Psychology Major/Minor

Students may major (generally 39 credit hours) or a minor (generally 21 credit hours) in psychology. Students majoring in psychology earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Students may also double-major in psychology and another discipline, or a combined major in psychology and another discipline. To complete a double major, a student must complete, independently, all of the requirements for each major. A combined major allows a student to re-allocate the credit hours necessary to complete a major in one discipline and a minor in another (about 60 credit hours) in a more balanced manner. By allocating about 30 credit hours to each discipline in a combined major, a student covers the core material in each field and is able to pursue graduate studies in either discipline, or in a field that is associated with both disciplines. For example, students who have completed the sociology-psychology combined major have had great success pursuing a career in social work. The Department of Psychology offers combined majors in conjunction with the programs in anthropology, criminology, philosophy, political science and sociology. Students wishing to pursue a double major in a combined major should consult their academice adviser.

For course descriptions, visit the online Class Search.

The information found on this website with respect to major/minor/program requirements is primarily directed at providing prospective students a general roadmap of the curriculum.  Current Butler students are expected to review their degree audit report at and speak with their advisor regularly for detailed information regarding their specific degree requirements and their progress toward degree completion.  

Our program emphasizes the basic principles of behavior, cognition, and emotion as established by scientific procedures. Psychology majors make an intensive study of the content and methods of psychology in preparation for graduate training and professional pursuits. The knowledge and skills they acquire help them pursue careers in such fields as psychology, social work, counseling, management, human resources, public relations, sales, and health administration. Every student planning a major in psychology should begin the program in the first year if at all possible and should work closely with a departmental advisor. At Butler, the psychology major is integrated with an interdisciplinary liberal arts and sciences education.

  • To provide a substantial breadth of exposure to the psychological literature, endowing each student with a common core of psychological knowledge
  • To provide each student with basic methodological skills
  • To provide an intensive, sophisticated knowledge of at least one specialty within psychology

The Structure of the Major (Total credit hours required = 39; 41 if NW220 is taken)

  • One of PS101 (Introduction to Psychology: 3 credit hours), SW250 (Psychological Inquiry: 3 credit hours) or NW220 (Behavioral Science:  5 credit hours) is a prerequisite for almost all upper-level courses
  • PS202 Learning (3 credit hours)
  • PS235 Biological Bases of Behavior (3 credit hours)
  • PS320 Life Span Developmental Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PS350 Social Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PS385 Cognitive Processes (3 credit hours)
  • PS440W Psychology of Personality (3 credit hours)

Methodological Core (9 credit hours)

  • PS210 Research Methods/Statistics I (3 credit hours)
  • PS211 Research Methods/Statistics II (3 credit hours)
  • PS310 Advanced Statistics in Psychology (3 credit hours) NOTE: You should make every effort to take Statistics during your junior year.

Advanced/Specialized Courses (9 credit hours)

  • PS300-400 level course (3 credit hours)
  • PS400 level course (3 credit hours)
  • PS400 level seminar (3 credit hours)

The following elective courses may be useful for a psychology major:

  • 100-level elective courses:
    • PS105 Careers in Psychology (1 credit hour; Pass/Fail). This course explores careers in psychology and related fields, and the preparation required for each field. This course counts for 1 hour credit toward the degree, but the credit does not apply toward the psychology major.
  • 300-level elective courses:
    • PS305 Psychology of Gender (3 credit hours)
    • PS333 Human Sexuality (3 credit hours)
    • PS360 Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS391 Internship (1 credit hour; may be repeated up to 6 credit hours)
    • PS396 Directed Research (1 credit hour; may be repeated up to 6 credit hours)
  • 400-level elective courses:
    • PS404 Sensory Processes and Perception (3 credit hours)
    • PS412 Advanced Applied Neuroscience (3 credit hours)
    • PS413 Drugs and Behavior (3 credit hours)
    • PS415 Psychological Testing (3 credit hours)
    • PS420 History of Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS441 Abnormal Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS443 Intervention in the Community/Psychotherapy (3 credit hours)
    • PS475 Advanced Seminar in Cognitive Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS476 Advanced Seminar in Biopsychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS477 Advanced Seminar in Social Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS478 Advanced Seminar in Developmental Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS479 Advanced Seminar in Applied Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS496 Independent Study (1 credit hour; may be repeated up to 9 credit hours)
    • PS499 Honors Thesis (3 credit hours)

Capstone course: Five seminar courses (taught on a rotating basis) enable the students to pursue their interests in particular topics at an advanced level.  They are:  PS475: Seminar in Cognitive Psychology, PS476: Seminar in Biopsychology, PS477: Seminar in Social Psychology, PS478: Seminar in Developmental Psychology, and PS479: Seminar in Applied Psychology.  Each seminar examines a major issue or theme within the designated field.  However, the specific topic for each seminar will vary from semester to semester.  For example, the Cognitive Psychology seminar may concern memory processes on one occasion, and language process on another.  In addition to the five courses labeled “advanced seminar” (PS47x), some 400-level courses are taught in a seminar style and thus fulfill the capstone requirement.  These courses are: PS412 (Advanced Applied Neuroscience), PS413 (Drugs & Behavior), PS415 (Psychological Testing) and PS420 (History of Psychology).

Note regarding course sequencing: It is not possible to prescribe a single sequence of courses for all students. Any student’s course sequence will depend on that student’s initial placement in mathematics, English and foreign language courses – and on whether that student has received credit for Advanced Placement Examinations or previous college courses.

Discuss your interests and career/academic objectives with your advisor. It is important that you select courses which serve your specific needs, and help to attain your specific goals. We offer an elective course, PS105 (Careers in Psychology) to provide you with information about psychology and related fields. For more information regarding a career in psychology, the American Psychological Association has an online brochure that covers the differences among the various degrees available in psychology, types of careers, and what psychologists do. It is intended to help answer your questions about what it is like to work in psychology and what educational requirements are needed. It may help answer your questions about what it is like to work in psychology and what educational requirements are needed.

As a psychology major, you should attempt to complete as many of the University Core requirements as possible by the end of your sophomore year.  You should also consider adding another major (30-55 credit hours) or a minor (18-24 credit hours). You may complete a Combined Major. The combined major is a specialized degree in which you take the core courses in each of two related fields. For example, the combined Psychology/Sociology Major provides strong preparation for a student interested in pursuing a graduate degree in psychology, social work, criminal justice, counseling, or law. Currently, Psychology students may enroll in combined majors with Anthropology, Philosophy, and Sociology (either the Social Work or the Criminology track).

Minors in Biology, Business Administration, Computer Science, a Modern Foreign Language or Philosophy are particularly good additions to a Psychology major. We encourage each psychology major to complete at least one semester of research experience in a professor’s lab group (PS396, PS496).

We advise you to give serious thought to studying abroad, and to completing one or more internship placements. Those students considering graduate school in psychology should carry out an Honors Theses (PS499) and take the History of Psychology course (PS420).

  • A demonstrated proficiency in a foreign language. Usually one meets this requirement by completing 6 credit hours of courses numbered 200 or above. A placement test administered by the Modern Languages Department will determine the particular courses you are required to take. Note: American Sign Language (ASL) qualifies as a modern language.
  • Computer competency requirement. The student meets this requirement by taking PS210, PS211 and PS310.
  1. 120 credit hours are required to graduate in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
    NOTE: Students must obtain the LAS Dean’s permission to take more than 18 credit hours/semester without receiving special permission.
  2. At least 40 of the 120 hours must be earned in courses numbered 300 or above.
  3. The overall GPA for the 120 hours must be at least 2.00.
  4. Normally, a student is required to take his or her final 30 credit hours of academic work at Butler University.
  5. University Core Curriculum requirements
  6. The student must have completed a major’s program. A semester grade of “D [that is, D+, D, D-]” or “P” does NOT count toward required hours for a major or minor. With the written approval of his/her advisor, a student may repeat any course ONCE. Only the most recent grade will count towards the student’s grade point average (see your advisor for details).
  7. The student’s academic work must be certified by the Registrar as having fulfilled all requirements.

The minor in Psychology is designed to:

  • Provide each student with a sampling of representative fields within psychology
  • Provide each student with a basic introduction to the research methods employed in the field
  • Allow enough flexibility for each student to pursue a particular sub-area of interest

The Structure of the Minor (Total credit hours required = 21 hours; 23 if NW220 is taken)

  • Content Core (12 credit hours; 14 credit hours if NW220 is taken)
  • Take ONE of:
    • PS101 Introduction to Psychology
    • SW250 Psychological Inquiry
    • NW220 Behavioral Science (3 or 5 credit hours)
  • And any THREE of the following courses:
    • PS202 Learning (3 credit hours)
    • PS235 Biological Bases of Behavior (3 credit hours)
    • PS320 Life Span Developmental Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS350 Social Psychology (3 credit hours)
    • PS385 Cognitive Processes (3 credit hours)
    • PS440 Psychology of Personality (3 credit hours)

Methodological Core (6 credit hours)

  • PS210 Research Methods/Statistics I (3 credit hours)
  • PS211 Research Methods/Statistics II (3 credit hours)

Advanced/Specialized Course (3 credit hours)

  • Any ONE PS300-400 level course (3 credit hours).  PS320, PS350, PS385 or PS440 may be used to satisfy the “advanced/specialized course” requirement if the course has not been used to satisfy the “content core” requirement (above).
Psychology Degree FAQs

Students who graduate with a degree in Psychology have the opportunity to enter the workforce in a variety of fields. Many careers are in healthcare or service-elated fields, with other jobs in pharmaceutical companies, healthcare services, human resources, education, and many more. Some of these positions include but are not limited to a psychologist, public relations specialist, human resource specialist, school counselor, and psychiatric technician.

A psychology degree focuses on three goals for student development: mastery of a central core of psychological knowledge, basic methodological skills, and sophisticated knowledge of at least one area of psychology. The major in Psychology requires 39-41 credit hours in total.