BA in Psychology

Psychology is the science of human behavior and mental processes, which uses scientific methods to describe, predict, understand, and explain human behavior. Combined with appropriate related courses, the major provides students with strong preparation for entrance into graduate programs in psychology, medicine, law, and other professions. In addition, it provides a broad, basic liberal arts background for a wide range of other pursuits.

The major in Psychology requires a total of eleven (4-credit) courses: a prerequisite course, nine principal courses, and a course in statistics. Those courses are distributed as follows:


  • CAS PS 101 General Psychology, or equivalent

Principal Courses (9)

Principal courses in psychology are those listed in the Bulletin and numbered at the 200-level or above, excluding PS 211. A grade of C or higher is required in all principal courses. Nine are required, including:

  • CAS PS 231 Physiological Psychology
  • Two courses chosen from broad Content Group A below (which includes courses in perception, learning, and cognition)
  • Two courses chosen from broad Content Group B below (which includes courses in development, personality, and social and abnormal psychology)

Four of the nine principal courses must be selected from offerings at the 300-level or higher, including one experimental course selected from CAS PS 322, 323, 324, 325, 326, 327, or 328.

Note: The above requirement of nine principal courses, one of which must be CAS PS 231, pertains to all students who enter the Psychology major in Fall 2014 and after. PS 231 will not count as a Group A course for these students.

All courses listed below are 4 credit hours.

Group A:

  • CAS PS 205 Memory and Brain
  • CAS PS 222 Perception and Behavior
  • CAS PS 231 Physiological Psychology*
  • CAS PS 234 Psychology of Learning
  • CAS PS 333 Drugs and Behavior
  • CAS PS 336 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
  • CAS PS 337 Memory Systems of the Brain
  • CAS PS 338 Neuropsychology
  • CAS PS 339 Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience
  • CAS PS 340 Introduction to Computational Models of Skilled Decision and Action

*Please note that PS 231 will not count as a Group A course for students who entered the major in Fall 2014 and thereafter.

Group B:

  • CAS PS 241 Developmental Psychology
  • CAS PS 243 Life Span Developmental Psychology in Health and Illness
  • CAS PS 251 Psychology of Personality: Theories and Application
  • CAS PS 261 Social Psychology
  • CAS PS 370 Psychology of the Family
  • CAS PS 371 Abnormal Psychology

Please note: Students may elect to take either CAS PS 241 or PS 243 but not both.

It is possible to transfer, from outside of CAS, a maximum of three courses toward the nine principal courses required for completion of the psychology major. Courses taken outside of Boston University, as well as at Metropolitan College, are considered transfer courses. Please note that psychology courses taken through Boston University’s Summer Term designated with the same numbers and titles as those offered in CAS are not considered transfer courses. Prior departmental approval of all transfer courses in psychology is required (see Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Undergraduate Studies, in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, 64 Cummington Mall, Room 149A).

Statistics Requirement

Students must complete CAS MA 116 (prerequisite: MA 115), MA 214 (prerequisite: MA 213), CAS PS 211, or PS 212 with a grade of C or higher. Note: Only one of CAS MA 116 and MA 214 may be taken for credit. CAS MA 113 does not fulfill the psychology statistics requirement for the psychology major.

Independent Work for Honors in Psychology

The department encourages interested and qualified students to pursue a special course of independent work in psychology in the senior year. Interested juniors are encouraged to discuss independent work for honors in Psychology with their advisors or Dr. Joanne Hebden Palfai, Director of Undergraduate Studies, in the department at the beginning of the second semester. Successful completion of a two-semester independent research project may lead to graduation with honors in the major. See Honors in the Major for more information.

Research Participation

Students in CAS PS 101 (General Psychology) are asked to participate in research studies as part of the course requirements. Participation is intended to help students learn about the procedures and concerns of psychological research.