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. 

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, the student will be able to:

  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.

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 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 Factors in Technology3
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 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 Anthropology, Biology, Child and Adolescent Development, Criminal Justice Studies, Computer Science, Counseling, Education, Ethnic Studies, Philosophy, and Sociology, 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. 

General Education Requirements

Requirement Course Level Units Area Designation
Oral Communication LD 3 A1
Written English Communication LD 3 A2
Critical Thinking LD 3 A3
Physical Science LD 3 B1
Life Science LD 3 B2
Lab Science LD 1 B3
Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning LD 3 B4
Arts LD 3 C1
Humanities LD 3 C2
Arts or Humanities LD 3 C1 or C2
Social Sciences LD 3 D1
Social Sciences: US History LD 3 D2
Lifelong Learning and Self-Development (LLD) LD 3 E
Ethnic Studies LD 3 F
Physical and/or Life Science UD 3 UD-B
Arts and/or Humanities UD 3 UD-C
Social Sciences UD 3 UD-D
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.

First-Time Student Roadmap

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.

SF State Scholars Roadmap

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

  1. Before transfer, complete as many lower-division requirements or electives for this major as possible.
  2. 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 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

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.