BS in Psychology

Catalog Year: 2024-2025

Banner Code: LA-BS-PSYC

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.

Honors in the Major

Highly-qualified students may apply to graduate with honors in the major. To be eligible for admission, psychology majors must have completed at least 50 credits and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.40 in psychology courses.

If accepted, students must take a sequence of three courses, which culminates in the successful completion and presentation of an independent honors thesis.

PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I 1 3
or PSYC 460 Independent Study in Psychology
PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II 3
PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III (Mason Core) 3
1

PSYC 460 can be substituted for PSYC 490 with permission of the Honors Program Director.

To graduate with honors, students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.50 in their honors courses and maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 and a minimum GPA of 3.40 in psychology courses.

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 clinical psychology, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, 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 Introduction to 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:
Lifespan Development (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 (Mason Core) 4
Psychology Lab Course
Select one course from the following: 2 1-4
Principles of Learning (Mason Core)
Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing (Mason Core)
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Biopsychology Laboratory
Biopsychology
Select one from the following: 3 3-6
Biopsychology
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) 4
Clinical Practicum in Psychology 4
Psychology Honors II
RS: Psychology Honors III (Mason Core)
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 (Mason Core) 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.  PSYC 320 may count for both the Psychology Lab and the Applied Psychology requirements.

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 Biopsychology. Only students who receive transfer credit for PSYC 372 Biopsychology 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 Biopsychology at Mason may not use it in place of PSYC 375 Brain and Sensory Processes.

4

 PSYC 427 Community Engagement for Social Change (Mason Core) and PSYC 430 Clinical Practicum in Psychology may count for both the Professional Development and the Applied Psychology requirements.

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 complete two courses from the following with a minimum grade of C- in each: 6-7
Psychological Tests and Measurements 1
Psychopathology
Therapeutic Communication Skills
Psychology in the Workplace (Mason Core)
Human Factors Psychology
Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology (Mason Core)
Mental Illness and Criminal Justice
Community Engagement for Social Change (Mason Core) 2
Clinical Practicum in Psychology 2
Total Credits 6-7
1

PSYC 320 Psychological Tests and Measurements may count for both the Applied Psychology and the Psychology Lab requirements or for both the Applied Psychology and the Technical Writing requirements.

2

PSYC 427 Community Engagement for Social Change (Mason Core) and PSYC 430 Clinical Practicum in Psychology may count for both the Applied Psychology and the Professional Development requirements.

Concentrations Meeting Applied Psychology Requirement
Concentration in Forensic Psychology (FPSY)

Students pursuing the BS with concentration in forensic psychology take 15 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 (Mason Core)) 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 Introduction to Psychology (Mason Core) 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 15
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 (Mason Core)) 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 (Mason Core)
Psychology in the Workplace (Mason Core)
Biopsychology
Independent Study in Psychology 1
Special Topics 3
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.

3

 Only with Undergraduate Associate Chair approval.

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 (Mason Core)) 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 Psychology in the Workplace (Mason Core) 3
Select three courses from the following: 9-10
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Personality Theory
Personnel Training and Development: A Psychological Perspective
The Psychology of Working in Groups and Teams
Special Topics 1
Principles of Management
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

  • Concentration in Clinical Psychology (CLPY)
  • Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBNR)
  • Concentration in Developmental Psychology (DVLP)
  • Concentration in Educational Psychology (EPSY)
  • Concentration in Health Psychology (HPSY)

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 (Mason Core)) 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 Psychopathology 3
Select at least two psychology electives from the following 6
Lifespan Development (Mason Core)
Child Development
Adolescent Development
Social Psychology (Mason Core)
Behavior Modification
Personality Theory
Therapeutic Communication Skills
Behavior Disorders of Childhood
Science of Well Being
Group Psychotherapy Techniques
Clinical Practicum in Psychology
Independent Study in Psychology
Special Topics 1
Pioneering Ideas in Psychology
1

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

Concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBNR)

This concentration focuses on laboratory experience in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience and more in-depth courses of interest that will broaden the students' knowledge in understanding brain and behavior.

Students pursuing the BS with this concentration take 15 credits. Students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 in all coursework applied to the concentration.

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

Required courses
PSYC 373 Biopsychology Laboratory 2
PSYC 304 Principles of Learning (Mason Core) 4
Select a minimum of 9 credits from the following: 9
Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing (Mason Core)
Independent Study in Psychology 1
Biological Bases of Alzheimer's Disease
Current Topics in Brain and Behavior 2
Special Topics 3
Total Credits 15
1

With permission of a CBN faculty member. 

2

With approval of the undergraduate associate chair when the topic is Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory, Drugs and the Brain, or Brain in Books and Film.

3

With approval of the  undergraduate associate chair when the topic is Music and the Brain, Neuronal Aspects of Cognitive Development, Animal Cognition, or Psychology of Stress and Health. 

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 (Mason Core)) 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 Lifespan Development (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 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 (Mason Core)) 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 (Mason Core)
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 (Mason Core)) 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
Lifespan Development (Mason Core)
Clinical Psychology
Psychopathology
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 (Mason Core)
Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing (Mason Core)
Psychological Tests and Measurements
Successful completion of the psychology honors program: 2
Natural Science
Choose one of the following sequences: 8
BIOL 102& BIOL 103& BIOL 105
Introductory Biology I-Survey of Biodiversity and Ecology (Mason Core)
and Introductory Biology II-Survey of Cell and Molecular Biology (Mason Core)
and Introductory Biology II Laboratory (Mason Core)
BIOL 103& BIOL 105& BIOL 213
Introductory Biology II-Survey of Cell and Molecular Biology (Mason Core)
and Introductory Biology II Laboratory (Mason Core)
and Cell Structure and Function (Mason Core)
Two elective courses in the natural sciences. 3 6-8
Quantitative Reasoning
Select two courses from the following: 6-8
Introduction to Social Network Analysis (Mason Core)
Quantitative Reasoning (Mason Core)
Introductory Calculus with Business Applications (Mason Core)
Introductory Probability (Mason Core)
Linear Mathematical Modeling (Mason Core)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)
Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Honors) (Mason Core)
Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part A
Calculus with Algebra/Trigonometry, Part B (Mason Core)
Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)
STAT 105T
Intro Statistics - Transfer (Mason Core)
Introductory Statistics II
Humanities
Select one course from the following: 3
PHIL
RELI
ARTH
AVT
MUSI
DANC
THR
Social and Behavioral Science
Select two courses from the following: 4 6
ANTH
CRIM
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
1

The psychology classes in this list may also be applied as a psychology elective. PSYC 320 may count for both the Technical Writing and the Applied Psychology requirements.

2

PSYC 490 Psychology Honors I, PSYC 491 Psychology Honors II, and PSYC 492 RS: Psychology Honors III (Mason Core)

3

Students fill the additional science requirement with any two courses in the natural sciences including any EVPP, NEUR, ASTR, BIOL, CHEM, GEOL, and PHYS courses, and any course from the list of approved Mason Core science courses. 

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 (Mason Core), PSYC 304 Principles of Learning (Mason Core), or PSYC 309 Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing (Mason Core). Students who receive transfer credit for a research methods course must take PSYC 304 Principles of Learning (Mason Core), or PSYC 309 Sensation, Perception, and Information Processing (Mason Core) 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.

Additional Electives

Any remaining credits may be completed with elective courses to bring the degree total to 120.

 Mason Core

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.

Students who have completed the following credentials are eligible for a waiver of the Foundation and Exploration (lower level) requirement categories. The Integration category (upper level) is not waived under this policy. See Admissions for more information. 

  • VCCS Uniform Certificate of General Studies
  • VCCS or Richard Bland Associate of Science (A.S.), Associate of Arts (A.A.), Associate of Arts and Sciences (A.A.&S.), or Associate of Fine Arts (A.F.A.)
Foundation Requirements
Written Communication (lower-level) 3
Oral Communication 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3
Information Technology and Computing 3
Exploration Requirements
Arts 3
Global Contexts 3
Global History 3
Literature 3
Natural Science 7
Social and Behavioral Sciences 3
Just Societies (optional) 1
Integration Requirements
Written Communication (upper-level) 3
Writing Intensive 2 3
Mason Apex 3 3
Total Credits 40
1

In addition to covering content related to the designated category, Exploration level courses marked with a Just Societies "flag" are specifically designed to help students learn how to interact effectively with others from all walks of life, including those with backgrounds and beliefs that differ from their own. Courses marked with the Just Societies flag are available for students starting in Fall 2024. Students admitted prior to the Fall of 2025 are not required to take courses with a Just Societies flag but may wish to do so to increase their knowledge and skills in this important area. Students interested in this approach to completing their Mason Core Exploration Requirements should work closely wiht their advisor to identify the appropriate Just Societies-flagged courses.

2

Most programs include the writing-intensive course designated for the major as part of the major requirements; this course is therefore not counted towards the total required for Mason Core.

3

Minimum 3 credits required.