Psychology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Concentrations

BS in Psychology

Students study behavior as it relates to health and well-being, child and adolescent development, education, social situations, the workplace, and the use of technology. Due to Mason’s close proximity to Washington, D.C. the department is especially active in research that informs public policy and national defense. Students who graduate from this program go on to work in a wide range of fields and positions, including human resources, data analysis, user interface design, and social media and marketing.

The BS in Psychology focuses on math and science within the psychology field.

The University Catalog is the authoritative source for information on program requirements and courses. The Schedule of Classes is the authoritative source for information on classes scheduled for this semester. See the Schedule for the most up-to-date information and see Patriot web to register for classes. Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

Degree Requirements

Total credits: minimum 120

Students should be aware of the specific policies associated with this program, located on the Admissions & Policies tab.

Students may choose to complete a concentration in developmental psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, human factors and applied cognition, or work and organizational psychology. Courses required for a concentration may simultaneously satisfy other degree requirements. The concentrations in forensic psychology, human factors and applied cognition, and work and organizational psychology meet the applied psychology requirement.

Students who have limited technology skills are encouraged to take IT 104 Introduction to Computing (Mason Core).

Core Courses in the Major

Basic Courses in Psychology

Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.00 in these courses with a minimum grade of 1.67 (C-) in each one. Courses taken to fulfill these requirements may simultaneously satisfy a concentration.

Introductory Course
PSYC 100 Basic Concepts in Psychology (Mason Core) 3
Foundational Courses
PSYC 231 Social Psychology (Mason Core) 3
PSYC 317 Cognitive Psychology 3
Select one option from the following: 3-6
Option 1:
Developmental Psychology (Mason Core)
Option 2:
Select two from the following:
Child Development
Adolescent Development
Psychological Factors in Aging
Research Methods Courses 1
PSYC 300 Statistics in Psychology 4
PSYC 301 Research Methods in Psychology 4
Psychology Lab Course
Select one course from the following: 2 1-4
Principles of Learning
Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Physiological Psychology Laboratory
Biopsychology
Select one from the following: 3 3-6
Physiological Psychology
PSYC 375
& PSYC 376
Brain and Sensory Processes
and Brain and Behavior
Professional Development
Select one course from the following: 3
Psychology: College to Career
Psychology in the Community
Community Engagement for Social Change (Mason Core)
Psychology Honors II
RS: Psychology Honors III
Special Topics (with Undergraduate Associate Chair approval)
Total Credits 27-36
1

Students are strongly encouraged to complete PSYC 300 Statistics in Psychology and PSYC 301 Research Methods in Psychology by their junior year. PSYC 300 Statistics in Psychology is a prerequisite to several courses, and a background in research methods facilitates understanding empirical research discussed in all psychology courses.

2

The course chosen to fulfill this requirement cannot be the same course used to fulfill the technical writing requirement below.

3

Students who have a strong interest in biopsychology or cognitive neuroscience are encouraged to take PSYC 375 Brain and Sensory Processes/PSYC 376 Brain and Behavior rather than PSYC 372 Physiological Psychology. Only students who receive transfer credit for PSYC 372 Physiological Psychology may use it in place of PSYC 375 Brain and Sensory Processes as the prerequisite for PSYC 376 Brain and Behavior. Students taking PSYC 372 Physiological Psychology at Mason may not use it in place of PSYC 375 Brain and Sensory Processes.

Applied Psychology Courses or Optional Concentration

Alternatively, students may earn a concentration in forensic psychology, human factors and applied cognition, or work and organizational psychology to satisfy this requirement.

Applied Psychology
Students pursuing the BS without concentration select two courses from the following: 6-7
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Abnormal Psychology
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Human Factors Psychology
Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology (Mason Core)
Mental Illness and Criminal Justice
Community Engagement for Social Change (Mason Core)
Total Credits 6-7
Concentrations Meeting Applied Psychology Requirement
Concentration in Forensic Psychology (FPSY)

Students pursuing the BS with concentration in forensic psychology take 18 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on forensic psychology may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute their honors work for one course in the concentration.

PSYC 100 Basic Concepts in Psychology (Mason Core) 3
PSYC 325 Abnormal Psychology 3
PSYC 380 Introduction to Forensic Psychology 3
PSYC 381 Mental Illness and Criminal Justice 3
Select two courses from the following: 6
Psychology of Crime Victims
Forensic Psychology: Science and Pseudoscience
Criminal Behavior: Psychological and Neurological Aspects
Introduction to Criminal Justice (Mason Core)
Special Topics 1
Selected Topics in Forensic Psychology 1
Total Credits 18
1

Requires Undergraduate Associate Chair approval.

Concentration in Human Factors and Applied Cognition (HF)

Students pursuing the BS with concentration in human factors and applied cognition take 12-13 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on human factors or applied cognition may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute their honors work for one course in the concentration.

PSYC 317 Cognitive Psychology 3
PSYC 340 Human Factors Psychology 3
Select two courses from the following: 6-7
Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Physiological Psychology
Independent Study in Psychology 1
Cognitive Engineering: Cognitive Science Applied to Human Factors 2
Total Credits 12-13
1

Must be taken with a human factors and applied cognition faculty member.

2

Note course prerequisite of PSYC 317 Cognitive Psychology.

Concentration in Work and Organizational Psychology (WKOP)

Students pursuing the BS with concentration take 12-13 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on I/O psychology may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute the honors work for one course in the concentration.

Applied Psychology Course
PSYC 333 Industrial and Organizational Psychology 3
Select three courses from the following: 9-10
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Psychology of Creativity and Innovation
Personnel Training and Development: A Psychological Perspective
The Psychology of Working in Groups and Teams
Special Topics `
MBUS 301
Managing People and Organizations in a Global Economy
Total Credits 12-13
1

Only when topic is Occupational Health Psychology or Work and Family with prior written approval.

Other Concentrations Available to Majors

Available Concentrations Available to Majors
  • Concentration in Clinical Psychology (CLPY)
  • Concentration in Developmental Psychology (DVLP)
  • Concentration in Educational Psychology (EPSY)
  • Concentration in Health Psychology (HPSY)

Students may choose to complete a concentration in clinical psychology, development psychology, educational psychology, or health psychology.

Concentration in Clinical Psychology (CLPY)

Students pursuing the BS with this concentration take 12 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on clinical psychology may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute their honors work for one course in the concentration.

PSYC 321 Clinical Psychology 3
PSYC 325 Abnormal Psychology 3
Select at least two psychology electives from the following 6
Developmental Psychology (Mason Core)
Child Development
Adolescent Development
Social Psychology (Mason Core)
Behavior Modification
Personality Theory
Therapeutic Communication Skills
Behavior Disorders of Childhood
Group Psychotherapy Techniques
Independent Study in Psychology
Special Topics 1
1

 Only when topic is related to clinical psychology approved by the psychology department.

Concentration in Developmental Psychology (DVLP)

The concentration in developmental psychology may be of interest to students who are planning to attend graduate school in developmental psychology or a related field, such as human development and family studies, school psychology, or clinical child psychology. Students who are considering a career in school psychology or education may also find this concentration advantageous.

Students pursuing the BS with this concentration take 12 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on developmental psychology may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute their honors work for one course in the concentration.

PSYC 211 Developmental Psychology (Mason Core) 3
PSYC 313 Child Development 3
Select two courses from the following: 6
Adolescent Development
Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology (Mason Core)
Behavior Disorders of Childhood
Psychological Factors in Aging
Independent Study in Psychology 1
Special Topics 1
Total Credits 12
1

Only when content is developmental, with prior written approval.

Concentration in Educational Psychology (EPSY)

Students pursuing the BS with concentration in educational psychology take 12 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on educational psychology may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute their honors work for one course in the concentration.

PSYC 312 Educational Psychology 3
PSYC 320 Psychological Tests and Measurements 4
Select two from the following: 6
Principles of Learning
Child Development
Adolescent Development
Behavior Modification
Independent Study in Psychology 1
Special Topics 1
Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory
Total Credits 13
1

Educational content only, with department approval.

Concentration in Health Psychology (HPSY)

Students pursuing the BS with concentration in health psychology take 12 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 2.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

Students who successfully complete the Psychology Department Honors Program (PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III) with an honors thesis/project focused on health or well-being may, with approval of their thesis committees and the associate chair for undergraduate studies, substitute their honors work for one course in the concentration.

PSYC 417 Science of Well Being 3
Select three from the following: 9
Developmental Psychology (Mason Core)
Clinical Psychology
Abnormal Psychology
Psychological Fitness
Special Topics 1
Total Credits 12
1

Only when topic is related to health and well-being and approved by the psychology department.

Electives in the Major

Students complete the 39 required credits with electives in psychology (PSYC) with the following restrictions.

  • A maximum of 6 credits of PSYC 327 Psychology in the Community and PSYC 328 Psychology in the Community Laboratory may be applied to required psychology credits.
  • A maximum of 6 credits of PSYC 260 Basic Research Methods in Psychology, PSYC 350 Directed Reading and Research in Psychology, and PSYC 460 Independent Study in Psychology may be applied to required psychology credits.
  • No more than 9 credits of PSYC 327 Psychology in the Community, PSYC 328 Psychology in the Community Laboratory, PSYC 260 Basic Research Methods in Psychology, PSYC 350 Directed Reading and Research in Psychology, and PSYC 460 Independent Study in Psychology can be taken without written permission of the department chair.
  • No more than 6 credits of D may be applied toward this requirement.

PSYC 465 Pioneering Ideas in Psychology is strongly recommended for all students who plan to attend graduate school in psychology.

If an approved psychology course is used to meet the technical writing requirement, it may also be applied as a psychology elective.

Supporting Courses

These courses broaden the requirements to include humanities and strengthen the science, quantitative and writing components of the degree. Students who successfully complete the Honors College curriculum are required to complete only the quantitative reasoning and natural science support requirements described below. All other supporting requirements are considered met by successful completion of the Honors College curriculum.

Technical Writing
Select one of the following: 1 3-4
Professional and Technical Writing
Principles of Learning
Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Successful completion of the psychology honors program: 2
Natural Science
BIOL 103 Introductory Biology I (Mason Core) 4
BIOL 104 Introductory Biology II (Mason Core) 4
or BIOL 213 Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)
Elective Science Courses:
Students fill this requirement with any two courses in the natural sciences. 6-8
Quantitative Reasoning
Select two courses from the following: 6-8
MATH 108
Introductory Calculus with Business Applications (Mason Core)
MATH 110
Introductory Probability (Mason Core)
MATH 111
Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core)
MATH 113
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
MATH 114
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
MATH 123
Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A
MATH 124
Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)
STAT 250
Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)
STAT 350
Introductory Statistics II
Humanities
Select one course from the following: 3
PHIL 3
RELI
ARTH
AVT
MUSI
DANC
THR
Social and Behavioral Science
Select two courses from the following: 4 6
ANTH
ECON
GOVT
HIST
SOCI
Any non-psychology course that has been approved to meet the Mason Core requirement in social and behavioral science
One Additional Course in Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science 5 3
Total Credits 35-40
1

The psychology classes in this list may also be applied as a psychology elective.

2

PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III

3

Excluding PHIL 173 Logic and Critical Thinking and PHIL 376 Symbolic Logic.

4

Courses in psychology may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

5

Select an additional course from the lists under the requirements in humanities and social sciences above (and with the same restrictions).

Writing-Intensive Requirement

The university requires all students to complete at least one course designated "writing intensive" in their majors at the 300 level or above. Students majoring in psychology may fulfill this requirement by successfully completing PSYC 301 Research Methods in Psychology, PSYC 304 Principles of Learning, or PSYC 309 Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing. Students who receive transfer credit for a research methods course must take PSYC 304 Principles of Learning, or PSYC 309 Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing unless the transfer course has been approved as writing intensive.

Upper Level Requirement

Students seeking a bachelor’s degree must apply at least 45 credits of upper-level courses (numbered 300 or above) toward graduation requirements.

College Level Requirements for the BA Degree

In addition to the Mason Core program, students pursuing a BA degree must complete the coursework below. Except where expressly prohibited, a course used to fulfill a college level requirement may also be used simultaneously to satisfy other requirements (Mason Core requirements or requirements for the major).

Philosophy or Religious Studies
Select 3 credits from the following: 3
PHIL 1
1

Note that the following courses may not be used to fulfill this requirement:

  • PHIL 323 Classical Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 324 Modern Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 327 Contemporary Western Political Theory 
  • PHIL 393 Humanities College to Career 
  • PHIL 460 Senior Seminar in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics


Additionally, PHIL 253 Philosophy and Literature (Mason Core) and RELI 235 Religion and Literature (Mason Core) cannot be used to fulfill both the philosophy/religious studies requirement and the Mason Core literature requirement.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Select 3 credits of social and behavioral sciences from the following (additional to the Mason Core social and behavioral sciences requirement) 1 3
ANTH
CRIM
ECON
GOVT
HIST 2
LING
PSYC
SOCI
Or choose from the following GGS courses:
Major World Regions (Mason Core)
Human Geography (Mason Core)
Introduction to Geoinformation Technologies
Political Geography
Geography of Resource Conservation (Mason Core)
Population Geography (Mason Core)
Economic Geography
Urban Geography
Geography of the United States
Geography of Latin America
Geography of Europe
Geography of North Africa and the Middle East
Geography of the Soviet Succession States
Structures in Urban Governance and Planning
Geography of Virginia
1

The two courses used to fulfill the combined college and Mason Core requirements must be from different disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. 

2

HIST 100 History of Western Civilization (Mason Core) and HIST 125 Introduction to World History (Mason Core) may not be used to fulfill this requirement.

Foreign Language
Intermediate-level proficiency in one foreign language, fulfilled by: 1
Or achieving a satisfactory score on an approved proficiency test
Or completing the following ASL three course sequence:
American Sign Language (ASL) I
American Sign Language (ASL) II
American Sign Language (ASL) III
1

Students who are already proficient in a second language may be eligible for a waiver of this requirement. Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Non-Western Culture

Select 3 credits of an approved course in the study of a non-Western culture (additional to the Mason Core requirement in global understanding)

Select 3 credits (additional to Mason Core Global Understanding requirement) 1
ANTH 114 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 300 Civilizations 3
ANTH 301 Native North Americans 3
ANTH 302 Peoples and Cultures of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 303 Peoples and Cultures of the Andes 3
ANTH 306 Peoples and Cultures of Island Asia (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 307 Ancient Mesoamerica (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 308 Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 309 Peoples and Cultures of India (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 313 Myth, Magic, and Mind (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 314 Zombies 3
ANTH 316 Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 323 Digging and Dealing in the Dead: Ethics in Archaeology 3
ANTH 330 Peoples and Cultures of Selected Regions: Non-Western 3
ANTH 332 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Globalization (Mason Core) 3
ANTH 381 Medical Anthropology 3
ANTH 383 Cities of the Global South 3
ANTH 396 Issues in Anthropology: Social Sciences (Mason Core) 3
ARAB 360 Topics in Arabic Cultural Production 3
ARAB 420 Survey of Arabic Literature 3
ARAB 440 Topics in Arabic Religious Thought and Texts (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 203 Survey of Asian Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 204 Survey of Latin American Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 206 Survey of African Art (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 318 Art and Archaeology of Ancient Egypt 3
ARTH 319 Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 320 Art of the Islamic World (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 382 Arts of India (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 383 Arts of Southeast Asia (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 384 Arts of China (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 385 Arts of Japan (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 386 The Silk Road (Mason Core) 3
ARTH 482 RS: Advanced Studies in Asian Art 3
CHIN 318 Introduction to Classical Chinese (Mason Core) 3
CHIN 320 Contemporary Chinese Film 3
CHIN 325 Major Chinese Writers (Mason Core) 3
DANC 118 World Dance (Mason Core) 3
ECON 361 Economic Development of Latin America (Mason Core) 3
ECON 362 African Economic Development (Mason Core) 3
FREN 451 Topics in Sub-Saharan Francophone Literature and Culture 3
FREN 454 Topics in Caribbean Francophone Literature and Culture 3
GGS 101 Major World Regions (Mason Core) 3
GGS 316 Geography of Latin America 3
GGS 325 Geography of North Africa and the Middle East 3
GGS 330 Geography of the Soviet Succession States 3
GGS 399 Select Topics in GGS 3
GOVT 328 Non-Western Political Theory 3
GOVT 332 Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa 3
GOVT 333 Government and Politics of Asia 3
GOVT 340 Central Asian Politics 3
GOVT 341 Chinese Foreign Policy 3
GOVT 345 Islam and Politics 3
GOVT 432 Political Change and Social Development in Sub-Saharan Africa 3
GOVT 433 Political Economy of East Asia 3
HIST 251 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 252 Survey of East Asian History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 261 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 262 Survey of African History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 271 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 272 Survey of Latin American History (Mason Core) 3
HIST 281 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 282 Survey of Middle Eastern Civilization (Mason Core) 3
HIST 326 Stalinism 3
HIST 327 The Soviet Union and Russia Since World War II 3
HIST 328 Rise of Russia (Mason Core) 3
HIST 329 Modern Russia and the Soviet Union (Mason Core) 3
HIST 353 History of Traditional China 3
HIST 354 Modern China 3
HIST 356 Modern Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 357 Postwar Japan (Mason Core) 3
HIST 358 Post-1949 China (Mason Core) 3
HIST 360 History of South Africa (Mason Core) 3
HIST 364 Revolution and Radical Politics in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 365 Conquest and Colonization in Latin America (Mason Core) 3
HIST 366 Comparative Slavery 3
HIST 367 History, Fiction, and Film in Latin America 3
HIST 387 Topics in Global History (Mason Core) 3-6
HIST 426 The Russian Revolution 3
HIST 460 Modern Iran (Mason Core) 3
HIST 461 Arab-Israeli Conflict 3
HIST 462 Women in Islamic Society (Mason Core) 3
HIST 465 The Middle East in the 20th Century 3
JAPA 310 Japanese Culture in a Global World (Mason Core) 3
JAPA 340 Topics in Japanese Literature (Mason Core) 3
KORE 320 Korean Popular Culture in a Global World 3
MUSI 103 Musics of the World (Mason Core) 3
RELI 211 Religions of the West (Mason Core) 3
RELI 212 Religions of Asia (Mason Core) 3
RELI 240 Death and the Afterlife in World Religions 3
RELI 272 Islam 3
RELI 313 Hinduism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 314 Chinese Philosophies and Religious Traditions 3
RELI 315 Buddhism (Mason Core) 3
RELI 337 Mysticism: East and West 3
RELI 365 Muhammad: Life and Legacy 3
RELI 374 Islamic Thought (Mason Core) 3
RELI 375 Qur'an and Hadith 3
RELI 379 Islamic Law, Society, and Ethics 3
RELI 387 Islam, Democracy, and Human Rights 3
RELI 490 Comparative Study of Religions (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 353 Russian Civilization (Mason Core) 3
RUSS 354 Contemporary Post-Soviet Life (Mason Core) 3
1

A course used to fulfill the Mason Core global understanding requirement may not be simultaneously used to satisfy this college-level requirement. A course used to fulfill this requirement may be used simultaneously to fulfill any other requirements (Mason Core requirements, college-level requirements, or requirements for the major). Additional information on waivers can be found at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs.

Mason Core

Note: Some Mason Core requirements may already be fulfilled by the major requirements listed above. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors to ensure they fulfill all remaining Mason Core requirements.

Foundation Requirements
Written Communication 6
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology 3-7
Core Requirements
Arts 3
Global Understanding 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Western Civilization/World History 3
Synthesis/Capstone Requirement 1
Synthesis/Capstone 3
Total Credits 40
1

minimum 3 credits

Additional Elective Courses

Any remaining credits may be completed with electives to bring the degree total to 120
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