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".

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.

How do you become a full major?

BA PSY:

For students enrolling as freshman to become a BA PSY major:

  • Completed the following PSY/NSC courses, with a minimum GPA 2.25: If transfer or AP credit was used to satisfy the PSY 1305 requirements, the grade earned will not be used to compute GPA.
    • PSY 1305: Psychological Science
    • NSC 1306: Introduction to Neuroscience
    • PSY 2402: Psychological Statistics
    • PSY 1101 (Students who completed another New Student Experience class may petition to allow that course to substitute for PSY 1101.)
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.25 in no fewer than 45 hours completed a Baylor University.
  • Students are eligible for promotion once they have earned 45 hours at Baylor University, and must complete the above requirements for admission to the major before completing 75 hours.

For students enrolling as transfer to become a BA PSY major:

  • Completed the following PSY/NSC courses, with a minimum GPA of 2.25: If transfer or AP credit was used to satisfy the PSY 1305 requirements, the grade earned will not be used to compute GPA.
    • PSY 1305: Psychological Science
    • NSC 1306: Introduction to Neuroscience
    • PSY 2402: Psychological Statistics
  • Transfer students must have a minimum GPA of 2.25 in no fewer than 24 hours completed at Baylor University. Only courses taken at Baylor are used in the computation of GPA's.
  • Transfer students are eligible for promotion as soon as they have completed 24 hours of Baylor University, and must complete the requirements once they have completed 45 hours at Baylor.

Exceptions to the above policies based on extenuating circumstances can be directed to the chair or chair’s designee. Students failing to meet the promotion criteria cannot continue in the major.

BS PSY:

For students enrolling as freshman to become a BS PSY major:

  • Completed the following PSY/NSC courses, with a minimum GPA in these courses of 2.25: If transfer or AP credit used to satisfy the PSY 1305 requirements, the grade earned will not be used to compute GPA.
    • PSY 1305
    • NSC 1306
    • PSY 2402
    • PSY 1101 (Students who completed another New Student Experiences class may petition to allow that course to substitute for PSY 1101.)
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.60 in no fewer than 45 hours completed at Baylor University.
  • Students are eligible for promotion once they have earned 45 hours at Baylor University, and must complete the requirements for admission to the major before completing 75 hours.

For students enrolling as transfer to become a BS PSY major:

  • Completed the following PSY/NSC courses, with a minimum GPA in these courses of 2.25:If transfer or AP credit used to satisfy the PSY 1305 requirements, the grade earned will not be used to compute GPA.
    • PSY 1305
    • NSC 1306
    • PSY 2402
  • Transfer students must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.60 in no fewer than 24 hours completed at Baylor University. Only courses taken at Baylor are used in the computation of GPAs.
  • Transfer students are eligible for promotion as soon as they have completed 24 hours at Baylor University, and must complete the requirements once they have completed 45 hours at Baylor.

Exceptions to the above policies based on extenuating circumstances can be directed to the chair or chair’s designee. Students failing to meet the promotion criteria cannot continue in the major.

BS PNSC:

For students enrolling as freshman to become a BS NSC major:

  • Completed the following PSY/NSC courses:
    • NSC 1101 (Students who complete another New Student Experience course can substitute that course for NSC 1101.)
    • PSY 1305
  • Earned a B or better in NSC 1306. With permission of the chair or chair’s designee, followed by Dean’s approval, students who fail to earn a B may repeat the course one time. Transfer or AP credit may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • Have a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 in no fewer than 45 hours completed at Baylor University.
  • Students are eligible for promotion once they have earned 45 hours at Baylor University, and must complete the requirements for admission to the major before completing 75 hours.

For students enrolling as transfer to become a BS NSC major:

  • Completed PSY 1305
  • Earned a B or better in NSC 1306. With permission of the chair or chair’s designee, followed by Dean’s approval, students who fail to earn a B may repeat the course one time. Transfer or AP credit may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
  • Transfer students must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 in no fewer than 24 hours completed at Baylor University. Only courses taken at Baylor are used in the computation of GPAs.
  • Transfer students are eligible for promotion as soon as they have completed 24 hours at Baylor University, and must complete the requirements once they have completed 45 hours at Baylor.

Exceptions to the above policies based on extenuating circumstances can be directed to the chair or chair’s designee.

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. Hugh Riley, the Undergraduate Program Director in Psychology and Neuroscience.

What if I don’t meet the requirements to become a full major?

We expect that between 80-90% of those starting as pre-majors will meet the requirements. In the event you don’t meet the requirements to become a full major, your major will be changed to “Undeclared,” and will be directed to declare another major. While this can be understandably disappointing, the department is committed to your overall success. The Undergraduate Director or the Departmental Advisor will be available to meet with you to access/utilize campus resources (Advising, Career & Professional Development, Counseling Center, etc.) that can help you find an academic major that is better suited to your interests, abilities, and talents.

Do you place a cap on the number of students who will be able to become a full major?

No, there is no cap in the number of students who can become PSY or NSC majors. As long as you meet the requirements (see above), you will be admitted to the major. This should alleviate any anxiety about “competing” with other students for a limited number of slots.

How does it work if I decide later (after being at Baylor for a semester or year) that I want to switch to this major? Do I have to start as a pre-major?

Yes, whether you declare as an incoming freshman, change your mind after a few semesters, or transfer to the university, you will need to start as a pre-major. Demonstrating that you have the requisite psychology and neuroscience knowledge is crucial to being successful in the major. While it may seem inconvenient to “start over” as a pre-major, doing so will enable the long-term benefits of performing well and enjoying your academic experience.