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. 

Back to Top

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 C- or below will not be accepted. This includes STAT 1200 or its equivalent (a required course for all psychology majors).
  • Students must complete MATH 1050 or MATH 1100 before 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.
  • No more than 43 psychology credits may count toward the required 120 credits to graduate. Students enrolled in the two-semester Honors Capstone only may use up to 49 psychology credits toward graduation.
  • 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.
Required courses
PSYCH 1000General Psychology3
STAT 1200Introductory Statistical Reasoning3
Research Methods sequence
PSYCH 3010Research Methods in Psychology I3
PSYCH 3020Research Methods in Psychology II3
Capstone course (psychology lab course)3-6

Back to Top

Distribution Areas

Psychology majors are required to take one course from four of the five 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.


This distribution area studies the mechanisms of the mind and how they are altered by experience. Courses in this distribution area include:

PSYCH 2110Learning, Memory, and Cognition3
PSYCH 3110Theories of Learning3
PSYCH 3140Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 3150Human Memory3
PSYCH 3160Perception and Thought3
PSYCH 4110Perception3


This distribution area studies the biological basis of the behavior of humans and other animals. Courses in this distribution area include:

PSYCH 2210Mind, Brain, and Behavior3
PSYCH 2220Drugs and Behavior3
PSYCH 2810Human Sexuality3
PSYCH 3830Health Psychology3
PSYCH 4210Physiological Psychology3
PSYCH 4240Cognitive Neuroscience3

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


This distribution area employs scientific methods to understand the nature and causes of individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behavior in social situations. Courses in this distribution area include:

PSYCH 2310Social Psychology3
PSYCH 2320Introduction to Personality3
PSYCH 3350Positive Psychology3
PSYCH 3370The Science of Mindfulness (Psych 3010 prerequisite)3
PSYCH 4815Cross-Cultural Psychology3

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


This distribution area studies the cultural and biological influences on age-related changes in cognition, emotion and social behavior that take place throughout an individual’s lifespan. Courses in this distribution area include:

PSYCH 2410Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH 3420Cognitive Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 3430Social Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 4440Sex Differences3

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


This distribution area focuses on scientific study of the causes of mental disorders as well as methods for assessing and alleviating mental health problems and related types of maladjustment. It also is concerned with the study of mental health and wellness, including strategies for preventing the development of mental disorders. Courses in this area include:

PSYCH 2510Survey of Abnormal Psychology3
PSYCH 2830Human-Companion Animal Interaction3
PSYCH 3510Introduction to Clinical Psychology3
PSYCH 4520Behavior Genetics (Prerequisite of Psych 3010 and Stat 1200 with a C or better)3
PSYCH 4530Research in Psychopathology3
PSYCH 4540Emotional Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence3
PSYCH 4560Schizophrenia3
PSYCH 4570Pediatric Neuropsychology3
PSYCH 4580Externalizing Spectrum Disorders3

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.

Back to Top

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 C- or below) in all Psychology courses and STAT 1200.

First Year
PSYCH 1000^3Psych Social/Personality Course ^3
ENGLSH 1000*+3MATH 1100 or 1050*+3
Behavioral Science Course+3Social Science Course+3
AGH: Social Science Course *+3Humanities (2000+ Arts and Science approved)+3
Humanities Course +3A&S Diversity Requirement+3
 15 15
Second Year
Psych Developmental Course ^3PSYCH 3010^3
Foreign Language 1*+4Foreign Language 2*+4
Biological/Physical Science Course+3Psych 2000+ elective3
1000+ elective3STAT 1200^*+3
1000+ elective 11000+ elective1
 14 14
Third Year
Psych Clinical/Abnormal Course^3PSYCH 3020^3
Psych Biological/Neuroscience Course OR Psych Learn/Cog Course^3Biological/Physical Science Course (with LAB)+3
Foreign Language 3*+4Social Science (2000+ Arts and Science approved)+3
1000+ elective31000+ elective 3
1000+ elective (Writing Intensive)*+33000+ elective3
 1000+ elective1
 16 16
Fourth Year
Psych Capstone (Writing Intensive)^*+3Psych 4000+ elective^3
Behavioral Science Course (2000+ Arts and Science approved)+3Humanities Course+3
Humanities Course +33000+ elective 3
3000+ elective 33000+ elective 3
3000+ elective 33000+ elective3
 15 15
Total Credits: 120

Back to Top

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

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via 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

Back to Top

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 would like to learn more about your career interests, abilities, values and talents, visit the MU Career Center in the lower level of the Student Success 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.