In the College of Arts and Sciences.
The major areas of psychology represented in the department are perception, cognition, and development (PCD), behavioral evolutionary neuroscience (BEN), and social and personality psychology (S&P). These areas are very broadly defined, and the courses are quite diverse. PCD includes courses on cognition, perception, memory, and psycholinguistics; BEN includes courses on animal learning, neuropsychology, interactions between hormones, other biochemical processes, and behavior; and S&P is represented by courses in social psychology, personality, motivation, social neuroscience, social cognition, social development, moral psychology, and judgment and decision making, as well as courses in clinical fieldwork and psychopathology. In addition to the three major areas mentioned above, the department emphasizes the statistical and logical analysis of psychological data and researchable problems.
M. Christiansen, T. Cleland, T. J. DeVoogd, S. Edelman, D. J. Field, T. D. Gilovich, M. Goldstein, A. Krosch, C. L. Krumhansl, L. Niemi, A. Ophir, D. A. Pizarro, H. Segal, D. Smith, K. Swallow, F. Thoemmes, K. Tschida, V. Zayas
Admission to the major is usually granted to any student in good standing in the college who has passed three or more psychology courses with grades of C+ or better. Provisional admission requires two such courses. To apply to the major and receive an advisor, a major application form may be obtained from the Psychology Department website and should be completed and e-mailed to Lisa Proper, email@example.com.
Note: In addition to the major requirements outlined below, all students must meet the college graduation requirements.
Requirements for the major are:
- a total of 40 credits in psychology (including prerequisites), from which students majoring in psychology are expected to choose, in consultation with their advisors, a range of courses that covers the basic processes in psychology. Students must earn a grade of C– or better in each course. Students are also encouraged to take independent study or fieldwork (PSYCH 4700 - Undergraduate Research in Psychology and PSYCH 4710 - Advanced Undergraduate Research in Psychology; research conducted under the supervision of a professor). No course other than PSYCH 4700 and PSYCH 4710 may be taken S/U. Up to 12 of these credits may be counted towards the major.
- demonstration of proficiency in statistics before the beginning of the senior year. (See the section below on the statistics requirement.)
- Unless otherwise approved by the advisor at least one course in each of the following three areas of psychology:
- Perception, cognition, and development (PCD)
- Behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience (BEN)
- Social and personality psychology (S&P)
The following classification of Department of Psychology offerings is intended to help students and their advisors choose courses that will ensure that such breadth is achieved.
1. Perception, cognition, and development:
2. Behavioral and evolutionary neuroscience:
3. Social and personality psychology:
4. Other courses:
The major advisor determines to which group, if any, these courses may be applied.
Perception, Cognition, and Development and the Minor in Cognitive Science:
Psychology majors who wish to specialize in understanding the mind can elect to specialize in perception, cognition, and development and may wish to choose a Cognitive Science Minor. Students must meet all of the general requirements for the major in psychology and, following the guidelines of the Cognitive Science Program, must also demonstrate a solid background philosophy, linguistics, computer science, or neurobiology. Students will design with their advisors an integrated program built around courses in psychology and other fields. Contact Julie Simmons-Lynch, 255-6431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the permission of the advisor, courses in other departments or at other universities (such as through Cornell Abroad) may be accepted toward the major requirements. If the latter, be prepared to produce a syllabus.
Proficiency in statistics can be demonstrated in any one of the several ways listed below.
- Passing PSYCH 2500.
- Passing an approved course or course sequence in statistics in some other department at Cornell.
- Passing a course or course sequence in statistics at some other college, university, or college-level summer school. The course or sequence must be equivalent to at least 6 semester credits. The description of the course from the college catalog and the title and author of the textbook used must be submitted to Professor Cleland for approval.
- Passing an exemption examination. This examination can be given at virtually any time during the academic year if the student gives notice at least one week before. Students who have completed a theoretical statistics course in a department of mathematics or engineering and who wish to demonstrate competence in applied statistics usually find this option the easiest. Students planning this option should discuss it in advance with Professor Cleland.
Concentration in Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience:
Psychology majors interested in psychology as a biological science can elect to specialize in biopsychology. Students in this concentration must meet all of the general requirements for the major in psychology and must also demonstrate a solid background in biology, the physical sciences, including at least introductory chemistry and mathematics. Students will design with their advisors an integrated program in biopsychology built around courses on physiological, chemical, anatomical, and ecological determinants of human and nonhuman behavior offered by the Department of Psychology. Additional courses in physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, neurochemistry, neurobiology, and behavioral biology may be designated as part of the psychology major after consultation between the student and his or her biopsychology advisor.
Concentration in social and personality psychology:
Psychology majors who wish to specialize in social psychology are expected to meet the general requirements set by their department, including statistics. To ensure a solid interdisciplinary grounding, students in the concentration are permitted to include some major courses in anthropology, economics, sociology and other related fields. Advisors will assist students in the selection of a coherent set of courses from social organization, cultural anthropology, experimental psychology, social methodology, and several aspects of personality and social psychology.
Undergraduate honors program:
The honors program is designed for exceptional students who wish to pursue an intensive and independent psychological research.
The honors program offers students the closest contact and consultation with faculty they will likely experience while at Cornell. Successful participation serves as evidence of the two most important skills required of an academic psychologist: the capacity to integrate theoretical and factual material, and to devise and execute a creative empirical research project. Qualified majors who are planning graduate work in any academic field should consider applying.
The research project is conducted under the close mentorship of a faculty member. Honors students will conduct an empirical study, analyze the data, and interpret the results. Students will produce a professional research report and present their project at an honors poster symposium and an oral defense. Conducting honors research and completing a thesis requires both time and effort. Students should expect to return to campus as early as possible after winter break and remain on campus through spring semester. Students who successfully complete the honors program will graduate with an honors distinction, which will be noted on their diploma. The T. A. Ryan Award is a cash prize given to the student who conducts the best honors project each year.
To join the honors program, students must apply at the beginning of their senior year. Qualified students will have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major, a letter of support from a faculty member who has agreed to mentor the project, and a viable research question. Students accepted into the honors program will register for 3 or 4 credits of PSYCH 4710 - Advanced Undergraduate Research in Psychology in both fall and spring semesters. Students with questions regarding the choice of mentors, appropriateness of project, or other program related questions should contact the honors program director(s).
Admission to the psychology minor is usually granted to any student in good standing who has passed three or more psychology courses with grades of C+ or better. Provisional admission requires two such courses. Students in colleges other than the College of Arts and Sciences are eligible to minor in psychology.
To apply to the minor and receive an advisor, students should submit a psychology minor application form, which should be completed and e-mailed to Lisa Proper. Successful completion of the minor will be noted on a student’s official transcript.
Requirements to fulfill the minor are:
- A total of 18 credits in psychology (including prerequisites) from which students minoring in psychology are expected to choose a range of courses that covers the basic processes in psychology. First-year seminars or AP courses cannot be counted towards the credit requirements. No course except PSYCH 4700 and PSYCH 4710 may be taken S/U. Students are also encouraged to take independent study or fieldwork (PSYCH 4700 and PSYCH 4710; research conducted under the supervision of a professor). Up to 6 of these credits may be counted towards the minor.
- Students are expected to choose a range of courses that covers the basic processes in psychology. Students are also encouraged to take independent study or fieldwork (PSYCH 4700 and PSYCH 4710; research conducted under the supervision of a professor). It is strongly recommended that students take at least one course from among the choices listed below:
Perception, Cognition, and Development (PCD)
Behavioral and Evolutionary Neuroscience (BEN)
Social and Personality Psychology (S&P)
Moral Psychology Minor
A minor in moral psychology draws students from a variety of majors and provides them with guidance in creating a stimulating academic plan. Moral psychology coursework can be chosen from across disciplines, including philosophy, law, psychology, economics, sociology, along with experiential learning opportunities with community partners to bring the coursework to life. Students will finish the minor prepared to lead the future development of scientifically informed solutions for today’s ethical challenges. The minor is available throughout the university to all undergraduate students.
To apply to the minor, students must submit a minor application form ideally by the beginning of the second semester of their junior year.
Requirements to fulfill the minor are:
- One core course:
- One community engaged course:
- Three additional courses (at least two at the 3 - 4000-level) from the Approved Course List. Courses are to be chosen by student and advisor to provide a coherent program. The following courses provide an example of the kinds of courses that count toward the minor:
Note: For the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 academic years, juniors and seniors may “double count” up to two courses they have taken for their major toward the moral psychology minor. In addition it is suggested, but not required, that all students attend at least two moral psychology events within each academic year.
Submit the Moral Psychology minor certification form.
Students are expected to keep track of the courses they have taken torward the minor. When the minimum of 15 credits has been achieved, the Moral Psychology certification form must be submitted to the program manager for verficiation, email@example.com. This form is required in order to have the minor designation added to your final transcript.