Department of Psychology

BA in Psychology

The Department of Psychology offers a four-year degree as well as courses for students majoring in allied fields or who would like an orientation to the field of psychology as part of their general education. Courses are designed to create awareness of fundamental principles of psychology, psychological research, and the means by which psychological knowledge is acquired. The emphasis is upon scientific inquiry into basic phenomena and principles of behavior, not upon development of clinical skills.

Minimum number of credits (exclusive of the University's Core Curriculum) required for the major: 43

Students must achieve a 2.0 grade point average and grades of C- or better in all courses that count toward fulfillment of the major requirements.

Students who plan to major in Psychology should successfully complete PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology no later than the end of the sophomore year. Psychology majors also should complete PSY 205 Experimental Methodology and PSY 206 Methodology Lab no later than the end of the junior year.

In addition to meeting Departmental requirements for a major leading to a baccalaureate degree, students also must complete the University's Core Curriculum requirements.

Required Courses:
PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology
PSY 201 Statistics in Psychology
PSY 205 Experimental Methodology
PSY 206 Methodology Lab
PSY 220 Psychology of the Lifespan
PSY 230 Social Psychology
PSY 233 Abnormal Psychology
PSY 338 Theories of Personality
PSY 350 Psychology of Learning
PSY 360 Cognitive Processes
PSY 361 Sensation and Perception
PSY 365 Physiological Psychology
PSY 371 History and Systems of Psychology

Students must take at least two 300-400 level Psychology elective courses to complete the 43-hour minimum for the major. PSY 375 Psychology in the Public Interest satisfies the capstone requirement and also serves as an elective course. In addition, BIO 321 Neurobiology and BIO 405 Animal Behavior can be applied as psychology electives.

Successful completion of PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology is the prerequisite for all other psychology (PSY) courses except PSY 201 Statistics in Psychology.

Additional prerequisites for PSY 205, PSY 206, PSY 323, PSY 325, PSY 326, PSY 363, and PSY 371 are listed in the course descriptions.

Independent Study

With permission of a faculty sponsor, junior and senior psychology majors may elect to participate in PSY 400 Independent Study. No more than 12 credits may be earned at the 400 level, including the directed study options listed below.

Directed Study

With permission of a faculty sponsor, students may elect to participate in directed study in one or more of the following courses: PSY 401 Research Apprenticeship, PSY 405 Teaching Apprenticeship, and PSY 410 Internship/Field Experience.

The Department recommends that students who wish to take a more extensive program or who plan to enter graduate school elect, in consultation with their major advisor, other courses in psychology and also include study in related fields, such as mathematics, biology, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, computer science, health sciences, and social work.

Psychology majors who plan to attend graduate school should keep in mind that Graduate Record Examinations must be taken no later than December of the senior year. Students should plan to complete as many psychology courses as possible by the end of the fall semester of the senior year.

Department Policy on Repeated Courses

When a student repeats a course and earns a grade of  A, B, C, D, F, H, P, or LP, the initial grade appears on the transcript but only the later grade is used in computing the grade point average or for credit. No required course in which a student earns an unsatisfactory grade (below C-) can be repeated more than one time. Students earning an unsatisfactory grade in the repeated course will be dropped from the major. Students will have the option of appealing this decision; each student’s appeal will be reviewed by the department chair, who will then notify the department on this matter. Guidelines for readmission to the major will be provided to students who are dropped. Courses intended to repeat University of Southern Maine courses may be taken at other institutions; such courses will be accepted in accordance with the University's transfer policy. The transfer course accepted as a USM equivalent will receive USM credit but will not be calculated in the original GPA; the original USM course that was repeated will remain on the student's transcript but will be removed from both the credit and GPA calculations.

For the best overall Financial Aid package, submit your USM application and complete your FAFSA by January 15. However, you can apply at any time. Undergraduate applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. 

Learn More about the Undergraduate Application Requirements & Process

What jobs are available for Psychology graduates?

A recent analysis of where psychology graduates get jobs and start careers has identified over 225 different career paths that do not require further graduate studies.  Another 55 are common career directions that do require further studies after you graduate with your BA in psychology.

Visit the website below for a comprehensive description of the career opportunities for Psychology graduates and an extensive list of links to key career areas:

http://www.teachpsych.org/Resources/Documents/otrp/resources/appleby15students.docx