Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The most common method to major in psychology is to receive the Bachelor of Arts (BA).

  • Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the major and overall.
  • Courses taken P/F may not be counted toward the major with the exception of internships, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. 

College Level Requirements
Majors pursuing a BA
 must satisfy the CNS foreign language requirement. Students who are certified by the Disability Services Office as having a significant hearing impairment or documented learning disability that seriously limits the acquisition of foreign language skills may qualify for special accommodation. These students should meet with their academic dean in the CNS Advising Center.

The CNS foreign language requirement is satisfied by demonstrating foreign language proficiency at the intermediate level in one of the following ways:

  • Completion of a foreign language course at the fourth-semester level (Intermediate II or Intermediate Intensive courses numbered 240–249). Intermediate II courses may be graded on a Pass/Fail basis.
  • Degree credit equivalent to such a course earned through an appropriate score on a College Board Foreign Language Achievement Test (SAT II) or a College Board Advanced Placement Test.
  • Proficiency demonstrated in a test designed by a University of Massachusetts Amherst language department, or a test administered and validated by a local faculty member if the language is not one offered by a department at the university.
  • Satisfactory completion in high school or college of either a fourth-level foreign language course, or of a third-level course in one language and a second-level course in another language.
  • Successful completion of one year in a high school in which English is not the language of instruction.
  • Successful completion of a semester or year’s study abroad program that leads to foreign language proficiency at the fourth semester (Intermediate II) level as approved by the appropriate language department.

Departmental Requirements. 
These requirements do not differ between the BA and the BS in general psychology.  You can download a checklist of the major requirements for the General Psychology BA/BS.

1. Psychology 100: Introductory Psychology

  • Psychology 100 is a prerequisite for all other psychology courses numbered 200 and above.
  • A grade of C- or better in Psych 100 is a required prerequisite for entering Psychology 240. Students may pre-register in Psych 240 while completing Psych 100, but if the final grade is not C- or better, the registration will be canceled.

2. Psychology 240: Statistics in Psychology

  • Students must have completed a math prerequisite for entering Psych 240: Math 101 & 102 or higher, or Stat 11, or math placement test algebra score of 20 or higher.
  • A grade of C- or better in Psych 240 is a required prerequisite for entering Psychology 241. Students may pre-register in Psych 241 while completing Psych 240, but if the final grade is not C- or better, the registration will be canceled.
  • Stat 240 may be taken in lieu of Psych 240.  

3. Psychology 241: Methods of Inquiry in Psychology

  • For successful completion of the major within four years, Methods should be completed by the end of the junior year.

4. One Core A Course: Psychology 314. Cognitive Neuroscience OR Psychology 315. Cognitive Psychology OR Psychology 320. Learn and Think

  • Psychology 240 and 241 are prerequisites for entering Psych 315 or 320.  Psych 100 and 330 are prerequisites for entering Psych 314.

5. Core B Course: Psych 330 Introduction to Neuroscience (formerly Behavioral Neuroscience)

6. Two Core C Courses:

  • Psychology 350 Developmental Psychology
  • Psychology 360 Social Psychology
  • Psychology 380 Abnormal Psychology

7. Junior Writing:

  • Psychology 337 (formerly 392A) Junior Year Writing Seminar

8. One advanced Psychology lab, seminar, or small course (minimum 3 credits):

  • Choose from Psychology: 391*, 430, 480, 481, 486, 491*, 530, 535, 580, 581, 586, 591*.
  • With few, if any, exceptions, completion of Psychology 240 and 241 are prerequisites for entering these classes.
  • *These classes generally have letters following in SPIRE, so do not look up by “is exactly.” Use “begins with” as your search criterion.

9. Two Psychology electives numbered 200 and above

  • Each must be a minimum of 3 credits and one must be a graded, nonindependent study course.

10. Psych 494P Professional Development in Psychology (Integrative Experience Requirement)

  • When taken in combination with a Psych 391 seminar, Psychology 494P will satisfy the Integrative Experience for psychology majors.
  • Seminar equivalents will not be accepted; students must enroll in a Psych 391 seminar to satisfy the IE. 

Other requirements for the Psychology major:

There are limitations on the number of transfer credits that can be applied to the major.

  • You must take at least 18 credits of psychology courses at UMass.
  • All UMass students must complete the General Education requirements.
  • All psychology majors must fulfill the requirements for CNS. For more information about college-level requirements or to inquire about whether you have satisfied the requirement, consult the CNS Advising office in Morrill. More detail is also available on the CNS Degree Requirements page.