Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Psychology is the study of all aspects of the human experience, such as functions of the brain, experiences within social situations, management of workers, and youth or elderly care. Psychologists work in all industries related to the human experience, such as careers in research, counseling, business, and education. Students within the Psychology Major will evaluate and apply psychological research and the scientific method in an effort to understand and improve the human experience.
Psychology Major Program Impaction
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, the student will be able to:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes. Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes. Interact effectively with others.
- 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.
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.
- Psychology majors must take PSY 200, PSY 305GW, PSY 371, and PSY 400 for a letter grade and achieve a grade of C or better in all four courses.
- Majors must achieve a grade of CR in PSY 303 and PSY 690.
- PSY 171 (or any quantitative reasoning course) is a prerequisite for PSY 371 .
Core Curriculum (14 Units)
Core courses should be taken in the order listed below.
|PSY 200||General Psychology||3|
|PSY 303||Psychology: The Major and the Profession (online)||1|
|PSY 371||Psychological Statistics||3|
|PSY 400||Introduction to Research in Psychology||3|
|PSY 305GW||Writing in Psychology - GWAR||3|
|PSY 690||Future 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 432||Cognitive Development: Language, Thinking, and Perception||3|
|PSY 490||Introduction to Data Science for Psychology||3|
|PSY 494||Cognitive Psychology||3|
|PSY 495||The Psychology of Human Memory||3|
|PSY 498||Cognitive Neuroscience: Psychological Models||3|
|PSY 581||Physiological Psychology I||3|
|PSY 582||Physiological Psychology II||3|
|Area 2: Psychological Development and Individual Differences|
|PSY 430||Adolescent Psychology||3|
|PSY 431||Developmental Psychology 1||3|
|PSY 433||Social, Emotional, and Personality Development||3|
|PSY 434||The Psychology of Aging||3|
|PSY 435||Developmental Psychopathology||3|
|PSY/SXS 436||The Development of Femaleness and Maleness||4|
|PSY 442||Health Psychology||3|
|PSY 451||Theories of Personality||3|
|PSY 452||Clinical Psychopathology||3|
|PSY 521||Introduction to Clinical Psychology||3|
|Area 3: Social, Cultural, Organizational, and Community Contexts|
|PSY 440||Social Psychology||3|
|PSY 441||The Psychology of the Family||3|
|PSY 455||Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Psychology||3|
|PSY/SXS 456||Psychology of Human Sexual Behavior||3|
|PSY 461||Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology||3|
|PSY 462||Personnel Psychology||3|
|PSY 463||Human Factors||3|
|PSY 464||Psychology of Career Pursuit||3|
|PSY 465||The Psychology of Work-Life Stress||3|
|PSY 466||Training and Development in Organizations||3|
|PSY 472||Introduction to Legal Psychology||3|
|PSY 474||Psychology of Social Justice||3|
|PSY 475||Psychology of Policing||3|
|PSY 525||Community Psychology||3|
|PSY 540||Decision Making: A Perspective from Social Psychology||3|
|PSY 547||Social Conflict and Conflict Resolution||3|
& PSY 559
|Field Services Seminar|
and Psychological Field Service
|PSY 645||Group Processes||3|
|Additional Courses That May be Used for Electives|
|PSY 300||Current Issues in Psychology||3|
|PSY/SXS 320||Sex and Relationships||3|
|PSY 330||Child Development 1||3|
|PSY 443||The Science of Happiness||3|
|PSY 450/SXS 400/SOC 400||Variations in Human Sexuality||3|
|PSY 571||Intermediate Psychological Statistics||3|
|PSY 601||Theoretical Backgrounds in Psychology||3|
|PSY 668||The Psychology of Leadership||3|
|PSY 680||Peer Advising in Psychology||3|
|PSY 685||Projects in the Teaching of Psychology||3|
|PSY 693||Proseminar I||3|
|PSY 694||Proseminar II||3|
|PSY 697||Senior Project Preparation||3|
|PSY 698||Senior Project in Psychology||3|
|PSY 699||Independent Study in Psychology||1-4|
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.
General Education Requirements
|Requirement||Course Level||Units||Area Designation|
|Written English Communication||LD||3||A2|
|Arts or Humanities||LD||3||C1 or C2|
|Social Sciences: US History||LD||3||D2|
|Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD)||LD||3||E|
|Physical and/or Life Science||UD||3||UD-B|
|Arts and/or Humanities||UD||3||UD-C|
|SF State Studies|
|Courses certified as meeting the SF State Studies requirements may be upper or lower division in General Education (GE), a major or minor, or an elective.|
|American Ethnic and Racial Minorities||LD or UD||3||AERM|
|Environmental Sustainability||LD or UD||3||ES|
|Global Perspectives||LD or UD||3||GP|
|Social Justice||LD or UD||3||SJ|
Note: LD = Lower-Division; UD = Upper-Division.
First-Time Student Roadmap (4 Year)
- The roadmaps presented in this Bulletin are intended as suggested plans of study and do not replace meeting with an advisor. For a more personalized roadmap, please use the Degree Planner tool found in your Student Center.
- In order to choose your English Composition A2 course and your QR/Math B4 course, please complete the online advising activities at writingadvising.sfsu.edu and mathadvising.sfsu.edu. Questions? Contact Gator Smart Start.
SF State Scholars
The San Francisco State Scholars program provides undergraduate students with an accelerated pathway to a graduate degree. Students in this program pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously. This program allows students to earn graduate credit while in their junior and/or senior year, reducing the number of semesters required for completion of a master’s degree.
Transfer Student Roadmap (2 Year)
For students with an AA-T in Psychology.
PSY ADT Roadmap
This degree program is an approved pathway (“similar” major) for students earning the ADT in Psychology
California legislation SB 1440 (2009) mandated the creation of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) to be awarded by the California Community Colleges. Two types of ADTs are awarded: Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) and Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T).
Note: no specific degree is required for admission as an upper-division student. However, the ADT includes specific guarantees related to admission and graduation and is designed to clarify the transfer process and strengthen lower-division preparation for the major.
An ADT totals 60 units and in most cases includes completion of all lower-division General Education requirements and at least 18 units in a specific major. (The Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Science AS-T degrees defer 3 units in lower-division GE area C and 3 units in lower-division GE area D until after transfer.) Students pursuing an ADT are guaranteed admission to the CSU if minimum eligibility requirements are met, though not necessarily to the CSU campus of primary choice.
Upon verification that the ADT has been awarded prior to matriculation at SF State, students are guaranteed B.A. or B.S. completion in 60 units if pursuing a “similar” major after transfer. Determinations about “similar” majors at SF State are made by faculty in the discipline.
Degree completion in 60 units cannot be guaranteed when a student simultaneously pursues an additional major, a minor, certificate, or credential.
A sample advising roadmap for students who have earned an ADT and continue in a "similar" major at SF State is available on the Roadmaps tab on the degree requirements page for the major. The roadmap displays:
- How many lower-division units required for the major have been completed upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
- Which lower-division requirements are considered complete upon entry based on the award of a specific ADT;
- How to complete the remaining 60 units for the degree in four semesters.
Students who have earned an ADT should seek advising in the major department during the first semester of attendance.
General Advising Information for Transfer Students
- Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
- The following courses are not required for admission but are required for graduation. Students are strongly encouraged to complete these units before transfer; doing so will provide more flexibility in course selection after transfer.
- a course in U.S. History
- a course in U.S. & California Government
For information about satisfying the requirements described in (1) and (2) above at a California Community College (CCC), please visit http://www.assist.org. Check any geographically accessible CCCs; sometimes options include more than one college. Use ASSIST to determine:
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy any lower-division major requirements for this major;
- Which courses at a CCC satisfy CSU GE, US History, and US & CA Government requirements.
Remedial courses are not transferable and do not apply to the minimum 60 semester units/90 quarter units required for admission.
Additional units for courses that are repeated do not apply to the minimum 60 units required for upper-division transfer (for example, if a course was not passed on the first attempt or was taken to earn a better grade).
Before leaving the last California Community College of attendance, obtain a summary of completion of lower-division General Education units (IGETC or CSU GE Breadth). This is often referred to as a GE certification worksheet. SF State does not require delivery of this certification to Admissions, but students should retain this document for verifying degree progress after transfer.
Credit for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or College-Level Examination Program courses: AP/IB/CLEP credit is not automatically transferred from the previous institution. Units are transferred only when an official score report is delivered to SF State. Credit is based on the academic year during which exams were taken. Refer to the University Bulletin in effect during the year of AP/IB/CLEP examination(s) for details regarding the award of credit for AP/IB/CLEP.
Students pursuing majors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines often defer 6-9 units of lower-division General Education in Areas C and D until after transfer to focus on preparation courses for the major. This advice does not apply to students pursuing associate degree completion before transfer.
Transferring From Institutions Other Than CCCs or CSUs
Review SF State's lower-division General Education requirements. Note that, as described below, the four basic skills courses required for admission meet A1, A2, A3, and B4 in the SF State GE pattern. Courses that fulfill the remaining areas of SF State’s lower-division GE pattern are available at most two-year and four-year colleges and universities.
Of the four required basic skills courses, a course in critical thinking (A3) may not be widely offered outside the CCC and CSU systems. Students should attempt to identify and take an appropriate course no later than the term of application to the CSU. To review more information about the A3 requirement, please visit bulletin.sfsu.edu/undergraduate-education/general-education/lower-division/#AAEL.
Waiting until after transfer to take a single course at SF State that meets both US and CA/local government requirements may be an appropriate option, particularly if transferring from outside of California.