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Majors, Requirements, & Courses

What Majors are offered?

Two majors are available at Purdue for undergraduate students interested in psychology: 

The Psychological Sciences Major provides a broad foundation in psychology, but also provides maximum flexibility in psychology course selection. Students learn about applied and basic aspects of psychology as well as have a chance to take advance courses that give an authentic experience in diverse areas of psychology. This major leaves plenty of space for additional courses in other areas of interest or even allows a minor or double major. This program is often chosen by students interested in careers as therapists or in other human services areas, or by students who plan careers that require only a Bachelor's degree.

The Brain and Behavioral Sciences Major is designed for students aspiring to graduate school in psychology or other careers which require graduate school such as medicine, neuroscience, biology, Artificial Intelligence, or robotics. It has more required courses and additional natural and informational sciences courses (45 credit hrs) that help students prepare for graduate study. This program is popular with students who want careers in medicine.

Both majors consist of 120 total credit hours, including 14 psychology courses, that build skills in other important areas, and elective courses.  

What courses are required for the Major?

Psychology majors must complete at least 42 credit hours of psychology courses as well as about 35-56 credit hours of selectives. Some psychology courses satisfy both sets of requirements, and thus, free you to take additional electives. Also, many core courses and courses in other majors will count toward the selectives so picking up a minor, a Certificate in Entrepreneurship, or even a double major is possible.

How do I become a Psych Major?

You are admitted to the major only upon successful completion of a set of pre-major requirements. These include a grade of “C” or higher in PSY 120 (Elementary Psychology), PSY 201 (Introduction to Statistics in Psychology), PSY 203 (Introduction to Research Methods in Psychology), plus one other foundation-level (topic) course of your choice from a list of 8 such courses. In addition, your overall grade point average for these four pre-major courses must be 2.5 or higher.

All majors consist of 120 total credit hours, including 14-16 psychology courses, courses that build skills in other important areas, and elective courses. You will begin with a course in elementary psychology (PSY120). Later, you will take a course on the statistics needed to understand and interpret psychological research (PSY201). You will also take a course that explores the methods of psychological research (PSY203). These three courses, plus one foundation psychology course chosen from a list of 8, represent the Pre-Psychology stage that must be completed before official admission to the Psychological Sciences major or the Brain and Behavioral Science major.

Core Competencies

In addition to the major requirements, and in accordance with the University Core, graduating Psychological Sciences students are required to complete courses from the list of selective courses.

Psychology Selective Requirements

  1. Social Ethics: 3 credits
  2. Social and Behavioral Sciences (not PSY): 3 credits
  3. Oral & Written Communication: 6-7 credits
  4. Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Information Technology: 9 credits (one lab)
  5. Cultural/International Diversity: 6-15 credits (including proficiency through level IV in one language)
  6. Arts & Literature: 3 credits
  7. Management & Leadership: 3 credits
  8. Accounting/Finance/Economics: 3 credits

Note: Courses that fulfill major requirements (Areas A-D) may also be used to fulfill selectives requirements, if applicable, and the same course may be used to fulfill multiple selectives requirements.

Psychology Minor Requirements

If a psych major doesn’t fit, consider a psychology minor. With total credit hours of 15, a minor in Psychology could help give you an extra advantage in the job market.

  1. The following course is required:
    1. PSY 12000 Elementary Psychology
  2. Select one of the following courses:
    1. PSY 20000 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
    2. PSY 22200 Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience
  3. Select one of the following courses:
    1. PSY 23500 Child Psychology
    2. PSY 24000 Introduction to Social Psychology
    3. PSY 27200 Introduction to Industrial-Organizational Psychology
    4. PSY 35000 Abnormal Psychology
  4. Select two additional psychology courses. (Only one of the following courses may be used to fulfill this requirement: PSY 31900, PSY 39000, and PSY 39100.)


  • PSY 22000 (Brain and Behavior) cannot be used toward fulfillment of the minor requirements.
  • A grade of "C-" or better must be earned in any course used to fulfill a minor requirement.
  • All courses in Sections B and C require PSY 120 as a prerequisite.
  • Distance learning courses not originating on the Purdue-W.L. campus (i.e., not taught by Purdue-W.L. faculty) cannot be used toward the minor requirements.