The major in psychology requires 10 courses, distributed as follows:
1. Introduction to Psychology (1 course)
It is recommended to complete this course first, or very early in the major.
2. Lower-Division Core (3 courses)
Select one course from each of the following 3 clusters:
3. Statistics (1 course)
This course should be taken before Research Methods.
4. Research Methods (2 courses)
These courses must be taken concurrently, and should be completed prior to the senior year.
5. Electives (3 courses)
Three upper-division elective courses in psychology (numbered above 100 at CMC; excluding PSYC 198 CM )
Suggested Sequencing of Courses for the Full Psychology Major
- First year: PSYC 030 CM and 1 lower-division core psychology course from one of the 3 clusters.
- Sophomore year: 2 lower-division core psychology courses from the remaining 2 clusters and PSYC 109 CM .
- Junior year: PSYC 110 CM , PSYC 111 CM and 1 upper-division elective course in psychology (numbered above 100 at CMC; excluding PSYC 198 CM ).
- Senior year: 2 upper-division elective courses in psychology (numbered above 100 at CMC; excluding PSYC 198 CM ).
This course sequence is recommended; others are also possible. Students are strongly encouraged to develop their psychology course sequence in consultation with a psychology faculty advisor.
Senior Thesis in Psychology
The senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone experience of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors under supervision of a faculty reader who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception.
Students interested in receiving honors in psychology are required to complete a 2-semester empirical psychology thesis project. Candidates for honors register for the full credit course PSYC198 CM - Psychology Senior Research Seminar in the first semester of their senior year, for which they receive a letter grade. In both the first and second semesters of their senior year, they also register for thesis with a reader (for which one credit is awarded at the end of the second semester). Students doing a 2-semester empirical thesis therefore earn a total of one credit in the first semester and one credit in the second semester. A grade of IP (In Progress) rather than a letter grade will be assigned for the first semester of a 2-semester empirical thesis. The thesis grade earned in the second semester will replace the IP grade. The research seminar and the senior thesis may not be counted as courses in the major. For further information on honors, see Honors in Psychology below.
To be eligible to complete a year-long empirical thesis in psychology, students must complete PSYC 109 CM , PSYC 110 CM , and PSYC 111 CM before their senior year, have a GPA in all 3 classes combined of at least B+ (3.33), and must have earned a grade of B (3.00) or better in all three courses. Students must also have a GPA in psychology courses of at least 3.33 at the beginning of their senior year. Students who do not qualify for honors in psychology may petition the department to complete a non-honors year-long empirical thesis. However, even if the petition is approved, those students will not be eligible for honors in the major if they do not meet the requirements for honors.
Special Options for Majors
The dual major in psychology requires a minimum of 8 courses. Dual majors in psychology may waive 1 lower-division cluster course and 1 upper-division elective from the full major.
Honors in Psychology
To qualify for honors in psychology, students must:
- Complete a full psychology major
- Complete PSYC 109 CM (or approved equivalent) and PSYC 110 CM / PSYC 111 CM before their senior year, have a GPA in all three classes combined of at least B+ (3.33), and must have earned a grade of B (3.00) or better in all three courses,
- Have a GPA in psychology courses of at least B+ (3.33) at time of graduation,
- Complete PSYC198 CM - Psychology Senior Research Seminar ,
- Complete a 2-semester, 2-unit empirical research thesis project in psychology with a final grade of A- (3.67) or better on the written thesis, and
- Give an oral presentation on the completed research project to psychology faculty and students around the time theses are turned in.
With course approval of the department chair, students who take advanced psychological statistics or research methods courses may choose to replace the grades for PSYC 109 CM and/or PSYC 110 CM / PSYC 111 CM , respectively, with the grades for one or more of these approved advanced courses in the average GPA calculation for the three courses. For the one psychological statistics class and two research methods classes that enter into this average GPA calculation, the combined GPA for the three classes must be at least B+ (3.33), and students must have earned a grade of B (3.0) or better in all three classes in order to qualify for honors in psychology.
Psychology majors are encouraged to take advantage of CMC’s study abroad programs but need to consider the following:
- Options for students planning to study abroad during the entire junior year:
- Complete Statistics (PSYC 109 CM or the equivalent) in the fall of the sophomore year; and Research Methods (PSYC 110 CM / PSYC 111 CM ) courses in the spring of the sophomore year.
- With special permission of the department chair, in unusual circumstances students may take the Research Methods courses and Statistics in the same semester of the sophomore year.
- Options for students planning to study abroad for one semester during the junior year
- Students planning to do a 1-semester senior thesis, rather than a 2-semester empirical thesis may, with the permission of the department chair, complete the Research Methods courses in the fall semester of the senior year. This option allows students to study abroad for one semester during the junior year and complete Statistics in the other semester. However, it is still strongly recommended that all students complete the Research Methods courses before the senior year. Students with a 1-semester thesis are not eligible for honors in psychology.
- Take Statistics in the summer or during the sophomore year, and the Research Methods courses during the semester they are on campus in the junior year.
- With permission of the department chair, students may complete Statistics while abroad. This option is only available at selected programs.
- Students studying abroad during the second semester of the junior year must obtain a thesis reader before going abroad.
- Students studying abroad during the second semester of the sophomore year can complete the Research Methods (PSYC 110 CM / PSYC 111 CM ) courses and Statistics (PSYC 109 CM or equivalent) during the junior year.
Psi Chi is the national honor society for psychology majors. To be eligible, students must satisfy the following conditions:
- Have completed at least 3 semesters of college work
- Have completed at least 3 psychology courses
- Rank in the top 35% of their class at CMC
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in both psychology classes and in cumulative grades.
Each year the psychology faculty and current members of Psi Chi elect new members from among those who are eligible. For further information, contact the Psychology Department.
Accelerated MA Program in Psychology
CMC and Claremont Graduate University (CGU) offer qualified students the opportunity to obtain an accelerated MA degree in psychology from CGU one year after receiving the Bachelor of Arts from CMC. For further information, see MA Program in Psychology .
General Education Requirements for Social Science Majors
For the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, CMC students majoring in a field in the social sciences must take designated courses in all 4 fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in 2 of the 4 fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Majors with a dual or double major in the humanities will be required to take courses in 3 of the 4 fields of the humanities.
Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes of the Psychology Program
Students who devote themselves to the study of psychology will achieve a variety of learning goals. These goals flow directly from an understanding of psychological science and its applications. In accordance with the American Psychological Association’s Report on the Undergraduate Psychology Major (APA 2008), we specify the following goals for psychology majors:
- Knowledge of major concepts, theories, and empirical findings in psychology;
- Understanding of research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis and interpretation;
- Development of critical thinking skills and use of the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes;
- Application of psychological principles to areas such as education, law, business, politics, and medicine;
- Awareness of ethical behavior in research and applied settings;
- Technological literacy;
- Oral and written communication skills; and
- Understanding of sociocultural and international diversity and complexity.