The Psychology Major at Stanford provides flexibility for students pursuing interests in various fields.

Major Requirements

All students declaring a major in Psychology must complete a minimum of 70 units of course work in Psychology, 60 of which must be taken in the Department of Psychology. The remaining 10 units can be taken outside of the Department but must be pre-approved by your faculty advisor or petitioned through Student Services.

All courses taken towards the 70-unit requirement must be taken for a letter grade of C- or better, except for courses offered only on a S/NC (Satisfactory/No Credit) basis. Students who are double majoring or completing a minor degree in another department may not overlap (double-count) courses, unless the overlapping courses constitute introductory skill requirements, such as PSYCH 10.

Course Requirements

Two introductory courses:
  • Psych 1: Introduction to Psychology
  • Psych 10: Introduction to Statistical Methods, or a comparable Statistics course
Five of the following Core Courses, with a minimum of two from each area A and B:

Area A Courses:

  • Psych 30: Introduction to Perception
  • Psych 35: Minds and Machines (enrollment in any crosslisting count towards the major)
  • Psych 45: Introduction to Learning and Memory
  • Psych 50: Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience

Area B Courses:

  • Psych 60: Introduction to Developmental Psychology
  • Psych 70: Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Psych 75: Introduction to Cultural Psychology
  • Psych 80: Introduction to Personality and Affective Science
  • Psych 90: Introduction to Clinical Psychology
  • Psych 95: Introduction to Abnormal Psychology

The syllabi for these courses can be found on the Stanford Syllabus website.

One Writing in the Major (WIM) course:

Academic Year 2023-2024 WIM courses: PSYCH 138, PSYCH 144, PSYCH 164, PSYCH 175 and PSYCH 180

(Academic Year 2022-2023 WIM courses: PSYCH 144, PSYCH 175 and PSYCH 180)

(Academic Year 2021-2022 WIM courses: PSYCH 138, PSYCH 150, PSYCH 164, PSYCH 175 and PSYCH 180)

(Academic Year 2020-2021 WIM courses: PSYCH 138, PSYCH 150, PSYCH 164, and PSYCH 180)

Elective Requirements:

The remaining unit requirements can be fulfilled through elective PSYCH courses. An elective Psychology course is any PSYCH course (excluding  independent study, research and practicum). There are also three cognate courses from other departments that count as PSYCH courses, not outside units. These courses are: BIO 150, PSYC 135, and PSYC 139 (all other PSYC courses count as outside units). Students may count up to 10 units of psychology research (PSYCH 195 and 198), independent study (PSYCH 194), and teaching practica (PSYCH 182 and 281) toward the Psychology major. Students who are teaching assistants for a Psychology course or who are enrolled in the senior Honors Program are allowed up to 15 units in independent study and research. Any units beyond these limits may be counted toward the 180 units required for graduation. 

Please Note:

With the exception of Summer 2021, Summer Quarter Psychology courses are not equivalent to courses given during the regular academic year and, while applicable toward the 70 units needed for the major, may not be used to fulfill the Introductory or Core Courses requirement. Additionally, a course taken during the Summer Quarter cannot be used to replace the grade of a non-Summer Quarter course, even if the title and units of the two courses are the same.

Stanford's Psychology One is designed for students who may major or minor in Psychology and has also been carefully crafted to serve as an important contribution to any liberal arts education. For this reason, the Department does not accept AP credit towards the major or minor requirements.

Answers to questions about major requirements can be found in Frequently Asked Questions.


Pathways are for students to use as a resource and advising tool within the major. While these pathways are not declared in Axess, they are meant to give students a list of available classes to take in a certain area if they choose as they progress through the major.

Cognitive Science Pathway

Early Childhood Cognition, Learning, and Development Pathway

Health Psychology Pathway

Judgment and Decision-Making Pathway

Mind, Culture, and Society Pathway

Neuroscience Pathway


Declare a Major in Psychology

COVID-19 policies and info for academic year 2020-2021:

  • Courses taken with a grade of 'CR' (credit) or 'S' (satisfactory) will count towards satisfaction of major requirements that otherwise require a letter grade.
  • Summer quarter courses can be taken to fulfill Introductory and Core requirements for the major.
  • If you have questions about academic participation during the four quarter year, please refer to this resource from the Registrar.