Department of Psychology Major Requirements
The student majoring in Psychology is exposed to the diversity of the discipline through the required core courses and the selection of appropriate electives.
**Major requirements are listed first, followed by detailed more detailed information.
The major includes 10 courses in Psychology: seven lectures/seminars worth three or more credits each, two labs, and one senior requirement; as well as three courses outside of Psychology.
- PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology (lecture; prerequisite for further Psychology courses)
- PSYC BC1101 Statistics, taken with the accompanying BC1102 Statistics Recitation section (preferably before enrollment in any Laboratory courses)
- Three core lecture courses, one from each group below:
PSYC BC1107 Psychology of Learning (BC1106 Psych of Learning Lab)
PSYC BC1115 Cognitive Psychology (BC1114 Cog Lab)
PSYC BC1110 Perception (BC1109 Perception Lab)
PSYC BC1119 Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience (BC1118 Neuroscience Lab)
PSYC BC1125 Personality (BC1124 Personality Lab)
PSYC BC1138 Social Psychology (BC1137 Social Lab)
PSYC BC1129 Developmental Psychology (BC1128 Developmental Lab)
- Two laboratory courses. Either:
- Two laboratory courses, one each from Group A, B, or C.
- Or, PSYC BC1010 Introductory Laboratory to Experimental Psychology plus one laboratory course from Group A, B, or C.
- Senior Requirement, chosen from:
- BC3599/3601-3608 Individual Projects (3 or 4 points);
- BC3591x and 3592y Senior Research Seminar (senior thesis); or
- any 3000-level BC psychology seminar approved by a Psychology Adviser
- Additional Psychology Lectures or Seminars: one, two, or three courses should be taken to bring the total number of Psychology courses to ten.
- One course from a cognate discipline (anthropology, computer science, economics, linguistics, philosophy, and sociology)
- Two courses in an outside science, each with a laboratory section (chosen from astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental science, or physics)
- A letter grade of C- or better must be earned in all PSYC courses applied to the major. The three required courses outside of Psychology can be graded Pass/D/Fail, as long as you receive a Pass.
- You cannot receive credit for two courses that are considered to be equivalent. Refer to our Overlapping Courses list.
- Only two semesters of the following courses may count towards the major: BC3465/66 Toddler Center Seminar, BC3591/92 Senior Research Seminar (senior thesis), BC3599, 3601-3608 Individual Projects.
- Students with AP or IB credit are exempt from BC1001, but they must still complete ten courses in Psychology.
- Double majors and minors in Economics may use ECON BC2411to fulfill the Stats requirement for Psych.
- Group A, B, and C labs must be taken with their accompanying lectures in the same semester.
- PSYC BC3473 Field Work Seminar in Psychological Services and Counseling is the only 3000-level course that does not satisfy the Senior Requirement.
Courses in Psychology
The major includes 10 courses in Psychology: 7 lectures/seminars worth three or more credits each, 2 labs, and 1 senior requirement. At least 6 of these courses (worth three or more credits each) must be taken in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College. Note that BC1099 Science and Scientists and our laboratory sections are worth fewer than three credits.
Credit for Introductory Psychology Courses
The program in Psychology at Barnard emphasizes research, and PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology is designed to prepare the student for this orientation in middle and upper level courses. Approval for an introductory course taken at another school can be granted by the Department Representative when appropriate. A student who receives a score of a 4 or a 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in Psychology or a score of a 5 or a 6 on the International Baccalaureate exam in Psychology receives college credit and is not required to take PSYC BC1001. She must, however, take on additional psychology course in order to make up the total of ten courses for the major.
This course is required for the major. The techniques of statistics are applied in laboratory courses, and are among the fundamentals of graduate training in all areas of psychology. Statistics is comprised of a lecture PSYC BC1101 and a recitation section PSYC BC1102, together counting as a single course, and is offered every semester. Enrollment is determined through a lottery held once every semester, for courses held the following semester. Majors are encouraged to take this course by the end of the sophomore year. Economics minors and double-majors can satisfy the requirement with ECON BC2411. Those who take BC2411 cannot also receive credit for PSYC BC1101. They will also need an extra psychology course to achieve the ten total psychology courses required for the major (or the six courses required for the minor). Students should consult with the Department Representative before enrolling in any other statistics course, as it may not be accepted towards the major or minor.
Psychology majors are required to take two laboratory courses in Psychology (with corresponding lectures; and from different groups), and two semesters of laboratory in other sciences. Students are strongly advised to take only one laboratory course per semester. Note: together with BC1001 Introductory to Psychology lecture (3 credits), BC1010 Introductory Laboratory to Experimental Psychology (1.5 credits) fulfills one half of the two-semester laboratory science requirement for both the general education and major requirements. The other half of the requirement is fulfilled by taking any lab course (and its corresponding lecture) from Groups A, B, or C.
Enrollment in psychology laboratory courses is determined through a lottery held once every semester, for courses held the following semester.
Students should check their calendar of commitments and review the lab attendance policy before signing up for a lab. Each laboratory follows the same policy about attendance:
- You must attend every Laboratory meeting, and you must be present for the duration of the meeting.
- You may not arrive late.
- You may not depart before you complete the day's procedure.
- If you miss more than a single Laboratory session you will be dismissed from the Laboratory and you will not be permitted to remain enrolled.
Included among the courses required for the major is a Senior Requirement taken in the senior year. Students must fulfill the Senior Requirement by completing one of the following options:
- BC3599/3601-3608 Individual Projects (3 or 4 points);
- BC3591x and 3592y Senior Research Seminar (senior thesis); or
- any 3000-level BC psychology seminar preapproved by a Psychology Adviser
Alternatively, majors may elect to fulfill the Senior Requirement with a Columbia Psychology Department Seminar or Supervised Individual Research. Those who elect this option may complete the major with five (rather than six) courses taken in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College. When in doubt, the student should consult with her major adviser. Students that choose to do a thesis enroll in BC3591x and 3592y Senior Research Seminar (two courses, one each semester, hence a year-long commitment). For all other 3000-level courses, you must notify the professor at the beginning of the semester that the course will be used as your senior requirement. Please note that BC 3473 Field Work Seminar in Psychological Services and Counseling cannot be used to fulfill this requirement.
Additional Psychology Courses
Additional lecture or seminar courses (chosen from any course offered by the Department that is three credits or more) should be taken to bring the total number of Psychology courses to ten, including the Senior Requirement. For example, either two courses and a 3000-level seminar (as the Senior Requirement), or one course and a Senior Requirement that is two semesters long. A maximum of two of the following may count toward the major (though more could count toward College requirements):
o Psychology BC3465 Field Work and Research Seminar: The Barnard Toddler Center
o Psychology BC3466 Field Work and Research Seminar: The Barnard Toddler Center
o Psychology BC3591 Senior Research Seminar (senior thesis)
o Psychology BC3592 Senior Research Seminar (senior thesis)
o Psychology BC3599/3601-3608 Individual Projects
To complete an Individual Project students obtain permission during the program filing period from the Departmental Representative, and submit the Individual Project form to the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar will give you a call number to add to your program. The course will appear on your transcript as course number BC3601-3608, depending on the semester. If you file for a second Individual Project in the same semester, the second one will appear as course BC3599.
Courses Outside Psychology
The three required courses in related disciplines should include: one course from the cognate disciplines (anthropology, computer science, economics, linguistics, philosophy, or sociology); and two courses in a science (astronomy, biology, chemistry, environmental science, or physics), both semesters accompanied by a 3-hour laboratory section. A student may use AP credit towards the outside science requirement if the corresponding department (i.e. Biology) and the College also accept it as fulfilling the college science requirement.
All Psychology courses which are required for the major must be taken for a letter grade. To satisfy departmental requirements, the grade must be C- or better. The three required courses outside of Psychology can be graded Pass/D/Fail, as long as students receive a Pass.
Most middle and upper level courses have prerequisites that are listed in the Barnard College Course Catalogue. Students who have not fulfilled the prerequisites for a particular course should ask the course instructor for permission to enroll. The instructor retains discretion for this enrollment.
Final enrollment in all courses is determined the first day or week of classes, depending on the particular course. Please note that (preliminary) enrollment in all psychology lab and statistics courses is determined through a lottery held once every semester, the semester before the course is to be taken. To secure a seat you have won in the lottery you must attend the first meeting of the class: for Group A, B, and C labs, attend the first meeting of the accompanying lecture; and for BC1010 lab, attend the first lab meeting.
A student’s major adviser must approve all tentative and final programs.
Transfer Credit Approval
There are two steps in obtaining approval for courses taken at another institution. First, you must receive Barnard College credit for the course from the Registrar. Second, you must obtain approval from the Departmental Representative to count the course toward your major requirements. To complete this second step, download a Transfer Credit Approval Form from the Department of Psychology website, fill it out, and submit it to the Departmental Representative. (Approval from the Registrar will ensure College credit, but will not ensure that the course can count toward the major.) Students already enrolled at Barnard who plan to fulfill major requirements with a course from another institution are strongly encouraged to seek approval from the Department Representative prior to filing their program. This applies to summer courses (even at Columbia), courses taken abroad, and courses taken at institutions other than Barnard or Columbia during the fall and spring semesters.
Keep in mind the requirement that a minimum of six courses of three credits or more each must be taken in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College. Students who transfer core psychology courses from another institution are still required to complete ten psychology courses at Barnard. This means that a student may in fact need to take more than the usual ten psychology courses in total to fulfill all of the majors requirements.