Planning your Program
Majors should begin planning a program of study as early as possible. Please see the Advisors page for more information on the resources and advice available to you in your program planning. As soon as possible in your undergraduate career, but certainly prior to the start of your final semester, you must submit a Major Requirement Checklist, which shows all major courses you have taken and plan to take.
Thirty or more points are required to complete the Psychology Major. The program must include:
Students should begin their studies with the following foundational courses:
UN1001: The Science of Psychology is prerequisite for all other psychology courses.
Lecture course introducing students to the chief facts, principles, and problems of human and animal behavior, through systematic study of a text, lectures, exercises, reading in special fields, and participation in a current experiment. (An alternative to participation can be arranged at the student's request.)
You may choose from the following courses.
You may choose from the following courses.
Majors are strongly advised to complete first the statistics requirement and then the research methods requirement by the fall term of their junior year. Be sure to verify the specific prerequisites for Methods courses, most of which require prior completion of a statistics course.
Three Courses Meeting the Distribution Requirement
One course (3 points or greater) must be taken from each of the following three groups:
These are courses numbered in the 2200s, 3200s, or 4200s.
- Experimental Psychology: Human Behavior
- Cognition: Basic Processes
- UN2215 or S2215
- Cognition & the Brain
- Cognition: Memory & Stress
- Attention & Perception
- Perception & Sensory Processes
- UN2235 or S2235
- Thinking & Decision Making
- Evolution of Cognition
- Introduction to Developmental Psychology
- The Wandering Mind: Psychological Approaches to Distraction
- Seminar in Space Perception
- Computational Approaches to Human Vision
- UN3280 or S3280
- Seminar in Infant Development
- The Psychology of Disaster Preparedness
- The Self: A Cognitive Exploration
- Cognition & Psychopathology
- The Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging
- Memory and Executive Function Through the Lifespan
- Consciousness and Attention
- Attention and Perception
- Sensation and Perception
- Production and Perception of Language
- Special Topics in Vision
- Cognitive Neuroscience of Narrative and Film
- Seminar on the Evolution of Language
- Language and Mind
- Evolution of Intelligence, Consciousness, and Language
- Modern Classics in Visual Perception, Visual Science, and Visual Neuroscience
- Auditory Perception
- Cognitive Processes
- Advanced Seminar in Language Development
- Contemporary Topics in Language and Communication
- Core Knowledge
- The Psychology of Curiosity
- Multidisciplinary Approaches to Human Decision Making
- Decision Architecture
- The Games People Play: Psychology of Strategic Decision Making
These are courses numbered in the 2400s, 3400s, or 4400s, as well as UN1010.
Courses filling this requirement include:
- Mind, Brain, & Behavior (No Longer Offered)
- Animal Behavior
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Language and the Brain
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Drugs and Behavior
- Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology
- The Developing Brain
- Evolutionary Psychology
- Seminar in Emotion
- Animals in Our Own Backyard: The Science of Observing Behavior
- Neurobiology of Reproductive Behavior
- Issues in Brain and Behavior
- The Brain and Memory
- Evolution of Intelligence and Consciousness
- Evolution of Behavior
- Brain Evolution: Becoming Human
- Critical Periods in Brain Development and Behavior
- The Dynamic Brain: Plasticity from Birth to Old Age
- Life Span Development: Theory and Methods
- Neuroscience and Society
- Animal Cognition Seminar
- Learning and the Brain
- Topics in Neurobiology and Behavior
- Evolution of Intelligence and Consciousness
- Cognitive Neuroscience and the Media
- Psychology and Neuropsychology of Language
- Neurobiology of Social Behavior
- Psychobiology of Infant Development
- Affective Neuroscience
- Developmental and Affective Neuroscience
- Psychobiology of Stress
- Ethics, Genetics, and the Brain
- Behavioral Epigenetics
- Behavioral Pharmacology
These are courses numbered in the 2600s, 3600s, or 4600s, as well as UN1450 or UN1455.
Courses fulfilling this requirement include:
- Experimental Psychology: Social Cognition & Emotion
- Experimental Psychology: Social & Personality
- Introduction to Personality
- UN2620 or S2620
- Abnormal Behavior
- UN2630 or S2630
- Social Psychology
- Social and Organizational Psychology
- Introduction to Social Cognition
- Introduction to Cultural Psychology
- Social Development
- Social & Personality Development
- The Psychology of Stereotyping and Prejudice
- Children At Risk
- Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology
- Creativity & the Good Life
- Topics in Clinical Psychology
- Adolescent Mental Health: Causes, Correlates, and Consequences
- UN3625 or S3625
- Clinical Neuropsychology Seminar
- Primate Social Psychology
- Seminar in Social Cognition
- Driving, Dieting and Dictatorship: Psychology of Control
- Motivated cognition: Perceiving our social world
- Field Experimentation Methods for Social Psychology
- Psychology and Neuroscience of Positive Emotion
- The Psychology of Emotion: Theories, Function, and Regulation
- Introduction to Moral Psychology
- Social Cognitive Neuroscience
- Self-Regulation: The Science of Becoming Your Better Self
- The Self in Social Context
- Interpersonal Cognition Seminar: Close Relationships, Identity, & Memory
- Social Relationships and Health
- Stress in an Interpersonal Context
- Psychology of Sexuality and Gender
- The Psychology of Culture and Diversity
- Seminar in Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Related Disorders
- Advanced Seminar in Current Personality Theory and Research
- The Unconscious Mind
- Culture, Motivation, and Prosocial Behavior
- Theories in Social and Personality Psychology
- Moral Psychology
- Animal Personality
- FAQs about life: Applied Psych Research
- Social Cognitive Neuroscience
- Barriers and Levers for Behavior Change
- Social Factors and Psychopathology
- Psychology of Close Relationships
Seminars and Electives
In addition, students must complete the following:
For students entering Columbia in Fall 2013 or later, one seminar course, numbered in the 3000s or 4000s, must be taken for 3 or more points.
Seminars are usually taken in the senior year as a culmination of the major program. Enrollment in seminar courses requires the instructor's permission; students are advised to contact instructors at least one month prior to registration to request seminar admission. Note that Honors and Supervised individual research courses (PSYC UN3920 and UN3950) are not seminar courses and will not meet the seminar requirement.
As described below, these may include research courses, transfer courses, and Barnard psychology courses not approved for specific requirements.
No course may be counted twice in fulfillment of the above major requirements, with the following exception: a seminar course may fulfill both the seminar requirement and a group requirement if it meets the criteria for both.
Important Information to Consider
A grade of C-, or higher, must be earned and revealed on your transcript in any Columbia or Barnard course — including the first — that is used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements.
Courses taken on a Pass/D/Fail basis may not be used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements unless the grade of P is uncovered by the Registrar's deadline. Students may petition to have their P/D/F grades uncovered after the registrar's deadline for the following three courses only: PSYC UN1001 Science of Psychology, PSYC UN1010 Mind, Brain, & Behavior (no longer offered), and PSYC UN1610 Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Scientists. Courses taken only on a Pass/Fail basis may not be used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements under any circumstances.
No more than 4 points of Supervised individual research (PSYC UN3950 and UN3920) may be taken in any one term, and no more than 8 points total of research and field work courses (PSYC UN3950, BC3466, BC3473, BC3592 and BC3599) may be applied toward the major. (See below for further restrictions on applying Barnard courses toward the psychology major.)
No more than 9 points (minus any transfer credits) from Barnard psychology courses may be applied as credit toward the major. The table of approved Barnard psychology courses indicates which courses have been approved for specific requirements of the Psychology major. Courses not on the approved list may only be applied toward a specific requirement with prior written approval from a program advisor. Courses not on the approved list for a specific requirement may be applied as elective credit toward the 30 points for the major.
No more than 9 transfer credits (or a combination of transfer and Barnard credits) will be accepted toward the psychology major. Approval of transfer credits on a student's Entrance Credit Report toward general requirements for the bachelor's degree does not grant approval of these credits toward the psychology major. Approval of transfer credits to fulfill psychology requirements must be obtained in writing from a psychology program advisor using the Major Requirement Substitution Form. To be approved for the major, a course taken at another institution should be substantially similar to one offered by the department, the grade received must be a B- or better, and the course must have been taken within the past 8 years. As noted below, if two courses overlap in content, only one will be applied towards the major. With the exception of approved Barnard courses, students should consult their Program Advisor (DUS) before registering for psychology courses offered outside the department.
Students who have completed an introductory psychology course at another institution prior to declaring a psychology major should consult a Program Advisor (DUS) to verify whether or not this course meets departmental standards for major transfer credit. If transfer credit toward the major is not approved, the student must enroll in PSYC UN1001 or PSYC BC1001 to complete this major requirement.
Beginning in Fall 2019, the Psychology Department will accept a score of 5 on the AP Psychology exam, or a score of 7 on the IB Psychology exam, to meet the Science of Psychology requirement. The AP/IB Psychology exam does not count as a course or toward a student’s points total for their program; students placing out of the Science of Psychology requirement in this way will need to take an additional course to fulfill the required number of courses or points for their program.
The College Board Advanced Placement (AP) statistics scores do not satisfy the statistics requirement. Students who have completed AP statistics may opt to take a more advanced statistics course to fulfill this requirement with the approval of one of the directors of undergraduate studies.
How to apply for an exception:
For information about how to apply for a course exception, visit our transfer credit page.
Students will not receive credit for two courses — one taken at Columbia and one taken at Barnard or transferred from another institution — whose content largely overlaps For example, PSYC UN1001 The Science of Psychology overlaps the content of introductory psychology courses offered at many other institutions, including Barnard; only one such course will receive credit. Similarly, PSYC UN2630 Social Psychology and PSYC BC1138 Social Psychology have overlapping content; only one will receive credit. Please consult the Table of Overlapping Courses to check for overlap between Barnard and Columbia courses.
Beginning in Fall 2018, PSYC UN1010 Mind, Brain, & Behavior will no longer be offered. Students who have already taken UN1010 should not take UN2430 as the content of the courses overlap significantly.