Psychology FAQ's for Undergraduates

Are you a new Transfer? Check out our Transfer FAQ!

Major

Which degree is best for me?

One degree is not better than the other – how you intend to use your degree is a more important consideration. We encourage you to research the major options listed on our website and compare them to your graduate school and career goals. You should also look at classes that are of interest to you. Students may change major tracks within Psychology at any time. For more help choosing a major and classes, please see our Career Guide and the Career Center.

What courses can I take for a P/NP grading option?

All lower division courses EXCEPT PSYC 60 can be taken P/NP. PSYC 60 MUST be taken for a letter grade. Remember, no more than 25% of your total UC San Diego courses may be taken pass/no pass.

Can I take an upper division P/NP?

No. All upper division courses applied to the major MUST be taken for a letter grade. If there is ANY chance that you would eventually declare Psychology as your major, then you should take all Upper Division Psychology classes for a letter grade. 

The only exception to this rule are classes that cannot be taken for a Letter Grade but will apply to the major: PSYC 195 (may be applied once to our majors by petition), AIP 197 (requires pre-approval and mentorship by a Psychology faculty member; may be applied once to our majors by petition), and PSYC 199 (applies toward Research requirements ONLY).

Do I have to take all the lower division courses listed for natural science? How do I choose what classes to take?

Students can select any 2 (BA majors) or 3 (BS majors) of any courses listed under the Natural Science area on their degree audit or the Majors pages.  Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience majors will need to take COGS 17 and 2 additional courses listed under the Natural Science area on their degree audit.

Natural Science coursework often can overlap with your college General Education requirements; consider checking your GEs for courses that can count for both requirements.

Natural Science courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics that are numbered 10 or greater are intended for non-science majors; these (as well as COGS 17 or PSYC 2) are the recommended courses for most Psychology majors (unless they are pursuing a second major or minor, or a post-graduate program that would require the courses intended for science majors).

Which Formal Skills classes should I take?

Students should look at each Major they're considering to see the required Formal Skills for that major. All Psychology majors (including Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience) will be required to take PSYC 70 starting in Fall 2018. 

BS students who entered UC San Diego prior to Fall 2018 may choose to substitute a third Calculus course or SOCI 60 for their third Formal Skills class; BA students who entered UC San Diego prior to Fall 2018 will be able to choose any two of the listed Formal Skills courses.

Students planning to go into careers which may require more calculus in the future may benefit from taking the MATH 20 series.

Can I apply a "D" grade to my Psychology major?

Yes; the department will accept a D grade toward Psychology B.A. and B.S. degrees. However, both your major GPA and cumulative GPA must be at least 2.0 in order to graduate. The minimum grade in any class counted toward a Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience Bachelor of Science degree is a C-.

Can I take lower division courses at community college?

You can take lower division course at community college. Use Assist for guidance on the specific course to take. Contact the Psychology Department via the Virtual Advising Center if you do not see your course listed.

Will I receive credit for a class I took at community college that has the same title as a core class or upper division Psychology class?

Community college courses will only transfer for lower division credit. While the course content may be similar, community college courses will not replace upper division electives required by the major. This is due to accreditation requirements, and no exceptions can be made.

Can I transfer upper division courses for credit?

Any course taken at another UC, CSU or other 4-year institution offering a bachelor’s degree must be petitioned before it can be used in place of a UCSD Psychology course. The course syllabus must be submitted with the petition form. Please see our Petitioning Courses page for more information and step-by-step instructions.

How do I switch between the MATH 10 and 20 series?

Transfers between the MATH 10 and MATH 20 sequences are possible, but such transfers should be confirmed with a Math advisor and discussed with a Psychology advisor. Students who begin the MATH 10 sequence and who wish to transfer to the MATH 20 sequence may follow one of three paths:

  1. Follow MATH 10A with MATH 20A, with two units of credit given for MATH 20A. This option is not available if you have credit for MATH 10B or MATH 10C.
  2. Follow MATH 10B with MATH 20B, receiving two units of credit for MATH 20B.
  3. Follow MATH 10C with MATH 20B, receiving two units of credit for MATH 20B and two units of credit for MATH 20C.

Credit is not given for courses taken simultaneously from the MATH 10 and the MATH 20 sequence. If you have any questions about these paths, please contact the Student Affairs staff at the Math Advising Office in AP&M 7409 or (858) 534-3590. For Math Placement information, please contact the Math Placement Office.

What is PSYC 99/199?

PSYC 99/199 is an opportunity for student to participate in independent study related to research being carried out by Psychology faculty. Students may assist in running subjects, collecting data, and/or evaluating data under the supervision of a faculty member or graduate student.

Undergraduate research experience is highly regarded by graduate schools and provides students early insight into a future career, or helps change minds while there is still time to do so. A PSYC 99 will only count toward research experience requirements for students earning majors effective Fall 2018. PSYC 99 and199 will only count towards the research experience requirement for the B.S. degree and will never count as a Psychology Elective for either the B.S. or the B.A.

How do I sign up for PSYC 99s/199s?

Current opportunities are advertised through the REAL Portal. Students can also approach relevant faculty directly. Applications (Special Studies 199 forms) are available on  TritonLink (under MyRecords) or on our Forms page. Specific instructions can be found on the research page.

How do I declare a double major with Psychology?

The double major petition form can be picked up from your college, or found on TritonLink or our Forms page. All major requirements must be listed on the double major petition. For example, you should list all three Natural Science and two to four Formal Skills courses (depending on your choice of major), the Programming course and the Statistics course. Upper division courses you have completed or in which you are currently enrolled can be listed on the form. Do not list courses you have not yet taken; instead use the generic terms "PSYC Core", "PSYC Specialization", "PSYC Elective" or "PSYC Research" (or, if you are in the CBN major, "CBN Core", "CBN Specialization", etc.). You must indicate that you are aware of ALL lower and upper division courses required for the major. If you are overlapping any classes between your two majors, you will need to declare the specific overlapping courses on your double major petition form as well. 

Bring your completed form to the Psychology Student Affairs Office in 1533 Mandler Hall. If you have questions contact the Psychology Department via the Virtual Advising Center.

What is the difference between Psychology, Cognitive Science and Human Development at UCSD?

At UCSD Psychology can briefly be described as the study of human/animal mental functions and behavior with a scientific emphasis.

Cognitive Science may be concisely defined as the study of the nature of intelligence with an emphasis in three main areas – brain, behavior and computation.

Human Development focuses on scientific issues of growth, development, and behavioral change across the lifespan.

Minor

What courses count for the minor?

Psychology courses numbered from 1-193 are eligible to count for minor. Students may also count PSYC 195, PSYC 199, and approved AIP 197 in Psychology, up to one time each toward Psychology minor requirements. All other restrictions (below) and procedures (for applying credit for an AIP 197, for example), will apply.

How many courses can I take for P/NP?

Up to 3 courses can be taken for P/NP. Remember, no more than 25% of your total UC San Diego courses may be taken pass/no pass and at least 4 of your Upper Division courses must be taken at UC San Diego for a letter grade.

How do I declare a Psychology minor?

Can I take lower division courses at Community College?

You can petition to take a maximum of two courses from a Community College to count for the minor. Refer to Assist for specific information on transferability.

Can I overlap upper division courses between my major and my Psychology minor? Can I overlap courses between my Psychology minor and another minor?

You may overlap up to two Upper Division courses for use between a major and a minor; these must be approved by both departments.  You will need to request the overlap from each department using the Virtual Advising Center.  You may not overlap courses between two minors.  For more information, please see TritonLink.

Courses and Enrollment

How do I enroll in a course that requires department or instructor approval?

Use the EASy System to request enrollment. Please see our Adding Courses page for more information about course enrollment.

Can I contact the professor for clearance to enroll?

It is always a good idea to check our Adding Courses page first, as we try to keep it updated. Instructors may have already provided the information needed so we can clear you for enrollment sooner than they are able to respond.

I think there may be an error in how my final grade was assigned. Who do I contact?

Contact the instructor immediately. The instructor is the only person who can make the required change. 

I am unable to complete my course during the quarter due to an illness or other sudden, unexpected event. What do I do?

If you have completed most of the class work during a quarter and happen to have an unforseen event or illness, you may be eligible for an Incomplete grade. Incompletes must be made up by the last day of Finals week during the quarter after your Incomplete class. You must be currently earning a passing grade in a class in order to be eligible for an Incomplete grade, and instructors have discretion over whether to offer students Incomplete grades. Please the Incomplete Grades page on TritonLink for more information.

Which Psychology class should I take to prepare myself for the MCAT?

As you are aware, the MCAT requires students to answer questions in the fields of Psychology and/or Sociology. Students are encouraged to take classes to help prepare for this requirement. We suggest that students outside the major take any of our Lower Divison General Psychology classes (PSYC 1-7) in order to prepare themselves to take the MCAT. Students may also be interested in taking PSYC 155: Social Psychology and Medicine. Students considering Psychology as a major may be interested in the Psychology Bachelor of Science with a Specialization in Human Health.

OSD Accommodations

What are the procedures if I am registered with OSD?

What if I am not registered with OSD?

Transfer/Education Abroad

How should I determine what courses I can take abroad?

Psychology students are encouraged to consider studying abroad.  Please see our Study Abroad page for more information. Interested students should contact the Study Abroad in the International Center.

Once you are ready to go abroad, you must pre-approve any Psychology courses intended for use toward your major or minor requirements. After your return, you will need to petition your courses with the Psychology Department. Please see our Course Petitions and Pre-Approval page for detailed instructions.

How many courses can I transfer from another institution?

Students may only receive credit for up to three upper-division Psychology courses from their courses taken elsewhere, including universities both domestic and abroad.

Can I take classes at a Community College or another Four-Year Institution?

It is possible to earn credit in the Psychology major for courses taken at a Community College or another four-year institution. The majority of your Upper Division Psychology coursework should be taken on campus at UC San Diego, but both Lower and Upper Division courses may be transferred for major credit. Courses taken at California Community Colleges may be articulated on Assist, but courses taken elsewhere will need to be petitioned before they can count for course credit. Please see our Petitioning Courses page for detailed information.

What courses should I take in my first quarter for the Psychology major?

New students should see our Advising section for New and Prospective Students for detailed information about what courses to take during their first quarter at UC San Diego.

If you have taken a course you believe is equivalent to one our courses and you cannot find it on ASSIST you may need to file a petition. Contact the Psychology Department via the Virtual Advising Center for help.

Didn't find your question? Contact the Psychology Department via the Virtual Advising Center.