Jul 02, 2022  
2019-2020 General Catalog 
2019-2020 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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Psychology, B.A.

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  For first-time freshman Units  
  General education (48, 7 units in major) 41  
  Major requirements 44*  
  Electives 35  
  For transfer students    
  General education 48  
  Major requirements 40*  
  Electives 32  
  Total units needed 120  
  *(40 units in Psychology major and 4 units in statistics.)    

Admission to the Psychology Major

First-Time Freshman

  • Cummulative high school college prep (A-G) 10th-12th grade GPA 3.0

Transfer Students

  • Cumulative CSU transferable GPA 3.0
  • Completion of 60 CSU transferable units
  • Out of the 60 CSU transferable units, 30 units completed must be General Education (GE) Units
  • Area A1 Oral Communcation (Speech), A3 Critical Thinking and B4 General Education Math completed with a C or better
  • Completion of Area A2 Written Communication (English Compostion) with a letter grade of “C-” or better (English 101)
  • Completion of PSY 250 (Introduction of Psychology) or equivalent with a grade of “C” or better
  • Recommend completion of Sonoma State equivalent MATH 165 (Statistics) with a letter grade of “C” or better, it can be completed at SSU. BUS 211 or ECON 217 can fill this requirement as well.
  • Recommend completion of PSY 280 (Research Methods) or equivalent with “C” better. It can be completed at SSU, as well as other campuses.

In-House Transfer Students

  • Cumulative GPA 3.0
  • Completion fo PSY 250 (Introduction to Psychology) or equivalent with a grade of “C” or better
  • Completion of at least 45 units at a time of application.

Note: that PSY 270, PSYCH of self-discovery must be taken at Sonoma State.

Major Requirements

The Psychology major consists of 40 units in the major, plus a 4-unit course in statistics. Many psychology majors take more than 40 major units, and add a second major or a minor in another discipline. Students are encouraged to work in community internships and to expand their knowledge of diversity issues with coursework within the department and the university.

In addition to statistics, no more than 11 units in the major may be lower-division psychology units. At least 29 units must be upper-division psychology (SSU courses numbered 300 or higher). All courses for the major must be taken for a grade if this is offered, and must be passed with a grade of C or better. A maximum of 8 units may be taken credit / no credit in the major—this includes internships and special studies courses. Psychology GE courses count for the major as well as for GE. (PSY 250 , PSY 302 , and PSY 325 .)

Lower Division Courses

Upper Division Courses:

  • Complete one course from 4 out of 5 Breadth Areas
  • Electives drawn from Breadth Areas or Electives


Total: 44

Required Courses for the Major

PSY 250 - Introduction to Psychology , gives students a broad overview of the diverse theories and methods that psychologists use to investigate questions about human behavior and experience. An equivalent course may be taken at other colleges and universities. An AP exam score of 3 or a pass in the CLEP test of introductory psychology meets this course requirement.

MATH 165 - Elementary Applied Statistics , provides the foundation to understand how psychologists and social scientists evaluate the evidence obtained in empirical studies. An equivalent course in Math or Psychology may be taken at other colleges or universities, or ECON 217 , BUS 211 , or MATH 165X , may be used to fill the statistics requirement. Most students use this course to meet the GE Area B4 requirement.

PSY 270 - Psychology of Self-Discovery , develops skills characteristic of healthy, engaged, growth-oriented persons in areas such as mindfulness, emotional intelligence, interpersonal relationships, dreamwork, and self-reflection.

PSY 280 - Psychological Research Methods , provides foundational knowledge and skills in psychological research methods, data collection and data interpretation. An equivalent course may be taken at other colleges and universities.

Upper-Division Breadth Areas

Students must complete one upper-division course from 4 out of 5 Breadth areas: Holistic, Clinical / Counseling, Developmental, Social / Personality, and Cognitive / Physiological. Courses marked with (Diversity) represent courses that focus on Diversity issues.

Upper-Division Additional Courses

Students must complete a total of 40 units in psychology (11 lower division and 29 upper division). After taking the required 11 lower division units AND one upper division course from 4 out of the 5 Breadth areas (15 to 16 units), students complete the remaining units (13 to 14 units) by taking ANY other upper division psychology courses. A maximum of 8 Credit/No Credit (C/NC) units may count toward the major.)


Starting Fall 2018, all psychology students have assigned academic advisors by the students’ last names, in alphabetical order. The name of the psychology student’s assigned advisor is listed under People Soft/Student Center. Students can come for drop-in advising during their assigned advisor’s office hours and attend group-advising sessions before graduation and registration deadlines. For further information, students may consult the SSU advising policy at https://www.sonoma.edu/policies/instructional-faculty-office-hours-and-availability. To make the most of their education, students are encouraged to consult the psychology department website, which has extensive career information and web links to graduate schools and programs.  Students are encouraged to do their own research on graduate programs and course prerequisites.

GE Advising:

The school of Social Science GE academic advisor provides information on GE lower-division course selection.  Check office hours for the GE advisor at: http://web.sonoma.edu/socsci/.

Freshman Advising:

During the first two years at SSU, students take the lower division major requirements: Psy 250, Psy 270, Psy 280 and lower division GE courses.  Students should meet with their assigned psychology academic advisor no later than the second semester of their sophomore year.  Please see the Psychology Department website (www.sonoma.edu/psychology) to identify the department’s academic advisors and their office hours and locations.

Transfer Advising:

Transfer students must attend summer transfer orientation, group advising, and meet with their psychology advisor during their first semester. Please note that Psy 270, Psychology of Self-Discovery is the only required class that must be taken at SSU. We strongly advise students to complete Psy 270 their first semester and no later than their junior year.


All internships are credit/ no credit. A minimum of 8 credit/ no credit units may count toward the 40 psychology-major units (psych 499).

The Psychology Department strongly recommends community internship experience, particularly for the student going on to counseling clinical/psychology master’s and doctoral degrees.

Each semester students may participate in field placements and internship work experiences in organizations and agencies. These internships involve on-the-job training by the agency as well as academic work under the supervision of the psychology Internship coordinator, Dr. Mary Schinder. This experience forms an important base for academic credit and helps students to obtain a range of learning experiences not otherwise found in the department. Students must begin the internship process the semester prior to starting their actual internship.  This includes: attending an internship informational meeting, obtaining a PSY 499 syllabus, setting up internship placement, completing an internship agreement form and providing the agency supervisor with our supervision information letter. See internships updates on our Internships webpage http://web.sonoma.edu/psychology/internships/. Students planning on graduate work in clinical or counseling psychology are encouraged to gain internship experience well before applying to graduate school.

Check the psychology department for updates on Teaching Assistantships.

Research and Teaching Internships

The Psychology Department strongly recommends research assistant for those students going on to graduate work in psychology at the master’s or doctoral levels. Many university graduate programs require students to have experience in conducting psychological research, as well as in analyzing data and writing up the results. In order to find out more about these research opportunities, students should consult with individual faculty members who are mentoring students in faculty research projects.

Some Psychology Department instructors offer teaching internships to advanced students who have taken and excelled in a course. Duties include working with the classroom instructor in class preparation and classroom tasks, and facilitating small group work. Teaching Assistants register for Psy 482, Teaching  Internship (C/NC).

Check the psychology department for updates on Teaching Assistantships.

Sample Four-Year Program

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Freshman Year: 28 Units

Fall Semester (14 Units)

Spring Semester (14 Units)

  • Elective
  • GE 

Sophomore Year: 28 Units

Fall Semester (14 Units)

Spring Semester (14 Units)

Junior Year: 32 Units

Fall Semester (16 Units)

  • PSY Breadth Area Requirement
  • PSY Breadth Area Requirement
  • PSY Breadth Area Requirement
  • PSY Elective
Spring Semester (15-16 Units)

Senior Year: 32 Units

Fall Semester (16 Units)

Spring Semester (16 Units)

Total Units: 120

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