FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who can I speak to in the department to learn more about the Psychology major?
Contact the Chair of the Department; he or she will be able to answer your questions. The faculty advisors can also answer your questions, list available outside the department office.
Who can I speak to in the department about my interest in declaring the Psychology major?
Contact the Chair of the Department; he or she will be able to answer your questions. Mary Hanson in the Psychology office in Stevenson 3092 can give you information on applying to the major.
Is there a GPA requirement in declaring the Psychology major?
If you're an SSU student interested in the Psychology major you must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0. If you're an incoming freshman or transfer student you must have a 3.0 GPA (effective Fall 09).
Is there any special application process to declare the Psychology major?
Yes, you must apply to enter the major if you're an SSU student. If you're an incoming freshman or transfer student, you must indicate on your Sonoma State application that you'd like to be a Psychology major. Applications for SSU students are available the first month of each semester. See this web page for more information on applying to the major.
Is there a deadline every semester to declare the Psychology major?
Yes. Applications from SSU students are due the first month of every semester. See this web page for more information on applying to the major.
Are there other required criteria?
Yes. Current Sonoma State students who wish to apply to transfer into the psychology major must have completed the following courses or the equivalents:
ENGL 101 Expository Writing and Analytical Reading (GE A2)
with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. English 101 and Psychology 250 must be completed with a grade of B or higher.
Recommended for entrance into the major:
MATH 165 Statistics (GE B4)
Incoming freshmen and transfer students should see this web site for more information.
What prerequisites, if any, do I need to have completed before I can declare the Psychology major?
See the answers to the above two questions.
Do I need to be eligible for GE English and Math before I take the Psychology prerequisites?
If you need to take a remedial English class, yes, you should take it before you take English 101. If you need to take a remedial Math class, you must take it before you take Math 165, Statistics, which is required for the major (though it is not a prerequisite for the major).
Once I am declared as a Psychology major, what classes do I need to take?
Psychology majors should take Psy 306, History of Modern Psychology, as early as the spring semester of their sophomore year. Incoming transfers and Psychology majors should take Psy 306 their first semester in the major. Psy 306 is a prerequisite for the other required major class, Psy 307, Humanistic, Existential and Transpersonal Psychology, which should be taken the semester following Psy 306. Math 165, Statistics, should be taken as early in the college years as possible.
The Psychology department has an individualized advising plan. Students should meet with an advisor each semester to make sure they are taking the courses that will take them to their next step in their life and career. See the Advising Guidelines site for a listing of Psychology major advisors.
What career paths are available to Psychology majors?
Psychology is a major that can be applied to many different career paths. Visit the Careers in Psychology websites on the Psychology department web pages to learn much more about the careers available to Psychology majors.
If I am currently declared as a Psychology major and am interested in changing my major, are there any courses from Psychology that will count toward the new major I'm interested in?
That depends on the major. You should visit the new major's website, or their department office, to get information on the course requirements for the new major. Some majors include elective or supporting courses from other majors; some do not.
Once I decide on the Psychology major will I have an advisor?
Yes. You may choose your advisor from the listing of advisors on the Advising Guidelines website. Once you have an advisor, you sign up for an advising appointment on the office door of your advisor. You can always change advisors on your own. Appointments usually last 15-20 minutes. For your advising appointment please bring 1) a copy of your Academic Requirements Report 2) a copy of your unofficial transcript.
Are there any highly recommended GE courses for the Psychology major?
We encourage students to take GE courses in their interest areas, or in the areas of their minors or double majors. Many students take the following upper-division GE courses during their junior or senior years in the major:
Psy 302, Development of the Person (area E)
What courses are restricted to Psychology majors?
Psy 306, History of Modern Psychology
Are there specific concentrations in the Psychology major?
Not formally. However, we find that students cluster in interest areas that reflect their life and career goals. Common interest areas are:
Counseling, clinical psychology and social work
What is required for a minor in Psychology?
Psy 250, Introduction to Psychology, or equivalent
Can I work with a faculty advisor if I declare a minor?
Yes. Choose a faculty advisor from the listing on the Advising Guidelines website. Sign up for visits to your advisor on their office door.
WHAT IS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF UNITS I NEED TO GET MY B.A. DEGREE?
WHAT IS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF G.E. UNITS I NEED TO GET MY B.A. DEGREE?
The minimum number of units needed to satisfy the GE Requirements is 51. This must include 9 Upper Division G.E. units (usually 3 classes), taken during or after the semester you earn 60 units. The 9 G.E. units must be spread over two distinct G.E. areas (B, C, D or E). The G.E. package must include one Ethnic Studies class (AMCS, CALS, NAMS).
[For students with a catalog year between 1981-82 and 1990-92: the minimum number of units needed to satisfy the GE Requirement is 48. These must include 9 Upper Division GE units. These units do not need to be spread over two areas. At least one class must be an Ethnic Studies class (AMCS, CALS, NAMS).
For students with a catalog year of 1980-81 and earlier: The minimum number of units needed to satisfy the GE Requirement is 48. At least one class must be an Ethnic Class. No Upper-Division GE units are necessary.]
WHAT IF I BELIEVE I TOOK A COURSE AT ANOTHER SCHOOL THAT SATISFIES A G.E. REQUIREMENT, BUT IT ISN'T SHOWN ON MY EVALUATION OF TRANSFER UNITS FORM?
Discuss this with your transcript evaluator in Admissions and Records. If the course is not listed or included in a transfer agreement, you will need to provide a syllabus from that other school or other documentation. You may need to complete a Substitution of GE Class Form to petition for the course's acceptance. This should be signed by the chair of the department which normally offers the course, and then taken to the Office of Academic Programs in Stevenson 1041 where the GE Chair will sign it.
WHAT IS AN UPPER DIVISION COURSE?
Any course numbered 300 or above.
CAN I TAKE AN INCOMPLETE IF I CANNOT COMPLETE THE WORK FOR A CLASS BY THE END OF THE SEMESTER?
Not routinely. However, you may fill out a Request For Incomplete Petition form and give it to the instructor who will decide whether or not to grant it. The University guidelines for grades of incomplete require that sufficient work in the course must have already been accomplished so that the student can complete the class work without further instruction. Also, the reason that the student cannot complete the class work must be "serious and compelling." That is, it should be something beyond the student's control or something that the student could not reasonably have foreseen.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO COMPLETE AN INCOMPLETE?
On the Request For Incomplete Petition, the instructor may specify a length of time to complete the work of from one day to one year. If the grade is not made up within the specified time, it automatically turns into an "F." If no time limit is specified, it is assumed that the time limit is one year from the end of the course. It is your responsibility to make a contract with your instructor about how and when you will complete the work. If there are reasons beyond your control that make it impossible for you to make up the work within a year, you and the instructor, together, may petition the University Standards Committee for more time. Only rarely, do they grant an extension.
IF I GET AN INCOMPLETE, SHOULD I TAKE THE CLASS OVER THE NEXT SEMESTER OR NEXT YEAR?
No. If you did, you would have the class on your transcript twice. The one with the incomplete would turn into an "F" after one year. Instead, turn in the completed work to the instructor. The instructor will grade it, and, in combination with the other work you have done in the class, assign a grade for the entire class. There is a special form for the instructor to report this.
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A GRIEVANCE ABOUT A POLICY OR FACULTY MEMBER?
First, try to work it out with the individual involved, and/or your advisor. If this fails, consult with the Department Chair. If you are not able to resolve things with the Department Chair, consult with the Dean of the School. If this does not yield a resolution, you may file a grievance with the student grievance coordinator. Talk to your advisor about details. To be timely, a grievance must be filed with the student grievance coordinator no later than the end of the semester following the occurrence of the action on which it is based.
I REALLY WANT TO TAKE MORE UNITS THAN THE MAXIMUM NUMBER ALLOWED (20 UNITS) AND I BELIEVE I CAN HANDLE IT. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Recommend a cumulative GPA of 3.0. The higher your GPA, the better your chances for approval. Obtain a Petition for Waiver of University Requirements form and discuss your situation with your advisor. Then, write your reasons on the petition, and have your advisor add a recommendation to show support. Submit your petition to the Office of Admissions and Records.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM ALREADY A STUDENT AT SSU IN ANOTHER MAJOR AND I WANT TO CHANGE MY MAJOR TO PSYCHOLOGY?
(1) Complete all of G.E. areas A and B4; (2) Complete PSY 250 or equivalent; (3) Make sure that you have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher; (4) Fill out an application for transfer into Psychology. This application may be obtained in the Psychology Department Office but only during the application process. The deadline for applications is about one month after each semester begins. (5) Your application will be reviewed by the Chair and a faculty committee and you will be notified whether or not you are accepted.
WHAT ARE THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS I NEED TO MEET IN ORDER TO CHANGE MY MAJOR TO PSYCHOLOGY, IF I AM ALREADY A STUDENT AT SSU?
GPA of 3.0 or higher; PSY 250; ENG 101; PHIL 101/102. Equivalent courses at another school may qualify for these requirements.
HOW MANY PSYCHOLOGY UNITS CAN I TRANSFER FROM A JUNIOR COLLEGE INTO MY PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR?
You can transfer in 6 units of lower-division classes toward the 40 units of the major. Introduction to Psychology can be included in this 6 units. You can also transfer in 4 units of GE Statistics. Statistics is required for the major, but does not count in the 40 units.
HOW MANY PSYCHOLOGY UNITS FROM A FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE CAN I TRANSFER INTO MY PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR AT SSU?
As many Upper Division Psychology units as you like. However, you must complete at least 12 units in Psychology at SSU in order to graduate from SSU. Also, you must take Psy 306 & 307 at SSU.
THERE ARE PSYCHOLOGY CLASSES I'M INTERESTED IN THAT AREN'T OFFERED AT SSU. IS THERE ANY OTHER PLACE I CAN TAKE THEM?
Yes. For students who are interested, it is possible to take courses from the Psychology Department at U.C. Berkeley at no additional costs. However, first, you must establish that there is no course or combination of courses offered at SSU that is equivalent to the course offered at U.C. Berkeley. To cross-register, you must complete a cross-registration program application from SSU (available from the office of Admissions and Records). To qualify, you must be in good standing and enrolled for at least 12 units at SSU. You must have your status verified in the Office of Admissions and Records.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF PSYCHOLOGY UNITS TO COMPLETE THE MAJOR?
40 psychology units (34 upper division) plus statistics. Psychology courses must be taken for a grade and be passed with a minimum grade of C, unless Credit/No Credit is the only grading option. 12 Credit/No Credit Psychology classes may be counted toward the Psychology major.
[If your catalog year is 1986-88 or to 2002-2004: 32 Upper Division Psychology units and 12 supporting units. If your catalog year is 1984-86 or earlier: 24 Upper Division Psychology units and 15 supporting units.]
DO I HAVE AN ADVISOR ASSIGNED TO ME?
You may choose your own advisor from the listing under the Student Advising Guidelines. If you wish to change advisors, just sign up for that advisor's office hours for your next advising session.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO AN ADVISING SESSION?
Print out a current copy of your Academic Requirements report and unofficial transcripts from PeopleSoft and bring it to the meeting. Transfer students should also print out a Transfer Credit report.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED COURSES IN THE MAJOR?
Psy 250 (or equivalent), Psy 306, Psy 307 and statistics. Psychology courses must be taken for a grade and must be passed with a minimum grade of C, unless Credit/No Credit is the only grading option. 12 Credit/No Credit Psychology classes may be counted toward the Psychology major.
[Catalog year 1986-87 or later: both Psych 306 and Psych 307. Catalog year 1996-98 or later: Psy 250, Psy 306, Psy 307 and Math 165 Elementary Statistics or equivalent. Catalog Year 1984-86 or earlier: Psy 300. This class is no longer offered. You may substitute either Psy 306 or Psy 307.]
DO I HAVE TO TAKE PSY 306 OR PSY 307 (THE CORE COURSES) BEFORE I CAN SIGN UP FOR OTHER 300- AND 400-LEVEL COURSES?
No. Unless Psy 306 and/or 307 is specifically listed as a prerequisite, you can enroll in 300- and 400-level courses. You are urged to take 306 and 307 as early as possible after having completed a course in Introduction to Psychology. Second semester sophomores and incoming transfer students are encouraged to take Psy 306 right away.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM NUMBER OF PSYCHOLOGY UNITS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A MINOR IN PSYCHOLOGY?
23 units, which includes an Introductory Psychology class with a grade of C or better. 20 units must be upper division (300 level or above) psychology courses with a grade of C or better. Courses must be taken for a letter grade unless Credit/No Credit is the only grading option for the course.
ARE CERTAIN COURSES REQUIRED FOR A MINOR IN PSYCHOLOGY?
Other than Psy 250 or equivalent, no, just 20 upper-division Psychology units.
WHAT IF I ALREADY TOOK INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY SOMEWHERE ELSE BUT IT HAS BEEN SOME TIME AGO?
You must have taken it within ten years of entering our major. Otherwise, you need to repeat it or take the Introductory Psychology CLEP (College Level Equivalency Program) exam or get a waiver from the chair of the Psychology Department. CLEP exams are administered through testing services. For information about test schedules and pre-registering (all students MUST pre-register) visit website www.sonoma.edu/sas/testing.
I'VE HEARD I MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY IF I CAN PASS A TEST. WHAT IS THE TEST AND WHEN AND WHERE CAN I TAKE IT?
This is the CLEP test in Introductory Psychology. See the answer directly above.
IS A COURSE IN STATISTICS REQUIRED FOR THE MAJOR IN PSYCHOLOGY AT SSU?
Yes. By taking Math 165, you can fulfill not only the Psychology statistics requirement but also your Math G.E. requirement.
WHAT IF I TOOK A STATISTICS CLASS AT A JUNIOR COLLEGE OR ANOTHER FOUR-YEAR COLLEGE?
We will accept a statistics course from either type of institution as equivalent to ours.
WHAT IF I HAVE TAKEN A LOWER DIVISION VERSION OF ONE OF YOUR RECOMMENDED UPPER DIVISION COURSES (E.G. ABNORMAL BEHAVIOR, PERSONALITY, ETC.), DO I HAVE TO REPEAT IT?
No. If you are going to use the class as preparation for graduate school. They look for subject matter coverage. Not whether a class is upper- or lower-division. You still need to take the required minimum Upper Division units in Psychology, however.
HOW MANY CREDIT/NO-CREDIT UNITS CAN I APPLY TOWARD MY PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR?
Psychology courses must be taken for a grade and passed with a minimum grade of C, unless Credit/No Credit is the only grading option. 12 Credit/No Credit Psychology classes may be counted toward the Psychology major. Research internships, teaching internships, and special studies are offered Credit/No credit only and can be counted in the major and in the minor--remember the 12 unit limit in the major.
DOES A PSYCHOLOGY CLASS THAT I TAKE FOR G.E. (PSY 302, LIFE SPAN DEVELOPMENT; PSY 303, PERSON IN SOCIETY; PSY 325, SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY) ALSO COUNT TOWARD THE PSYCHOLOGY COURSES I NEED FOR MY MAJOR?
[For calendar years 2002-2004, if it counts towards GE, it may not count as an upper division Psychology Major course. However, it may be counted as a supporting course if you can make a logical argument for it. If it is upper division and not used for GE, it may be counted in the major.]
IS IT RECOMMENDED THAT I TAKE INTERNSHIP UNITS AS PART OF MY PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR AT SSU?
Yes, it is highly recommended, especially if you're applying to clinical or counseling graduate programs. Internship experience is often the significant distinguishing information in applications to graduate schools. Internships are offered Credit/No credit only. 12 units of Credit / No Credit classes may be counted toward the major. For more information about the internship programs, contact Lorna Catford, firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT ABOUT A RESEARCH INTERNSHIP?
Yes, research internships are desirable, especially if you're applying to graduate programs in psychology that emphasize research. That, in addition to your GPA, letters of recommendation and test scores, can be the determining factor in acceptance. See individual faculty members to find out who is doing research and who needs research assistants. Research internships are offered Credit-No credit only. 12 units of Credit/No Credit classes may be counted toward the major.
WHAT ABOUT A TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIP?
Being a TA provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about teaching and about the specific topic area of your class. It also provides valuable information to graduate schools about your abilities and motivation. Teaching internships are offered Credit-No credit only. 12 units of Credit/No Credit classes may be counted toward the major.
WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR APPLYING TO TEACH A STUDENT-INSTRUCTED COURSE, PSY 398 (ALSO KNOWN AS STUDENT-INITIATED COURSE), IN THE PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT?
Written guidelines and forms may be obtained from the Administrative Coordinator in the Psychology Office (Stevenson 3092). Department policy encourages students to teach in areas in which they have expertise, and which are not represented in the Department's regular curriculum. Students are discouraged from teaching classes that are already being taught by faculty. You need to have a faculty sponsor to teach such a course. As part of the application, you will be asked to draw up a syllabus. Undergraduate Student Instructed Courses (Psy 398) are offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis. In addition, you can earn units for teaching a Student Instructed Course.
WHAT ABOUT GRADUATE STUDENT-INSTRUCTED COURSES, PSY 399?
Graduate student-instructed courses (Psy 399) are 3 unit courses taught by graduate students in the Psychology Master's programs, in areas of the student's expertise. These courses are offered for a grade.
IF I TAKE A STUDENT INSTRUCTED COURSE, WILL THE UNITS COUNT TOWARD MY MAJOR?
IS THERE A STUDENT PSYCHOLOGY CLUB IN THIS DEPARTMENT?
Yes, we have an active chapter of Psi Chi, the American Psychological Association's national honor society in psychology.
WHAT IS PSI CHI AND HOW DO I JOIN?
Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology. It is affiliated
with the American Psychology Association. Our Psi Chi Chapter provides
you with the opportunity to join Psi Chi, if you meet certain standards.
Membership in Psi Chi is an earned honor which is for life. A permanent
record of your membership is preserved at the Psi Chi National Office
and may be used for reference purposes, such as applications for graduate
school and jobs. There is a Psi Chi membership fee. The one-time fee is for lifetime membership, a certificate
suitable for framing, and a membership card. There are no annual national
dues, but each chapter may have fees. For more information, visit their
website at http://www.students.sonoma.edu/clubs/psichi/.
The SSU Chapter of Psi Chi has a strong emphasis on helping students prepare for admission to graduate school.
I'M READY TO GRADUATE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Obtain the Major/Minor Requirements form and the Application for Graduation form from Admissions & Records or the Psychology Department and complete them in consultation with your advisor. You will copy the Psychology courses from your Advising Application to Graduate form onto the The Major/Minor form. If you are unclear on a future course, you can give a general description (e.g., 4 units U.D. PSY). Include Introduction to Psychology, 306, 307, and Statistics.
The Application for Graduation requires you to list every course -- major, GE, and elective -- that you are currently taking or will take to complete your degree. Note that, in your final semester, you can receive provisional graduate status for any upper division courses that you are taking that are beyond those required for G.E., your major, or the 120-unit graduation requirement.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR GRADUATION?
Check for the exact dates at www.sonoma.edu/registration/graduation. If you apply by the degree audit deadline (around the middle of the semester before you plan to graduate) you will be notified whether all your courses and paperwork are in order before the start of your final semester. This is useful as it allows you time to deal with any problems or take any classes you might have overlooked, and still graduate on time.
ARE THERE ANY GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS IN ADDITION TO THE 51 GE UNITS (48 FOR TRANSFER STUDENTS), 40 MAJOR UNITS, STATISTICS, PLUS ELECTIVES TO MAKE UP 120 UNITS?
12 units of Psychology courses in residence at SSU must be taken in the major. There is a maximum limit of 12 Credit/No Credit psychology courses in the major. There are specific GE content area requirements -- please see your advisor and/or the catalog. In addition, you must take the Written English Proficiency Test (WEPT) before the start of your Senior year. If you delay taking the WEPT beyond earning 90 units, you will not be allowed to register for any more classes.
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