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The courses required for the certificate program are very similar to those required for all Psychology majors. They are designed to provide you with a relatively broad undergraduate-level education in Psychology. Most students complete all coursework within 1-2 years, though some students opt to complete the program over a longer period of time. A typical student entering in the Fall, will complete most if not all of their coursework by Fall of the following year. Students can then apply to graduate school programs beginning in the subsequent Fall. Students preparing for Masters level programs are often able to apply to graduate schools in the winter of the year they begin the program to begin the following Fall. Many students follow longer time schedules.

As you look at our course offerings, be aware that many courses have pre-requisites and not all courses are offered every year. Careful planning can ensure that you are able to take all the courses that you need and want before entering graduate school.

Course schedules are tailored to the needs of the student with the goal of developing the schedule that best meets your interests and needs for applying to graduate school. Students with specific interests will find advisement that will enable them to meet their curricular goals. To earn the certificate, keep in mind the following guidelines regarding the required coursework.
  • Requirement #1. Science of Psychology: W1001. This introductory psychology course is usually taken during the first semester of the program, unless the student has acceptable transfer credit . Although many upper-division (3000-4000 level) courses have W1001 as a pre-requisite, it can be taken concurrently with many 1000-level and some 2000-level courses. It is usually offered in Fall, Spring and Summer I sessions.
  • Requirement #2. Research Methods. This course can be taken at any point during the program, although it is advisable to take it before applying to graduate school . Some students find that it is best to take statistics (Requirement #3) prior to taking the lab course. Because both statistics and the lab course involve more assignments than the average lower-division course, some students prefer not to take both in a single semester.
  • Requirement #3. Statistics. This course can be taken either in the Statistics department (W1001, W1111, W1112) or in the Psychology Department (W1610). It is preferable to take the Psychology course W1610 if it is being offered. It should be taken earlier in the program, rather than later, preferably prior to the research methods course. Statistics should be taken by all postbac students before applying to graduate school .
  • Requirement #4-6. Distribution Group I-III. You can meet these requirements with courses at any level (1000-4000 level). Generally, first you should take the course in the group which corresponds to your area of greatest interest and leave the group that is of less interest for later. Taking a lower-division course in your area of interest early will allow you to advance to upper-division seminars more quickly. If you have already taken a lower-division course in one or more of these areas at your undergraduate institution, you might want to consider taking an upper-division course to fulfill the requirement.
  • Requirement #7. Advanced Seminar. You will need to take at least one advanced (3000-4000 level) seminar. Because these courses often have pre-requisites, they are almost always taken after the first semester. You should choose the seminar that most closely matches your proposed area of graduate study. If you can, take more than one seminar. Besides providing you with more in-depth information on a topic, they most closely represent the type of class interaction that you will experience in graduate school. They also give you more personal interaction with a professor. Most professors are much more amenable to giving letters of recommendation to students in their seminars than in their large lecture courses.
  • Requirement #8. Independent Supervised Research. You must be involved in at least 2 semesters of independent supervised research. One semester must be taken for credit (W3950). The other can be done on a volunteer basis. You should have at least 1 semester of research experience before applying to graduate school and "the more the better." Generally, students are encouraged to get involved in a research lab as early as possible. Students typically begin volunteering in a research lab 6-10 hours per week sometime in their first semester and then register for W3950 in their second semester. See Research Experience for more information on this requirement.
  • Postbac students need to complete a total of 28 points and fulfill these 8 requirements in order to earn the certificate. Up to 3 courses (9 points) from another institution can be applied towards these requirements with the permission of the postbac program advisor. 

Last modified: Jun 9, 2011 9:52:04 AM EDT