Majors & Minors and Course Planning
Degree programs and course selections should closely relate to a student's long-term plans for his or her degree. Some students intend to pursue graduate study in psychology or related fields, while others plan to enter the workforce upon completion of their Bachelor's degree.
Advising helps students decide which degree program and courses would be most appropriate for the student's academic and career goals. Advisors also help students with course planning to ensure that all prerequisite and required courses are met for the student's major, minor, and general education requirements. See the Advising Information page for more information about working with an academic advisor to chart a course.
Preparation for graduate study can be accomplished through either the traditional B.A./B.S. Psychology major or via one of our Graduate Preparation Emphases (see below). In either case, those bound for graduate programs should plan to begin exploring research and/or fieldwork courses in their junior year.
Required Courses in the psychology major
No matter what degree program students choose, all psychology majors complete Introductory Psychology (Psych 211). Ideally, this course and any mathematics prerequisites for the basic statistics course should be completed in the freshman year.
All psychology majors are also required to take Basic Statistical Methods (Psych 215) and Research Methods (Psych 216), ideally in the sophomore year. These three courses are one of the requirements for admission to the optional Graduate Preparation Emphases in the major.
All majors will also choose courses from the main content areas of psychology (e.g. abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, learning, development, physiological bases of behavior, social bases of behavior).
To see how the psychology courses rotate from semester to semester, please see a pdf to the course rotation schedule. To read more about the psychology courses UW-Whitewater offers, please see Course Descriptions. For a schedule of current course offerings, please see the course catalog.
Major and Minor Options
In deciding how to pursue a psychology major or minor, students have several options. The following planning guides review the requirements for each option:
- Psychology Major, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
- Psychology Major, Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
- B.A. or B.S. with the Scientist-Practitioner Graduate School Preparation emphasis
- B.A. or B.S. with the Psychological Sciences Graduate School Preparation emphasis
Note: Students who major in Psychology with a Graduate School Prep emphasis are not required to fulfill a minor. Students cannot declare an emphasis without completing the appropriate prerequisite courses. Please contact your advisor for more information.
Psychology for Education Majors
- Psychology Major, Bachelor of Education (B.S.E.)
- B.S.E. Social Studies Broadfield with the Psychology emphasis
B.S. or B.A.?
The difference between the B.S. degree and the B.A. degree lies in the relative emphasis on either laboratory sciences and mathematics OR humanities and social sciences within the college and university (not major) requirements.
Points to consider in deciding whether a BA or BS degree is right for the individual student include whether the student's strengths lie in math and science or writing, composition and foreign languages. Contact your psychology academic advisor to discuss which degree would be best for you.
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (B.S.) Degree Requirements
- Select a 4-5 credit laboratory science course. This course must be from a different discipline than the lab science course used for the University Requirements (2 lab courses in total).
- Select 5 units of Math beyond 141 or 3 units of Computer Science and 3 units of Math beyond 141. (1-2 courses)
BACHELOR OF ARTS (B.A.) Degree Requirements
- COMPLETE 6 CREDITS OF 300/400 LEVEL COURSE WORK
- Select from Arts, Communications, Humanities, Social Science, Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies.
- YOU MAY NOT USE COURSES FROM THE MAJOR OR MINOR ACADEMIC AREA (e.g. If you are a Psychology major, you may not use any Psychology course to complete this requirement.)
- COMPLETE 1 YEAR OF A SINGLE FOREIGN LANGUAGE
- (Or complete a foreign language at the 142 level or above)
- 2 high school years of the same foreign language can be used to waive this requirement.
Which students should choose a Graduate School Preparation Emphasis?
The graduate school preparation emphases streamline a student's ability to design a curriculum that is geared toward their graduate school goals in consultation with a faculty advisor. Students who should consider a graduate school preparation emphasis include:
- Students interested in working as psychotherapists or counselors
- Students planning to teach psychology at the college level
- Students who want to conduct psychological research
- Students interested in becoming school psychologists or guidance counselors
- Students who want to be professors
Bachelor of Education Majors
The Psychology Department offers two majors for students who are interested in careers in education. These majors include: Bachelor of Education in Psychology and Bachelor of Education in Social Studies Broadfield with an emphasis in Psychology. Both of these majors can be completed through either the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Professional Studies or through the Department of Psychology in the College of Letters and Sciences. For more information on these majors, please visit the Department of Curriculum and Instruction Social Studies Licensure Program website.
The psychology department offers three minor programs for students across the campus. Click on the links below for a list of the requirements for each minor program.
- Psychology Minor
- Psychology Minor for Secondary Education Majors
- Psychology Minor for Business Majors
UW-W psychology student featured in video
Anthony Chan is an international student from Hong Kong majoring in music and psychology. He describes his experiences at UW-Whitewater in a video, which can be found here.