Welcome to Psychology!
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.
We have put together a series of short videos to help you get oriented to the Psychology major and how to plan your academic career here at UC Berkeley. Each short video has different information that will be helpful as you plan out your coursework and co-curricular opportunities. You are welcome to skip around and watch the videos that best address your current situation and interests. Better yet, why not watch them all?
For specific major requirements please see this page for an overview of all the academic requirements to the psychology major including prerequisites and upper division coursework. Want to talk to an advisor? We love meeting new and prospective students. Check out our advising page for more information!
Video courtesy of Psych SSO
Frequently Asked Questions:
When do transfer students have to declare the major?
For guaranteed admissions into the major we require that students apply to declare after final grades come out for all 8 prerequisites during their first semester at Berkeley.
As a transfer, is it OK to take prerequisites during my first semester?
Absolutely! Students can apply to the major at the end of their first semester if they are wrapping up prerequisites. Our rule of thumb is students must submit apply to declare after all grades are posted on CalCentral, and prior to the beginning of their second semester. This allows the students one semester to complete all necessary prerequisites, which includes Psych 101. However, we HIGHLY recommend you finish as many prerequisites before coming to Cal, so you can start right off the bat taking upper div psychology classes.
Can I take a lower-division course even though I am a transfer student?
Yes, you can. You have room to take lower-division courses. In order to graduate, you need a total of 120 units, and your transfer courses (up to 70 units) meet this requirement. 36 units of this 120 units must be upper-division (100-199). The rest of the unit requirement can be fulfilled by either upper-division or lower-division courses.
What is a cross-listed course? (For example: Psych C126 and CogSci C126)
A cross-listed course is a course that is sponsored by at least two departments. It is indicated by the "C" prefix before the course number, and the course numbers may be different. They meet at the same time and cover the same content. Cross-listed courses fulfill your major requirements if taken in the other sponsoring department. For example, Psych students enrolling CogSci C126 will fulfill their Tier II Cognitive & Development area for the major. However, the course will NOT count towards the L&S requirement (6 units of upper division) as outside of the Psychology department.
How many courses should I take during my first semester?
We never recommend that students take more than two to three psychology required courses per semester. This applies to both freshman and transfer students. We encourage students to give themselves time to adjust and build their community here at Cal. To meet the 13 unit requirement, we recommend that students partake in research, enjoy a DeCal course, or other courses they find interesting. If the semester gets busy, students have the option in taking these courses as PNP to allocate their time towards their major requirements.
For transfer students, in order to qualify for the guaranteed admission, Psych 101 and any remaining prerequisites must be in your first semester schedule. Depending on the number of prerequisites left, we encourage that transfer students take up to two upper-division courses.
For tips on how to build your first semester schedule, please email us at email@example.com or book an appointment with an advisor.
Do I have to fulfill my American Cultures requirement?
The university requires the completion of an American Cultures (AC) course before graduation. It may be completed by courses with an "AC" suffix after the course number. Some community colleges offer courses fulfilling this criteria. Please see a college adviser if you have fulfilled this requirement by visiting the LS virtual front desk.
The Psychology Department offers two AC courses: Psych 166AC (Cultural Psychology) and Psych 167AC (Stigma and Prejudice). These will fulfill your AC requirement as well as either Tier II Social/Personality or Tier III Elective requirement unless taken as PNP basis.
For more information on the major and how to enhance your experience in our department, please refer to our Psychology Major Map! This tool is designed for anyone to access including prospective freshmen and transfers as well as our current students.