Bachelor's Degree in Psychology

Undergraduate Degree

The faculty who are committed to undergraduate education are a diverse group with a variety of theoretical orientations and interest areas:

  • Clinical Psychology,
  • Neuropsychology,
  • Cognitive Psychology,
  • Physiological Psychology,
  • Experimental,
  • Developmental Psychology, and
  • Social Psychology.
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Who's My Advisor?


student on campus

We offer a strong commitment to excellence in teaching, active research and service programs, and a team of advisors who are dedicated to helping our students achieve personal and professional goals. Our offices are located on the 3rd floor of Clay Hall. Our Department’s Administrative Assistants, Ms. Charlotte Phillips and Ms. Diane Coakley, are located in Clay Hall 303. 

We strongly recommend that students be aware of the various requirements for graduation and take responsibility for their own success. To see who your advisor is, please click here. We look forward to working with you!


Why Major in Psychology?

Declaring the Major

Choosing Courses                                                                                                                                                                
Psychology Course Offerings                                                                                                                                         Psychology Courses Required for the Major
  - Approved Courses for General Education

Suggested Schedule (4-year plan)

Graduation Requirements

Psychology Degree Requirements Checklist

Jobs with a Bachelor Degree/Careers Requiring Graduate Degree

Preparing for Graduate School
Proposed Graduate Timeline
-   TSU Graduate Psychology Programs

Special Opportunities

(Back to Degree Programs in Psychology Page)

Why Major in Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, and the cognitive and physiological processes that underlie it.  It is the field of study that attempts to answer some of life’s most intriguing questions, such as why do some women keep going back to abusive husbands? Do humans have free will? Where in my brain are my memories stored? Why do different racial groups score differently on intelligence tests?

Students may choose to major in psychology because of an interest in learning answers to these complex questions, conducting research to try to find their own answers, or applying psychological research in different contexts to promote good health, social justice, and productive businesses and communities.

When choosing a major it is important to consider a number of factors. Am I likely to succeed in this major? Will the classes be interesting? What jobs can I get with this major? Will I need to go to graduate school in order to reach my career goals? Thinking about these questions and consulting with an academic advisor may provide some answers. 

Declaring the Major & Receiving an Advisor

To declare a Psychology Major, pick up a form from the Department’s Administrative Assistant, Ms. Phillips, in Clay 303.  You will want to set up an appointment with your advisor at that time. Before you see your advisor, be sure to print out a copy of your transcript from MyTSU and complete a Program of Studies sheet. 

Choosing Courses

Faculty advisors are available to assist you in your selection of courses, but students who put time and thought into carefully planning their schedules are more likely to be satisfied with the courses they end up taking and are more likely to graduate on time. This section provides information about things to think about when planning your schedules.

When selecting courses each semester, it is important to think about what courses you need to take as well as what courses you are interested in taking before you graduate. It is very important to plan ahead. Many Upper Division courses have prerequisite courses , courses that must be completed before you can register for certain classes. It is very important to be aware of what prerequisite courses are required for each course you intend to take so that you can plan ahead.

It is also important to consider your career goals . For example, if you are considering becoming a mental health professional, such as a Clinical Psychologist or mental health case worker, it is important that you take Abnormal Psychology to help you decide if this is a direction you are interested in taking with your career and so that you have a good background in this area when you enter graduate school or the workforce in this field.

You may also want to think about which instructor you would like to take a class with as well as what day and time your classes meet. Professors have different styles of teaching, and some may fit better with your learning style than others. Also, work schedules and whether you are a “morning person” or an “afternoon person” may affect your ability to perform in a class depending on when it meets. 

IMPORTANT: In order to graduate from TSU, students must earn 120 credit hours . This includes 41 hours of General Education requirements and 42 hours of Upper Division courses (all 3000/4000 level courses). It also includes courses required for the Psychology Major . In order to graduate on time, it is critical that students make sure that they are fulfilling all of these requirements. We recommend that you use the Psychology B.S. Degree Requirements Checklist at the end of this Handbook to keep track of courses you have taken and those you need to take. Please see the following links for a summary of requirements.

-  Required Courses for Psychology Majors
-  Psychology Courses
-  Approved Courses for General Education

Graduation Requirements

ATTENTION! You must have a minimum total of 120 hours to graduate!  At least 42 of these hours must be upper division (3000 or 4000 level). These 42 hours include upper division psychology courses taken for the major and otherwise. Students who complete the minimum requirements of the Psychology Major should need to take an additional 5 hours of upper division courses in order to fulfill this additional requirement for graduation. Still other elective courses (at least 38 hours) will need to be taken in order to reach the required 120 total hours needed to graduate.

Check your hours:
General Education (not including PSYC2010)     = 38
Psychology Major (min. requirements)             = 44
Additional Upper Division Electives*                 = ___
 Lower Division Elective*                                = ___

(*Additional electives must sum to 38; at least 5hrs must be UD))

                                               TOTAL           = 120 

120 credit hours must be completed.

At least 42 of the 120 required hours must be Upper Division (3000/4000 level); these will include Psychology courses that are required for the major.

All 41 hours of required General Education courses must be completed.

Students must earn a “C” or better in ENGL1010, ENGL1020, and all courses required for the Psychology major.

Senior Exit Exam – This exam must be taken before graduation; however, foreign students whose first language is not English are exempt from this requirement. The MAPP—Abbreviated Form consists of 36 multiple-choice questions and requires approximately 45 to 60 minutes.  Students are encouraged to take the Senior Exit Exam as early as possible in the academic year in which they plan to graduate. See Ms. Phillips in Clay Room 303 to register for the Senior Exit Exam.

Preparing for Graduate School 

Graduate school significantly expands the career options available to psychology students. There are many different types of graduate programs that are available to psychology students. The following section provides you with basic advice about how to prepare for different types of graduate programs in Psychology.

There are many types programs in Psychology. Some allow you to conduct research on and perform therapy to treat mental illnesses (Clinical Psychology), some allow you to conduct research on and perform therapy to treat more common problems, such as marital and career issues, depression and anxiety (Counseling Psychology), some enable you to conduct research on different disorders of the brain (Neuropsychology), and still others allow you to conduct research on how people think (Cognitive Psychology) or how people relate with others (Social Psychology).

The requirements for the Psychology major at TSU are designed to prepare students who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in psychology. Required courses will provide students with a solid foundation of skills needed for succeeding in graduate school. Beyond the requirements, students are advised to select courses that will help them to: 1) decide what type of psychology in which they are interested in specializing, and 2) receive a foundation in that area on which to build once in graduate school. For instance, those interested in pursuing a Clinical Psychology degree would be advised to take Abnormal Psychology whereas those interested in working with children or the elderly would be advised to take Developmental Psychology.

In addition, you may consider selecting a minor to help develop an interest in a specific field of psychology. For example, if you are interested in working with businesses to adjust the workplace in order to maximize worker productivity (Industrial/Organizational Psychology), you may consider a minor in Business or related field. Similarly, those interested in School Psychology may consider an Education minor.

Studies show that undergraduate research experience is an important factor in helping students gain admission to graduate school. See the Special Opportunities: Research Experience section for more information.

Special Opportunities

Research Experience: Many tenure track faculty in the Department of Psychology have active research programs, some of which welcome undergraduate student assistance for credit through...

a. Reading and Research in Psychology (PSYC4517): Participation in this course enables students to be paired up with faculty in the Department of Psychology to assist them   in the conduct of research. Enrollment in this course requires prior permission from instructor. Please contact Dr. Shive for further information.

b. Senior Project (PSYC4500): All Psychology majors are required to complete this course.  Students will be encouraged to make use of the Laboratory tools in the conduct of their Senior Projects.

c. Summer Research Opportunities

Participation in research is a time consuming activity that requires a significant commitment and high level of responsibility . Students interested are encouraged to pursue this special opportunity if necessary criteria are met. This option is particularly advised for those planning to attend graduate school.


Psychology Club:  The Psychology Club is open to all interested students. This club offers opportunities for participation in service projects and professional development opportunities, such as guest speakers, graduate school admission guidance, etc. All interested students are encouraged to speak with one of the Psychology Club Sponsors, Drs. Kelly or Shelton.

Psi Chi: Membership in this national honor society in psychology is open to graduate and undergraduate students majoring in psychology who meet the minimum qualifications (e.g., 3.0 overall GPA). TSU’s Chapter was the first established at an Historically Black College/University (HBCU). Students interested in learning more about Psi Chi may visit and are encouraged to speak with Faculty Co-Advisors, Drs. Kelly or Shelton.

American Association of Black Psychologists: TSU’s chapter restarted in Spring 2007. For more information visit and contact Faculty Sponsor, Robin Oatis-Ballew, Ph.D. (

Back to Degree Programs in Psychology

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