The Psychology Major 2012-13
Psychology majors at UC Santa Cruz are introduced to theory and scientific research in the field. Students begin with introductory psychology, pre-statistics (or equivalent), statistics, and introduction to developmental psychology. Psychology 100, Research Methods, must be completed at UCSC. Majors subsequently take courses in four major areas of psychology: cognitive, social, developmental, and personality psychology.
Study and Research Opportunities
- B.A. with breadth requirements in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, personality psychology, and social psychology; undergraduate minor; Ph.D. with concentrations in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology
- Intensive major available for students intending to pursue graduate studies in psychology
- The Psychology Field-Study Program, which places qualified students in community agencies
High School Preparation
In addition to the courses required for UC admission, high school students considering psychology as their university major find that the best preparation is a solid general education in English, mathematics through precalculus, natural sciences, social sciences, and writing.
Junior transfer students should express an interest in psychology on their UC Santa Cruz application for admission.
It is expected that prospective transfer students will have completed most, if not all, of the lower-division requirements. The psychology faculty recommends that all lower-division requirements be completed by the end of the sophomore year. In order to declare the major, transfer students must meet the grade-point average requirement described in the Major Admissions Requirement section below.
Students who want to fulfill requirements with courses taken at other colleges must petition for the substitution of their transfer courses at an orientation session or contact the Psychology Department for advising. Students planning to transfer to UC Santa Cruz should check with the advising office of their present college, or refer to www.assist.org.
Transfer students are strongly encouraged to speak with an academic adviser at the Psychology Department Office prior to enrolling in classes in order to determine their status and begin the actual declaration of major process.
UC Santa Cruz lower-division requirements in psychology are:
- Psychology 1, Introduction to Psychology
- Psychology 2, Introduction to Psychological Statistics (or equivalent)
- Psychology 10, Introduction to Developmental Psychology
- Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2, Pre-Statistics (or equivalent, including Applied Math and Statistics 3, or Mathematics 3 or 4 or 11A)
While it is not a condition of admission, students from California community colleges may complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UC Santa Cruz. However, the psychology major requires additional courses for admission to the major (see above).
Transfer course agreements and articulation between the University of California and California community colleges can be accessed on the ASSIST.ORG web site.
Major And Minor Admissions Requirement
Students may petition to declare the psychology major or the psychology minor once they have completed three lower-division courses: the pre-statistics mathematics requirement (Applied Mathematics and Statistics 2 or equivalent), Psychology 1, and Psychology 2 (or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5 or 7/L). To be admitted to the major or minor, students must demonstrate the attainment of foundational skills by receiving a grade of at least B- (2.7) in (a) Psychology 1 and (b) Psychology 2 or Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5 or 7/L. Students who pass these courses but do not achieve the required level of proficiency (i.e., who receive a grade of C, C+, or P) have alternative means of demonstrating foundational skills by: (a) completing Psychology 10 with a grade of B- or higher (if the student did not receive a B- or higher in Psychology 1), (b) completing Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5 or 7/L with a grade of B- or higher (if the student did not receive a B- or higher in Psychology 2), or (c) completing Psychology 2 with a grade of B- or higher (if the student did not receive a grade of B- or higher in Applied Mathematics and Statistics 5 or 7/L). See specific information in the UCSC General Catalog.
- Academic research and teaching
- Clinical psychology
- Community relations
- Environmental psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Government research
- Human resources
- Market research
- Social services
- Vocational psychology
These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.
Paige Fowler (B.A., psychology, ’00) recently spent time in a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) camp in St. Bernard’s Parish (New Orleans, LA) where she helped strip ruined houses down to their shells.
Tim Galarneau (B.A., psychology and community studies, ’05), founding co-chair of the UCSC Student Environmental Center, now coordinates the UCSC Food Systems Working Group, which helps the university “go green”, from building designs, to alternative energy, to organic produce in the dining halls. Galarneau received the 2011 UC Sustainability Champion Award at the 10th annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference held in Long Beach, California.
Dr. Alexander Gonzalez (M.S., ’77, Ph.D., ’79, psychology) is the president of California State University, Sacramento.
Joe Palca (Ph.D., psychology, ’82) is a senior science correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) and former U.S. news editor for Nature and senior correspondent for Science.
Leticia Quezada (B.A., psychology, ’75), interim director of extension programs and conference services, California State University, San Bernardino, was the first Latina elected to the Los Angeles City Board of Education and its first Latina president.
Assistant Professor Phillip L. Hammack has been named a 2011-12 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow.
Professor Catherine Cooper received the 2008 Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Behavioral Development, Theory and Research from the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (ISSBD), where she was honored for her contribution to the field of human development. The award honors researchers whose contributions have helped ameliorate important practical problems. Recipients are recognized for work that contributes not only to science but to society.
Professor Craig Haney received the Herbert Jacob Book Prize from the Law and Society Association for the “outstanding book in law and society scholarship” of 2005.
UCSC Foundation Professor of Psychology Barbara Rogoff is an expert on educational psychology whose book Apprenticeship in Thinking received the Scribner Award from the American Educational Research Association.
The following Psychology faculty have received the Division of Social Sciences “Golden Apple” awards, which recognize outstanding teaching: Ralph Quinn, Avril Thorne, David Harrington, Jean Fox Tree, Heather Bullock, Faye Crosby, Nameera Akhtar, Craig Haney, Barbara Rogoff, and Campbell Leaper.
General Psychology Major
Thirteen courses are required for the general major: four lower-division courses in preparation for the major and nine upper-division courses (eight psychology courses and one pre-approved course outside the major). Psychology 100, Research Methods, is included as one of the nine upper-division courses. The lower-division courses are prerequisites for virtually all of the upper-division courses and should be completed as early as possible, but no later than the end of the junior year. Some upper-division courses have additional prerequisites. Once Psychology 1, 2 (or equivalent) and Math 3 (or equivalent) have been completed, a student may petition to declare the psychology major.
The Intensive Psychology Major
The intensive major is an option that any psychology major may choose to undertake. The intensive major would be advantageous for a student intending to go on to a graduate program in any area of psychology. Students intending to take the intensive major should declare this on their proposed study plan during the junior year, outlining their plan for completing the requirements. The intensive major requires 18 courses.
Students with adequate substantive and methodological preparation and a consistent record of strong academic performance may be eligible to apply to write a senior thesis. Students must make formal application to a faculty mentor during the first quarter of the senior year before enrolling in course 195, Senior Thesis. Most faculty prefer to sponsor senior theses that are integrated with faculty research, so students are encouraged to talk with faculty before choosing a senior thesis topic. Information and applications are available in the department office, 273 Social Sciences 2.
Honors in the psychology major are awarded to graduating seniors whose academic performance is judged to be consistently excellent by a committee of psychology faculty. Highest Honors in the major are reserved for students with consistently excellent academic performance and an honors-level senior thesis.
Psychology Field-Study Program
The Psychology Field-Study Program provides qualified students with an opportunity to integrate what they have learned in the classroom with direct experience in a community agency. Students develop new skills and clarify personal and professional goals by working as interns in schools, criminal justice programs, corporations, and mental health and other social service agencies, where they are supervised by a professional within that organization. Psychology faculty members sponsor field-study students, helping them to synthesize their intern experience with psychology course work and guiding them through an academic project.
Junior and senior psychology majors in good academic standing are eligible to apply for two quarters of field study. Interested students should attend an "Information Meeting," held each quarter, to obtain an overview of the program and an application. The meeting schedule is available at the start of each quarter and posted online. For more information: psychology.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/field-study/index.html.
273 Social Sciences 2 Building
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064