of the Curriculum
The mission of the B.A. programs in the Dept. of Psychology is to offer students a balanced curriculum in psychological science, including research methods, perception, cognition, neuroscience, developmental, social, personality, and clinical areas. The curriculum prepares majors for graduate education in these fields and provides a relevant background for medicine, law, business, social work, and education. The department offers an honors program for outstanding students and encourages all majors to participate in advanced seminars and supervised research.
Psychology course offerings are designed to meet the needs and interests of a wide variety of students, from those wishing to explore a few topics in psychology or to fulfill the science requirement, to those interested in majoring in psychology or in neuroscience and behavior. Our Program Goals start with the development of a solid knowledge base in psychological science. Consistent with the value psychology places on empirical evidence, courses at every level of the curriculum nurture the development of skills in research methods, quantitative literacy, and critical thinking, and foster respect for the ethical values that undergird the science of psychology.
Most of these Program Goals are introduced in The Science of Psychology (W1001), which is the recommended first psychology course, is required for all majors, and satisfies the prerequisite for most 2000-level courses. These goals are extended and reinforced in our statistics (W1610) and research methods (1400s) laboratory courses, as well as in the 2000-level lecture courses and 3000- and 4000-level seminars. Each of the lecture courses at the 2000 level provides students with the opportunity to study systematically, and in greater depth, one of the content areas introduced in W1001. These lecture courses are the principal means by which psychology majors satisfy the distribution requirements, insuring not only depth but also breadth of coverage across three central areas of psychology: (1) sensation/perception/cognition, (2) behavioral neuroscience, and (3) social/personality/abnormal. To complete the major, students take one or more advanced seminars and are encouraged to participate in supervised research courses, where they have the opportunity to explore research questions in depth and further develop their written and oral communication skills.
Many opportunities exist
for becoming involved in research projects in the
Department of Psychology. All
qualified students are welcome. Students may volunteer
to work in a laboratory, register for supervised individual
research (W3950), or participate in the Department's
two-year Honors Program. Information on
faculty research is available on the Department's
web site. You are invited to read about the research laboratories on
faculty web pages and go to the professor's office hours to discuss potential research opportunities.
At the beginning of the Fall term, the department also hosts a lab-preview event for students to learn about research opportunities for the upcoming year.
Majors and concentrators
in psychology, and majors in neuroscience and behavior,
should begin planning a program
of study as early as possible. All necessary forms and information
are available outside 406 Schermerhorn or online: Undergraduate InfoPack. You should complete a Major Requirement Checklist before consulting a program adviser; seniors are required to submit a checklist prior to the start of their final semester.
Please see the Program
Planning Tips page for more suggestions regarding
MAJOR ADVISORS AND
DIRECTOR OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES,
UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS, AND LABORATORIES
Contact a Faculty Advisor when you wish to have one-on-one time with a psychology professor to discuss things such as the field of psychology, career opportunities and graduate study, course offerings or research opportunities in the Department of Psychology. Faculty Advisors can provide guidance in planning your academic program, but they are generally not prepared to discuss the fine points of major requirements, exceptions to requirements, or other administrative aspects of your degree. For the full list of Faculty Advisors, please visit the FACULTY ADVISORS WEBPAGE.
Contact a Program Advisor when you have questions regarding degree requirements,
transfer credit, or other administrative aspects of your degree. Bring a completed Major Requirement Checklist to every meeting with your advisor.
Program Advisors for the Psychology Major and Concentration
|Prof. Patricia Lindemann
|Prof. Betsy Sparrow
|Prof. Dean Mobbs
Program Advisors for the Neuroscience and Behavior Major
|Prof. Carl Hart
|Prof. Donald Hood
|Prof. Jian Yang
|Prof. Debby Mowshowitz
Program Advisor for the Psychology Post-Bac and Second Major Programs
Contact the Pre-Clinical Advisor if you would like advising concerning planning a career in psychological treatment and counseling. In particular, the Pre-Clinical Advisor can provide insight and answer questions regarding applying to graduate school in clinical psychology.
Peer Advisors are undergraduate students who are majoring in Psychology or in Neuroscience and Behavior and who have volunteered their time and energy to be an additional resource for psychology students. For a full list of the Peer Advisors and more information on the Peer Advising Network, please visit the PEER ADVISORS WEBPAGE.
UNDERGRADUATE CURRICULUM ASSISTANT
The Undergraduate Curriculum Assistant (UCA) is available if you need any assistance with the administrative aspects of your degree. The UCA can address questions concerning transfer credits, science requirement fulfillment, major/concentration requirements, and other administrative matters.
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to Course Numbers
Course numbers reflect the
structure of the psychology curriculum. The 1000 level
contains introductions to psychology, introductory laboratory
courses, and statistics. W1001 (The Science of
Psychology) and W1010 (Mind, Brain, and Behavior)
are introductory courses with no prerequisite. Either
one can serve as the prerequisite for most of our 2000-level
courses. However, most students will find it advantageous to take PSYC W1001 first. The 2000 level contains lecture courses that
are introductions to areas within psychology; most require PSYC W1001 or W1010 as a prerequisite. The 3000 level contains
more advanced and specialized undergraduate courses; most are given in seminar format and require instructor permission. The 3900s
are the courses providing research opportunities for
undergraduates. The 4000 level contains advanced seminars
suitable both for advanced undergraduates and graduate
Subcategories within the 2000, 3000, and 4000 levels
correspond to the three groups in our
Distribution Requirement for undergraduate psychology
(1) Perception and Cognition (2200s, 3200s,
(2) Psychobiology and Neuroscience (2400s,
3400s, and 4400s), and
(3) Social, Personality, and
Abnormal (2600s, 3600s, and 4600s).
Note that Barnard psychology courses do not follow the same numbering scheme.
PSYC W1001 The Science of Psychology, W1010 Mind, Brain, and Behavior, and any course numbered in the W2200s
or W2400s may be used to fulfill the science requirement.
W2600-level and some other psychology courses (including BC1001 Introduction to psychology) may not
be used to fulfill the science requirement. For psychology
courses that may be applied toward the science requirement,
refer to the core requirements section of your College
or General Studies Bulletin, and see the "Sci" column in the Table
of all Courses.
Thirty or more points
are needed to complete the major. The program must
The Psychology Major
- The Introductory
Psychology Course (W1001
The Science of Psychology)
- One Statistics
Course chosen from among the following:
- PSYC W1610 Introductory statistics for behavioral scientists (recommended)
- STAT W1001 Introduction to statistical reasoning
- STAT W1111 Introduction to statistics (without calculus)
- STAT W1211 Introduction to statistics (with calculus)
- One Laboratory
Course chosen from among the following:
- W1420 Experimental psychology: human behavior
- W1450 Experimental psychology: social cognition and emotion
- W1455 Experimental psychology: social and personality
- W1480 Experimental psychology: perception and attention
Majors are strongly advised to complete the statistics and laboratory requirements, in that order, by the fall term of their junior year. Students are advised to verify the specific prerequisites for laboratory courses, most of which require prior completion of a statistics course.
meeting the Distribution Requirement.
In addition to the introductory, statistics, and laboratory courses described above, one course (3 pts. or greater) must be taken from each of the following three groups.
I - Perception and Cognition: Courses
numbered in the 2200s, 3200s, or
4200s. Also W1420 or W1480.
II - Psychobiology and Neuroscience:
Courses numbered in the 2400s, 3400s,
or 4400s. Also W1010.
III - Social, Personality and Abnormal:
Courses numbered in the 2600s, 3600s,
or 4600s. Also W1450 or W1455.
One Course meeting the Seminar Requirement.
For students entering Columbia in Fall 2013 or later, one seminar course, numbered in the 3000s or 4000s, must be taken for 3 or more points. Seminars are usually taken in the senior year as a culmination of the major program. Seminar courses require permission of the instructor; students are advised to contact instructors one month prior to registration to obtain permission to register. Note that Honors and Supervised individual research courses (PSYC W3920 and W3950) are not seminar courses and will not meet the seminar requirement.
Additional Courses ("electives") for a total of 30 points.
As described below, these may include research courses, transfer courses, and Barnard psychology courses not approved for specific requirements.
No course may be counted twice in fulfillment of the above major requirements, with the following exception: a seminar course may fulfill both the seminar requirement and a group requirement if it meets the criteria for both.
Grades: A grade
of C-, or higher, must be earned and revealed on your transcript in any Columbia or
Barnard course-- including the first-- that is used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements.
The grade of P will not be accepted for psychology major, psychology concentration, or neuroscience and behavior major credit. Courses taken on a Pass/D/Fail basis may not be used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements unless the grade of P is uncovered by the Registrar's deadline. Courses taken on Pass/Fall basis may not be used to satisfy the major or concentration requirements under any circumstances.
Research credits: No more than 4 points of Supervised individual research (PSYC W3950) may be taken in any one term, and no more than 8 points total of research and field work courses (PSYC W3950, BC3466, BC3473, BC3592 and BC3599) may be applied toward the major. (See below for further restrictions on applying Barnard courses toward the psychology major.)
No more than 9 points from Barnard psychology courses may be applied as credit toward the major. The table of approved Barnard psychology courses indicates which courses have been approved for specific requirements of the psychology major. Courses not on the approved list may only be applied toward a specific requirement with prior written approval from a program adviser. Courses not on the approved list for a specific requirement may be applied as elective credit toward the 30 points for the major.
No more than 9 transfer credits (including any Barnard
credits) will be accepted toward the psychology major.
Approval of transfer credits on
a student's Entrance Credit Report toward general
requirements for the bachelor's degree does not
grant approval of these credits toward the psychology
of transfer credits to fulfill psychology requirements
must be obtained in writing from a psychology
program advisor using the Major Requirement Substitution Form. To be approved for the major
a course taken at another institution should be substantially
similar to one offered by the department and the grade
received must be B- or better. With the exception of
approved Barnard courses, students should consult their Program
Advisor before registering for psychology courses
offered outside the department.
Students who have completed an
introductory psychology course at another institution
prior to declaring a psychology major should consult
a Program Advisor to verify whether or not this course meets departmental standards for major transfer credit. If transfer credit toward the major is not approved, the student must enroll in PSYC W1001 or PSYC BC1001 to complete this major requirement. Note that College Board Advanced Placement (AP) psychology scores
will not satisfy the PSYC W1001 requirement, nor will they confer elective credit
toward the major.
Students will not receive credit for two courses--one
at Columbia and one at Barnard--whose content largely
overlaps (e.g., PSYC BC1001--Introduction to Psychology
and W1001--The Science of Psychology or PSYC
BC1138--Social Psychology and W2630--Social
Psychology). Please refer to the table of Overlapping Courses for a partial list of courses known to overlap.
In planning your Psychology
Major, please refer to the Program
Planning Tips page and use the appropriate Major Requirement Checklist from the Undergraduate
The Psychology Concentration
A concentration in psychology
requires a minimum of 18 points, including The Science of Psychology (PSYC W1001) and courses in at least two of the
three groups listed under Distribution Requirements above. Restrictions on research credits, Barnard credits, and transfer
credits are modified from those of the major as follows:
(1) only 4 points total from PSYC W3950, BC3466, BC3473, BC3592 and BC3599, (2) only 5 points
from Barnard (including PSYC BC1001), and (3) only
5 points total (including any Barnard points) from
psychology courses taken outside the department may
be applied toward the concentration. Except as noted
above, other regulations outlined in the Psychology
Major section regarding grades, transfer credits,
and overlapping courses also apply toward the concentration.
In planning your Psychology
Concentration, please refer to the Program
Planning Tips page and use the appropriate Major Requirement Checklist from the Undergraduate
The Neuroscience & Behavior Major
of Psychology and the
Department of Biological Sciences co-sponsor a combined
major in neuroscience and behavior.
Psychology (CC & GS)
In addition to one year of general chemistry (or the high school equivalent), ten courses are required to complete the major, five from the Department of Biological Sciences and five from the Department of Psychology.
- B.1. Biology
- Intro. Bio I: Biochemistry, Genetics, and Molecular Biology
- B.2. Biology C2006 - Intro. Bio II: Cell Biology, Development, and Physiology
- B.3. Biology W3004 - Neurobio I: Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
- B.4. Biology W3005 - Neurobio II: Development and Systems
- B.5. One additional
3000 or 4000 level biology course from a list approved
by the Biology Department advisor to the major.
C3501 - Biochemistry: Structure and Metabolism
C3512 - Molecular Biology
W3002 - Intro to Animal Structure and Function
W3004 - Neurobiology I: Cellular & Molecular Neurobiology or
W3005 - Neurobiology II: Development & Systems
W3006 - Physiology
C3032 or W3031 - Genetics
C3799 - Readings Molecular Biology of Cancer
W3034 - Biotechnology
W3022 - Developmental Biology
W3041 - Cell Biology
W3073 - Immunology
W3208 - Intro to Evolutionary Biology
W3990 - Readings in Cell Biology
W4011 - Neural Syst: Circuits in the Brain
W4200 - Biotechnology: Biopharmaceutical Dev & Reg
W4300 - Drugs and Disease
W4400 - Biological Networks
W4510 - (CHBC) Molecular Systems Biology I
G4008 - Advanced Seminar in Neurobiology
G4044 - Advanced Topics in Cell Biology
G4095 - Chemical Genomics
G4260 - Proteomics Lab
G4305 - Seminar in Biotechnology
G4600 - Signal Transduction
G6002 (sec 2) - Protein Thermodynamics (counts as 1/2 course)
Every effort is made to keep this list up to date. However, last minute changes do occur. See recent changes for new course updates.
Note: SCNC & HPSC courses do not count towards the Major even if listed under Biology courses on Bio web site.
- P. 1. The Science of Psychology:
- P. 2. A Neuroscience Intro course:
3. A Reseach Methods or Statistics course:
- W1610* or S1610* Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Scientists
- STAT 1111*
or STAT 1211*
- W1420 * or S1420* Exp. Psych.: Human Behavior or
- W1440 - Exp. Psych.: Learning & Motivation or
* Exp. Psych.: Social Cognition and Emotion
or S1480 Exp. Psych.: Perception & Attention or
- W1490 - Exp. Psych.: Thinking & Decision Making
P. 4. One additional
2000- or 3000-level psychology lecture course
from a list approved by the Psychology Departmental
Advisor to the program:
- Cognition: Basic Processes
- W2215 - Cognition: Mind & Brain
- W2220 * Cognition: Memory & Stress
- W2225 * Attention & Perception
W2230 - Perception & Sensory Processes
W2235 or S2235* Thinking and Decision Making
W2240 - Human Communication
W2250 * Evolution of Cognition
W2280 * or S2280* Intro to Developmental Psychology
W2420 - Animal Behavior
- W2440 * Language and the Brain
- W2450 * or S2450* Behavioral Neuroscience
W2460 * Drugs and Behavior
* Developing Brain
W2620 * or S2620* Abnormal Behavior
- W3615 - Children at Risk (Lecture)
- P. 5. One advanced
psychology seminar from a list approved by the Psychology
Department Advisor to the program:
- W3225 - The Wandering Mind: Psychological Approaches to Distraction
- W3250*/G4230* Seminar in Space Perception / Sensation and
W3255*/G4255* Modern Classics in Visual Percept., Vis. Science,
and Vis Neuroscience
- Auditory Perception
* Computational Approaches to Human Vision
W3280 - Seminar in Infant Development
- S3285 - The Psychology of Disaster Preparedness
- W3290 * The Self: A Cognitive Exploration
- G4215 - Memory Representations
- G4220 - Cognition and Psychopathology
- G4222 * The Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging
- G4223 * Memory and Executive Function Thru the Lifespan
- G4225 * Consciousness and Attention
- G4227 - Philosophical and Empirical Issues of Consciousness
- G4232 - Production and Perception of Language
- G4233 - Language and Music (MUSI-PSYC)
- G4235 * Special Topics in Vision
- G4240 - Theory of Mind and Intentionality
- G4255 - Modern Classics in Visual Perception, Visual Science, and Visual Neuroscience
- G4270 * Cognitive Processes
- G4275 * Contemporary Topics in Language & Communication
- G4280 - Core Knowledge
- W3410 - or S3410*
Seminar in Emotion
- W3435 - Neurobiology of Reproductive
W3440 - Issues in Brain and Behavior
W3450*/G4450* Evolution of Intelligence
W3460 - Evolution of Behavior
- W3470 - Brain Evolution: Becoming Human
W3480 - Seminar in Cognitive Neuropsychology
W3485 - Neuroscience of Cognitive
and Emotional Control
- G4410 - Human Psychophysiology
- G4415 - Methods and Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience
- G4420 - Animal Cognition Seminar
- G4430 * Learning and the Brain
- G4440 * Topics in Neurobiology and Behavior
- G4460 * Cognitive Neuroscience and the Media
- G4470 * Psychology & Neuropsychology of Language
- G4475 * Neurobiology of Social Behavior
- G4485 * Affective Neuroscience
- G4490 - Inheritance
G4492 - Psychobiology of Stress
- G4495 - Ethics, Genetics and the Brain
- G4498 - Behavioral Epigenetics
- G4499 - Behavioral Psychopharmacology
- Children at Risk (seminar)
- Seminar in Developmental Psychopathology
- W3625 * or S3625* Clinical Neuropsychology
W3680*/G4685* Social Cognitive Neuroscience
- G4635 * The Unconscious Mind
- G4690 - Soc. Factors & Psychopathology
Offered in 2013-14
Click on a course number to see course description, prerequisites, term, and time offered. Syllabus links are provided for most courses. Also see the Table of All Courses and the Psychology Information Packet. For assistance in planning the psychology portion of your Neuroscience and Behavior Major, please refer to the Program Planning Tips page and use the appropriate Major Requirement Checklist from the Undergraduate InfoPack.
NOTE: No course may be counted twice in fulfillment of the above biology or psychology requirements. A grade of C-, or higher, must be earned and revealed on your transcript for any Columbia or Barnard course --including the first-- that is used to satisfy the major requirements. The grade of P will not be accepted for neurosciene and behavior credit; the P must be uncovered by the Registrar's deadline for the course to be applicable toward the major requirements.
Exceptions to Biology Requirements. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by a Biology Advisor and you must receive an email notification of that approval. Students may substitute Barnard College courses only with prior permission from an Advisor.
Transfer Credit for Psychology Courses taken elsewhere. Students should consult a psychology advisor before registering for psychology courses offered outside the department. With the advisorís approval, one, and only one, course from another institution, including Barnard, may be applied toward the psychology portion of the neuroscience and behavior major. Students who wish to obtain credit for a course taken at Barnard or at another institution should complete the Major Requirement Substitution Form. To be approved for the major, the course should be substantially similar to one offered by this department and approved for this major, and the grade received must be a C- or better if from Barnard, or B- or better if from another institution. Advanced placement (AP) psychology scores will not satisfy the PSYC W1001 requirement.
Most graduate programs in Neuroscience require one year of calculus, one year of physics, and chemistry through organic.
Revised June 12, 2013
All students attempting
to complete double majors, double concentrations,
or a combination of a major and a concentration must complete separate sets
of required and related courses for each field. A
single course may not be counted twice. Please consult
with one of the Directors of Undergraduate Studies
or Program Advisors if you
have questions. Statistics courses are special cases; see an explanation and examples of how to deal with them.
Evening and Summer Courses
The department normally
offers at least one lab course (currently PSYC
W1420 and W1450) in the late afternoon with evening labs. A number of
other courses are occasionally offered in late afternoon
and evening hours. No more than one quarter of the courses
required for the major are normally available in the
evening. Working students may find the wide variety
of early morning (8:40 a.m.) classes, as well as Summer
Session offerings, helpful in completing degree
Any "S" course offered by the Psychology Dept. in
the Summer Session is applicable toward the same degree
requirement(s) as a "W" course of that same number
offered during the academic year. (For instance, S1001D
meets the same requirements as W1001X or W1001Y.)
To see what requirements each course may be applied
toward, please see the last three columns in the Table
The department offers a two-year
Honors Program, designed for
a limited number of juniors and seniors interested in
participating in research. Beginning in the first term
of their junior year and continuing through senior year, students take the Honors
W3910) and simultaneously participate in an
Honors Research Course (Psychology
W3920) under the supervision of
a member of the department. Students make a formal
presentation and complete an honors essay based on this
research toward the end of the senior year. To qualify
for honors, students must take a total of 6 points beyond
the number required for their major, and satisfy all
other requirements for the major. The additional 6 points
may include the Honors Seminar and Research courses; up to 12 points of credit from W3920 and W3950 will be accepted toward the major.
Interested students should apply at the end of their
sophomore year by completing the application
available on the web and turning it in to the department
office by the deadline.
For additional information, see the
Department of Psychology Honors Program
for Admission to Graduate Programs in Psychology
Most graduate programs in
psychology, including those in clinical psychology,
require an undergraduate course in introductory psychology
W1001), a course in statistics (PSYC W1610 or STAT W1001, W1111, or W1211), and a laboratory course in experimental
W1420, W1450, W1455,
Students should also take a variety of more advanced
undergraduate courses and seminars, and participate
in supervised individual research (PSYC W3950).
Students interested in clinical psychology should
obtain experience working in a community service program, in addition to supervised
research experience. Consult the department's pre-clinical
advisor, Prof. E'mett McCaskill, and attend the department's pre-clinical advising events for more information. Prof. McCaskill is available by e-mail appointment. A handout on
preparing for a career in clinical psychology
is available on the web and in the department office.
Undergraduate courses in clinical psychology (e.g.,
are available in the department.
For additional web-based resources, be sure to consult "How to Get In:
Your guide to applying to graduate schools in psychology." Also see "Applying to Grad School" in the Postbac Psychology Program web site.
Information & Updates