Degree Requirements: Coursework

Core Courses. The Psychology Department has only four department-wide core courses:


1) Psych 205, Data Analysis.  See Statistics and Methodology, below


2) Psych 292, Introduction to the Profession of Psychology, which gives an overview of ethical issues and a series of faculty speakers, introducing students to faculty research programs and the history of the field (fall semester, first year);


3) Psych 293,Second-Year Seminar on Professional Development, a seminar on various issues in professional development (spring semester, second or third year);


4) Psych 375, Teaching Psychology, which is required prior to or concurrent with the first semester of teaching as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) (offered only in the fall semester and is usually taken by students in their first year).


Statistics and Methodology. The Department requires each student to take two semesters of graduate level statistics. The psychology department offers a broad course in multivariate statistics (currently Psych 205). Statistics and Data Analysis classes are also offered in many departments across campus. Students might find that some of these classes are better at satisfying their specialized needs and second semester requirement.  In addition, the campus offers short courses both in programming and in statistical analyses (e.g.   Most students are thus encouraged to take 205 in the department during their first year and in consultation with their advisor to choose a second statistics course that best fits their need. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the workshops such as those offered by D-Lab and to take a self-pace programming course. 


All students should discuss their plans with their advisor and submit the department’s Department & Area Requirement Exception Request Form to the Graduate Student Services Advisor when taking courses other than 205, and for approval of their second semester requirement, if taking a course other than one offered on the department list of pre-approved course substitutions. If ever a pre-approved course from this list is used to count toward fulfilling a degree requirement, students must notify the Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) at the time of course completion. If the GSAO is not notified, the course cannot be updated in the system to reflect counting towards the degree requirement. 


The form is in bCourses > Psychology Graduate Students > Files > Applications_Forms


Research and Directed Study. Each area requires continu­ous involvement in research through the time in residence. Formal credit is obtained through enrollment in Psychology 299, Research. Also available is Psychology 298, Directed Study. These courses are taken normally as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U), but may be taken for letter grades when there is mutual consent between the student and mentor. The number of units will vary from semester to semester, but when combined with the units from other courses, a full course load should total 12 or more units per semester.  A unique Course Number (CN) for each research lab is required for correct Psychology 299 registration.  CNs are posted each semester in Psychology Graduate Student Resources/Registration & Enrollment.


Colloquia. Each area has a colloquium series in which researchers lead discussions on selected topics in the area of specialization. Each student is required to register for and attend the colloquia in the student’s area each semester in residence. The colloquia course numbers are:

  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience (BSN): (See Note)
  • Cognition (Cog): Psych 229A
  • Cognitive Neuroscience (CN): Psych 229B
  • Clinical Science (CS): Psych 239
  • Developmental (Dev): Psych 249
  • Social-Personality (S/P): Psych 259 and 269

Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience students may fulfill their requirement by attending colloquia in Cog, Cognitive Neuroscience, or Developmental Areas. See the Graduate Student Services Advisor for instructions.


Proseminars. Proseminars are offered either yearly or every other year. They provide the core content necessary for a student to become an effective scholar and researcher in the area of specialization. Each area has different requirements for the number of proseminars that students are expected to complete; see Summary of Area Requirements below. 


Topical Courses and Seminars. Each student with appropriate training is expected to enroll in relevant advanced courses and seminars (e.g., 290B, 290H, 290I, 290J, etc...) in the area of specialization.


Summary of Department and Area Requirements. Below are the departmental requirements followed by each area’s additional requirements for the doctoral program. The bolded entries are requirements for the optional M.A. degree. Clinical Science students should also refer to their area-specific documentation.




Research (299)

Register each semester.

Weekly Colloquia (either 229A-B, 239, 249, or 259 & 269)

Register each semester.

Psych 292 (Intro to the Profession of Psychology)

Fall, Year 1

Psych 375 (Teaching Psychology)

Fall, Year 1 or 2 (preferably 1)

Psych 205 (Data Analysis) or approved equivalent

Year 1 or 2 (preferably 1)

Second semester statistics

Year 1 or 2 (preferably 1)

Psych 293 (Professional Development Seminar)

Spring, Year 2 or 3

Establish Qualifying Examination Committee Spring, Year 2

Second-Year Research Poster

Spring, Year 2

Research Paper

By date of Qualifying Exam

Qualifying Examination

By end of Spring, Year 3

Advance to Doctoral Candidacy

By Fall, Year 4

Dissertation Proposal

By Spring, Year 4

Dissertation Filing

By Spring, Year 5




Psych 210B (Required) 

Student’s Choice

Psych 210A, 230A, 240A&B (Proseminars) – 2 semesters

Student’s Choice

Psych 290 series Topical Seminars – 4 semesters

Student’s Choice


3 Prosems (e.g. 210A,210B, or preapproved prosem sub)

2 by QE date, and all by graduation
Topical Seminars - 3 semesters 1 by QE date, and all by graduation
Oral Presentations

-2nd yr poster (as part of 293)

-3rd yr talk in colloqium or split with another student

-Exit talk 



Psych 210A&B (Required) + 1 Pre-approved Prosem Sub - 3 semesters 

Student’s  Choice

Topical Seminars - 4 semesters

Student’s  Choice
Oral Presentations

20 - 25 minutes, years 3 - 5. Exit talk.



Psych 240A-B (Proseminars)

Year 1 or 2 (or when offered)

Psych 290 series Topical Seminars – 3 semesters

Student’s Choice

Oral Presentations

30-minutes, in years 2 onward.



Psych 260A&B (Proseminars)

Fall and Spring, Year 1 or 2

Topical Seminars – 3 semesters

Student’s Choice

Psych 250D (Methods of Personality Measurement)

Year 1 or 2 (or when offered)



Psych 230A, 230B, 230C, 230D (Proseminar series)

Year 1 & 2

Psych 237H (Introduction to Clinical Methods)

Fall, Year 1

Psych 236, 237E & 237G (Specialty Clinics - to be taken concurrently)

Fall & Spring, Years 2 & 3

Clinical Assessments (review with clinic Associate Director)

Two, between Years 2 & 4




Exceptions to Department and Area Requirements. On occasion exceptions are made to the above course or project requirements. In consultation with the faculty mentor, a student can make requests for exceptions to department and area-specific requirements to the Head Graduate Advisor. To request an exception to a department or area requirement, complete the Department and Area Exception Request Form and submit it to the Graduate Student Services Advisor.


The Department and Area Exception Request Form is in bCourses > Psychology Graduate Students > Files > Applications_Forms


Attending Talks Outside Area of Specialization. Although each area program is designed to train students in a particular area of specialization, it is expected that students will also become familiar with work in other areas of psychology (as well as areas outside of psychology, as needed). Each student is encouraged to enroll in proseminars, courses, colloquia, and seminars offered by other area programs and by other departments. This exposure not only broadens a student’s scope of training but also assists the student in selecting outside faculty members for the Qualifying Examination and dissertation committees. Moreover, the acquisition of additional secondary research emphases greatly increases the student’s chances of finding a rewarding and challenging position at the end of the graduate training.


Additional Area Requirements. Areas may have other requirements such as an oral presentation at a department or inter-campus event.


Academic Progress Report. Students are advised to periodically verify their completed courses and which requirements remain unfulfilled (degree audit) using CalCentral’s > Advising Resources > Academic Progress Report tool.