Frequently Asked Questions about the Psychology Department
Information for both Majors and Non-Majors
The Department of Psychology offers the following lecture and laboratory courses:
- PSYC BC1010 Introductory Laboratory in Experimental Psychology
- PSYC BC2107 Psychology of Learning (BC2106 Psychology of Learning Lab)
- PSYC BC2115 Cognitive Psychology (BC2114 Cognitive Psychology Lab)
- PSYC BC2110 Perception (BC2109 Perception Lab)
- PSYC BC2119 Systems and Behavioral Neuroscience [no longer offered]
- PSYC BC2125 Psychology of Personality (BC2124 Psychology of Personality Lab)
- PSYC BC2129 Developmental Psychology (BC2128 Developmental Psychology Lab)
- PSYC BC2138 Social Psychology (BC2137 Social Psychology Lab)
- PSYC BC2156 Clinical Psychology (BC2155 Clinical Psychology Lab)
Students have several options to fulfill the College Science Requirement if using PSYC courses. Examples are:
- PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology lecture + one Group 1 or 2 PSYC lecture + the associated Group 1 or 2 PSYC lab course
- PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology lecture + PSYC BC1010 Intro Laboratory in Experimental Psychology + one Group 1 or 2 PSYC lecture
- PSYC BC1001 Introduction to Psychology lecture + PSYC BC1020 Behavioral Research Methods and Analysis + PSYC BC1010 Intro Laboratory in Experimental Psychology
- One Group 1 or 2 PSYC lecture + the associated Group 1 or 2 PSYC lab + another Group 1 or 2 PSYC lecture
Group 1 and Group 2 PSYC labs must be taken with their associated lectures at the same time in the same semester unless otherwise stated by the instructor or the Department.
PSYC BC1010 is not a requirement, but if taken, it must be completed prior to Group 1 and 2 labs; and a student must have completed, or be concurrently enrolled in PSYC BC1001, or its accepted equivalent.
For students who entered Barnard in Fall 2021 and after, PSYC BC1001, PSYC BC1020, and PSYC BC1101 are prerequisites for all psychology 2000-level lab courses.
You can take a course to satisfy a GED requirement (in this case, a Psychology lecture or laboratory) for a P/D/F grade, assuming you receive a "pass." This is a College rule, and not a Departmental one.
Please also refer to the College Catalogue for information on Requirements for a Liberal Arts Degree.
The Psychology Club, now Psyched: The Barnard Psychological Society, is open to all students interested in psychology (not just majors and minors). In the past they've hosted such events as a graduate school panel, a meet and great with members of the faculty, and a movie night. For information about the next event or to sign-up, please visit the Society's page. You can join the mailing list here.
Although lecture and laboratories are listed as individual courses with their own call numbers and credits, the courses are linked, conceptually and formally. This means that the only way to get credit for lab is to receive a passing grade in the corresponding lecture course. Practically, this means that you must enroll in corresponding lecture and lab courses concurrently (in the same semester). The only exception to this rule is BC1010 Introductory Laboratory to Experimental Psychology since there is no "attached" lecture to this lab course. However, BC1001 Intro lecture must be completed before or in the same semester as BC1010 lab.
In order to enroll in a lab or statistics course in the Department of Psychology at Barnard College, students must have taken BC1001 Introduction to Psychology, or its approved equivalent. For BC1010, students may concurrently be enrolled in BC1001.
As of Fall 2021, in addition to PSYC BC1001, PSYC BC1101 Stats and PSYC BC1020 Research Methods are prerequisites for all PSYC BC 2000-level lab courses.
Yes. Getting involved in psychology outside of the classroom gives students the opportunity for hands-on experience in a lab, and/or with data collection, and ultimately helps a student to learn what type of work they like and don't like. This is also an opportunity for a student to explore a unique question or go further in depth into an idea from a course. Lastly, working with a mentor in a research/lab setting gives students a resource for stronger letters of recommendation if applying to graduate school.
To begin, you should contact your advisor, the department chair, the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising or the psychology faculty member with whom you know you want to work as soon as you have an idea for a project or to discuss research options. If you do not have a mentor in mind, take a look at our Faculty Specialization page. If you decide to work with someone outside of Barnard or Columbia, you will need a Barnard faculty member as an on-campus supervisor/liaison. Once you have identified a Barnard faculty member, you can enroll in PSYC BC3606.
While the research might differ slightly across laboratories and with different mentors, each student will be expected to read a set of original scientific readings of articles relevant to the research field; participate in weekly meetings with the supervisor; as well complete additional hours of research, and data analysis; and complete a culminating final project or paper.
Yes, with permission ahead of time from the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising or Chair. Note that only two semesters of Independent Study can be applied to the major requirements, but more can go towards total graduation credits.
Surprise, no! As of FA20, most forms should be completed and submitted through Slate. If you have a paper form or have questions, please contact the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising. He can help you with transfer credit approvals, major declarations, changes of advisor, and pre-approval of summer classes.
For any student entering Barnard in Fall 2016 and thereafter: A score of 4 or 5 on the Psychology Advanced Placement (AP) exam or a score of 5 or 6 on the International Baccalaureate (IB) exam does allow you to be exempt from BC1001 Introduction to Psychology, however another PSYC course must be taken in its place. This includes students who elect a Major or Minor in Psychology, as well as non-major students who choose to fulfill the College's General Education Requirements with Psychology. If you choose to take BC1001, the College will also count your acceptable AP and IB scores as 3 credits toward your degree. Further information may be found on the Registrar's website.
For students who entered Barnard College before fall 2016, the major distinction is that the College will not give a student credit for AP/IB as well as credit for BC1001. That is, if you enter Barnard with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP/IB and choose to take BC1001, you would not also get three points toward graduation.
All majors are encouraged to enroll in PSYC BC1101, and to do so early on in their academic careers. However, a course in statistics from a department other than Psychology, and/or an institution other than Barnard may be used to satisfy the requirement if this course is approved by the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising. Note: a student who takes Columbia's PSYC W1610 Statistics for the Behavioral Scientists may not also receive credit for PSYC BC1101 (they are considered "overlapping courses"). See our Overlapping Course list for more information.
Note that there are two steps here - the first is getting college credit for a course (getting it listed on your transcript).; and the second is getting it to count toward your major.
The first part falls under the domain of the Registrar's office. If psychology courses, they will need to be approved by the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising. For a course to be approvable, it must be offered at an institution that grants a Bachelor's degree, and the course needs to be creditable towards that degree. Be careful - many community colleges, junior colleges, and night school classes won't be acceptable.
As for the second part, courses from other institutions can also count towards the major. This process falls under the domain of the Psychology Department, and the form can be accessed through Slate. Note that while some courses are readily approvable (most Introductory Psychology courses and intermediate-level electives are), others are not. For example, it is extremely difficult to find an outside course that fulfills our laboratory requirement, and courses fulfilling the Group s 1 and 2 distributions must closely match the equivalent Barnard course in content. Be prepared to provide a course description and syllabus for any courses you want to apply toward the major.
We strongly advise that you have courses at other institutions approved before you take them - especially summer courses and courses for a semester abroad. You don't want to discover after the fact that you cannot get expected credit for a course or that it won't apply toward your major requirements.
Please contact Beyond Barnard or Prof. Kathleen Taylor who is the Department's clinical advisor. If a student would like to work with someone in the Department, she should contact that faculty member directly. Some information about available job and internship opportunities is available on the bulletin board outside the Department. Some students also find the Psychological Services and Counseling Placement List helpful.
The Overall GPA (which does not appear on the Barnard transcript) includes letter grades from all courses, including, transfer, summer school, study abroad courses.
The Barnard GPA (which does appear on the transcript) includes only letter grades of those courses the student took during the fall and spring semesters while enrolled at Barnard, be it at Barnard or Columbia. Note that for AY20-21, the summer semester will be included.
The Major GPA includes passing letter grades (C- and above) from all of the required PSYC courses. If a student has completed more than the required courses and wishes for these grades to be included in her Major GPA, they must contact the Department Administrator. The non-PSYC courses required for the major are not included (note, these can be taken as "pass-fail" assuming the student receives a "pass").
The College considers a letter grade of "D" an unsatisfactory grade, but a passing one in courses being used for college credit. However, for courses being used to fulfill major or minor requirements, a student must earn at least a C-.
From the Barnard Registrar:
Courses graded D that are retaken for a higher grade will not receive degree credit when repeated, but can be used to satisfy a major or minor requirement. Both enrollments and grades appear on the transcript, but the grade received the second time does not count in the GPA.
Students who retake failed courses will see the course twice on their transcript and both grades will factor into the gpa.
Information for Psychology Majors and Minors
Students typically declare their major at the end of their sophomore year, before program filing. Keep your eyes open for the program planning meeting where you can learn about the major and meet the faculty. You can also declare your major earlier, or change your major at other times. If you are a junior planning to change to a psychology major from another department, you should meet with the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising (or your future advisor) to discuss your program and see if it is possible to finish the requirements in time to graduate.
Submit the major declaration form through Slate. You will be assigned a major advisor based on faculty availability. Note that you are not required to meet with anyone in the Department prior to submitting this form. Also, please be patient as it can take several days to complete the process of assigning a major advisor.
You can change your advisor at any time. Please contact the Department Vice Chair for Student Advising to discuss options.
You should declare your minor after you have finished all of the requirements, or partway through the second semester of your senior year if you are finishing up the minor then. Check out the requirements for the minor.
Once you've fulfilled all the requirements, the Minor Declaration Form can be found on Slate.
Note: if you have taken a course Pass/D/Fail which you would like to use for the Psych Minor, once the minor declaration form has been signed and submitted to the Registrar's office, the Registrar will uncover the letter grade that the professor of the course assigned to you (faculty do not know necessarily that you are taking a course pass/fail). Assuming you received a C- or better, this course can be applied to the minor requirements.
Some titles and abstracts of past presentations, as well as copies of past senior theses and senior requirement papers are available by contacting the Department Administrator.
There are different ways in which the Department and Barnard can recognize distinguished performance and participation as a psychology major.
The following awards, administered according to the provisions of their respective donors, were established to honor students who have shown exceptional distinction in their studies. Students do not apply for these awards; rather, recipients are selected and nominated by Faculty, and confirmed by the Committee on Honors.
- The Alpha Zeta Club Graduate Scholarship: For graduating seniors who show promise of distinction or to outstanding recent Barnard graduates who are candidates for higher degrees.
- The George Wellwood Murray Graduate Fellowship: For graduating seniors who show promise of distinction in the humanities and/or the social sciences and who will pursue graduate study at a university or college of approved standing.
- The Grace Potter Rice Fellowship: For graduating seniors who show promise of distinction in the natural sciences or mathematics and who will pursue graduate study at a university or college of approved standing.
These awards are bestowed upon psychology students at the department level. Faculty nominate individual students, and allow for multiple recipients for each award.
- The Hollingworth Prize for an outstanding research project in psychology
- The Millennial Psychology Prize for a student who plans to continue her scientific or professional training in psychology, or a related discipline
- The Ida Markewich Lawrence Prize for the best paper in psychology, preferably child psychology, by a major
- The Faculty Recognition Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Psychology
- The Faculty Recognition Prize for Continued Dedication to Psychology
- The Intellectual Frontiers Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Psychology
- The Spirit of Inquiry Prize for Distinguished Accomplishment in Psychology
- The Young Scholar Prize for an Outstanding Research Project in Psychology
Barnard Psychology Department
415 Milbank Hall
New York, NY 10027
Department Chair: Prof. Koleen McCrink
Department Vice Chair for Student Advising: Prof. Michael Wheaton
Department Administrator: Danielle Feinberg
Click here for contact information for other faculty and staff.