Students in the Department of Psychology may elect a major within the psychology program, or they may elect an interdisciplinary major in neuroscience, sponsored jointly by the departments of Psychology and Biology (see Neuroscience). The program in psychology examines contemporary perspectives on principles of human behavior, in areas ranging from cognition, language, development, and behavioral neuroscience to interpersonal relations and psychopathology. Its approach emphasizes scientific methods of inquiry and analysis.
Requirements for the Major in Psychology
The psychology major comprises ten courses. These are selected by students with their advisors and subject to departmental review. The major includes Psychology 101, which is a prerequisite to further study in psychology, and Psychology 251 and 252. These three core courses should be completed before the junior year when feasible. The major also includes laboratory and advanced courses. Students have the option of taking either (a) two laboratory courses numbered 260–279 and two advanced (300-level) courses, or (b) three laboratory courses numbered 260–279 and one advanced (300-level) course. Note that either Psychology 275 or 276, but not both, may count toward the two- or three-course laboratory requirement. Similarly, no more than one course from among Psychology 320, 321, and 323 may count toward the two-advanced-course option; and no more than one course from among Psychology 313, 315, 316, and 322 may count toward the two-advanced-course option. Finally, the major includes three electives chosen from among all psychology courses. Students are encouraged to consider an independent study course on a library, laboratory, or field research project. Independent study courses at any level count as electives, but do not count toward the laboratory requirement or the advanced-course requirement.
Students who are considering a major in psychology are encouraged to enroll in Psychology 101 during their first year at Bowdoin and to enroll in Psychology 251 and 252 during their second year. Students must take Psychology 251 before 252. Psychology 251 must be taken prior to 260. Psychology 252 can be taken concurrently with 270, 274, 275, 276, and 277; but must be taken prior to any 300-level course. If possible, students should begin their laboratory work no later than the fall of their junior year. Those who plan to study away from campus for one or both semesters of their junior year should complete at least one laboratory course before leaving for their off-campus experience and plan their courses so that they can complete the major after returning to campus. Students should speak with the chair of the department regarding their off-campus study plans and transfer of credit toward the major. Laboratory or advanced courses taken elsewhere may be counted as electives but are not normally counted toward the laboratory or advanced course requirement.
Requirements for the Minor in Psychology
The psychology minor comprises six courses, including Psychology 101, 251, and 252, and one laboratory course.
To fulfill a major (or minor) requirement in psychology, or to serve as a prerequisite for another psychology course, a grade of C- or better must be earned in a course. There is one exception: Psychology 101 may be taken with the Credit/D/Fail grading option, and it will count toward the major (or minor) and serve as a prerequisite for other psychology courses if a grade of CR (Credit) is earned for the course.
Students who receive an AP score of 4 or higher on the psychology exam are considered to have met the prerequisite for courses requiring Psychology 101. Students who receive an IB score of 5 or higher on the (higher level) psychology exam are considered to have met the prerequisite for courses requiring Psychology 101. If students place out of Psychology 101, ten psychology courses must still be completed for the major, and six for the minor.
Requirements for the Major in Neuroscience