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The Psychology Major

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

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Major Requirements

Specialization Tracks

How to Declare

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. Courses taken in spring quarter 2020 will count towards the major with S or CR grades. This exception accommodates the University's policy to only offer courses on a Satisfactory / No Credit basis during the online-only quarter during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Course Requirements

1.  Two introductory courses:

  • Psych 1: Introduction to Psychology
  • Psych 10: Introduction to Statistical Methods, or a comparable Statistics course

2.  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
  • 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

3. One Writing in the Major (WIM) course in Psychology. 2019-2020 WIM courses are PSYCH 164 and PSYCH 175.

4. Elective Requirements:

The remaining unit requirements can be fulfilled through elective PSYCH courses. There are also four cognate courses from other departments that count as PSYCH courses, not outside units. These courses are: BIO 150, PEDS 106, 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, 197, 198), independent study (PSYCH 194), and practica (PSYCH 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:

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.

Specialization Tracks

Psychology majors, including those in the Honors Program, may elect to specialize in one of four tracks. Specialization tracks consist of a coherent set of courses leading to advanced undergraduate or even graduate level courses in an area, which could facilitate the student's preparation for graduate work in psychology or a related field, or for professional training in law, medicine, business, or counseling. 

Specialization in a track is optional, although students who do not wish to complete all the requirements for a specialization track may still want to use the track as a guideline for an integrated program in psychology. Students may officially only complete one track. The specialization track appears on the student's transcript but does not appear on the student's diploma. All tracks have designated faculty advisors and must be declared on Axess. 

The four specialization tracks are:

  1. Cognitive Sciences
  2. Health and Development
  3. Mind, Culture, and Society
  4. Neuroscience

How to Declare

Declare a Major in Psychology