Psychology as a scientific discipline aims to describe, understand, and predict the behavior of living organisms. In doing so, psychology embraces the many factors that influence behavior - from sensory experience to complex cognition, from the role of genetics to that of social and cultural environments, from the processes that explain behavior in early childhood to those that operate in older ages, and from normal development to pathological conditions. The Psychology Department at Berkeley reflects the diversity of our discipline's mission covering 6 key areas of research: Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience; Clinical Science; Cognition, Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental; and Social-Personality Psychology. Despite the existence of these specialization areas, our program learning goals focus on fostering methodological, statistical and critical thinking skills that are not tied to any one particular content area in psychology but are relevant for all of them.
Most of our program level goals are introduced in Psych 1 (General Psychology), which is the only lower division psychology course that is a prerequisite for the major. These goals are extended and reinforced in a majority of the upper division Tier 2 "core" courses. These include Psychology 101, Research Methods, required of all majors and our Tier 2 courses that survey the major fields of psychology. Our program is designed to ensure that all students gain broad exposure to the field of psychology. In addition, students are encouraged to develop a deeper understanding of at least one major content area in psychology.