Freshmen Students


The Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) would like to welcome prospective students. Please note: The department of PBS is not responsible for decisions regarding admission to the University. Students interested in applying to UCSB as freshmen should visit the UCSB Admissions website for Freshmen Applicants. There, students will find information on admission requirements, application procedures, campus visits, and more.

“Pre-Major” vs. “Full Major” Status:

When applying to UCSB, students select their desired Pre-Major. The PBS department offers the following Pre-Major choices: Pre-Psychological and Brain Sciences and Pre-Biopsychology. The Psychology B.A. is closed to incoming freshmen. Once accepted to UCSB, students will still need to earn “full major” status to pursue the upper level part of the degree. Classes are graded on a curve, and students will have to earn their spot in the major by achieving at least a 2.7 UC GPA in the Pre-Major. Exact major rules, requirements, and regulations are listed in detail on the PBS major sheets: Psychological and Brain Sciences B.S. or Biopsychology B.S.

AP Credit:

While in high school, students can begin preparing for the Psychological and Brain Sciences and Biopsychology majors by taking AP courses. Our department accepts AP scores of 3 or higher in: Psychology, Statistics, and Calculus. Please check the LASAR PDF on the right hand side for a list of corresponding AP to UCSB courses. University Registrar policy states that once AP credit is earned, a student is not allowed to take that equivalent course at UCSB. AP scores do not have UC GPA value. Therefore, courses fulfilled by AP credit are not included in UC GPA calculation.

Quick Advising Tips for Prospective Freshmen:

There are five Pre-Major courses (23 units) for Psychological and Brain Sciences and Biopsychology students to complete before moving to “full major” status. Plan to give Pre-Major courses a good amount of study attention because they are “qualifying” courses to joining this major.

Advisors encourage freshmen interested in earning a Psychological and Brain Sciences B.S. to only take one Pre-Major course per quarter and to fill the remainder of their schedule with General Education requirements. Advisors encourage freshmen interested in a Biopsychology B.S to only take one Pre-Major course per quarter, while starting Preparation for the Major as well. A Biopsychology student may declare full major status once they complete the Pre-Major, even if the Preparation for the Major is still in progress. Preparation for the Major is upwards of three years of coursework (57 units), so it must be started in the first year. The Pre-Major courses are:

  • Psychology 1: Introduction to Psychology (4 units)
  • Mathematics 34A or 3A: Calculus for Social and Life Sciences (4 units)
  • Statistics & Applied Probability 5A or equivalent: Statistics (5 units)
  • Psychology 10A (5 units)
  • Psychology 10B (5 units)

Start Planning!

Use the Psychological and Brain Sciences Freshman Plan and the Biopsychology Freshman Plan PDFs on the right hand side as schedule planning tools. Bring in your self-prepared and personalized plan to an Undergraduate Advisor for review. Contact with any questions— student perm numbers should be included in all emails exchanged if they have already been assigned.