Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. Behavior is anything an organism does that we can observe and record; examples include smiling, talking, yelling, and marking a questionnaire. Mental processes are internal subjective experiences we infer from behaviors such as thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
While completing their degree at UTPB, psychology majors are expected to gain knowledge about theoretical perspectives and empirical findings across a wide range of topics, understand and apply research methods, develop critical and creative thinking skills, apply psychological principles to a wide range of activities, learn ethical principles that underlie psychological approaches, demonstrate competence with information technology, communicate effectively, understand and respect the complexity of socio-cultural diversity, understand avenues for personal development, and apply psychological principles in various occupations.
Psychology is an extremely broad discipline, and provides students with the opportunity to prepare for a wide variety of careers or for graduate/professional school. For example, a major in Psychology can provide a liberal arts education with a broadened understanding of psychological functioning as it applies to the study of the simplest organisms to the most complex human behaviors. The major in Psychology is also useful for students preparing for advanced study in business administration, education, law, medicine, neuroscience, counseling, education, and social work. In addition, the major in Psychology is recommended for students planning careers in organizational settings (in the public or private domain) focusing on personnel, industrial training, urban planning, information systems, or pure and applied research; or careers in community settings focusing on the juvenile justice system, adult probation and parole, recreation, and educational or clinical services to children, adolescents, the aged, and handicapped.
Students who complete the psychology major often desire to enter professional careers in psychology which require advanced study beyond the bachelor's level, such as clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational, social, cognitive, developmental, and school psychology as well as research and college teaching. Want to learn more about what you can do with a Psychology Degree, or need help deciding if graduate school is the right choice for you? View the Psychology Career Tree and our Powerpoint presentation on Graduate School in Psychology.
Already majoring in Psychology? Join the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the UTPB Chapter of the National Honor Society in Psychology. More information is provided in the students corner.
Below the requirements for the traditional course format (15 week) degree are described. If you are interested in our short format (7 1/2 week courses) online BA degree please click here.
The minimum total credits required for a B.A. in Psychology is 120. Forty-eight of the 120 credits must be upper level (3000-4000).
Sample Degree Plan
General Education (44 credits)
Complete the requirements shown in the General Education Requirements section on pages 51-52 of the undergraduate catalog. Include the following specific courses: Biology (BIOL) 1306 (lecture) with BIOL 116 (lab).
Psychology Major Requirements (36 credits)
Students majoring in Psychology must take a minimum of 36 credits hours in Psychology. The maximum number of hours that can be taken in Psychology is 45. Required courses include Introductory Psychology (PSYC 1301), Introductory Statistics (PSYC 3301), Experimental Psychology (PSYC 3404) with lab, and Senior Seminar in Psychology (PSYC 4393) or Senior Honors Thesis (PSYC 4394). In addition, each student majoring in Psychology is required to take a least one course in five of the following six pairs:
1. Principles of Learning (PSYC 3403) and/or Cognitive Psychology (PSYC 4311)
2. Social Psychology (PSYC 3311) and/or Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PSYC 4306)
3. Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 3321) and/or Tests and Measurements (PSYC 4351)
4. Child/Adolescent Psychology (PSYC 3341) or Lifespan Development (PSYC 3344)
5. History and Systems of Psychology (PSYC 4302) and/or Theories of Personality (PSYC 3322)
6. Physiological Psychology (PSYC 4304) and/or Sensation and Perception (PSYC 4312)
Besides the required courses and pairs, Psychology majors will need an additional 9 credit hours as elective courses in Psychology. Students should pay attention to the prerequisites for enrollment in some courses.
Students majoring in Psychology who plan to apply for graduate school in Psychology should make a plan with their advisor. They are encouraged to select PSYC 3403 and PSYC 4304, PSYC 3311, PSYC 3321, PSYC 3341, and PSYC 3322 from the six pairs above. They should also consider taking Senior Honors Thesis (PSYC 4394) instead of Senior Seminar (PSYC 4393). Students should consult with their faculty advisor for specific planning or additional elective courses in Psychology.
All Psychology majors must demonstrate a basic use of computing through the completion of PSYC 3301 and PSYC 3404.
A minor in Psychology supports students who are interested in broadening their knowledge of behavior and mental processes in our modern world. This can be of great value in business, teaching, government, health, and human service careers.
The total credits required for a minor in Psychology is 18; 12 of the 18 credits must be upper level.
Introductory Psychology (PSYC 1301) is required. However, if prerequisites are met, the student may choose any of the other Psychology courses to fulfill the minor in Psychology.
To meet Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requirements, students seeking certification to teach grades EC-4 or 4-8 must take at least 9 hours of math (may include statistics) at or above college-level algebra and at least 12 hours of science. They should plan accordingly when meeting general education and elective course requirements. Students seeking certification as a 4-8 Generalist must take at least 12 hours of math and 14-16 hours of science. Students certifying to teach 4-8 Math or Science will have additional hours in their respective disciplines.
PSYC 1301. Introduction to Psychology (3)†
Foundation for the understanding of basic psychological principles affecting human behavior (A prerequisite to all other courses in psychology). Fulfills General Education Requirements. F,S,Summer
PSYC 2389. Special Topics (3)
Undergraduate courses which will be offered only once or will be offered infrequently or which are being developed before a regular listing in the catalog.
PSYC 3301. Introductory Statistics (3)
Measures of central tendency, variability, correlation and hypotheses testing, with emphasis on the application of statistical methods to research in the behavioral sciences and education. Prerequisite: must have fulfilled general education mathematics requirement. F,S,Summer
PSYC 3311. Social Psychology (3)
Interrelationships between individuals and their social environment, considering social influences upon motivation, perception, behavior and development, and change of attitudes and opinion. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. F
PSYC 3321. Abnormal Psychology (3)
Variables involved in the development, maintenance and treatment of a variety of behavior disorders. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. FS
PSYC 3322. Theories of Personality (3)
A survey of the theoretical views of Freud, Jung, Rogers, Skinner and various contemporary writers. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 3341. Child/Adolescent Psychology (3)
Developmental aspects of physical, mental, social and emotional growth from prenatal through adolescent periods. Recommended: PSYC 1301. F,S,Summer
PSYC 3344. Lifespan Development (3)
Examination of the theories and research on biological, cognitive, social, emotional and personal factors that affect individuals from infancy through old age. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 3386. Human Sexuality (3)
This course is designed to study the social nature of sexual expression. It examines the concepts that help frame questions about a wide range of sexual behaviors, attitudes and ideals. F
PSYC 3391. Contract Study (3)
Students who are pursuing independent study or research as described in the contract study format. FS
PSYC 3403. Principles of Learning (4)
Major research results of classical and instrumental conditioning in animals and humans. Verbal learning, concept learning, problem solving and memory in humans will also be reviewed. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 3404. Experimental Psychology (4)
Introduction to the planning and execution of psychological research. Prerequisites: PSYC 1301, 3301.FS
PSYC 4302. History and Systems of Psychology (3)
Major factors affecting the development of psychology as science of behavior, with emphasis upon philosophical roots of major psychological concepts. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. F
PSYC 4304. Physiological Psychology (3)
Neurophysiology and neuroanatomy. Variables that contribute to behavioral effects in the areas of sensation, perception, motivation and learning. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 4305. Drugs and Behavior (3)
Pharmacologic basis of psychotropic drugs and their associated abuses. Theories of cause and treatment of abusers are reviewed. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. F,S,Summer
PSYC 4306. Industrial and Organizational Psychology (3)
Applications of psychological principles to industrial problems such as personnel selection and appraisal, employee motivation and satisfaction, and the influence of organizations on behavior. Summer
PSYC 4307. Health Psychology (3)
Examination of the role of behavioral science knowledge and techniques in understanding, assessing, testing and preventing medical-psychological and social problems. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301 or approval of Instructor. F
PSYC 4308. Introduction to Counseling (3)
An introduction to counseling skills and practices in psychology. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 4311. Cognitive Psychology (3)
Research and theories of cognitive processes, including concept learning, problem solving, memory, attention, and language development and maintenance. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. F
PSYC 4312. Sensation and Perception (3)
Study of the structures and functions of the sensory modalities within the environmental context, emphasizing perceptual issues and psychophysics. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301, 3301; BIOL 1406. F
PSYC 4320. Psychology of Sport (3)
Concepts in psychology as applied to an individual’s involvement in sport and other forms of competitive physical activity. Emphasis on motivation, stress management, personality theory, performance enhancement and group dynamics. F
PSYC 4341. The Exceptional Child (3)
This course presents the preservice teacher with a general overview of exceptionalities of children and youth to include characteristics, etiology, and educational programs and practices. Topics will also include historical and legislative events affecting special education and an overview of the special education process including referral, screening, assessment, and educational planning. ExCET/TexES pre-tests may be required. Co/prerequisite: PSYC 3341.
PSYC 4345. Language Development In the Young Child (3)
This course studies the nature of language and the acquisition of language by the young child. Topics included are: (1) language structure, (2) sequence and process of the acquisition of language, (3) cognitive aspects of language acquisition and implementation, (4) social aspects of language in childhood, and (5) language variation. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. F, S
PSYC 4351. Tests and Measurement (3)
Major personality and intelligence tests, emphasis upon their construction, administration, scoring and interpretation. Prerequisites: PSYC 1301, 3301. S
PSYC 4371. Motivation (3)
Theories and experimental research concerning drives, needs and preferences as proposed by scientists studying personality, learning and physiology. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 4375. Psychology and Law (3)
Examines psychological theories relevant to the law and other forensic activities and their use in society. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. S
PSYC 4381. Gender Studies (3)
Survey of critical issues in social relations, mental health, and legal matters involving gender. Includes analysis of innate and environmental determinants of gender differences. Prerequisite: PSYC 1301. F
PSYC 4389. Selected Topics (3)
Undergraduate courses which will be offered only once or will be offered infrequently or which are being developed before a regular listing in the catalog. May be acceptable for graduate credit. FS
PSYC 4393. Senior Seminar In Psychology (3)
For psychology majors only. A capstone course that provides an in-depth examination of a contemporary issue in psychology. Although course topics (i.e., social, clinical, developmental, cognitive, or controversial topics in psychology) and assignment may vary, the course is writing intensive. The seminar format requires that students make regular and substantial contributions to the course, analyze, evaluate, and integrate literature, and justify and design a research study. Students should enroll in Senior Seminar OR Senior Honors Thesis. Both courses are NOT required. Prerequisites: PSYC 1301, 3301, and 3404. FS
PSYC 4394. Senior Honors Thesis (3)
Students interested in graduate studies in psychology, or interested in testing specific research questions, developing hypotheses, designing, collecting, analyzing, and disseminating research under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Students are encouraged to present their work at the annual undergraduate research symposium (proposals due in October, presentations delivered in April), and/or at regional or national conference. Prerequisites: PSYC 3404 and approval of faculty mentor. FS