Area of Focus
  • Behavioral & Social Sciences
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
Academic Division
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

Program overview

Psychology is the study of human behavior and the psychological, social, and biological processes related to that behavior.

According to the American Psychological Association, psychology is:

  • A discipline, a major topic of study in colleges and universities.
  • A science, a method of conducting research and understanding behavioral data.
  • A profession, a calling that requires one to apply special knowledge, abilities, and skills to solve human problems.

Learning Experience

At UCSC, psychology majors are exposed to basic achievements in the various subfields of psychology and are introduced to the nature and spirit of scientific inquiry in the field. Students are encouraged to carry out research in specialized laboratories or in the field. Psychology majors take courses in each of the following subfields in their upper-division work: Developmental, Cognitive, and Social.

Study and Research Opportunities
  • Many of the department's faculty members participate in groundbreaking research in the psychology field. There are many opportunities for undergraduate research experience in the laboratories of active developmental, cognitive, and social psychology researchers.
  • The Psychology Field Study Program is an academic internship program designed for majors. Students gain hands-on reflective experience imperative for graduate study, future careers, and a deeper understanding of the complexities of psychology.
  • An intensive major concentration is available for students intending to pursue graduate studies in psychology.

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

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.


Students walking on science hill bridge

Transfer Requirements

This is a screening major. Prospective transfer students who plan to major in Psychology must complete qualification requirements prior to transfer. Students should review the full qualification requirements and transfer information on the UCSC General Catalog and Major Admission Requirements.

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. Students planning to transfer should check with their present advising office or refer to Assist to determine course equivalencies.



Students being goofy

Internships and Career Opportunities

  • Academic research and teaching
  • Clinical psychology 
  • Community relations 
  • Counseling 
  • Education 
  • Environmental psychology 
  • Forensic psychology 
  • Government research 
  • Human resources 
  • Law 
  • Market research 
  • Psychiatry 
  • Social services 
  • Vocational psychology

These are only samples of the field’s many possibilities.


Program Contact



apartment 273 Social Sciences 2 Building

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