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Psychology BA

College of Community Studies and Public Affairs / Psychology
Undergraduate major / Bachelor of Arts

About The Program

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Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior. Students completing the BA in Psychology are prepared for careers in many diverse areas including management, social services, research, non-profit organizations, mental health, rehabilitation, public service, prevention, community service, consulting, recreation/activities, sales, and many other areas. Students are also prepared to pursue masters and doctoral study in professional areas such as counseling, clinical social work, research psychology, higher education, psychotherapy and psychological services.

Student outcomes

It is expected that all students receiving a BA degree with a psychology major will:

  • demonstrate mastery of a basic core of psychological knowledge and theory;
  • demonstrate an understanding of scientific methodology;
  • enhance their development of interpersonal and intercultural sensitivity;
  • demonstrate their ability to appropriately apply knowledge;
  • understand the ethical issues and standards of psychology; and
  • be able to integrate learning in psychology with the needs of a pluralistic society

Related minors

How to enroll

Current students: Declare this program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further admission requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Psychology BA now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Psychology BA

More ways to earn your degree: Metropolitan State offers the flexibility you need to finish your degree. Through programs at our partner institutions, you can find a path to getting your Psychology BA that works best for you.

About your enrollment options

Courses and Requirements


All students are expected to have at least 40 credits in psychology during the course of their BA studies. This includes transfer credits as well as academic work completed at Metropolitan State. At least 24 credits in the major must be taken at Metropolitan State; and at least 30 credits must be upper division (taken at 300-level or above).

In addition to psychology major requirements, students must complete the university's general education and liberal studies requirements.

Psychology electives

Additional learning in psychology should be selected to form a coherent pattern appropriate to the student's goals and interests. Learning opportunities may include approved psychology-related courses, internships, faculty- or student-designed independent studies, prior learning assessments or theory seminars.

Application of knowledge

All students are expected to demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge in their chosen area of psychology through an internship and its accompanying seminar, or through past work or community involvement.

Students plan this experience in Psyc 407.

Field Experiences are expected for most students entering psychology as a new field of study, and for students exploring a new area of psychology. Examples of possible field settings include research laboratories, child care agencies, group homes, mental health agencies, and community centers working with children, teens and families, or the elderly. This requirement can also be met through departmental teaching assistantships or through research assistantships. Students with experience in psychology-related areas may elect to apply for credit through the assessment of prior learning or theory seminars, or incorporate this learning into a student-designed independent study. Students will develop their application of knowledge in Psyc 407.

Student-Directed Learning and Alternative Learning Strategies

The Psychology Department has a number of collaborations with diverse organizations that support and foster learning opportunities for our students. The Psychology Department is a University leader in Student-Directed Learning through Student-Designed Independent Study (SDIS, students earn credit in topics not part of the regular curriculum) and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA, students can earn credit for significant learning about Psychology in settings such as agency employment). In addition, students can earn credit for conducting research or assisting faculty in research or teaching.

The Psychology Department also offers Internships, Group Internships (e.g., Psyc 399, Psyc 580), and Faculty-Designed Independent Study (FDIS) courses. FDIS courses have the same learning outcomes and meet the same requirements as the corresponding lecture course but are offered in a more flexible format. Some FDIS courses start later in the semester and can accommodate students who want to start a course at a non-traditional time of the year.

Graduation with distinction

The Psychology Department uses the honor “Graduation with Distinction” to recognize students who have completed an academically challenging program while displaying academic excellence. This program is intended for highly motivated students who expect to pursue advanced study in Psychology. It enriches the academic experience for undergraduates in the Psychology major by offering opportunities for in-depth study and independent research. Students are encouraged to be involved in local and national professional conferences and advanced seminars and scientific presentations.

Graduation with Distinction application and requirements

Students who meet the following criteria and wish to pursue the Graduation with Distinction in Psychology must submit an application. Criteria: GPA of 3.25 or higher based on at least 30+ graded credits and successful completion of PSYC 100 (or equivalent).

To apply for Graduation with Distinction (contact Psychology Department for more details):

  • Student must be a declared Psychology Major
  • Student must meet criteria above
  • Produce a cover letter and writing sample on an assigned essay topic
  • Copy of unofficial transcripts
  • Send the application to the Psychology Department (Attn: Graduation with Distinction)

Graduation with Distinction required coursework includes:

  • Psychology BA requirements, which must include:
  1. Psyc 307 Data Analysis (4 credits) as one elective
  2. Application of Knowledge requirement met through completion of an Independent Research Thesis

Upon completing the curriculum above and graduating with at least a 3.5 GPA in psychology courses taken at Metropolitan State University, students receive:

  • “Graduation with Distinction” notation on their transcripts
  • Psi Chi membership fees covered through scholarship fund
  • Individualized mentorship

Psychology BA requirements (40 credits in Psychology, 120 total credits)

In addition to psychology major requirements, students must complete the university's general education and liberal studies requirements.

+ Prerequisite or Corequisite Courses

This course is designed to help students understand and be able to apply ethical principles and the fundamental components of the scientific method. Students will be introduced to statistical theories and operations, and the basics of reading and writing in APA style as they relate to the study of psychological science. Students will learn to think critically about scientific research and the process of using the scientific method to quantify, measure, and make predictions about human behavior.

Full course description for Fundamentals of Psychological Science

In this course students explore questions related to psychology's response to diversity and ethical principles, including: How has psychology dealt with issues of culture, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation and ableism? How has this influenced basic theories in psychology? How does this affect specific groups or individuals in areas of research, assessment and therapeutic practice? What are the ethical standards that guide, and the ethical dilemmas that currently face, the field of psychology? How do issues of diversity and ethical principles influence and intersect with each other? Further, this course is designed to develop and expand students' critical knowledge of the central role of race, racism, and anti-racism in multiple contexts of society and aspects of everyday life. Students are asked to think critically about the societal and individual effects inherent in the information covered in this course.

Full course description for Introduction to Diversity and Ethics in Psychology

+ Required

This course introduces students to scientific research methods in psychology, emphasizing the experimental method. Topics include developing research questions, reviewing background information, deciding on appropriate methodology, and collecting and interpreting data. This course prepares students to think critically about psychological claims and is generally required preparation for graduate study. This course includes assignments in the Psychology Laboratory.

Full course description for Research Methods

This advanced psychology course is designed as a capstone course for students with a degree plan focus in psychology. In it, students review historical trends, individuals, and the political and social influences which have influenced psychology as a science and profession in twentieth-century America. Note: Students should plan to take this course near the end of their degree plan.

Full course description for History and Systems of Psychology

This course serves two main purposes: 1) Comparing one's career interests to career and internship/application of knowledge possibilities in psychology and related fields 2) Preparation for an internship/application of knowledge experience to fulfill the Application of Knowledge (AoK) requirement in psychology. In this course, students will learn about various subfields in psychology and associated work in these areas. Students will search for a psychology-relevant internship/AoK experience, completing a) a competence statement describing the skills to be acquired, b) a list of learning strategies specifically describing the work to be completed, as well as its relevance to psychology, and c) a description of the methods to be used in evaluating the student in the internship/AoK experience. This course is appropriate for any student who wishes to perform an AoK in psychology and is a prerequisite for the AoK class in psychology (Psyc 408).

Full course description for Professional and Career Applications of Psychology

In addition to the courses listed, an Application of Knowledge Learning Experience is required. This experience is planned in Psyc 407.
+ Core content areas

Choose one course from at least Three of the Four areas.

Area One

In this course, students learn social psychological theories and concepts. They also learn how to understand the research methods on which these theories are based. This knowledge includes an awareness and respect for the diversity of human experience, the importance of social influence on individual behavior, the social significance of groups, and the nature of social change.

Full course description for Social Psychology

This course surveys the principles and applications of community psychology, emphasizing person-environment interactions and societal/cultural impacts upon individual and community functioning. Attention is given to community-based interventions that facilitate individual and community competence and empowerment, prevent disorder, and promote health and social change. Students select and research an issue of their choice (such as, mental illness, violence, alcohol or substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, discrimination) utilizing a community psychology lens.

Full course description for Community Psychology

Area Two

This course covers topics that span the full range of specializations within the field of cognitive psychology; such as attention, learning, memory, thinking and problem solving, decision making, language, intelligence and creativity. Applications of this information to education, business and mental health are provided. This course is well-suited to students interested in education, as well as psychology, and is often preparation for graduate study in psychology or education.

Full course description for Cognitive Psychology

Human factors psychology (ergonomics) is the study of human capacities and limitations affecting people's interaction with machines. Topics include perception, cognition, memory, psychomotor learning, display and control design, vehicular and roadway design, the human-computer interface, airplane crashes, and product liability. The course includes psychology laboratory experiments and research reports, exercises in human factors design, and a field trip in which students fly a flight simulator. Experimental methodology underlies the content of this course.

Full course description for Human Factors

This course introduces students to the history of learning theories, and the development of current theories of learning such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning. An emphasis is on the basic methods of inquiry, as well as on applications of learning theories to areas such as education, business and behavioral change. This course is well-suited to students interested in education, as well as psychology, and is often preparation for graduate study in psychology and education.

Full course description for Psychology of Learning: Contemporary Theories and Applications

This course examines the biological basis of behavior. Topics include structure and function of the nervous system, psychopharmacology, electrophysiology, and higher order function of the nervous system. Laboratories include brain dissection, nerve histology, electrophysiology and behavioral experiments.

Full course description for Biopsychology

Area Three
Area Four

This course covers the theory and developmental processes of adolescence, including viewpoints of adolescence, self and adolescent identity, biological influences, thinking and intelligence, and development of moral values and adolescent pathologies. Students learn to identify and describe these variables as interactive in the developmental process.

Full course description for Adolescent Psychology

This course examines adults in transition in the broad context of "the learning society" and explores practical applications of individual differences in learning styles and research on adult learners. Students complete individual study projects which may relate to their personal development or to their professional development particularly as it applies to the workplace. Periodically, focus or topic courses are offered for students with specific interests. See PSYC 319 The Impact of Technology on Human and Organizational Behavior and PSYC 342 Adult Development and Lifelong Learning II: Continuing Education and Training.

Full course description for Adult Development and Lifelong Learning

This course provides an overview of the science of child psychology. Major theories and research related to a child's perceptual, motor, emotional, social and cognitive development are reviewed, and their practical applications are explored. Overlap: PSYC 308T Child Psychology Theory Seminar.

Full course description for Child Psychology

+ Electives (minimum 9 credits)

Additional learning in psychology should be selected to form a coherent pattern appropriate to the student's goals and interests. Learning opportunities may include approved psychology-related courses, internships, faculty- or student-designed independent studies, prior learning assessments or theory seminars.