Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for the Psychology major? The Psychology Majors Checklist contains all of the course requirements for the major. There is also the Four-Year Plan which may be helpful in planning classes.

How do I declare the Psychology major? In order to declare the psychology major a student must successfully complete Intro Psychology (Psych 201 or 202 or 281) with a grade of “C” or better. We also accept a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam. TO DECLARE THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR students must complete one of the following options:

1.    ONLINE by joining our CANVAS course – Psychology Advising Site AND completing the MAJOR DECLARATION REQUEST FORM. Students must email with their NetID to be added to the online CANVAS COURSE. The major declaration request form can be accessed from the course module.



Can I still major in psychology if I am in a different school such as education or business? With permission from your school or college, yes! If you are interested in completing psychology as well, come in and see us to discuss this process. Please note, students with PRE designations – Pre-nursing, Pre-engineering, etc. may not declare a second major in L&S until they have been officially accepted into their limited enrollment program. 

Is it true that biology is required for the psychology major? Yes. A student needs to complete animal biology for the psychology major. Most students take the zoology 101 and 102 sequence. This is a total of 5 credits- 101 is the lecture and 102 is a lab. It is recommended that they be taken together, but students can take them separately. If you received a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology test this is will fulfill the biology requirement for the psychology major. We also accept Zoology 151 or Biocore.

I received AP credit for statistics. Does this count for the major? No. AP credit for statistics counts as Statistics 301, which does NOT satisfy the statistics requirement for the Psychology major. Stats 301 will not adequately prepare students for the statistical analyses needed for Psychology 225, Research Methods.

I transferred in some psychology courses, but they transferred in as electives. Can they count towards the psychology major? Maybe. If you took a psychology course at another university and it transferred in as an elective (example: Psych X12) but you think it should count towards the major requirements, you must submit a Request for Curricular Exception form as well as a copy of the syllabus to the undergraduate advisors. Electronic submissions are acceptable. Your syllabi will be reviewed by the Undergraduate Program Manager and a determination will be made if the course qualifies as an acceptable substitution for a major requirement. 

What college (L&S) breadth requirements are fulfilled by the psychology major requirements? The major requirements for Psychology satisfy many of the breadth requirements for the BA and BS degree requirements in the College of Letters & Science. Required courses that will assist you in completing breadth and general education requirements include: Psych 202 (Social Science), Statistics (QR-B), Psych 225 (Comm B and Biological Science), Zoology 101 and 102 (Biological Science). Psychology breadth courses also carry breadth designations; some social science and some biological science. You will not receive Literature or Humanities breadth through the Psychology department, and only one elective course (Psych 349) fulfills a Physical Science breadth requirement. 

What are the prerequisites to enroll in Psych 225? In order to enroll in Psychology 225- Research Methods, students must earn a C or better in Introductory Psychology AND Statistics AND have completed a Communications-A course.

I transferred in Intro Psych and/or an acceptable statistics class (Psych 210, Stat 302, Stat 324 OR Stat 371), will I be able to enroll in Psych 225? Yes. However, if you were approved for a curricular exception to accept an elective course (Ex. PSYCH x15) for either Intro or Statistics, you must contact to receive authorization to enroll.

I took a course that I feel should count toward a Psychology major requirement (foundation, breadth, depth, capstone), what do I do? You may submit a Request for Curricular Exception form which requires an explanation or rationale as to why you feel the course should count, a course syllabus or description, your unofficial transcript and information about where the course was taken. Please note: No exceptions are made to the 33 credits required in the Psychology department and no curricular requirements are waived.

I want to study abroad… how will this affect my psychology major and graduation timeline? Many psychology students study abroad and graduate in a timely fashion. If you plan to study abroad meet with a psychology advisor to discuss your intended graduation date and semester/year you wish to go abroad. The earlier you plan for study abroad, the better. Also, go to the study abroad resource room in the Red Gym for more information on study abroad programs and opportunities. Often students are able to study abroad without taking any psychology courses and still graduate on time. Study abroad is a time to immerse yourself in another culture, so we frequently encourage students to take courses that you may not be able to take at UW-Madison.

I didn’t earn a C in Intro Psych and Statistics, now what? If you didn’t earn a C, meet with a psychology advisor as soon as possible. We will discuss options that you have and work together to come up with an optimal solution.

I received a D in a breadth or depth course, do I have to retake it? No. If you receive a D in either a breadth or depth course, it will still count towards the psychology major requirements. However, you need to earn an average of 2.0 or above in all psychology courses, and all upper-level courses within the psychology department. Only Psychology courses numbered 300 or above are included in calculating the upper-level GPA requirement.

Is it okay to take a psychology course pass/fail? Please see the Letters and Science policy.

I’m not currently a psychology major. Can I meet with someone in the psychology department for advising? Absolutely! We want to meet with students as early as possible to discuss not only requirements and coursework, but outside classroom experiences as well. Schedule an appointment now!