Human Brain Chart

Academic Program

Requirements for Major

For students who entered the college in or after Fall 2012

Prior to Moderation in psychology, students entering the College in or after the fall semester of 2012 are required to complete the following courses with a grade of C or higher: Introduction to Psychological Science (Psychology 141) preferably in the first year (although a score of 5 on the AP Psychology exam fulfills the requirement); a sophomore sequence of Statistics for Psychology (Psychology 203) in the fall and Research Methods in Psychology (Psychology 204) in the spring; and at least two additional 200-level courses in psychology. Students who have completed Research Methods at the time of Moderation must have received a grade of C or higher; students who are enrolled in Research Methods at the time of Moderation must have a midterm grade of C or higher.

Psychology students must complete the following requirements to graduate: A total of four 200-level courses in psychology (excluding 203 and 204); one course in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, or physics (this excludes Biostatistics, if this was taken in lieu of Psychology 203, and Foundations in Mind, Brain and Behavior, Computer Science 131); two 300-level courses following Moderation, at least one of which must be completed before beginning the Senior Project; and the Senior Project. No more than a single 300-level course may be taken per semester, and taking these 300-levels with two different faculty members is strongly encouraged. At least one 200-level course must be completed from each of the following course clusters:

Cluster A: Abnormal and Personality Psychology (course numbers in the 210s).

Cluster B: Developmental and Social Psychology (course numbers in the 220s).

Cluster C: Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience (course numbers in the 230s).

Although the Psychology Program is housed in the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, students decide at the time of Moderation whether they will pursue their degree in psychology from the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing (SM&C) or the Division of Social Studies (SSt). These divisional degrees are distinguished by two features: (a) an SSt degree entails at least two courses in one or more related disciplines in the Social Studies Division (see the Psychology Program website for particular courses that fulfill this requirement) and (b) the Senior Project for an SM&C degree must have an empirical focus, in which the student collects and analyzes data, or presents a detailed plan for doing so. The SSt Senior Project does not carry this requirement, though it may of course do this. An SSt degree may be particularly suited for those intending to pursue law, social work, or education; and an SM&C degree may be particularly suited for students intending to pursue a research degree in psychology, medicine, or the natural sciences.

If students wish to change their major division after they’ve made a choice, a second moderation will happen.  This moderation will require submission of two short papers to the College and the student’s moderation board and a board meeting.  It can be initiated at any time before the Add/ Drop deadline of the Senior I semester by informing the advisor, who will convene and chair the Board. Students may not change divisions after the Add/ Drop date of the Senior I semester.  Failure to meet the requirements of the major Division project requirements will result in a substantial reduction in the Senior Project grade.

Students may submit written petitions to the Program faculty to request deviations from the requirements.

Click to see Moderation Guidelines

Requirements for Senior Project

In your junior year, you will describe your plans for senior project taking into account your preparation, and the Psychology Program will match you with an appropriate advisor. For students receiving a degree in the Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing, the project must take the form of (A) an empirical study (with associated paper) or (B) a detailed proposal for an empirical project. For the latter, the proposal should be on the model of a grant proposal, and should include all potential measures, detailed data analytic plans and predicted results section (see Program Handbook for more detail).  Seniors should not be enrolled in an Advanced Methodology course, except in unusual circumstances and with prior approval from faculty.

Joint and Double Majors

In the joint major a student completes all the requirements for each of Psychology and the other program, including two moderations (or a single joint moderation), but completes a single senior project that contains sufficient work in both disciplines to be considered a senior project in each. For example, a student might jointly major in Psychology and Human Rights. If at the end of a joint senior project the advisors decide that the project involves substantial work in only one of the disciplines, then the student will graduate as a single major in that program. At any time before the final board meeting, during the writing of the joint senior project, the student may elect to continue as a single major in either program with the consent of the advisors.

Joint majors are reserved for very strong students who have found advisors in each of Psychology and the other program who are willing to supervise the project jointly, and who have been approved to do a joint major by both the Psychology Program and the Faculty Executive Committee. Additionally, a GPA of 3.5 or higher in the courses in each of Psychology and in the other program is required for approval by the Psychology Program. Simply moderating into Psychology and another program does not automatically make a student eligible for a joint major.

A moderated student who wishes to do a joint senior project combining Psychology and another program must do the following. First, in the semester prior to the start of the senior project, the student must find advisor in each of Psychology and the other program who is willing to supervise a project jointly. Second, the student must have a meeting with the two prospective advisors to formulate a plan for a joint senior project. Third, the student must submit a proposal to do a joint senior project to the chair of the Psychology Program by November 15 for senior projects to begin the following Spring, and by April 15 for senior projects to begin the following Fall; the proposal should include the names of the proposed advisors, a description of the proposed topic, and a discussion of how the topic relates to both psychology and the other program. If the Psychology Program approves the proposal, the proposal must then be sent to the Faculty Executive Committee for final approval.

Students who intend to double major (or who are considering double majoring) should discuss their plans for the double major in depth at moderation (in their short papers and during the board meeting). They should have a clear plan for carrying out the charge of completing two Senior Projects. Double majors must have a minimum 3.5 overall GPA and minimum 3.5 GPA in their Psychology classes before beginning their Psychology Senior Project. In cases where the GPA at the start of Senior Project is less than 3.5, students will choose to major in either Psychology or their other planned major.

Opportunities for Additional Learning

Students are strongly encouraged to pursue opportunities for research or community-based practicum experiences that complement their regular course work and that connect academic learning with practical applications. The program offers independent laboratory courses in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, social psychology, and neuroscience under the direction of program faculty that provide ideal opportunities for learning how to conduct research in psychology. In addition, opportunities to gain experiences in applied settings exist in local communities in the realms of abnormal, developmental, and cognitive psychology. Students are also encouraged to gain experience through summer research opportunities in the Bard Summer Research Institute, and to pursue opportunities for obtaining summer research positions at other academic centers.  

Rockefeller University Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)