Psychology Major Requirements

(Also see Requirements for a Bachelor's Degree.)

The courses in Psychological and Brain Sciences have four purposes:

  1. to acquaint all interested students with a sampling of topics through a variety of introductory and advanced courses;
  2. to prepare majors for graduate work in psychology and related disciplines through a program that meets the admission requirements of the outstanding graduate departments in the United States;
  3. to offer a distribution of foundational courses in psychology as well as advanced studies representing areas in the social, behavioral, and brain sciences; and
  4. to provide an honors track designed for exceptional students who want training beyond that provided by the standard undergraduate curriculum.

General Requirement

All classes taken for the major (including those for NQE credit) must be taken for a grade and be completed with a C- or better.

Specific Requirements

  • Intro Level Course Requirement: Three 100-level psychology courses. These are typically taken during Year 1 and Year 2.
  • Experimental Methods, Design & Analysis: AS.200.200 Research Methods in Psychology and AS.200.201 Design & Statistical Analysis for Psychology should be taken as a  two-course sequence in Fall and Spring of Year 2. 
  • Upper Level Course Requirement: Five upper level psychology courses (200- or 300-level), three of which must be at the 300-level. These are typically dispersed through Years 2-4.
  • Small Group Experience: 3 credits of either research, internship, independent study or an additional 300-level psychology course with an enrollment cap of 19 students or less. Students who are interested in graduate work in psychology are encouraged to get involved in research/internship activity starting in Year 2 and to continue throughout their time at Hopkins.
  • 9 NQE Credits: Students must complete 9 additional NQE credits using courses not taught within the psychology department (AS.200.XXX) and not counting otherwise toward the psychology major. 

Please note that not all courses offered by the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (AS.200.XXX) will fulfill the requirements of the Psychology major/minor (ex. AS.200.220 Health Studies: Application of Abnormal Psychology to Forensic Cases). Consult with Academic Advising and your psychology major advisor to ensure appropriate progress toward degree completion.

Required Courses Outside the Department

Nine credits of additional N, Q, or E courses 19

Required Courses Within the Department

AS.200.200Research Methods in Psychology4
AS.200.201Design & Statistical Analysis for Psychology4
Select three of the following:9
Introduction To Psychology
Introduction to Cognitive Psychology
Introduction to Developmental Psychology
Introduction to Social Psychology
Foundations of Brain, Behavior and Cognition
Research, internship, independent study, or a designated seminar course 13
Five additional psychology courses distributed as follows: 215
Two additional courses at the 200-400 level
Three additional courses at the 300-400 level
Total Credits35

Sample Program of Study

First Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
Required 100-level Psychology course3Two Required 100-level Psychology course6
NQE elective required for major3 
 6 6
Second Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
200- through 400-level Psychology course3200- through 400-level Psychology course3
 7 7
Third Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
300- through 400-level Psychology course3300- through 400-level Psychology course3
Small Group Experience or Independent Academic Work3NQE elective required for major3
 6 6
Fourth Year
First SemesterCreditsSecond SemesterCredits
300- or 400-level Psychology course3NQE elective required for major3
 3 3
Total Credits 44


No courses through the School of Education and the Carey Business School may be counted toward the requirements for the major in Psychological and Brain Sciences (although a limited number of such courses may be counted toward the 120 credits required for graduation). As most Intersession courses are graded S/U or are less than 3 credits, they do not apply towards major requirements. Some courses offered by Psychological & Brain Sciences taught in the summer at Hopkins do not count toward the Psychology major or minor as they do not fit into the requirements of the major.  You may make an appointment with Dr. Stephen Drigotas, Director of Undergraduate Advising for Psychological & Brain Sciences, to ensure that your enrollments will be considered toward your academic progress in the manner you intend.

Preparation for Graduate Work in Psychology

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences provides preparation for graduate training in all areas of psychology, including clinical and counseling. Virtually all psychology graduate programs, including those that provide training in clinical or counseling psychology, expect students to have a strong background in scientific psychology, including statistics. The department encourages students to obtain additional practical experiences outside the classroom, including research in a laboratory and/or an internship in a mental health care setting. These additional experiences are particularly salient to graduate school admission committees.

Honors Program in Psychology

The B.A. degree with honors provides recognition for outstanding achievement in formal course work and research. Students considering applying for honors should begin discussing possible research topics with a faculty sponsor (and research mentor, if different from the sponsor) in the fall semester of their junior year.  The requirements for a degree with honors include those for the regular B.A. degree, plus the following:

  • A minimum grade point average of 3.5 or better in psychology (200.XXX) courses through the semester before the student graduates.
  • A public presentation (poster or talk) at a recognized student research or professional conference either on campus (e.g., DREAMS, Woodrow Wilson, ASPIRE, PURA) or off campus (e.g., APA, APS, VSS, SPSP). The presentation must be on the research conducted specifically for honors (e.g., research for 200.200 or 200.201 does not count).
  • The support of a sponsor for honors research. The sponsor must have a full-time faculty appointment at Johns Hopkins and either a primary or a joint appointment in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Sponsors can sponsor research conducted under the direct supervision of another principal investigator (e.g., a faculty member in the School of Medicine).
  • Completion of two 300- or 600-level psychology courses, in addition to those required for the Psychology major. These courses cannot be an independent study, research or internship credits, or a readings course. These additional courses can count toward the 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Completion of six credits of research beyond research credits counting toward the major.

Please see the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences website for the application process details.

Undergraduate Academic Awards

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences offers two undergraduate academic awards.

  • G. Stanley Hall Prize is awarded for outstanding achievement by an undergraduate in psychology.
  • Julian C. Stanley Award is given to the psychology major who most closely approximates Dr. Stanley’s personal and professional standards of excellence.