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Psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and mental states, and of human and animal behavior.

The field of psychology can be both applied and theoretical, and is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing together aspects of the natural and social sciences, humanities and the arts to address specific problems. For example, research psychologists might study the biology of the brain, complex mathematical processes, how to collect and analyze data, the growth of children, health and behavioral physiology, learning in animals, psychological stress, the basis of artistic talent, evolution, sensory perception, parent-infant attachment, psychiatric disorders or any of a wide variety of other topics.

The undergraduate major in Psychology provides students with an understanding of the major questions and methodologies across Psychology, including a common core of statistical and experimental methods courses. Upper division courses and projects allow students to explore the various substantive specialties in psychology, and to identify the areas of psychology that they might wish to pursue further. Many students with an undergraduate degree in psychology go on to graduate study in psychology or closely related fields such as cognitive science or organizational behavior. The psychology program strongly encourages further graduate study, and supports its undergraduate majors in reaching this goal by providing opportunities to work with faculty on research.

The Psychology major also prepares undergraduates for many other careers even without further graduate training. The American Psychological Association reports that only about 5% of 1997 and 1998 bachelor’s degree psychology major graduates had taken a job that is actually in psychology. Most psychology major graduates—about two thirds—took employment in private sector business settings. Graduates with an undergraduate psychology major are highly marketable because they are trained to have good research and writing skills, to be effective problem solvers in both team and individual settings, and to use critical thinking skills to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. Specific examples of employment include administrative support, public affairs, education, business, sales, service industries, health, the biological sciences, computer programming, employment counselors, correction counselor trainees, interviewers, personnel analysts, probation officers, and writers. The same APA report finds that two thirds of psychology major graduates believe their job is closely or somewhat related to their psychology background and that their jobs hold career potential.

For additional information on the Psychology major at UC Merced, please visit the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts website, or the Psychology website.

Psychology Four Year Major Plans

Below, please find four year plans for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Students should choose the plan that corresponds to the catalog year in which they matriculated to UC Merced. For more information on catalog rights, please click here.


Psychology Major Planning Guides

Below you will find planning guides for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Students should choose the planning guide that corresponds to the catalog year in which they matriculated to UC Merced. For more information on catalog rights, please click here.



Psychology Group Courses

Students majoring in Psychology choose coursework from the following groups:
Group A (Cognition, Brain and Behavior): PSY 160-169, PSY 180-89, or COGS 100-89
Group B (Social-Personality, Development): PSY 130-39 or PSY 150-59
Group C (Applied Psychology): PSY 120-29, PSY 140-49, PSY 170-79

Psychology Advanced Courses

The following courses are considered "Advanced" Psychology Courses, and require completion of PSY 15 prior to enrollment.

  • PSY 105
  • PSY 110
  • PSY 124
  • PSY 133
  • PSY 135
  • PSY 136
  • PSY 137
  • PSY 138
  • PSY 139
  • PSY 143
  • PSY 151
  • PSY 161
  • PSY 162
  • PSY 171
  • PSY 181
  • PSY 182
  • PSY 183