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BA in Psychology

Degree Program Description

The study of Psychology aims to understand the mind, behavior, and mental health.  The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (BA) degree is for students interested in studying human behavior in preparation for either employment after completion of the undergraduate psychology degree, or in preparation for applied psychology and other related graduate programs (e.g., counseling, social work, management).  Regardless of a student’s ultimate goals, our faculty members believe that students will be best served by completing a rigorous research-oriented program of study.  Therefore, students should expect their instructors to take a scientific approach to the particular psychological content of each course.  Psychology majors work in diverse fields such as community and social services, human resources, management and business, health care, student affairs and services, law enforcement, education, and scientific research. 

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Major Program Requirements

To graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in the College of Arts and Science, a student must complete all degree, college, and university graduation requirements, including university general education as well as all degree and college or school requirements. Students are reminded to check the Undergraduate Catalog for course descriptions and prerequisite information.

Major Core Requirements

  • The psychology major requires 30 credit hours in psychology coursework. 
  • All courses that count toward the psychology major requirements must be completed with a grade of C- or better. Grades of D+ or below and grades of S/U will not be accepted. This includes STAT 1200 or its equivalent (a required course for all psychology majors).
  • Students must complete STAT 1200 and PSYCH 3010, before PSYCH 3020, before the capstone lab. We make no exceptions to the research methods sequence requirements.
  • Students must complete at least two psychology courses numbered 4000 or above. The Psychology capstone lab will meet one of these 4000-level courses. 
  • Students must complete at least one psychology course numbered 3000 or above that is designated Writing Intensive. The psychology capstone lab will meet the WI requirement if completed during the fall or spring semesters. Capstones are not WI in the summer sessions.
  • Students may use no more than 12 hours of Special Problems Courses, Special Readings Courses, or Internship Courses (PSYCH 2950, PSYCH 4940PSYCH 4950 & PSYCH 4960 toward graduation. Within the 12 hours, no more than 9 hours may be Special Problems Courses. (i.e., psychology research credit hours).  A student may complete either 6 hours of PSYCH 2950 and 3 hours of PSYCH 4950, or they may complete 3 hours of PSYCH 2950 and 6 hours of PSYCH 4950.
  • Psych majors may have up to a total of 6 hours of PSYCH 4940.  Internships are not required for the psychology major.
Required courses
PSYCH 1000General Psychology3
or PSYCH 1000H General Psychology - Honors
STAT 1200Introductory Statistical Reasoning3
or STAT 1300 Elementary Statistics
or STAT 1300H Elementary Statistics - Honors
or STAT 1400 Elementary Statistics for Life Sciences
or STAT 2500 Introduction to Probability and Statistics I
Research Methods sequence
PSYCH 3010Research Methods in Psychology I3
PSYCH 3020Research Methods in Psychology II3
Capstone course (psychology lab course)3-6

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Distribution Areas

Psychology majors are required to complete four distribution courses -- two courses in each of two distribution areas. This ensures that students will have exposure to a wide range of psychological theory and research. In addition, students choose two additional Psychology courses to receive further education according to their interests. Although the distribution areas are presented below as distinct areas of study, a great deal of overlap exists among them. Students should understand the ways in which the various areas complement one another and gain the ability to integrate information learned in the different areas.

Clinical/Social/Developmental Distribution

This distribution area studies the nature and causes of individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behavior in social situations. It analyzes the cultural and biological influences on age-related changes in cognition, emotion, and social behavior that take place throughout an individual’s lifespan. It focuses on scientific study of the causes of mental disorders as well as methods for assessing and alleviating mental health problems. It also is concerned with the study of mental health and wellness, including strategies for preventing the development of mental disorders. Courses in this distribution area include:

PSYCH 2310Social Psychology3
PSYCH 2320Introduction to Personality3
PSYCH 2410Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH 2410HDevelopmental Psychology - Honors3
PSYCH 2510Survey of Psychopathology3
PSYCH 2520Introduction to Addiction Science3
PSYCH 2830Human-Companion Animal Interaction3
PSYCH 3310Intergroup Relations3
PSYCH 3350Positive Psychology3
PSYCH 3370The Science of Mindfulness3
PSYCH 3370WThe Science of Mindfulness - Writing Intensive3
PSYCH 3420Cognitive Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 3430Social Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 3430WSocial Development in Childhood - Writing Intensive3
PSYCH 3440Women's Professional Development3
PSYCH 3440HWomen's Professional Development - Honors3
PSYCH 3510Introduction to Clinical Psychology3
PSYCH 3510WIntroduction to Clinical Psychology - Writing Intensive3
PSYCH 3815Cross-Cultural Psychology3
PSYCH 3815HCross-Cultural Psychology - Honors3
PSYCH 3830Health Psychology3
PSYCH 3840Individual Differences3
PSYCH 4440Sex Differences3
PSYCH 4520Behavior Genetics3
PSYCH 4530Research in Psychopathology3
PSYCH 4540Emotional Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence3
PSYCH 4560Schizophrenia3
PSYCH 4561Psychosis and the Brain3
PSYCH 4570Pediatric Neuropsychology3
PSYCH 4580Externalizing Spectrum Disorders3

Note: Due to the overlap in course content, a student may receive credit for only one of the following three courses: PSYCH 2410 or PSYCH 2410HH_D_FS 3420 or ESC_PS 2500.

Note: Due to overlap in content, a student may not receive credit for both PSYCH 3350 AND ESC_PS 4200.

Cognitive/Neuroscience Distribution

This distribution area studies the mechanisms of the mind and how they are altered by experience. It also examines the biological basis of the behavior of humans and animals. Courses in this distribution area include:

PSYCH 2110Learning, Memory, and Cognition3
PSYCH 2210Mind, Brain, and Behavior3
PSYCH 2220Drugs and Behavior3
PSYCH 2810Human Sexuality3
PSYCH 2820Introduction to Cognitive Science3
PSYCH 3110Theories of Learning3
PSYCH 3140Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 3150Human Memory3
PSYCH 3160Perception and Thought3
PSYCH 3420Cognitive Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 3830Health Psychology3
PSYCH 3870Sleep and Sleep Disorders3
PSYCH 4110Perception3
PSYCH 4210Physiological Psychology3
PSYCH 4240Cognitive Neuroscience3
PSYCH 4440Sex Differences3
PSYCH 4520Behavior Genetics3
PSYCH 4570Pediatric Neuropsychology3

Note: A student may not receive credit for PSYCH 2210 if it is completed after PSYCH 4210.

Psychology Electives (2000-level) 6 credit hours

Students must complete two psychology elective courses numbered 2000 or above, excluding Special Problems/Readings (i.e., PSYCH 2950, PSYCH 4950, PSYCH 4960), Internship PSYCH 4940, and Capstone Labs.

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Semester Plan

Below is a sample plan of study, semester by semester.  A student's actual plan may vary based on course choices where options are available. Psychology majors are required to earn a C- or higher (no D+ or below) in all Psychology courses and STAT 1200.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
AGH: Social Science Course *+3A&S Diversity Requirement+3
Behavioral Science Course+3Humanities (2000+ Arts and Science approved)+3
ENGLSH 1000*+3Psych Cognitive/Neuroscience Distribution Course13
Humanities Course +3Social Science Course+3
PSYCH 100013STAT 12003
 15 15
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Biological/Physical/Mathematics Science Course+3Foreign Language 2*+4
Foreign Language 1*+4Psych 2000+ elective3
Psych Clinical/Social/Developmental Distribution Course13PSYCH 301013
1000+ elective31000+ elective1
1000+ elective 11000+ elective 3
 14 14
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Biological/Physical/Mathematics Science Course3Biological/Physical Science Course (with LAB)+3
Foreign Language 3*+4PSYCH 302013
Psych Clinical/Social/Developmental Distribution Course13Social Science (2000+ Arts and Science approved)+3
Psych Cognitive/Neuroscience Distribution Course131000+ elective 3
1000+ elective (Writing Intensive)*+33000+ elective3
 1000+ elective1
 16 16
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Behavioral Science Course (2000+ Arts and Science approved)+3Humanities Course+3
Humanities Course +3Psych 4000+ elective13
Psych Capstone (Writing Intensive)1*+33000+ elective 3
3000+ elective 33000+ elective 3
3000+ elective 33000+ elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

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Degree Audit

The degree audit is an automated report reflecting a student’s academic progress toward the completion of a degree.  Degree Audits are not available for all programs; however, please consult with the appropriate college or school for audit information.

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, by clicking on the Request Degree Audit link. The audit automatically pulls in the student’s MU course work, transfer courses and courses in progress.  This is available to current students, admitted students, and those who last attended less than three terms ago.

Past MU students can request a degree audit by contacting the Academic Advising Unit of the division in which they were last enrolled at MU. For contact information, go to http://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com/index.htm. Information on the college credits already earned will have to be manually entered before it can be evaluated against current degree requirements.

For additional details on degree audits, go to http://registrar.missouri.edu/degree-audits/index.php.

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Major and Career Exploration

The University of Missouri has many resources to assist you in exploring majors and career possibilities.  For guidance, visit the Majors and Careers website or view specific resources below.

  • If you are considering a change of major or are exploring multiple majors, schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Discovery Center by calling (573)884-9700 or through MU Connect Discovery Center service in you success network.

  • If you have decided on a major, visit an academic advisor in the School or College that you are interested in to discuss the process of declaring the major

  • If you would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center.  No Appointment is necessary to explore career options with one of our staff members.

For additional major and career exploration resources, visit Major & Career Exploration in the catalog.

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