Course Sequencing

Many students are not aware that there is a course sequence within the major degree requirements. This can tend to cause students problems when they had not planned for it when studying abroad or taking a semester off for an internship. It is vital for students to understand prerequisites to courses and to plan for them in their long term plan schedule. Lack of planning can delay graduation especially since such courses as PSYCH 105 and PSYCH 490 are only offered during the fall and spring semesters.


PSYCH 200-level courses
PSYCH 301W AND 6.0 credits of PSYCH 400-levels

Enrollment Controls

Many of our 400-level PSYCH courses are controlled to majors only until all majors have registered. Once majors have registered, we will open registration to non-majors, please check the class notes in the schedule of courses.

NOTE: Controls are never released for PSYCH 301W or PSYCH 490.

Entrance to Major Requirements

The Psychology Degree program has Entrance to Major requirements that students must fulfill prior to declaring the major during the Spring of their Sophomore year. Students must successfully complete all four courses listed in the below chart with a “C” or higher as well as maintain a Cumulative GPA above a 2.0 before being able to declare the major. These Entrance to Major requirements; better known as ETMs, are also required for any student Changing Location from another PSU location or transferring in from another institution.

Entrance to Major Requirements

  • PSYCH 100 (3 credits)
  • PSYCH 200 or STAT 200 (4 credits)
  • General Quantification/GQ (3 credits) – Other than PSYCH 200 or STAT 200
  • General Social and Behavioral Sciences/GS (3 credits) – Other than PSYCH 100

Residency and change of location

The purpose of this policy is to clarify the requirements for earning a PSYBA or PSYBS degree from the University Park campus. The guiding principle is that granting a degree indicates that a student has completed coursework sufficient for the University Park Psychology faculty to certify academic competence in psychology, as outlined in our curriculum. The criteria listed below represent interpretations of our curriculum in light of current University and College policies, not changes to that curriculum.  

Those policies include the following:

  • Students in the PSYBA or PSYBS program (like students in other degree programs offered only at UP) must transfer to University Park no later than the beginning of the semester after they earn their 60th credit.
  • Students must complete the Entrance to Major requirements in order to be accepted into the Psychology Major. These requirements include earning a ‘C’ or higher in the following courses: STAT 200 or PSYCH200, PSYCH 100, 3.0 credits of GQ (other than STAT 200), and 3.0 credits of GS (other than PSYCH 100).
  • No more than 91 credits earned while enrolled in another College may be applied to a degree granted by the College of the Liberal Arts. The current College interpretation of this policy is as a residency requirement; that is, what counts is where the student is registered, not just their declared major.
  • Students must complete at least 6 credits of 400 level coursework at PSU and those 6 credits cannnot be from PSYCH 480/490/491/493/494/495/496.
  • A maximum of six PSYCH 499 credits may count towards 400 level courses; or a maximum of 3 PSYCH 499 credits may count towards 400 level courses if the student has completed PSYCH 477/480/491/493/494/495/496 for the major.

The following points constitute the Department’s policy on granting PSYBA or PSYBS degrees. They apply to all students, including those who do a Change of Location to University Park from other Penn State locations or from other colleges or universities, and to students wishing to transfer courses from other colleges and universities. The goal of the policy is to ensure that students receiving degrees from the UP department have completed a reasonable proportion of their psychology coursework in the department, while allowing a significant amount of coursework from other locations to be applied to the degree requirements.

  1. Nineteen credits of Psychology courses, including at least 9 credits at the 300 or 400 levels, must be completed in the Psychology Department at University Park.
  2. Independent study, internship, and thesis credits (PSYCH 480/491/493/494/495/496) can be used to fulfill 3.0 credits at the 400-level for the major for all students who entered the major Fall 2004 or after. Any credits taken thereafter in those areas will be applied to elective credits. NOTE: For students who entered the major prior to FALL 2004, PSYCH 494/495/496 credits may only be used to fulfill elective credits.
  3. Special topics (PSYCH 297/497) courses may be accepted toward the major requirements by substitution based on written request made in advance to the Psychology Director of Undergraduate Studies. In instances where a newly offered Special Topics course has been evaluated, notice will go out through the listserv.
  4. Substitutions for non-psychology courses specified in the PSYBS option requirements will be allowed only for courses that have similar or greater scope, and similar or greater depth, as the courses for which they are to be substituted. Such substitutions generally require review of the syllabus for the proposed course. Substitution requests should be made in advance to the Psychology Director of Undergraduate Studies.
  5. Requests for changes of assignment from University Park to a non-UP campus will be approved by the Psychology Department only after all psychology course requirements have been completed, or if the minimum requirements described above have been met and the student has spent a minimum of three semesters of full-time enrollment at UP. The Non-psychology courses required by PSYBS options are not included in this policythese may be completed at a non-UP campus after psychology course requirements have been completed. 

World Campus Psychology Courses

The PSYBA and PSYBS/Business option degrees are offered through Penn State’s World Campus. Information about these programs can be found here. These degrees have the same requirements as the degrees offered at University Park, although the selection of courses is more limited. These degrees provide students with location, work, or family constraints the opportunity to complete a Penn State Psychology degree.

World Campus and University Park Psychology degrees

University Park students frequently ask about taking World Campus courses. For a variety of reasons, this option is very limited. As described in the policy below, enrollment in World Campus courses during Fall and Spring semesters is permitted by exception only.

World Campus and other Penn State Psychology degrees

The comments above apply to Psychology degrees offered at non-University Park locations, except of course that there are differences in the requirements of those degrees. Also, campus registrars may impose additional limits on students’ ability to take World Campus courses.

World Campus PSYCH Course Enrollment Policy

Penn State is organized into degree-granting colleges which set requirements, offer courses appropriate to their degree programs, and certify graduation.  Students are expected to complete their coursework in the College granting their degree, though students may take their first two years of courses at other campuses before finishing at University Park or other degree-granting locations.   Many programs, including Psychology, have capstone courses or experiences taught by faculty within the program. These programs may have similar requirements, but they are separate in terms of entrance to a major, advising, and administrative status. For these reasons, World Campus Psychology courses are restricted according to the policy described below.  

PSYCH courses are offered through World Campus for enrollment by students earning their degrees through World Campus, except during the summer session, when some courses may be available to students from any campus.  The specific restrictions on enrollment are:

  1. Degree candidates at any resident campus may not take World Campus PSYCH courses during the fall and spring semesters unless granted an exception as explained below.
  2. Resident students at any campus may not earn concurrent PSYCH majors through World Campus.
  3. Enrollment in some courses may be limited to World Campus majors even during summer session. 

Exceptions to these policies will be made only in cases of serious extenuating circumstances.  Scheduling convenience, lack of planning, and course cost are not considered sufficient bases for exceptions. Non-adult learners from any resident campus may request an exception to enroll in World Campus courses 7 days before the semester starts if there are available seats. These requests will be processed in the order that they are received and will be processed until seats are filled. The request, along with confirmation that prerequisites have been met, must be submitted to the World Campus Registrar by the student’s academic adviser. Adult learners from any resident campus do not need to wait until 7 days before the semester starts and may request an exception at any time by following the same procedure as outlined above.