Baylor University
Psychology and Neuroscience
College of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate FAQs

Undergraduate

1. What kind of degree can I get in psychology at Baylor University?
2. What is the difference between B.A. and B.S. Degrees?
3. What is a pre-major?
4. Why do I have to begin as a pre-major?
5. How do you become a full major?
6. What about graduate programs at Baylor?
7. What is PSY 1101/NSC 1101?
8. Where can I find out more about careers in Psychology?
9. What do I do once I decide to major in Psychology?
10. What are the requirements for the Psychology major?
11. What about the requirement for advanced hours?
12. What are some suggestions for advanced courses outside of Psychology that are still related to the field of Psychology?
13. What are additional requirements specified by the University?
14. Where do I go for advisement?
15. How do I decide which courses I should take?
16. With so many psych majors, are there any special recommendations about completing the requirements for the major?
17. What do I need to know about Drop/Adds?
18. How do I make sure I have all the coursees I need to graduate?
19. Can I get into a class if I don't have the necessary prerequisites or into a closed class?




Undergraduate

1. What kind of degree can I get in psychology at Baylor University?

The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience offers three undergraduate degrees:

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology, and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Neuroscience.

2. What is the difference between B.A. and B.S. Degrees?

The B.A. and B.S. degrees in Psychology both provide liberal arts education with required courses in the humanities, mathematics, natural science, and social science. The B.A. degree has a greater emphasis in the humanities and the B.S. degree has a greater emphasis in science and mathematics. The choice of the B.A. degree versus the B.S. degree is more a matter of your interests and abilities than career choice, as most careers are equally accessible with the B.A. or the B.S.

Graduate and professional schools in psychology and other disciplines place much greater emphasis on the courses you take, your grade point average and career-related experience, than whether your degree is a B.A. or a B.S. Approximately 85% of our majors earn the B.A. degree.

3. What is a pre-major?

The pre-major is a collection of core courses that incoming students must complete prior to being admitted to either the PSY or NSC major. The material covered in these courses provides a broad introduction to psychological science that provides the foundation for more focused and detailed study as you progress through the major. The core courses of the pre-major are designed to present the material in sequence, which prevents you from getting overwhelmed or "in over your head".

4. Why do I have to begin as a pre-major?

Starting as a pre-major serves several purposes. First, it allows you to develop a strong discipline-specific knowledge base before progressing onto more sophisticated concepts. Through this exposure, you are also better equipped to determine whether this major is the best fit for you academically. Second, it provides a clear map for a student's sequence of courses. Finally, our departmental research shows that students who struggle in these early courses are likely to struggle throughout the duration of the major. A poor GPA can have long-term consequences in terms of your post-baccalaureate plans such as finding employment or gaining admission into graduate or professional school. Therefore, we want to provide that feedback very early in a student's college experience, in order to allow that student time to find a more suitable major.

5. How do you become a full major?

To become a BA PSY major, you must complete the following core courses with a combined GPA in these courses of 2.25:

  • PSY 1305: Introductory Psychology
  • NSC 1306/1106: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • PSY 2402: Statistics
  • PSY 1101: New Student Seminar in Psychology & Neuroscience

You also must maintain an overall GPA of 2.25 or better, and must have completed 45 hours of coursework at Baylor.

To become a BS Psychology major, you must complete the same PSY courses, with the same minimum GPA. In addition, you must complete 3 of the 4 core science classes (BIO 1305-1105, CHE 1301-1101, PHY 1408 or PHY 1420, MTH 1321) with a grade of C or better in all and a minimum GPA in these courses of 2.30. Finally, you must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.60, and must have completed 45 hours of coursework at Baylor.

To become a BS NSC major, you must complete NSC 1101, earn a B or better in NSC 1306 and NSC 1106, and complete 3 of the 4 core sciences classes (BIO 1305-1105, CHE 1301-1101, PHY 1408 or PHY 1420, MTH 1321) with a grade of C or better in all and a minimum GPA in these courses of 2.30. Finally, you must maintain a minimum overall GPA of 2.75, and must have completed 45 hours of coursework at Baylor.

At the conclusion of every semester, we review the program of all pre-majors. If you meet the stated requirements, you will be admitted as a full-time major, and we will submit a Change of Major form on your behalf, usually before the start of the next semester. If you believe you have met the standards but have not yet been promoted, please contact Dr. Riley, the Undergraduate Program Director in Psychology and Neuroscience.

6. What about graduate programs at Baylor?

Baylor offers two graduate degrees in psychology, the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology and Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience.

Being a Baylor undergraduate does not mean you are able to get an advanced degree from Baylor as well. Students from all over the country apply for these programs, and only a select few are chosen.

7. What is PSY 1101/NSC 1101?

PSY 1101 and NSC 1101 are first-year experience courses required for all new and transfer students entering as Pre-Psychology or Pre-Neuroscience majors. We will introduce you to the faculty in the department, discuss the academic requirements of the major, and discuss ways in which you can make the adjustment to Baylor successful. This course satisfies BU1000 or U1000 requirements. For Fall, 2016, these courses meet every Monday from 3:35-4:25.

Goals Students will learn:

  • About organizations, activities, and resources that are available to them as students of Baylor University
  • How they can organize their time as efficiently as possible
  • What kinds of study techniques are likely to be effective, and which will not
  • About the MAP-Works tools, and how they can use MAP-Works to increase their likelihood of success
  • What it means to be a part of an "academic community", and what is expected of all members of that community
  • What kind of resources are available to foster spiritual growth
  • How to develop independence and autonomy, both in academic and personal matters
  • Various career paths available to them as PSY or NSC majors
  • What is required of students as pre-majors before applying to become PSY or NSC majors
  • About the faculty they will encounter in PSY and NSC, and learn about academic interests and research opportunities that are available.

8. Where can I find out more about careers in Psychology?

On the sidebar menu there is a link you can click titled Career and Jobs.

Also, you may set up an appointment with your advisor for career advice aimed specifically to your personal situation.

9. What do I do once I decide to major in Psychology?

Once you declare Psychology as your major, you must complete the requirements listed in your degree plan. You can obtain your degree plan in the Degree Plan Office located in Burleson Hall (710-2200). The degree plan is how the university determines if you have met the degree requirements and are eligible to graduate. You should use the degree plan to help you plan which courses you need when you register.

10. What are the requirements for the Psychology major?

  1. Successful completion of the pre-major requirements.
  2. A grade of "C" or better is required in each psychology course.
  3. You must complete all of the courses specified in the major (34 psychology hours for the B.A. and 35 for the B.S.).
  4. A list of the courses you must complete for the major can be found in the Degree Requirements section of this website.

    11. What about the requirement for advanced hours?

    Advanced hours (also called upper-level electives) are achieved by taking any course that is at the "3000-4000" level. The university specifies that you must have at least 36 hours of advanced coursework. When you complete the requirements for the psychology major, you will have taken 19 hours of advanced courses (20 hours if you complete the B.S.). All of these psychology hours count toward the university requirement. In addition to the advanced hours you complete in the psychology major, you must take at least 6 hours outside of the major.

    To get the final 16-17 hours of advanced coursework, you have lots of choices: you can take any combination of courses inside or outside of psychology to get these final advanced hours. However, most students find that the final 16-17 hours of advanced coursework is taken mostly outside of psychology because of limited availability or prerequisites that are needed for advanced psychology courses.

    12. What are some suggestions for advanced courses outside of Psychology that are still related to the field of Psychology?

    Below is a partial list of advanced courses from other departments relevant to psychology. As the content of and instructors for these courses change from time to time, the Department of Psychology makes no recommendation regarding these courses. Here are some non-psychology courses are most relevant for given career goals.

    • Anthropology: 3301, 3304, 3305, 3320, 4320
    • Biology: 3330, 3340, 3403, 3422, 4330, 4375, 4380, 4470
    • Communication Studies: 3306, 3322, 3312, 4301
    • English: 3300
    • Health: 3320, 4321
    • Management: 3305, 4305, 4315, 4336, 4350
    • Marketing: 3305, 3310, 3320, 3325, 3330
    • Philosophy: 4310, 4311, 4361
    • Quantitative Business Analysis: 3306
    • Religion: 3390, 4394, 4395
    • Social Work: 3311, 3313, 3354, 3380, 3381, 3382, 4329, 4342, 4352
    • Sociology: 3311, 3322, 3330, 3354, 3360, 4310, 4320, 4322, 4352, 4393, 4395

    13. What are additional requirements specified by the University?

    1. A minimum of 60 hours must be completed at Baylor University, including your last 30 hours.
    2. You are required to have a 2.00 GPA overall and in the major.
    3. You must complete a total of 124 credit hours. A maximum of 45 hours from your major can be used toward this total requirement.
    4. You must complete 36 hours of upper level credit hours.

    14. Where do I go for advisement?

    It depends on how many hours you have completed and what major you have officially declared.

    All students with 59 or fewer completed hours are advised by University Advisement, (Sid Richardson, First Floor West Wing 254-710-7280).

    Students with 60-89 completed hours are advised by CASA - College of Arts and Sciences Advisement.(Sid Richardson East Wing, Rm. 53 254-710-1524).

    If you are a freshman or sophomore the number of courses that you still need to complete is overwhelming. As a consequence, you will probably wonder, "What do I take next?" Except for the specific recommendations given below, our general response is that you should concentrate on completing your basic requirements. The specific courses you use to fulfill these requirements and the sequence in which you take them are up to you. The Office of Academic Advisement has a "Two-Year Planner" for both the B.A. and B.S. degrees, which is very beneficial for freshman and sophomore students.

    Once a psychology or neuroscience major reaches 60 hours, they are advised within the department of Psychology & Neuroscience.

    The designated advisor for all neuroscience majors is Dr. Rachel Clark.

    Psychology majors are advised by Dr. Tamara Lawrence.

    Pre-Professional Students: Students in a number of pre-professional programs (e.g., pre-med, pre-dent, pre-vet, optometry) who are majoring in psychology are advised by the pre-med advisors during their freshman and sophomore years and by a psychology advisor in their junior and senior years.

    15. How do I decide which courses I should take?

    You will probably want to read the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin for a description of all of the courses that you are considering. Other students are also a good source of information about courses, although you must often evaluate this information within the proper context (e.g., how interested was the student in the course content). In preparing to register you should have a list of 6-10 coursees that you would like to take in the next semester. Then consult the Schedule of Classes for the availability of these courses and the class meeting times. Arrange your desired schedule and a back-up schedule.

    16. With so many psych majors, are there any special recommendations about completing the requirements for the major?

    Yes. Here are some specific suggestions:

    1. Introduction to Psychology (1305) and Introduction to Neuroscience (NSC 1306 and 1106) should be taken very early, preferably in your freshman year.
    2. Your Math requirement should be fulfilled very early, preferably in your freshman year.
    3. Statistics (2402) and Introduction to neuroscience (NSC 1306/1106) are the prerequisites for most other psychology courses.
    4. Try to enroll in Research Methods (2405) the semester after you complete Statistics.
    5. Try to plan all of the psychology courses you want to take and which semesters (including summer semesters) you want to take them. If you don't plan well in advance, you may not get the courses you want and it's possible that you might not graduate on time. Although we can't guarantee when a given course will be offered, a list of when courses are usually offered can be found in the Degree Requirements section of this website.
    6. Plan your schedule carefully so that you are not overburdened with too many laboratory courses (foreign language, general science, psychological science, statistics) in the same semester.
    7. It is better to arrange your course schedule around psychology courses as it usually easier to find available courses and sections outside of psychology.

    17. What do I need to know about Drop/Adds?

    Before adding or dropping a class, see if the courses and sections you need are available. Once you drop a class it will show as an available seat and someone will likely be admitted to that class in your place. You may find yourself having dropped a seat in one class and unable to get into another class or even back into the one you just dropped.

    18. How do I make sure I have all the coursees I need to graduate?

    Formally, the degree audit is how the university determines your eligibility for graduation. Therefore, you should run a degree audit every semester to make sure you are meeting all your necessary requirements for graduation.

    19. Can I get into a class if I don't have the necessary prerequisites or into a closed class?

    You may request admittance into a closed class by registering for the course in BearWeb which will automatically put you on the electronic waitlist. Once you are on the list, the system will notify you by Baylor email if a spot is open for the course. The student has exactly 24 hours from the time the email is sent in which to register for the course. If the student does not register for the course in the exact 24 hour time frame, their name will be dropped from the electronic waitlist and the next person on the list will be notified through their Baylor email. It is important for the student to consistently check their Baylor email daily to see if they have been notified of an opening in a course that they are waitlisted. If they have been notified and missed the 24 hour window, the student must get back on the waitlist by registering for the course again.

    Although the catalog says you may get consent of the instructor for prerequisite waivers those decisions are made only by the department chair. Graduating seniors are given priority should a seat become available. Students are notified via e-mail regarding waivers and information on how to register is included.

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