The Psychology Major program of study is outlined below. This page provides an overview of the major, as well as a general sequence of courses that students are encouraged to follow when arranging their schedules. For example, Foundations of Psychology is generally completed before Statistics, which is typically completed before laboratory courses. Students are encouraged to discuss scheduling options with their academic advisors.
After reviewing the Psychology Major outline, students may find it helpful to download the checklist that summarizes the Psychology and general Northeastern core curriculum requirements for the BS degree:
Students entering Northeastern in Fall 2016 or later must follow the NU Path curriculum requirements, as summarized in this checklist.
Students entering Northeastern prior to Fall 2016 may continue to complete their programs as required by the NU Core curriculum, as summarized in this checklist.
Course Descriptions (Note: not all courses are offered every semester.)
FOUNDATIONS OF PSYCHOLOGY (PSYC 1101)
This course is a prerequisite for many other Psychology Department courses.
AREA A AND B COURSES
THE PERSONAL/SOCIAL BASIS OF BEHAVIOR AREA (Area A)
THE BIOLOGICAL/COGNITIVE BASIS OF BEHAVIOR AREA (Area B)
Students are required to take two courses in the area of Personal/Social Basis of Behavior (Area A) and two course in the area of Biological/Cognitive Basis of Behavior (Area B). If more than the required total of four courses are taken, the additional courses will count as Psychology Electives. Foundations of Psychology is a prerequisite for all Area A and B courses. Students should begin Area A and B courses as soon as Foundations of Psychology is completed.
Both the Foundations of Psychology course and the Core Category 1 Math course/NU Path Conducting Formal and Quantitative Reasoning course are prerequisites for the statistics course. The statistics course is a prerequisite for the laboratory courses (see below). It is recommended that students take statistics in the sophomore year to be eligible to take laboratory courses in the junior and senior years.
All students are required to take two stand-alone lab courses. Most laboratories are matched with Area A and B courses. For example, the Social Psychology Laboratory builds on the material learned in the Social Psychology lecture course.
Students may enroll in a laboratory course after completing the prerequisite lecture course; however, students are not required to complete the courses in two consecutive semesters. A Directed Study course, working with a faculty mentor on their research project, can be used for one of the lab requirements.
Laboratory and Directed Study courses enhance students’ knowledge about the content and methods of research areas within psychology.
Students considering registering for their first lab course should know that:
- Lab courses have small enrollments and may reach capacity quickly.
- The coursework is demanding and challenging. Students often discover their passion for research in lab courses.
- Most lab courses require (a) statistics and (b) the corresponding Area A or Area B course as prerequisites.
- Not all labs are offered every semester. Students interested in taking a specific lab should consult with their advisor.
- Students are advised to enroll in a lab course before their senior year.
- One directed study course can be substituted (see below) for one lab course.
The BS degree requires a set of three non-psychology courses that are related to the student’s interest in psychology. Many clusters have been pre-approved by the department to satisfy this requirement. Students may design their own cluster but these individualized packages must be pre-approved by the psychology department. This requirement is described in detail on the Interdisciplinary Cluster page.
DIRECTED STUDY [PSYC 4991]: MENTORED RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
Directed study courses allow a student to work individually with a professor or in a professor’s laboratory on a research project, receiving four credits for each semester of work. One (and only one) directed study course may substitute for a lab, and can also fulfill the experiential education requirement. Otherwise, a directed study is counted as a psychology elective course.
To register for a directed study position, students must first obtain permission from the professor with whom they will work. It is the responsibility of the student to contact a professor and arrange the directed study before the term starts.
One seminar is required and counts as the Psychology Capstone course. Designed for juniors and seniors, seminars allow small-class discussions and examination of selected topics in psychology. If more than one seminar is taken, the second seminar will count as an elective.
Students select five additional psychology courses. All psychology courses that do not fulfill the Foundations, Statistics, Area A and B, Lab or Seminar course requirements are considered psychology electives. Students may take electives at any time provided that the prerequisite course, if any, has been completed. Although some electives have no prerequisites, it is important to consult the undergraduate catalog to determine which elective courses may have prerequisites.
Examples of psychology elective courses include Drugs and Behavior; Researching Consciousness; Psychology of Women; Food, Behavior and Eating Disorders; Psychology of National Security; Nonverbal Communication; Psychology and the Law; Industrial/Organizational Psychology; Biological Bases of Mental Illness; Behavior Therapies; and Sports Psychology.
EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENT
The Experiential Education requirement is part of the NEU Core requirements and can be filled by Psychology Majors in a number of ways. The completion of one of the Experiential Education options fulfills the requirement. (Psychology Minors do not have to fulfill the Experiential Education requirement using these options.)