image: Psychology Logo
image: Psychology Logo
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN - MADISON
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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image: Psychology Logo
UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ACADEMICS

  • What are the requirements for the Psychology major?
  • How can I find out what courses I still need to take in order to graduate?
  • What is the difference between the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees?
  • What breadth requirements are fulfilled by the psychology major requirements?
  • Is there a limit to the number of psychology courses I can take?
  • I received AP credit for Introduction to Psychology. Does this count for the Psychology major? If so, how does this calculate into the 2.75 rule?
  • I transferred in Intro Psych and/or an acceptable statistics class (Psych 210, Stat 371, Soc 360, Bus 303), will I be able to enroll in Psych 225?
  • Is it true that biology is required for the psychology major?
  • I received AP credit for statistics. Does this count for the major?
  • I transferred in some psychology courses, but they transferred in as electives.  Can they count towards the psychology major?
  • I heard psychology courses are graded on a bell curve.  Is this true?
  • I received a D in a breadth or depth course, do I have to retake it?
  • What awards and scholarships are available to psychology students?
  • Does Psychology have an honors program?
  • I’m interested in taking Psychology 399, Service Learning in Psychology.  How can I get permission to register?
  • I want to take Psychology XXX, but it’s not offered.  When will it be available?
  • I want to take Psychology XXX, but it’s closed already.  What can I do?
  • How do I know which Capstone/level III courses are being offered and what they are about?
ADVISING
  • How do I declare the psychology major?
  • I’m not currently a psychology major.  Can I meet with someone in the psychology department for advising?
  • Can I still major in psychology if I am in a different school such as education or business?
  • I’m not a current student.  Can I meet with an advisor?
  • How do I find out who my advisor is?
  • How do I meet with an advisor?
  • When should I meet with my psychology advisor and how should I prepare for advising meetings?
  • What is the 2.75 GPA rule?
  • I didn’t earn a 2.75 between Intro Pysch and Statistics, now what?
  • I transferred in introductory psychology and/or statistics.  Will I be able to enroll in Psychology 225?
  • All of the classes I want to take are full.  What should I do?
  • Can I take a breadth course even if I’m not declared?
  • Is it okay to take a psychology course pass/fail?
INVOLVEMENT
  • How can I find research opportunities?
  • I’m not planning on going to graduate school.  Should I still do research?
  • I want to study abroad… how will this affect my psychology major and graduation timeline?
  • What is Psych Club and can I get involved?
  • What is Psi Chi and can I get involved?
  • How can I get involved on campus and meet other students?
CAREERS
  • What can I do with a major in psychology?
  • I’m planning on going into one of the health fields.  Can I major in psychology?
  • What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist?
  • I’m not planning on going to graduate school.  How should I go about looking for a job?
  • How do I find internships?
  • Where can I find volunteer opportunities related to my career interest?
GRADUATE SCHOOL
  • What types of psychology-related graduate programs can I pursue?
  • What are graduate schools looking for in applicants and how can I make myself a competitive applicant?
  • Where can I find information on taking the GRE and how should I study?
  • What should I provide my faculty when requesting letters of recommendations?
  • I’m planning on taking a few (1-3) years off after I graduate and then return to graduate school.  What should I be doing now to prepare?

 


ACADEMICS

Q - What are the requirements for the Psychology major?Q - What are the requirements for the Psychology major?

A- The Psychology Majors Checklist contains all of the course requirements for the major. You may also find the Four-Year Plan helpful in planning classes.

Q- How can I find out what courses I still need to take in order to gradaute?Q- How can I find out what courses I still need to take in order to gradaute?
A- Your DARS report will list all requirements for your degree plan and major. If you have not yet declared the major you can request a “What if” DARS report through your student center in MyUW. If you have trouble reading your DARS, come in and see one of the advisors and we’ll guide you through it. Even if you can read your DARS, it may be helpful to see an advisor and there may be some major or elective courses that we could recommend. There are many courses outside of the Psychology department that are relevant for psychology majors.

Q- What is the difference between the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees?Q- What is the difference between the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees?
A- To find the differences in the course requirements between the BA and BS go to: http://pubs.wisc.edu/ug/10lettsci/babs2009.pdf This document clearly shows the difference between the programs. The requirements within the major do not change whether you receive a BA or BS. It is up to you which degree program you would like to follow.
Q- What breadth requirements are fulfilled by the psychology major requirements?Q- What breadth requirements are fulfilled by the psychology major requirements?
A- The major requirements for Psychology satisfy many of the breadth requirements for the BA and BS degree requirements in the College of Letters & Science. Required courses that will assist you in completing breadth and general education requirements include: Psych 202 (Social Science), Statistics (QR-B), Psych 225 (Comm B and Biological Science), Zoology 101 and 102 (Biological Science). Psychology breadth courses also carry breadth designation from social science and biological science requirements. You will not be able to receive either Literature or Humanities through the Department, and only one elective course (Psych 349) fulfills a Physical Science breadth requirement.
Q- Is there a limit to the number of psychology courses I can take?Q- Is there a limit to the number of psychology courses I can take?
A- You are welcome to take as many psychology courses as you like, including research. However, if you matriculated (began at UW-Madison) prior to 2007, come in and see an advisor. Please note, there are also relevant courses outside of the Psychology department that might be great experiences as well.
Q- I received AP credit for Introduction to Psychology. Does this count for the Psychology major? If so, how does this calculate into the 2.75 rule?Q- I received AP credit for Introduction to Psychology. Does this count for the Psychology major? If so, how does this calculate into the 2.75 rule?
A- Yes! AP credit in Psychology counts as Psychology 202 if you receive a score of 4 or 5. In calculating the 2.75 rule, a score of a 4 on the AP test counts as a 3.0 (a “B”) and a score of a 5 counts as a 4.0 (an “A”). Please note that this is not calculated into your GPA here at UW-Madison, this is only used to determine eligibility to enroll in Psychology 225. For more information about Psych 225 enrollment, please read this document.
Q- I transferred in Intro Psych and/or an acceptable statistics class (Psych 210, Stat 371, Soc 360, Bus 303), will I be able to enroll in Psych 225?Q- I transferred in Intro Psych and/or an acceptable statistics class (Psych 210, Stat 371, Soc 360, Bus 303), will I be able to enroll in Psych 225?
A- Yes. However, you must contact a Psychology advisor( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) about your grade in your transferred course(s) so you will be able to register during your enrollment time. For more information about Psych 225 enrollment, please read this document.
Q- Is it true that biology is required for the psychology major?Q- Is it true that biology is required for the psychology major?
A- Yes. A student needs to complete animal biology for the psychology major. Most students take the zoology 101 and 102 sequence. This is a total of 5 credits- 101 is the lecture and 102 is a lab. It is recommended that they be taken together, but 101 can be taken in a semester prior to 102 if you want to take them separately. If you received a 4 or 5 on the AP biology test this is will fulfill our biology requirement for the psychology major. We also accept zoology 151 and 152, or Biocore.
Q- I received AP credit for statistics. Does this count for the major?Q- I received AP credit for statistics. Does this count for the major?
A- No. AP credit for statistics counts as Statistics 301, which does NOT satisfy the statistics requirement for the Psychology major. It was determined that Stats 301 did not adequately prepare students for the statistical analyses needed for Psychology 225, Experimental Psychology.
Q- I transferred in some psychology courses, but they transferred in as electives. Can they count towards the psychology major? Q- I transferred in some psychology courses, but they transferred in as electives. Can they count towards the psychology major?
A- Maybe. If you took a psychology course at another university and it transferred in as an elective (example: Psych X12) but would like it to count towards the major requirements, you will have to submit a copy of the syllabus to one of the undergraduate advisors. Electronic submissions are acceptable. Please e-mail them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Your syllabi will be reviewed and a determination will be made on if it qualifies as a major requirement.
Q- I heard psychology courses are graded on a bell curve. Is this true? Q- I heard psychology courses are graded on a bell curve. Is this true?
A- While some classes are graded on a strict curve, it is not based on a standard bell curve. Because there are many sections of Psych 202, 210, and 225, the Department has set some grading guidelines to help maintain high standards and homogeneity of grading across the multiple sections. Intro Psych and Psych 210 grade on a curve where the average grade is a C. In Intro Psych, approximately 10% earn As, 5% earn ABs, 20% Bs, 10% BCs, 35% Cs, 15% Ds, and 5% Fs. This curve is set before extra credit is added. Some students are able to bump up a half-letter grade when extra credit is factored in. Psych 210 uses the same scale as a guideline for grading. Psych 225 also grades on a curve, however, the average grade in this class is a B rather than a C. In each of these classes, the majority of students are helped greatly by the curve.
Q- I received a D in a breadth or depth course, do I have to retake it? Q- I received a D in a breadth or depth course, do I have to retake it?
A- No. If you receive a D in either a breadth or depth course, it will still count towards the psychology major requirements. However, you need to earn an average of 2.0 or above in all psychology courses, and all upper-level courses within the psychology department. Only Psychology courses numbered 300 or above are included in calculating the upper-level GPA requirement.
Q- What awards and scholarships are available to psychology students? Q- What awards and scholarships are available to psychology students?
A- The Psychology Department has several awards available for undergraduate students made possible through generous gifts provided by faculty, alumni, lecturers and staff. The deadline for all award applications is October 1. A committee of Psychology faculty and staff will review applications and select the successful candidates. Detailed information, including applications, can be found at the Scholarships@UW Madison website.
Q- Does Psychology have an honors program? Q- Does Psychology have an honors program?
A- Yes! In addition to Honors in the Liberal Arts (for information go to: http://www.honors.ls.wisc.edu/) there is an Honors in the Major program. Specific requirements for Honors in the Major can be found here. Benefits of the Honors in the Major program include more interactions with faculty, conducting independent research, and discussion sections or small enrollment classes for some courses. Students accepted into honors in the major have the option of enrolling in honors courses in other departments as well. The honors in the major program starts in a student’s sophomore year, so it is important to apply early! Applications are accepted twice a year and are due October 15th and February 15th.
Q- I’m interested in taking Psychology 399, Service Learning in Psychology. How can I get permission to register?Q- I’m interested in taking Psychology 399, Service Learning in Psychology. How can I get permission to register?
A- Psychology 399 is an independent study course intended for students who are receiving hands-on experience in the community. Often this is a volunteer opportunity or unpaid internship. Typically for every credit a student enrolls in they are expected to work 3 hours a week. If a student is interested in enrolling in Psych 399 he/she will need to find an experience within the community, and then find a faculty member within the department willing to sponsor the experience. The student and faculty member together come up with an academic plan for the semester. Students are encouraged to focus on faculty members whose expertise matches that of the experience the student will be having during the semester.
Q- I want to take Psychology XXX, but it’s not offered. When will it be available?Q- I want to take Psychology XXX, but it’s not offered. When will it be available?
A- The Department of Psychology does not offer every course every semester. If you are interested in a course that is not offered in the current term, first go to the Course Guide. The course guide lists the last semester the course was taught and will give you an idea of when the course may be taught again. Some courses are typically fall and others typically spring. You are also welcome to meet with an advisor and ask if the department knows when the course may be offered again.
Q- I want to take Psychology XXX, but it’s closed already. What can I do?Q- I want to take Psychology XXX, but it’s closed already. What can I do?
A- Many courses within the Department of Psychology maintain online waitlists. Go ahead and add yourself to the waitlist. We recommend leaving a note when you add yourself stating why you would like to take the course. If a student drops the course and a spot opens up, a student from the waitlist will be added. Please be sure to check your e-mail regularly as you will be notified via e-mail if you have been authorized for the course, and this authorization expires a couple of days after the e-mail is sent. If you were unable to get into a Capstone/level III course and need one in order to graduate on time, e-mail the advisors at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and we’ll do what we can to get you into a course so you can graduate in a timely fashion.
Q- How do I know which Capstone/level III courses are being offered and what they are about? Q- How do I know which Capstone/level III courses are being offered and what they are about?
A- Each semester a document will be e-mailed out to the Psychology Majors Listserv and placed on our website. This document will include brief descriptions of all Capstone/level III courses offered in the following semester. If there is any question as to whether a course counts as a Capstone/level III course, please contact the undergraduate advisors at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
ADVISING

Q- How do I declare the psychology major?
A- In order to declare the psychology major a student must successfully complete Intro Psychology (Psych 201 or 202) with a grade of “C” or better. Once this occurs, you should schedule an appointment to meet with an advisor. Students are only able to declare the major during an appointment, not during drop-in hours.

Q- I’m not currently a psychology major.  Can I meet with someone in the psychology department for advising?
A- Absolutely! We want to meet with students as early as possible to discuss not only requirements and coursework, but outside classroom experiences as well. Schedule an appointment now!

Q- Can I still major in psychology if I am in a different school such as education or business?
A- With permission from your school or college, yes! If you are interested in completing psychology as well, come in and see us to discuss this process.

Q- I’m not a current student.  Can I meet with an advisor?
A- Yes, during certain times of the year. Prospective students are welcome to come in and discuss the transfer process into the psychology major, opportunities within the department and university, and anything else you may have questions about. Please note that our peak times for advising are the first two weeks of each semester, as well as Oct. 15th- Nov. 25th and March 20th-Apr. 25th. Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate prospective student appointments during these times, but if you are interested in meeting with us outside of those dates please e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your planned visit date and available times and we’ll see what we can set up. We require at least two weeks advance notice to schedule an appointment.

Q- How do I find out who my advisor is?
A- You can find out who your assigned advisor is by looking in your student center in MyUW. Please know that you are welcome to see any of the undergraduate psychology advisors, whether you are assigned to them or not.

Q- How do I meet with an advisor?
A- There are two ways you can meet with an advisor. One is by making an appointment. This is the preferred way, as it gives you a designated half an hour to meet with an advisor at a specific, guaranteed time. Click here to schedule an appointment. You may also see an advisor during drop-in hours, these can vary week to week, so make sure to check the calendar before coming in. Drop-ins are meant for quick advising questions and limited to 15 minutes. You can not declare the major during drop-ins.

Q- When should I meet with my psychology advisor and how should I prepare for advising meetings?
A- As early as possible! Students interested in majoring in psychology should meet with an undergraduate advisor as early as possible to ensure you are taking the right courses at the right time and gaining the necessary experience in the field. There may also be additional opportunities that are available to you that you may not be aware of if you haven’t met with an advisor.  You do not have to be a declared psychology major to receive advising. To prepare for the meeting, write down a list of questions that you have and bring your campus ID.

Q- What is the 2.75 GPA rule?
A- In order to enroll in Psychology 225- Experimental Psychology, students must earn at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA between Introductory Psychology and Statistics.

Q- I didn’t earn a 2.75 between Intro Pysch and Statistics, now what?
A- If you didn’t earn a 2.75, meet with a psychology advisor as soon as possible. We will discuss options that you have and work together to come up with an optimal solution.

Q- Q- I transferred in introductory psychology and/or statistics. Will I be able to enroll in Psychology 225?
A- Yes. However, you must contact a Psychology advisor ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) about your grade in your transferred course(s) so you will be able to register during your enrollment time. For more information about Psych 225 enrollment, please read this document.

Q- All of the classes I want to take are full.  What should I do?
A- First, you should sign up for the waitlist for the course you would like to take. When adding yourself to the waitlist we encourage you to leave a note as to why you want to take the course. You can also go to the course on the first day of class and talk with the instructor, or e-mail them to see if they will allow you to add the class. If you are unable to enroll in a level III/capstone course and need it to graduate in a timely fashion (only one capstone/level III can be taken per semester) contact the advisors at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Q- Can I take a breadth course even if I’m not declared?
A- Yes! Many of the breadth courses only require Psychology 202 as a prerequisite. You are welcome to take these courses without being declared. However, we do hold many of these courses for declared majors until the beginning of the freshman registration period. At that time, any student can enroll if they meet the prerequisites.

Q-  Is it okay to take a psychology course pass/fail?
A- No.  You are not allowed to take any courses within your major pass/fail, even if it is an elective.

INVOLVEMENT

Q- How can I find research opportunities?
A- The Departmental website has a lot of information useful when searching for undergradaute research opportunities. This is a great place to start looking. This page includes quick information and links to lab websites for more information. You can also find contact information for the various labs, including affiliated faculty in other related departments. The second place you can look is in the Faculty and Staff section of the website. If you click on the faculty member’s name a paragraph describing the faculty member’s research will appear. Lastly, there are often fliers within the psychology building looking for research assistants. Check those out throughout the semester!

Q- I’m not planning on going to graduate school.  Should I still do research?
A- Research is a great opportunity for any student. It allows you to gain experience for your resume, get to know other psychology majors in a smaller setting, work with a faculty member in a smaller setting, and help apply what you’ve learned in the classroom to work being done in the field. It is not required that you do research, but it might be a good option for some students.

Q- I want to study abroad… how will this affect my psychology major and graduation timeline?
A- Many psychology students study abroad and graduate in a timely fashion. If you plan to study abroad meet with a psychology advisor (http://glial.psych.wisc.edu/index.php/ugpadvising/schedule-an-appointment) to discuss your intended graduation date and semester/year you wish to go abroad. The earlier you plan for study abroad, the better. Also, go to the study abroad resource room in the Red Gym for more information on study abroad programs and opportunities. Often students are able to study abroad without taking any psychology courses and still graduate on time. Study abroad is a time to immerse yourself in another culture, so we frequently encourage students to take courses that you may not be able to take at UW-Madison.

Q- What is Psych Club and can I get involved?
A- UW Psychology Club is a group for all UW-Madison students who have an interest in Psychology! Visit their WIN (Wisconsin Involvement Network) page for more information.

Q- What is Psi Chi and can I get involved?
A- Psi Chi is a National Honor Society in Psychology. As it is a National Honor Society there are certain requirements for membership including having completed at least 9 credits within psychology, be at least a second semester sophomore, and be in the top third of your class (typically somewhere between a 3.3 and 3.4). For more information or to apply, click here.

Q- How else can I get involved on campus and meet other students?
A- Student Organizations are a great way to meet other students with similar interests, find out about different career fields, build experience for a resume, and gain leadership experience. The earlier you join a student organization the better your chances become of entering a leadership role within the organization. There are MANY different organizations for students of any interest. Check out one that’s interesting to you. If it’s not a good match, try another one! You can find a directory of student organizations along with other information at the Center for Leadership and Involvement.

CAREERS

Q- What can I do with a Psychology major?
A- Well, this is a loaded question. A BS or BA with a major in psychology is a liberal arts degree. This means that your education will lay a solid foundation for you to go in many different career paths. Because this question is so large, we have dedicated a portion of our website to the topic. We also encourage students to meet with L&S Career Services to explore your interests and skills and the career paths that might match those.

Q- I’m planning on going into one of the health fields. Can I major in psychology?
A- Absolutely! Health fields look for a variety of backgrounds and psychology is appropriate. There are, however, some considerations if you follow this path. First, you will have to research the prerequisite courses for whichever field you plan to enter and complete these in a timely fashion. Second, you will want to balance your schedule. For example, we do not recommend taking Zoology 152 and Psychology 225 in the same semester as they are both writing intensive courses and have research components. Additionally, there are pre-health advisors available to meet with students. To meet with one of these advisors call 263-6614 to schedule an appointment. You may also visit the Center for Pre-health Advising website.

Q- What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist?
A- Conducting a job search can be an intimidating process for many people. L&S Career Services has many skilled staff to assist you in the job search process. They also host many career-related campus events, such as the Career and Internship Fair. Career Services can introduce to valuable electronic resources, such as BuckyNet, to help students connect with potential employers. And check their website for workshops and drop-in hours to improve your resumé or interviewing skills.

Q- How do I find internships?
A- Many students ask how to go about finding an internship. Internships vary in duration, structure, experiences, and skills learned. Therefore, each internship and what is hoped to be gained from the experience is specific to the individual student. L&S Career Services employs an Internship Coordinator who works with students looking for internships. Also watch for events, workshops, and info sessions from various units on campus on how to find or apply for internships.

Q- Where can I find volunteer opportunities related to my career interest?
A- Volunteering is one of the best ways to explore career options and build your resume with relevant experience. At UW-Madison we have a whole office dedicated to service for students, the Morgridge Center. Their website links up with United Way of Dane County which hosts a directory of volunteer opportunities. Students can search this directory by keyword or field to tailor an experience to fit their interests. It’s important to find an opportunity that matches your interests and time commitment available.

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