Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

College of Professional & Global Education 

Dean: Dr. Alex Hwu 

SF State Downtown Campus

160 Spear Street, 5th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology offers a foundation in the analysis and critical evaluation of psychological literature; the communication of psychological concepts and facts both orally and in writing; and the development of psychological research including design, data analysis, measurement, and ability to use computer for statistical analysis. Our B.A. degree provides an excellent foundation for work in the community in many fields that involve human relations and behavior. In addition, the undergraduate degree is excellent preparation for graduate school in all fields of psychology, other behavioral and social sciences as well as for graduate programs in business, law, medicine, and many other professional fields.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Knowledge Base in Psychology. Describe key concepts, principles, and overarching themes in psychology. Develop a working knowledge of psychology's content domains. Describe applications of psychology.
  2. Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking. Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena. Demonstrate psychology information literacy. Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem-solving. Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research. Incorporate sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry.
  3. Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World. Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science practice. Build and enhance interpersonal relationships. Adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels.
  4. Communication. Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes. Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes. Interact effectively with others.
  5. Professional Development. Apply psychological content and skills to career goals. Exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation. Refine project management skills. Enhance teamwork capacity. Develop meaningful professional direction for life after.

Admissions requirements:

To be eligible for admission, students must have
  1. Be a resident of California or another authorized state. See State Authorization.
  2. Have completed a minimum of 60 transferable semester (90 quarter) units.
  3. Have a grade point average of 2.0 (C) or better in all transferable units attempted.
  4. Be in good standing at the last college or university attended.
  5. Have completed all lower-division General Education requirements (39 semester units or 58.5 quarter units) with a grade of C- or better including the below four courses commonly called "Golden Four":
    1. Oral Communication
    2. Written Communication
    3. Critical Thinking
    4. Quantitative Reasoning

Psychology (B.A.) — 41-47 Units

The major includes 14 units of core curriculum, 18 units of basic courses, and 9 units of electives. Because of high demand, enrollment priority is given to Psychology majors in all upper-division Psychology courses. Courses numbered 300 and above are not open to freshmen.

Core Curriculum (14 Units)

Core courses should be taken in the order listed below.

PSY 200General Psychology3
PSY 303Psychology: The Major and the Profession (online)1
PSY 371Psychological Statistics3
PSY 400Introduction to Research in Psychology3
PSY 305GWWriting in Psychology - GWAR3
PSY 690Future Directions for Psychology Majors (online)1

Basic Courses (18-21 Units)

Choose two courses from each of the following Areas 1 through 3:

  • Area 1: Basic Psychological Processes (6)
  • Area 2: Psychological Development and Individual Differences (6-7)
  • Area 3: Social, Cultural, Organizational, and Community Contexts (6-8)

Electives (9-12 Units)

Choose 3 elective courses from courses in Areas 1–3 not used to satisfy the Basic Course requirement and/or from additional upper-division psychology courses.

Areas of Study

Area 1: Basic Psychological Processes
PSY 432Cognitive Development: Language, Thinking, and Perception3
PSY 490Introduction to Data Science for Psychology3
PSY 491Learning3
PSY 492Perception3
PSY 493Motivation3
PSY 494Cognitive Psychology3
PSY 495The Psychology of Human Memory3
PSY 498Cognitive Neuroscience: Psychological Models3
PSY 531Psycholinguistics3
PSY 581Physiological Psychology I3
PSY 582Physiological Psychology II3
Area 2: Psychological Development and Individual Differences
PSY 430Adolescent Psychology3
PSY 431Developmental Psychology 13
PSY 433Social, Emotional, and Personality Development3
PSY 4343
PSY 435Developmental Psychopathology3
PSY/SXS 436The Development of Femaleness and Maleness4
PSY 442Health Psychology3
PSY 451Theories of Personality3
PSY 452Clinical Psychopathology3
PSY 521Introduction to Clinical Psychology3
Area 3: Social, Cultural, Organizational, and Community Contexts
PSY 440Social Psychology3
PSY 441The Psychology of the Family3
PSY 455Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Psychology3
PSY/SXS 456Psychology of Human Sexual Behavior3
PSY 461Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology3
PSY 462Personnel Psychology3
PSY 463Human Factors3
PSY 464Psychology of Career Pursuit3
PSY 465The Psychology of Work-Life Stress3
PSY 466Training and Development in Organizations3
PSY 472Introduction to Legal Psychology3
PSY 474Psychology of Social Justice3
PSY 475Psychology of Policing3
PSY 525Community Psychology3
PSY 540Decision Making: A Perspective from Social Psychology3
PSY 547Social Conflict and Conflict Resolution3
PSY 558
PSY 559
Field Services Seminar
and Psychological Field Service
PSY 645Group Processes3
Additional Courses That May be Used for Electives
PSY 300Current Issues in Psychology3
PSY/SXS 320Sex and Relationships3
PSY 330Child Development 13
PSY 443The Science of Happiness3
PSY 450/SXS 400/SOC 400Variations in Human Sexuality3
PSY 571Intermediate Psychological Statistics3
PSY 6013
PSY 668The Psychology of Leadership3
PSY 680Peer Advising in Psychology3
PSY 685Projects in the Teaching of Psychology3
PSY 693Proseminar I3
PSY 694Proseminar II3
PSY 697Senior Project Preparation3
PSY 698Senior Project in Psychology3
PSY 699Independent Study in Psychology1-4

Students may not use PSY 330 as an elective if they have taken PSY 431.

Complementary Studies

Bachelor of Arts students must complete at least 12 units of Complementary Studies from courses with a prefix other than PSY, and not cross-listed with PSY. (Note: Students may not use an alternate prefix that is cross-listed with the primary prefix for the major.)
Students who complete two majors or a major and a minor automatically complete the Complementary Studies requirement. Additional ways to complete Complementary Studies for students in the Psychology major include 12 units of languages other than English, 12 units from an approved Study Abroad program, 12 units from partial completion of a certificate, or 12 units from any combination of courses in ANTH, BIO, CAD, CJ, CSC, COUN, EDUC, ETHS, PHIL, and SOC, or a coherent group of courses approved by a major advisor as complementary to the major. All of the units must be separate from units counted in the major. Courses that fulfill the complementary studies requirement may be lower or upper-division units, resident or transfer units, or units taken in approved study abroad programs. Consult with your major advisor for assistance.

Students who have earned AA-T or AA-S degrees may use courses from community colleges to fulfill the Complementary Studies requirement provided the course has a prefix other than Psychology. Students should consult with a major advisor about how transfer units and/or SF State units can best be applied to this requirement in order to ensure degree completion within 60 units. 

2 Year Student Roadmap

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