Major Requirements


Prerequisites to Declare the Major

The prerequisite courses noted below may be taken in any order, including concurrently, and may be satisfied through transfer course credit.  Grades of at least “C” are required for each.

  • A GPA of at least 2.00 for all psychology courses taken at UVa.
  • *STAT-1601 Introduction to Data Science with R
  • *PSYC-2005 Research Methods & Data Analysis I
  • Two 2000-level PSYC courses from two different “pillars”

*These courses satisfy the Quantitative, Computational, and Data Analysis requirement of the new College of Arts & Sciences curriculum

(Intro to Psychology, e.g., PSYC-1010, or a score of at least 3 in AP Psychology, can satisfy one of these 2000-level prerequisites, but does not contribute credit toward the major)

Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology

A total of 34 credits must be earned in PSYC courses (not including Introductory Psychology).  Grades of at least “C” are required for all courses counting toward the major.  With the exception of PSYC-3590, courses with S/US grades do not count for the major. 

GPA of at least 2.00 must be maintained in all PSYC courses taken at UVa, including those with grades too low to count toward the 34 credits. If a course is repeated, both grades are counted in the psychology GPA. 

Students receiving grades of “C-” or lower in three psychology courses and having less than a 2.00 GPA in all psychology classes will not be permitted to continue in the major.

The 34 credits must include the following components

     a. FUNDAMENTALS of PSYCHOLOGY (12 credits from 2000-level courses)

These have no prerequisites. One course must be completed from each of the following four 2000-level pillars:

Pillar I: Cognitive Psychology

PSYC-2150 Cognitive Psychology

PSYC-2160 Cognitive Neuroscience

Pillar II: Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience

PSYC-2200 Neural Basis of Behavior

Note. BIOL 3050 fulfills this pillar requirement, but does not count toward the 34 hours required for the psychology major. Students using BIOL3050 to satisfy the Pillar II requirement must take an additional PSYC course to fulfil the 34-credit degree requirement.

Pillar III: Developmental Psychology

PSYC-2700 Child Development

Pillar IV: Clinical and Social Psychology

PSYC-2410 Abnormal Psychology

PSYC-2600 Social Psychology

     b. RESEARCH METHODS and DATA ANALYSIS (10 credits) 

PSYC-2005 (a prereq for the major) and PSYC-3006 lay the foundation for understanding scientific analysis and reporting, and are best completed as soon as possible (preferably by fall semester of third-year).

Research Methods: [Topic] Course. Beyond 3005 and 3006, students must take one advanced research methods (RM) topic course at the 3000- or 5000-level.  Offerings in fall 2019 are RM in Behavior Genetics and Epigenetics, and RM in Personality.

      c. ADVANCED TOPICS in PSYCHOLOGY (12 credits from 3000-5000 levels)

At least four courses* must be completed at the 3000-level or higher, and at least one of them must be at the 4000-level or higher.  Some Advanced Topics courses may have prerequisites. 

*PSYC-3590, Research in Psychology, may be counted for one of these courses (3 credits), though multiple semesters of PSYC-3590 is highly encouraged. The College of Arts & Sciences will count up to 24 credits of ungraded coursework toward the 120 required for graduation, so as many as 24 credits of 3590 could count in this way.

The following courses do not count toward this requirement: PSYC-3006, PSYC-RM Topics, Directed Readings in Psychology, PSYC Internship, or DMP Seminars and Thesis courses.

Courses at the 4000- and 5000-levels are seminars that are generally reserved for fourth-year majors, but may be accessible earlier on a space-available basis (see notes below). Don’t overlook 5000-level courses; though these are open to graduate students as well as undergraduates; they are not substantively different in depth or challenge.



*For clarification questions please email the Undergraduate Coordinator, Kimbo Smith at

Prior to August 2018, the Prerequisites to declare Psychology as a major have been:

Prerequisites to Declaration

The following may be satisfied through AP and transfer course credit:

  1. Introductory Psychology (At least a C in PSYC-1010 or comparable transfer course; or a score of at least 3 on AP Psych).
  2. One 2000-level psych course (At least C).
  3. GPA of at least 2.00 for all psychology courses taken at UVa.
  4. Calculus (At least a C- in one of the approved courses below or comparable transfer course; or approved AP credit for Calculus AB or BC).

MATH 1210 (Applied Calculus I), MATH 1212 or 1190 (Applied Calculus I with Algebra), MATH 1220 (Applied Calculus II), MATH 1310 (Calculus I), MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I), or APMA 1110 (Single Variable Calculus II).

Requirements for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology for students who declared the major before August 2018:

A total of 30 psychology credits must be earned (not including Introductory Psychology and Calculus), all with a grade of at least a C (courses with Credit/No Credit grades cannot count for the major).   Only PSYC classes can count.  Additionally, a GPA of at least 2.00 must be maintained in all PSYC courses taken at UVa, including those with grades too low to count toward the 30 credits (if a course is repeated, both grades are counted in the psychology GPA). 

Students receiving grades of “C-” or lower in three psychology courses and having less than a 2.00 GPA in all psychology classes will not be permitted to continue in the major or minor.

Up to 12 transfer credits may be counted toward the major.

The 30 credits must include the following components:

Research Methods & Data Analysis (8 credits).  

A two-course sequence, PSYC-3005 or 2005 and 3006, is required of all majors and minors and, since it lays the foundation for understanding scientific analysis and reporting, is best completed as soon as possible.  The calculus requirement must be met prior to beginning this sequence.

PSYC 3005 or 2005 must be taken before the 4th-year. If a grade of C or higher is not earned in PSYC 3005 or 2005 taken during a student’s sixth semester, the course may be repeated during the 4th-year.

Statistics classes taken in other departments, such as Math, Economics, or Sociology cannot be substituted for PSYC 3005 or 2005 or PSYC 3006.

2000-Level minimums (9 credits).  These have no prerequisites.At least one course must be completed from each of the following three 2000-level groups:

Group I

PSYC 2100 (Learning)

PSYC 2150 (Cognition)
PSYC 2300 (Perception)

PSYC 2559 (Human Memory)

PSYC 2160 (Cognitive Neuroscience)


Group II

PSYC 2200 (Neural Basis)
PSYC 2210 (Animal Behavior)
PSYC 2220 (Psychobiology)

*BIOL 3050 or 3170 fulfills this group requirement, but does not count toward the 30 hours required for the psychology major. Students using one of these BIOL courses to satisfy this group requirement must complete an additional 2000-level or higher PSYC course.


Group III

PSYC 2400 (Personality)
PSYC 2600 (Social)
PSYC 2700 (Child)

Note: We suggest that students who fail to earn the minimum ”C” in a 2000-level class take a different class in the same group rather than repeat the class they took.  This is because (unless the first grade was an “F”) the College of Arts & Sciences will not give credit for a repeated class.

 Upper-level minimums (6 credits)

At least two courses must be completed at the 3000-level or higher, and at least one of them must be at the 4000-level or higher.  The following cannot count toward this requirement: PSYC 3005, 3006, 4005, 4006, Directed Readings in Psychology, Research in Psychology 3590, Internship, Advanced Psychobiology Lab, or DMP seminars and thesis.

Courses at the 4000- and 5000-levels are seminars to be taken after completing PSYC 3005 and, usually, PSYC 3006. They are generally restricted to 4th-year Psychology majors (but see Notes below on exceptions). The offerings change frequently, so plan on being flexible when it comes time to fit one of these into your schedule.  Don’t overlook 5000-level courses; though these are open to graduate students as well as undergraduates; they are not substantively different in depth or challenge.

Electives (7 credits).

These may include other courses at 2000-level or higher, including DMP thesis 4970, 4980.  Directed Readings, *Research in Psychology 3590, and *DMP seminar 3870can count for up to 9 elective credits toward the major.  *Grades of “Satisfactory” (S) are acceptable for these electives marked here with an asterisk.  Effective for the Class of 2019 (or for students declaring a major or minor later than in the spring of 2017), credit from the University Internship Program does not count toward the Psychology major. For those that are eligible for University Internship credit, the credits must be taken for "ungraded psychology credit" and not as "graded sociology credit" to count toward the major.  Credit cannot be given for paid research or work experience.

Attention Transfer Students.

We strongly recommend that transfer students who wish to major or minor in psychology complete the calculus requirement before arriving at UVa. Otherwise, you will have to accomplish the calculus requirement in your first semester at UVa in order to become a major or minor.


UVA students who were matriculated before August 2018, but have not yet declared psychology as their major have the option to use the new or the old prerequisites to declare Psychology. If the old prerequisites were chosen to declare Psychology, the requirements for a BA in Psychology prior to August 2018 as outlined above will apply. 


The Prerequisite to Declare Requirements for transfer students will be evaluated on an individual basis to accommodate prior commitments. Generally, students who have not yet taken calculus will be encouraged to pursue the new psychology curriculum.  

Notes on Course Planning

How many courses?  Nine or ten depending on your planning. Since the major requires 30 credits, the smallest number of classes to accomplish this is nine (six 3-credit classes and three 4-credit classes). Two of these 4-credit classes will be PSYC 3005 and 3006,  Finishing the major with just one more 4-credit class usually means combining a 3-credit 2000-level class with an optional 1-credit Discussion section associated with that class.  Otherwise you will have to take 10 classes (eight 3-credit classes and two 4-credit classes) for a total of 32 credits.  The 1-credit Discussion sections must be taken concurrently with the associated 2000-level course.

Descriptions of courses that are offered through the Department of Psychology are available in the Course Catalog in SIS. Note that not all courses are offered each semester or even each year.

Wait Lists, yes; Course Actions, no.

Wait lists for most psychology courses are available online through SIS either as a waiting list or a permission list. DO NOT CONTACT THE COURSE INSTRUCTOR.  If you think you merit special consideration, contact the Undergraduate Coordinator,  If a course does not have a wait list shown online, contact the Undergraduate Coordinator to inquire about one.  

Course Actions Forms are not used to add students to Psychology classes. All additions to classes are performed through the wait lists.

Psych Major access to 4000- and 5000-level seminars: Initial limits and possibilities for more than one

(1) If you are a 4th-year student and are trying to enroll in your first such course, start here:

The initial enrollment caps on these courses are set between 15 and 18, but they can rise, typically to a max of 20. If they reach the preliminary cap of 15-18 students, a Permission List will be added on which you can express interest.  If you are not able to enroll in one of the original slots and still wish to take a seminar in a particular semester, put your name on the Permission List, copy the bolded information below, and paste with your answers in the Justification Section:

  • Your expected graduation term (e.g., Spring 2018):
  • Your major(s):
  • Have you already taken a 4000- or 5000-level seminar (Y or N):
  • Why are you interested in taking the course this semester:
  • *Top 3 seminar choices (e.g. PSYC 4115, PSYC 4200, PSYC 4250):
    • 1)
    • 2)
    • 3)

 *Please only place your name on the Permission list for the seminar you are most interested in taking, and include your backup options in the Justification section as mentioned above. Criteria for admission from the Permission List will hinge on graduation needs and your qualifications, not the order of sign-up on the list. We cannot guarantee your top choices, but will do our best to ensure that you get into a seminar in order to fulfill your major/minor graduation requirements.

If you had the course in your shopping cart prior to the creation of the Permission List, you may have to remove and re-add the course to your cart in order to access the list.

Please put your name on a permission list with the information above no later than the Friday after enrollment opens up if you wish to enroll in a 4000-level or 5000-level seminar for that semester.

 (2) If you have already taken a seminar, or are not a 4th-year:

In order to ensure that all 4th-year Psychology majors/minors can get into at least one 4000-level seminar, SIS does not initially allow students to enroll in these courses if they have already had one such course or are not a 4th-year.  However, for courses that don’t fill up,  there are opportunities for students to take more than one or take one  prior to 4th-year.

Watch the course(s) of interest to you on SIS.  Permission Lists will be added for courses that reach the preliminary cap between 15 and 18 and for those with lower enrollments by the end of registration week.  These lists will allow you to explain your interest and qualifications in the course. In the past, the courses where we have been able to admit non-4th years and students who have already taken a seminar have had lower enrollment totals, and it is unlikely that we will have additional room in courses that quickly reach their preliminary caps. Please make other arrangements with your schedule in the event that we do not have the space to enroll you in a seminar.

 If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email Kimbo Smith at


Research in Psychology (PSYC 3590)

Research in Psychology ( PSYC 3590) provides three credit hours, and typically involves working on a research project conducted by a faculty member (working either with the faculty member or a graduate student). This may involve, for example, helping in the design and preparation of an experiment or field study, data collection, coding data, and/or data analysis. For notices requesting research assistants, check the Undergraduate bulletin board (Gilmer 1st floor). Otherwise, students must take the initiative to identify and approach faculty members who may be interested in involving undergraduates in their research. A list of faculty members with descriptions of their research interests is available on the Department web pages. You should use this list to identify faculty members whose research is most likely to be of interest to you. Students must have the prior approval of the faculty member with whom they will work before enrolling for Research in Psychology. Research Assistant Needs

Undergraduate Internship Program (PSYC 4910, 4920

Undergraduate Internship in psychology is managed by the University Internship Program. It has two components: field placement with a local organization (i.e., private, nonprofit and public sectors that give students an opportunity to intern in a wide variety of human services, government, or business settings) and a weekly academic seminar. The program requires students to work 10 hours per week for two semesters and is open to all rising 4th-year students with a cumulative GPA greater than 2.2. PSYC 4910 and 4920 are offered on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading basis. The internship office helps to match students with organizations, but it is recommended strongly that you look at possible placement to get ideas about where you might like to apply. The application deadline is usually mid-to-late February of the third year. Applications are sent automatically to all third-year psychology majors. For more information, contact Nancy Gansneder (918 Emmet St. North, Center for Public Service, Room 305, 982-5552).

University Internship must be taken for ungraded psychology credit and not graded credit as sociology does not count toward the major.  If the internship was originally taken as a sociology class it cannot be later switched or counted as a psychology class.

Internships taken outside this program do not count toward the major or for transfer credit.