Major

A rigorous understanding of human/animal behavior and mental processes can be applied to almost any career. Students majoring in psychology have successfully pursued careers in science, clinical/counseling, business, medicine, law, public service, and a variety of other areas. UW-Madison’s Psychology major requires a variety of Foundation courses (Introductory Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods), Biology, Breadth courses, Depth courses, Capstone courses, and Psych elective credits.

Visit the GUIDE for Psychology Major requirements:

Psychology, B.A. or Psychology, B.S.

NOTE: Current students should review their DARS, the official document of record, for degree and major progress.

PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR CHECKLIST – PDF


Requirements for students who declared the Psychology major PRIOR to Fall 2022:

Psychology, B.A. or Psychology, B.S. 

Psychology major checklist – Prior to Fall 2022

TO DECLARE THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR, a student must successfully complete Introductory Psychology (or the equivalent) with a grade of C or better and submit an ONLINE MAJOR DECLARATION FORM through the Psychology Advising (non-credit) Canvas course. Students must email advisor@psych.wisc.edu with their NetID (the first part of your @wisc.edu email address) to be added to the online Canvas course. The major declaration request form can be accessed from the course modules.  

Note: Students may also declare by scheduling an appointment with a Psychology Advisor.

To receive updates about the psychology major, Join our Psychology Major Listserv!  Send a blank email to Psych_majors+subscribe@g-groups.wisc.edu  

Honors in the Major within the Department of Psychology is designed to give students an opportunity to work closer with departmental faculty and have an in-depth experience in research. This is a great opportunity for students wanting to continue on to graduate school or have a strong interest in research. Please note that the Honors in the Major program is separate from the Honors in the Liberal Arts program. A student may complete either Honors in the Major or Honors in Liberal Arts, or both. 

Honors in the Major Application – Applications are accepted year-round on a rolling basis.  Applicants will be notified of their application status within 2-3 weeks of submission.

Requirements for Honors in the Major in Psychology:

Three Psychology Courses for Honors (choose ONE option)

OPTION 1

Three Psychology Breadth and/or Depth courses for Honors

OPTION 2

·   Two Psychology Breadth and/or Depth courses for Honors

AND

Psych 210 (Basic Statistics) OR 225 (Research Methods) for Honors

Psychology Honors Seminar (choose ONE option)

Note: Although only one option is required, students are encouraged to take BOTH Psych 380 and Psych 686 as they support students throughout the thesis process.

OPTION 1

Psych 380, taken Fall of Junior year

OPTION 2

Psych 686, taken both Fall AND Spring concurrently with thesis

Senior Honors Thesis

Two-semester Senior Honors Thesis, Psych 681 & 682

GPA Requirements:

  • A student must receive at least a “B” or better in an Honors course in order to receive Honors credit and have that count towards the Honors in the Major Requirements
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.3 is required to be eligible for any Honors degree from UW-Madison
  • A minimum of 3.3 within the Psychology major is required to graduate with Honors in the Major

Honors in Psychology Q & A:

When can I apply for Honors?

Applications for Honors in the Major can be submitted as early as the end of a student’s freshman year. Applications should be submitted no later than the summer before Junior year to ensure enrollment in the Junior Honors Seminar, Psych 380.  Note students should be in a research lab prior to junior year in order to stay on track for Psych 380 and the Senior Honors Thesis.  Students applying for Honors in the Major should have cumulative and psych major GPAs above 3.3.

When can I enroll in Honors courses?

Once enrolled in an Honors program (either Honors in Liberal Arts or Honors in the Major), students can enroll in any Honors course on campus.  Prior to formal admission to an Honors program, students may enroll in Honors Psychology courses if they receive consent of the instructor.

Questions? Contact: honors@psych.wisc.edu 

Dr. Diane Gooding, Honors Faculty Advisor

Stephanie Osborn, Honors in the Major Program Administration

The following document provides information on what an Undergraduate Thesis entails, what a timeline might look like for students interested in pursuing a Thesis, a form required for enrolling in Thesis credits, and additional information.

Undergraduate Thesis Guidelines for Psychology Majors

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ADVISING & ASSISTANCE

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How can I meet with a Psychology Advisor? And can I meet with them if I haven't declared the major yet?

Students can schedule advising appointments or attend drop-in advising hours. Note that during peak enrollment times (November and April), the Psychology advisors will only be meeting with declared Psychology majors. Students not yet declared can either declare the major online or attend drop-in advising hours for assistance.

What is DARS and how do I run a DARS report?

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. 

I declared the major before Fall 2022. Can I choose to follow the new major requirements/curriculum?

Yes. However, students who declared prior to Fall 2022 must opt-in to the new requirements/curriculum [BA Psychology; BS Psychology]. Psychology majors continuing in Fall 2022 and after can choose to follow the new curriculum by completing this online revise major declaration form
 
 

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 have questions about Graduation and/or Commencement.

  1. You need to indicate your intent to graduate in a specific term. You do so by ‘applying to graduate’. More information about Graduation is on the Registrar’s website, including specific instructions on how to Apply to Graduate.
  2. Students can graduate (meaning complete all their degree/major requirements) in a separate term from when they wish to participate in commencement activities. For example, you could commence in a Spring term and graduate in the following Summer term. You indicate your intended graduation and commencement terms when you apply to graduate. 
  3. Information about University commencement and related matters such as cap/gown rental can be found on the University commencement website
  4. The Psychology Department hosts a Graduation Reception at the end of the Spring term.
  5. I have questions about my Diploma – see FAQs here.

I'm a current UW student and want to take a class somewhere else - how do I do that?

Current students may take classes at another institution and transfer the credits back to UW-Madison. There are many nuances to transferring credits, so we encourage you to contact your advisor before doing so. Note that if you do complete transfer courses, only the credits transfer back to UW-Madison, the grade will not. 

More detailed information on transferring credits is on the Registrar’s website. Note the rules for transferring credits and the FAQs listed toward the bottom of the page. There is also information on there about Transferology (right side of page). Transferology can assist you in identifying courses that may transfer to UW-Madison from other institutions.

I want to take classes during ‘Winterim’ or the time between the end of Fall semester and beginning of Spring semester. Can I do that?

The L&S Academic Deans Office provides valuable information about ‘Winterim’ courses. Please visit their website for detailed information. Generally speaking, there are few UW-Madison ‘Winterim’ courses. There are no UW-Madison Psychology major courses taught in ‘Winterim.’

COURSE ENROLLMENT

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How do I add/drop/swap classes?

Visit the following pages for information on how to add, swap, or drop a class using Course Search and Enroll.

What are the drop/add deadlines I should be aware of?

Visit the Registrar’s Dates and Deadlines website for detailed information. Select the specific term you’re interested in to see the dates/deadlines associated with it.

What is your waitlist policy? What should I do if I’m on a waitlist?

  1. Students who have waitlisted for a course should enroll in an alternate course, in the event they do not get a seat from the waitlist. Waitlisting for a course does NOT guarantee you will get a seat in the class. The Psychology department does NOT inform students of their position on the waitlist. Students might be offered a seat in a waitlisted Psych course through the end of the first week of classes. Contact your advisor to discuss adding a course after the first week of the semester.
  2. Students are strongly encouraged to look for ways to make an open section work with their schedules, before adding to the waitlist for a full section of the same course.
  3. If you are offered a spot off the waitlist, you will receive an email instructing you to enroll in the course within a certain time frame. Therefore, you should be checking your email daily, even over breaks.
  4. Even more FAQs about waitlists​​

Course Search and Enroll says there are available seats in a course section, but I’m not able to enroll. What do I do?

At times, CSE might appear as though there are ‘available’ seats in a class. However, you need to look closely at the section level course information. If there is an orange triangle icon next to the course, it is at waitlist status. Any ‘waitlist available seats’ listed there indicate that these open seats are being given to students already on the waitlist. It does not mean the course is fully open for anyone to enroll. If you see the orange triangle icon, you can add yourself to the waitlist.

I keep getting an error message, but I don’t think it’s correct.

How do I find my enrollment appointment time? Note - there are three separate enrollment periods each for Fall, Spring, and Summer term enrollment.

After times are assigned, you can find yours on the “Course Search & Enroll” tile in MyUW.

How do I remove a hold preventing me from enrolling?

Here is information for how to view your hold. Once you see your hold, you’ll be able to find information about how to remove it and/or what office you can contact for more information to remove the hold.

How do I enroll in Research Credits/Thesis Credits?

Students who are interested in earning academic credit by working in a research lab can do so with lab/instructor permission. Students can read more information about Psychology Undergraduate Research Opportunities and how to contact labs. Students need to apply to work in a lab. If they are accepted, their lab will coordinate with our undergraduate program coordinator to grant permission for students to enroll in their specific lab course section. Students should complete the Research Lab Course Agreement Form when initially joining a lab. Students interested in a Senior Thesis should read the Thesis Guidelines document.

I want more information about a class - where should I look? (This is especially helpful for Psych capstone courses).

Many class sections have Instructor Provided Content (IPC) that provides more information about the course. You can find that information by searching for a course, selecting it, then selecting a specific section of the course. When that panel opens, you’ll see IPC under the “other information” heading. See example:

I am taking a pre-requisite course through another institution during the Summer. Can I enroll in the subsequent Psych major course for the Fall?

No. Department policy requires that students complete the pre-requisite course and the credits be posted to their UW-Madison record before they are eligible to enroll.

Example: you decide to enroll in an equivalent of Psych 210 at another college/university during the Summer and you want to enroll in Psych 225 for the Fall semester. You will need to complete the course and send an official transcript to UW-Madison’s Office of Admissions. Once the Psych 210 credit is posted to your record, then you will be able to enroll in Psych 225 (presuming you meet the other course requisites).

NOTE to incoming students at SOAR: Students who have AP or IB credit for Introductory Psychology are eligible to enroll in subsequent Psychology major courses, even if the credit has not been posted to your record. You will need to provide your official AP/IB scores to a Registrar’s Office representative at SOAR or send it to enrollment@psych.wisc.edu. To ensure you receive appropriate credit for AP/IB, make sure to send your official scores to UW-Madison Office of Admissions.

Can I take a Psych Depth course before Psych 225 Research Methods?

Yes! Psych 225 is NOT a pre-requisite for Psych Depth Courses. Psych 225 IS a pre-requisite for Psych Capstone courses. You can take a Depth course so long as you meet any other associated pre-reqs.

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 enrollment@psych.wisc.edu to receive authorization to enroll.

Who should I contact for help?

If you’re facing enrollment issues, contact the Psychology Department’s Undergraduate Enrollment Coordinator (enrollment@psych.wisc.edu).

If you’re having issues with anything else, please meet with your Psych advisor or email advisor@psych.wisc.edu.

CLASSES & REQUIREMENTS

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What college (L&S) breadth requirements are fulfilled by psychology major courses?

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 or Zoology 151 (Biological Science). Psychology breadth courses also carry breadth designations; some social science and some biological science. You will not receive Literature breadth through the Psychology department. Only one elective course (Psych 349) fulfills Physical Science breadth and only one elective course (Psych 120) fulfills Humanities breadth. 

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. 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 (381 & 383).

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 Undergrad Program Manager. 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. 

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: When appropriate, the department will make substitutions for curricular requirements but major requirements are not waived.

I didn’t earn a C in Intro Psych or 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?