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BS in Psychological Sciences

Degree Program Description

The study of Psychology aims to understand the mind, behavior, and mental health.  The Bachelor of Science in Psychology (BS) degree is for students interested in a more science-oriented curriculum to better prepare them for further study in science-oriented psychology graduate programs (e.g., neuroscience, quantitative psychology), or medical school (e.g., Doctor of Medicine/MD, psychiatry), or other health-related graduate programs (e.g., pharmacy, physical therapy). The required science track is not noted on the BS diploma or transcripts, but students can indicate the science track on resumes and/or graduate school application forms. 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.  While most psychology majors plan to find employment upon graduation with the undergraduate psychology degree, some psychology majors plan to pursue further study in psychology-related graduate or professional programs.  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.

Major Program Requirements

To graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from 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 2500 and the required science track. The statistics requirement is fulfilled by taking either (a) STAT 1200 and STAT 2200 or (b) STAT 2500, or (c) STAT 1400 and STAT 2200
  • Students must complete MATH 1100 and the equivalent of STAT 2500 -- either by completing STAT 1200 and STAT 2200, or by completing STAT 2500. To enroll in STAT 2500 students must complete an additional pre-requisite math course of MATH 1300, MATH 1400 or MATH 1500.
  • Students must complete STAT 1200 or STAT 2500 before or during the same semester as PSYCH 3010.
  • Students must complete PSYCH 3010 before PSYCH 3020 which must be completed before the Psych Capstone Lab course. We do not make 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 (WI). 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 4940, PSYCH 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.
  • Other than the 12 hour limit of Special Problems Courses, Special Readings Courses, and Internship hours described above, there is no limit to the number of psychology credits that may count toward the required 120 credits to graduate with the Bachelor of Science.
Required Courses
PSYCH 1000General Psychology3
MATH 1100College Algebra3
STAT 2500Introduction to Probability and Statistics I3-4
or STAT 1200
STAT 2200
Introductory Statistical Reasoning
and Introductory Statistical Methods
or STAT 1400
STAT 2200
Elementary Statistics for Life Sciences
and Introductory Statistical Methods
Research Methods Sequence
PSYCH 3010Research Methods in Psychology I3
PSYCH 3020Research Methods in Psychology II3
Capstone course (psychology lab course)3-6

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
or PSYCH 2410H Developmental Psychology - Honors
PSYCH 2411Stories and Selves3
PSYCH 2510Survey of Psychopathology3
PSYCH 2511Military and Veterans Psychology3
PSYCH 2830Human-Companion Animal Interaction3
PSYCH 3310Intergroup Relations3
PSYCH 3350Positive Psychology3
PSYCH 3351Positive Motivation 3
PSYCH 3370The Science of Mindfulness3
or PSYCH 3370W The Science of Mindfulness - Writing Intensive
PSYCH 3420Cognitive Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 3430Social Development in Childhood3
or PSYCH 3430W Social Development in Childhood - Writing Intensive
PSYCH 3440Women's Professional Development3
or PSYCH 3440H Women's Professional Development - Honors
PSYCH 3510Introduction to Clinical Psychology3
or PSYCH 3510W Introduction to Clinical Psychology - Writing Intensive
PSYCH 3511Emotion Regulation and the Brain 3
PSYCH 3815Cross-Cultural Psychology3
or PSYCH 3815H Cross-Cultural Psychology - Honors
PSYCH 3830Health Psychology3
PSYCH 3840Individual Differences3
PSYCH 4440Sex Differences3
PSYCH 4441Psychology of Youths' Close Relationships3
PSYCH 4442Language and Development in Infancy3
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 overlap in course content, a student may not receive credit for both PSYCH 3350 and ESC_PS 4200

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

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 2820Minds, Brains, and Machines3
PSYCH 3110Theories of Learning3
PSYCH 3140Cognitive Psychology3
PSYCH 3150Human Memory3
PSYCH 3160Perception and Thought3
PSYCH 3420Cognitive Development in Childhood3
PSYCH 3511Emotion Regulation and the Brain 3
PSYCH 3830Health Psychology3
PSYCH 3870Sleep and Sleep Disorders3
PSYCH 3890Music and the Mind3
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 taken 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 2950PSYCH 4950PSYCH 4960), Internship PSYCH 4940, and Capstone Labs.

Foreign Language Alternative for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Students pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Psychology may opt to satisfy the foreign language requirement through approved alternative coursework consisting of at least 12 credits in courses numbered 2000 or above from any combination of the following subjects:  Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, South Asian Studies, and/or Spanish.  These courses may not be used to satisfy other degree requirements with the exception of the Writing Intensive requirement.  Students should note that the option of a Foreign Language Alternative is applicable specifically to the Bachelor of Science in Psychology. The foreign language requirement for the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology is 12 to 13 hours of a single foreign language sequence.

Approved Science Course Tracks

Psychology Bachelor of Science students must complete 12 credit hours of approved science coursework in one of the following five approved areas: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, or Statistics. Course grades must be a C- or higher, no D+ or lower will be accepted.

Biological Sciences Track

Required Core: (5 hours)
BIO_SC 1500Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory5
or BIO_SC 1500H Introduction to Biological Systems with Laboratory Honors
or BIO_SC 1010
BIO_SC 1020
General Principles and Concepts of Biology
and General Biology Laboratory
Additional Approved Coursework (at least 7 credit hours from the list below)
BIO_SC 2200General Genetics4
or BIO_SC 2200H General Genetics - Honors
BIO_SC 2300Introduction to Cell Biology4-5
or BIO_SC 2300H Introduction to Cell Biology- Honors
or BIO_SC 2300HW Introduction to Cell Biology - Honors/Writing Intensive
BIO_SC 3400Evolution and Ecology3
BIO_SC 3700Animal Physiology5
BIO_SC 4500Neurobiology3
BIO_SC 4600Evolution3
BIO_SC 4640Behavioral Biology3-4
BIO_SC 4986Neurology of Motor Systems3
BIO_SC 4988Nerve Cells and Behavior3
MPP 3202Elements of Physiology5

Chemistry Track

Required Core: (6 to 8 hours)
CHEM 1320
CHEM 1330
College Chemistry I
and College Chemistry II
or CHEM 1320H
CHEM 1330H
College Chemistry I - Honors
and College Chemistry II- Honors
Additional Approved Coursework (at least 4 to 6 credit hours from list below)
CHEM 2100Organic Chemistry I3
CHEM 2110Organic Chemistry II3
CHEM 2130Organic Laboratory I2
CHEM 2140Organic Laboratory II2
CHEM 2170HHonors Organic Chemistry II with Lab - Honors5
CHEM 2400Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry with Lab3
CHEM 3200Quantitative Methods of Analysis with Lab4
CHEM 3300Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry (OR CHEM 3310 Physical Chemistry)3
CHEM 4170Medicinal Chemistry3
CHEM 4400Inorganic Chemistry3

Computer Science Track

Required Core: (8 hours):
CMP_SC 1050Algorithm Design and Programming I4
CMP_SC 2050Algorithm Design and Programming II4
Additional Approved Coursework (at least 6 credit hours from list below)
CMP_SC 2270Introduction to Logic Systems (Prior to SP14 course was numbered 3270)3
CMP_SC 2830Web Application Development I 3
CMP_SC 3380Database Applications and Information Systems3

Mathematical Sciences Track

Required Courses: (The Math Track requires 13 credit hours):
MATH 1500Analytic Geometry and Calculus I5
or MATH 1500H Analytic Geometry and Calculus I - Honors
MATH 1700Calculus II5
or MATH 1700H Calculus II - Honors
MATH 2300Calculus III3
or MATH 2300H Calculus III - Honors

Statistics Track

Required Core: (6 hours)
STAT 3500Introduction to Probability and Statistics II3
STAT 4710Introduction to Mathematical Statistics3
Additional Approved Coursework (at least 6 credit hours from list below)
STAT 4110Statistical Software and Data Analysis3
STAT 4150Applied Categorical Data Analysis3
STAT 4210Applied Nonparametric Methods3
STAT 4310Sampling Techniques3
STAT 4410Biostatistics and Clinical Trials3
STAT 4510Applied Statistical Models I3
STAT 4560Applied Multivariate Data Analysis3
STAT 4830Categorical Data Analysis3
Note: Students completing this track must complete additional math courses to meet the pre-req's for STAT 4710. Students will complete MATH 1160 OR MATH 1100 and MATH 1140 and MATH 1500, MATH 1700 and MATH 2300 in sequence as prerequisites to STAT 4710.

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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, including STAT 2500 or STAT 1200 and STAT 2200 or STAT 1400 and STAT 2200 and all Science Track courses.

First Year
ENGLSH 1000*+3AGH: Social Science Course*+3
MATH 1100*+3Behavioral Science+3
PSYCH 100013B.S. Science Track Course1+3-5
Social Science Course+3Humanities Course+3
Humanities Course +3Psych Cognitive/Neuroscience Distribution Course13
 15 15-17
Second Year
Behavioral Science (2000+ A&S approved)+3B.S. Science Track Course3-5
Biological/Physical/Mathematics Science Course (with LAB)1+5Biological/Physical/Mathematics Science Course1
B.S. Science Track Course 13-5Humanities (2000+ A&S approved)++3
STAT 12003Psych Cognitive/Neuroscience Distribution Course13
1000+ elective1Psych Clinical/Social/Developmental Distribution Course13
 PSYCH 301013
 15-17 16-18
Third Year
A&S Diversity Requirement+3Second language I*+4-6
B.S. Science Track Course (if necessary)13PSYCH 302013
Humanities Course (Writing Intensive)+3Social Science (2000+)+3
Psy 3000+ elective131000+ elective2
STAT 220011000+ elective3
3000+ elective3 
 16 15-17
Fourth Year
Biological/Physical/Mathematics Science Course3Second language III*+3-4
Second language II*+4-6Psych 4000+ elective13
Psy Capstone (Writing Intensive)1*+33000+ elective 3
Psych Clinical/Social/Developmental Distribution Course (3000+)133000+ elective3
3000+ elective3 
 16-18 12-13
Total Credits: 120-131

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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. 

MU students can request a degree audit by logging in to myDegreePlanner.  Students may also access myDegreePlanner via myZou, in the Student Center, click on the Academic Progress Tile, then select Request Degree Audit. 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 https://advising.missouri.edu/contact/.

Prospective students, can access a preliminary MU degree audit via https://www.transferology.com. 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 https://registrar.missouri.edu/degrees-audits/degree-audits/.

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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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