Sep 23, 2018  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Experimental Psychology Concentration

View information for the Department of Psychology , including Learning Objectives for the department and its programs.

The concentration in Experimental Psychology is available to students earning the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology .

Students majoring in Psychology need not select a concentration. However, the Experimental Psychology concentration is tailored for the undergraduate psychology major who intends to pursue graduate training in the area of experimental or clinical psychology. It provides a strong background in the area of statistics and experimental methodology, which are two areas required for admission by psychology graduate schools. In addition to methodology, the student is exposed to a greater breadth of content areas in the field of experimental psychology than is required by the major. Finally, the student is provided with technical skills that greatly enhance the ability to conduct independent research, a requirement of graduate programs.


1. Complete University General Education requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

(51 units minimum)

Click here to view General Education requirements. 

2. Foundations of Psychology:

(10 units)

Receive a passing letter grade or credit in all of the following prerequisites to the major:


Students are expected to complete these courses as soon as possible, since they are prerequisites to many upper-division psychology courses.

3. Social Sciences:

(3 units)

Receive a passing letter grade or credit in any one of the following courses in supporting fields:

4. Biological Sciences:

(4 units)

Receive a passing letter grade or credit in either of the following courses or course combinations in supporting fields:

5. Complete the major of at least 39 upper-division units, as described below and approved by the major adviser.

A passing letter grade of a D- or higher is required in most courses for the major.


No minor is required. Students seeking an exemption from any of the requirements for the major should consult with their major advisers and file a petition with the chair of the Psychology Department.

The Major

(39 units minimum)

The major in Psychology with a Concentration in Experimental Psychology requires a minimum of 12 units in Research Skills and a minimum of 27 units in the Science of Psychology.

Research Skills

(12 unit minimum)

A. Experimental Methods and Design

(4 units)

Receive a passing letter grade in PSYC 3000 Experimental Methods and Design (4 units).


Students are advised to take PSYC 3000 immediately after completing PSYC 2020 and MATH 1600.  These courses may not be taken concurrently with PSYC 3000.

B. Research Seminars

(5 unit minimum)

Receive a passing letter grade in two Research Seminars, one of which must be at the 4000 level. The 4000-level seminar must be taken after passing PSYC 3000; the courses canot be taken concurrently. Seminars at the 4000 level are WP courses and require a letter grade of C- or better.  Students must pass the writing proficiency screening test (WPST) before they can be admitted to any WP course.

Note: Students are reminded to check course prerequisites when selecting Research Seminars; enrollment requires completion of one or more prerequisites.

C. Senior Thesis

(3 unit minimum)

In addition to the research seminars used to satisfy the Research Seminars requirement described above (5 units minimum), students must receive a passing letter grade in PHYS 4990  .  Students who do not complete a Senior Thesis must receive passing letter grades in two additional research seminars (4 units minimum).

The Science of Psychology

(27 unit minimum)

Receive a passing letter grade in 27 units of upper-division Psychology, selecting from areas D through H below. Courses may be taken on a CR/NC basis only if letter grading is not offered. No more than 6 units of Credit-graded courses can be applied toward the major.

A minimum of 6 units each must be completed in areas D, E, and F. A minimum of 9 units is required in area G. Coursework in Area H is not required, but is strongly recommended for students planning graduate work in psychology. These students should also check prerequisites for admission to their graduate program(s) of choice when selecting courses for the undergraduate major. Fieldwork, internships, and cooperative education may together contribute no more than 3 units toward the major.

Note: Students are reminded to check course descriptions carefully when selecting classes; enrollment may require completion of one or more prerequisites.

H. Psychology as an Integrated Science

(0 unit minimum)

These courses are recommended for students planning graduate work in Psychology and those interested in developing more understanding of Psychology as an integrated discipline. Students entering applied graduate programs (e.g. Counseling Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, or Clinical Psychology) should do appropriate fieldwork under advisement from a faculty member from that discipline.