Bachelor in Psychology


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The study of psychology provides an understanding of the biological, cognitive, social, and clinical origins of behavior, thought, and emotion, and the methods that psychologists use to investigate these. Knowledge of psychological principles and the ability to evaluate theories and research are essential in our rapidly changing society.  

The Department of Psychology offers undergraduate programs leading to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree or a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. The objective of both programs is to provide a broad overview of psychology, and both require extensive exposure to areas other than psychology as a context for study in the major. The B.S. program places relatively more emphasis on the natural sciences and mathematics. Both the B.S. and B.A. programs provide ex­ce­llent preparation for graduate school.

The Psychology major provides students with a background of fundamental subject matter that will equip them for subsequent graduate study in related fields. The major is also beneficial for students seeking careers that involve knowledge about interpersonal relationships such as medicine, education, law, or management. Psychology expertise is also relevant to standard business settings in which a major goal is to adapt products and services to closely reflect human needs and capabilities.

Requirements For The Majors In Psychology (PSY)

  • Completion of the major for either a B.S. or a B.A. in Psychology requires 58 to 67 credits.
  • All courses required for either the B.S. or B.A. degree must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher.

Study Within Psychology

For both degree programs, 34 to 35 credits in psychology to be distributed as follows:

1. Core Program

  • PSY 103 Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY 201 Statistical Methods in Psychology, AMS 102, AMS 110, BUS 215, ECO 320, POL 201, SOC 202 or another statistics course approved by the department
  • PSY 310 Research and Writing in Psychology

2. Survey Courses in Psychology

One course from Group A, one from Group B, and a third course from Group A or B:

  • Group A
    • PSY 220 Survey in Developmental Psychology
    • PSY 230 Survey in Clinical Psychology
    • PSY 240 Survey in Social Psychology
  • Group B
    • PSY 250 Survey in Biopsychology
    • PSY 260 Survey in Cognition and Perception

3. Five PSY courses

For the B.A. student:

  1. One course numbered 200 or higher, excluding PSY 201, PSY 273, PSY 283, PSY 310, PSY 399, PSY 447, PSY 475, PSY 476, PSY 487, PSY 488, PSY 495-496, the discontinued PSY 300, and 200-level survey courses used to satisfy requirement #2.            
  2. Four more courses from among advanced courses numbered PSY 301 to 383, excluding PSY 310.           

For the B.S. student:

  1. One course numbered 200 or higher, excluding PSY 201,  PSY 273, PSY 283, PSY 310, PSY 399, PSY 447, PSY 475, PSY 476, PSY 487, PSY 488, PSY 495-496, the discontinued PSY 300, and 200-level survey courses used to satisfy requirement #2.
  2. A laboratory course (PSY 380-383; PSY 386; PSY 389).           
  3. Advanced statistics (PSY 301 or AMS 315) or one of the following courses (PSY 355; PSY 356; PSY 368; BIO 334; BIO 338). The same BIO course cannot be used to fulfill the Biology concentration requirement.     
  4. Two more courses numbered 300 or higher, excluding PSY 310, PSY 399, PSY 447, PSY 475, PSY 476, PSY 487, PSY 488, PSY 495-496, and the discontinued PSY 300.    

4. Upper-Division Writing Requirement

For students pursuing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC),  a course that satisfies the  "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD)  learning objective must be completed in order to graduate. This WRTD requirement will routinely be satisfied by completing PSY 310. However, in special cases, co-registration for the 0-credit PSY 459 while completing a substantial paper or writing sample in another Psychology course will satisfy the WRTD requirement. A student must obtain the permission of the course instructor prior to registering for PSY 459. 

Although not required for B.A. or B.S. degrees, the Department strongly recommends that any student planning to attend graduate school should gain research experience by becoming a research assistant (PSY 273). Undergraduate Research Opportunities can be found through the Department of Psychology Web page.

5. Courses Outside the Psychology Department

In addition to the 34 to 35 credits in psychology, students must also complete 24 to 32 credits of courses outside the Department. This requirement differs in some aspects between the B.S. and B.A. degrees.

For the B.A. Student:

One 3-4 credit course from each of the 4 categories below:

  1. Mathematics: Choose one course from the following: AMS 101,  CSE 110,  MAT 118, MAT 122, MAT 123 (or MAT 119/MAT 123), MAT 125 (or MAT 130/MAT 125), MAT 126, MAT 131, MAT 132 or any higher AMS, CSE, or MAT course approved by the department. Note:  PSY 201  (or equivalent introductory statistics course) does not satisfy this requirement. Students who pass the Mathematics Placement Exam at Level 4 or above are not required to complete a course in this category.   
  2. Biology: Any one-semester BIO course. Note: ANP 101, HAN 200, or HAN 202 may be used as a substitute to fulfill this requirement. 
  3. Philosophy: Any one-semester PHI course   
  4. Social Sciences: Any one-semester ANT, HIS, POL, or SOC course except SOC 201 or SOC 202 or POL 201.
  5. A 12-credit (minimum four courses) concentration in one of the course subjects listed below. At least two courses must be upper-division (numbered between 300 and 499). Practica, research, and internship courses do not satisfy this requirement. The concentration requirement may also be satisfied by an approved minor or a second major in any department or program. 
    • Africana Studies (AFS)           
    • Anthropology (ANT) (see Note 1)      
    • Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS)           
    • Biology (BIO) (see Note 1)             
    • Computer Science (CSE)     
    • Economics (ECO)     
    • History (HIS)      
    • Linguistics (LIN)   
    • Marketing (MKT) (requires completion of two required courses:  BUS 348  Principles of Marketing and BUS 448 Marketing Strategy; one elective from: BUS 334 Consumer Advertising and Promotion or BUS 302 Social Media Marketing Strategy; and another elective from: BUS 359 Consumer Behavior or BUS 358 Marketing Research or independent study in research BUS 487)
    • Mathematics (MAT) (see Note 1)       
    • Philosophy (PHI) (see Note 1)            
    • Political Science (POL) (see Note 1)      
    • Sociology (SOC) (see Note 1)      
    • Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WST)
    • Writing (requires completion of  WRT 305 Writing for the Health Professions or WRT 380 Advance Research Writing plus three other upper-division writing courses)

Note 1: If a student completes a concentration in Anthropology, Biology, Mathematics, Philosophy, Political Science, or Sociology, the concentration will automatically satisfy the associated requirement listed in requirements 1 to 4 above for the B.A. student (e.g. completion of the Biology concentration also satisfies requirement number 2).

For the B.S. Student

All three categories below are required.

  1. Mathematics:
    1. Calculus I (MAT 119/MAT 123, MAT 123, MAT 125 (or MAT 130/MAT 125), MAT 131, MAT 141, or AMS 151) and       
    2. Calculus II (MAT 126, 132, 142, or AMS 161)
    3. Note: Passing the mathematics placement examination at level 8 or higher also satisfies this requirement. Ideally, students should take courses in sequential pairs (i.e., MAT 125, 126).
  2. Biology:
    1. Select two of the following lecture courses: BIO 201, 202, 203
    2. Select two of the following lab courses: BIO 204, 205, 207     
    3. Note: Students who elect the Biology concentration need only take one course from Category A and  BIO 204, for a total of one lecture and one lab course.
  3. Any two concentrations selected from the following five choices:
    1. Biology: Two BIO or biology-related courses selected from the following: BIO 208, 302, 310, 312, 314, 315, 317, 320, 321, 325, 327, 328, 332, 334, 335, 337, 338, 339, 350, 354, 358, 359, 361, BCP 401.
    2. The following course pairs count as ONE course per pair: BIO 351 & 352; HBM 320 & 321.        
      1. Chemistry: CHE 131/133, CHE 132/134. Note: CHE 129+130 (together) may be used as a substitute for CHE 131 
      2.  Mathematics: Two courses selected from MAT courses numbered 200 or above; and 300-level AMS courses except AMS 310, 312, 315. 
      3. Physics: PHY 121 and 122; or PHY 125, 126, and 127; or PHY 131/133 and 132/134; or PHY 141 and 142.  
      4. Computer Science: CSE 114 and CSE 215.

Notes for B.A. and B.S. students:

  1. Transfer students must take at least 12 credits of psychology in residence at Stony Brook.
  2. No more than six credits from among PSY 273, 283, 447, and 487 may be taken in one semester. Other restrictions on applying these courses toward graduation requirements exist; consult the Undergraduate Psychology Office and see also Course Credit and Grading Option Limits in the "Academic Policies and Regulations" chapter.
  3. Students interested in a major in Psychology should meet with a Psychology Department Under­graduate Advisor (Room B-109). Additional meetings should be scheduled periodically to review progress toward fulfilling Depart­ment requirements.
  4. Psychology courses may be repeated only ONE time.

Honors Program in Psychology

The Psychology honors program features:

  1. A faculty mentor and
  2. Collaborative research with faculty which results in a senior thesis.

Students are encouraged to apply for acceptance to the honors program by the first week of November during their junior year at Stony Brook. The latest point at which students may enroll in is three semesters prior to graduation. Application forms and information are available in the Undergraduate Psychology Office. To be eligible for the honors program, a student must have a cumulative g.p.a. of 3.20 or higher and a g.p.a. of 3.50 or higher in courses required for the Psychology major. A student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 3.00 may be dropped from the honors program.

Conferral of honors in Psychology requires the following:

  1. A cumulative g.p.a. of 3.00 and a 3.50 g.p.a. in psychology.
  2. Successful completion of a senior thesis while enrolled in PSY 495 and 496, see below.

The Psychology honors program is followed for three semesters. During the spring of their junior year, students enroll in PSY 399  Junior Honors Seminar; during the senior year, they enroll in PSY 495 (first semester) and 496 (second semester) Senior Honors Seminar.


What We Look for in a Freshman Applicant

Stony Brook is a highly selective institution, seeking to enroll those students who demonstrate intellectual curiosity and academic ability to succeed. Applicants are evaluated on an individual basis. There is no automatic cutoff in the admission process, either in grade point average, rank, or test scores. The Admissions Committee seeks to enroll in the strongest and most diverse class possible.

Successful Applicants Will Typically Have:

  • High school diploma or equivalent (Regents diploma preferred for NY residents)
  • Strong high school academic program that includes:
    • 4 units of English
    • 4 units of social studies
    • 3 units of mathematics (4 units required for engineering and applied sciences)
    • 3 units of science (4 units required for engineering and applied sciences)
    • 2 or 3 units of a foreign language
  • Standardized test scores that indicate the promise of success in a rigorous undergraduate course of study.
  • Students who show evidence of leadership, special talents or interests, and other personal qualities through extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and other non-academic pursuits will receive special consideration.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2020 semester. At this time, space in our class is very limited and we may only be able to offer qualified students a spot on our Wait List.

Last updated Sep 2020

About the School

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is home to an exceptionally diverse student body of nearly 27,000 high-achieving students — including more than 17,000 undergraduates — fro ... Read More

Stony Brook University, widely regarded as a SUNY flagship, is home to an exceptionally diverse student body of nearly 27,000 high-achieving students — including more than 17,000 undergraduates — from nearly all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Our energetic campus is ranked among the top 40 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. Wondering what makes a Stony Brook education unique? Here, you'll learn by doing. Each year, thousands of our students do research or independent projects alongside a faculty member, study abroad, volunteer in the community, intern in nearby New York City, or participate in another form of experiential learning. You'll apply the skills you learn in the classroom to real life, helping to prepare for your future and create a better world. Read less