other professional careers such as medicine, law, education, or business, as well as to those who seek a broad cultural background in the behavioral sciences.

Department Programs

Majors

Minors

Graduate Programs

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the psychology (B.A., B.S.) and/or neuroscience (B.S.) programs, students will attain the following:

  • Knowledge Base: Demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology and/or neuroscience, including its links to other social science disciplines
  • Research Methods: Apply basic research methods in psychology and/or neuroscience, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation
  • Critical Thinking Skills: Demonstrate critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior, mental processes and the biological mechanisms which underlie behavior and mental processes
  • Application: Apply psychological and/or neuroscience principles to personal, social, and organizational issues
  • Values: Demonstrate use of empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, be mindful of diversity and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology and/or neuroscience as a science

Requirements 

In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • attain a final cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major course requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum of 18 hours of C or better in the major core requirements (some majors require 21 hours).

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Gateway Course
PSYC 101General Psychology (with a grade of C or better)3
Core Requirements
PSYC 210Statistical Principles of Psychological Research H4
or PSYC 215 Applied Data Science in Psychology and Neuroscience
PSYC 270Research Methods in Psychology3
One course below 400 from four of the five following psychology program areas:12
Behavioral and Integrative Neuroscience:
Learning H
Sensation and Perception 1, H
Biopsychology H
Clinical:
Introduction to Clinical Psychology H
Psychopathology H
Cognitive:
Sensation and Perception 1, H
Cognitive Psychology H
Developmental:
Child Development H
Social:
Social Psychology H
Two additional PSYC and/or NSCI courses numbered between 400 and 650; may not include PSYC 493 or NSCI 4936
One additional PSYC and/or NSCI course above 101; may include three hours of PSYC 395, PSYC 693H, PSYC 694H, or NSCI 395; may not include PSYC 190 or NSCI 190.3
Additional Requirements
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
One other physical and life sciences course, which must be from a department other than psychology3
One of:3-4
Fluency in Information Technology
Introduction to Programming H
Introduction to Scientific Programming
Precalculus Mathematics
Calculus for Business and Social Sciences
Calculus of Functions of One Variable I H
Total Hours41-42
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Except for PSYC 101, no psychology courses may be used by psychology majors to satisfy the General Education Approaches requirement.

A student may submit a maximum of 45 hours of credit in psychology courses (including PSYC 101) toward the completion of the B.A. degree.

All majors must complete PSYC 101 and at least six psychology and/or neuroscience courses above PSYC 101 with a grade of C (not C-) or better (from the core requirements listed above).

Students planning to enter graduate programs in psychology are urged to include a research-intensive course such as PSYC 395, NSCI 395, PSYC 530, or PSYC 693H and PSYC 694H in their program and as many courses numbered 400 and above as possible.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
BIOL 101
101L
Principles of Biology
and Introductory Biology Laboratory H
4
PSYC 101 General Psychology 3
COMP 101
Fluency in Information Technology
or Introduction to Programming
or Introduction to Scientific Programming
or Precalculus Mathematics
or Calculus for Business and Social Sciences
or Calculus of Functions of One Variable I
3-4
Hours 10-11
Sophomore Year
PSYC 210
Statistical Principles of Psychological Research H
or Applied Data Science in Psychology and Neuroscience
4
PSYC/NSCI 2xxProgram area course #1 3
One additional physical and life sciences course, which must be from a department other than psychology. 3
Hours 10
Junior Year
PSYC/NSCI 2xxProgram area course #2 3
PSYC/NSCI 2xxProgram area course #3 3
PSYC 270 Research Methods in Psychology 3
One additional PSYC and/or NSCI course numbered between 400 and 650. May not include PSYC 493 or NSCI 493. 3
Hours 12
Senior Year
PSYC/NSCI 2xxProgram area course #4 3
One additional PSYC and/or NSCI course numbered between 400 and 650. May not include PSYC 493 or NSCI 493. 3
One additional PSYC and/or NSCI course above 101. 1 3
Hours 9
Total Hours 41-42
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Special Opportunities in Psychology and Neuroscience

Honors in Psychology and Neuroscience

Any major in the program with an overall grade point average of 3.3 or higher and prior research experience in a faculty lab (e.g., PSYC 395 or NSCI 395) is eligible for enrollment in the departmental senior honors program. Each candidate for honors participates in a two-semester course sequence (PSYC 693H and PSYC 694H or NSCI 693H and NSCI 694H) and carries out independent research in an area of the student’s choice under the guidance of a psychology and neuroscience faculty member. Please see the department Web site for the application form and additional information.

Departmental Involvement

Membership in the Psychology Club is open to any interested psychology major. There is no minimum grade point average requirement. The club meets frequently to discuss psychology-related topics and learn about careers in psychology.

The Carolina Neuroscience Club brings together students who have an interest in the brain and nervous system. Club members meet regularly to discuss courses, research articles, and post-college neuroscience opportunities. Membership is open to anyone interested in neuroscience.

Psi Chi is the National Honor Society for psychology. UNC's chapter strives to increase awareness of career options as well as the role of psychology in the community, among exemplary psychology students.

The Undergraduate Research Society raises undergraduate awareness of research on campus.The society works to bridge interactions between undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members as well as provides opportunities for undergraduate researchers to further their research interests.

Helping Give Away Psychological Science is a student-based nonprofit organization to improve information about psychology on Wikipedia, on other online sites, and in the community. 

Experiential Education

Several opportunities for experiential education are available. The Karen M. Gil Internship Program offers both course credit and a monthly stipend to selected psychology and neuroscience majors who are placed in approved internship sites in the community. Interns are selected through a competitive process (minimum grade point average is 3.4). Other experiential education opportunities include PSYC 395; NSCI 395PSYC 294; NSCI 294; NSCI 424; APPLES, performed either through the APPLES program or in conjunction with a specific psychology class; and other classes for which service learning is a central focus. See course listings for details.

Undergraduate Awards

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience administers several undergraduate awards: the Dashiell-Thurstone Prize; the David Bray Peele Undergraduate Award; the Donald T. Lysle Service Award; the Lindquist Undergraduate Research Award; the J. Steven Reznick Award for Diversity Enhancement in Psychological Research; the J. Steven Reznick Diversity and Psychological Research Grant; and the Susan M. McHale Award for Oustanding Psychological Research by a Student Who Enhances Diversity, as well as several fellowships and grants administered through the UNC Office for Undergraduate Research or the UNC Honors Carolina Office. An additional honor is election to Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology undergraduates. Each year, the Lindquist Undergraduate Research Award is given to several undergraduate students to support their research; the Dashiell-Thurstone Prize is awarded to one student for the best undergraduate research project; the David Bray Peel Undergraduate Award is given for the best honors project; and the Donald T. Lysle Service Award is given to a psychology or neuroscience major who has made exemplary service contributions. The Donald T. Lysle Service Award is presented at the Chancellor's Award Ceremony, the only campus-wide recognition at Carolina. The department also supports awards that support diversity. The J. Steven Reznick Award for Outstanding Research That Enhances Diversity is for a graduating senior who has conducted excellent research that contributes to psychological knowledge about diversity, and the J. Steven Reznick Diversity and Psychological Research Grant as well as the Susan M. McHale Award for Outstanding Research by a Student Who Enhances Diversity are awarded to student researchers who identify as being from an underrepresented population. For each of these awards, diversity is broadly defined, including but not limited to diversity based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, disability, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic status. For additional details on these awards, please visit the Psychology and Neuroscience page on undergraduate awards.

Undergraduate Research

Qualified students interested in doing independent research under the direction of a faculty member may enroll for independent research credit (PSYC 395 or NSCI 395). Students interested in this option should speak directly with psychology faculty members regarding opportunities in their laboratories. Additional information is available on the department's Web site. Many other psychology courses also include heavy research components. See the research methods, research intensive, and research exposure courses at the Office for Undergraduate Research.