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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jun 25, 2024
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Psychology, BS

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The psychology major is part of the liberal arts program in the Dietrich School. As such, it provides students with the skills needed to succeed in a job and in graduate school, to think critically and communicate effectively about human behavior and related topics. The Department of Psychology also functions from the perspective that psychology is a natural science. The emphasis it places on research is evident in the foundation courses required to declare the psychology major (e.g., statistics, research methods), as well as in the focus on the scientific methods throughout the content of all other psychology courses. To complement their arts and sciences training, the department also encourages students to participate in directed research and/or supervised field placement opportunities. For more information on the psychology department and its programs, please visit the Department of Psychology Web site.

Psychology majors an participate in one of two major options: General major in Psychology, and Honors in Psychology. Students who declare the Psychology major are automatically enrolled in the general major track. This track provides students with a broad background in psychology and a firm understanding of the scientific method. The majority of students remain in this track.

In addition to Dietrich School skills and General Education Requirements, psychology majors must complete 34 to 35 credits in psychology, four credits in statistics, and nine to10 credits of co-requirements as described below. The honors track offers students a challenging and unique opportunity: to conduct their own, independent research study under the guidance of a faculty member. Additional course and GPA requirements apply. Students interested in pursuing the honors track should speak with an advisor in the Psychology Advising Office.

Foundation courses

Three courses are required to declare the major; students must earn a C or better in all three foundation courses if they wish to graduate with a psychology major.


Choose a course from any of the following levels.

  • PSY 0100-level
  • PSY 0300-level
  • PSY 0400-level
  • PSY 0500-level
  • PSY 1000-level

The elective course cannot include any course used to fulfill a core requirement, any 1000-level requirement, or lab methods requirement. Experiential learning courses - PSY 1900 , PSY 1902 , and PSY 1903  may be used to fulfill this requirement. PSY 1950 PSY 1970 PSY 1973  , and PSY 1975  may not be used to fulfill this requirement.


The Department of Psychology requires that students further develop their scientific skills through certain approved courses in math, biological sciences, and social sciences. A list of these approved courses is available in the Psychology Advising Office. The co-requirements may be used to fulfill Dietrich School General Education Requirements, where appropriate, or can be taken as separate courses.

Psychology majors must also follow these rules and requirements:

  • Students who wish to delcare a major in psychology must first complete PSY 0010  and one of the foundation statistics courses with a letter grade of C or better and must be enrolled in PSY 0035  .
  • New majors must complete an online orientation prior to scheduling an appointment with tehir assigned psychology advisors. Students will receive an e-mail with instructions and dates approximately the fourth week of each fall and spring term.
  • Psychology majors must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in their departmental courses.
  • All psychology and statistics courses used to fulfill requirements for the major must be taken for a letter grade.
  • Majors must take one of the writing-intensive courses (W-courses) offered within the department. PSY 0035  is offered every term and is a W-course. Other W-courses offered in the department are PSY 0420 , PSY 1112 , and PSY 1305 .
  • In addition to their major requirements, all Dietrich School students are required to complete a related area, minor, or certificate. Students should consult a psychology advisor when deciding which courses they would like to pursue to fulfill this requirement.

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