Psychology BA

Admission to the Psychology major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree is contingent upon meeting the Pre-Major requirements. Students do not have to be declared Pre-Psychology students before they can request to have full Psychology major status.

Declaring as Psychology informs the Office of the Registrar − which manages course enrollment on GOLD − and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) − which manages PSY courses − of a student’s intention to pursue the full major. Psychology standing will give students first priority registration in Pass 1 and Pass 2 on GOLD for PSY 100-109 and PSY 110+, providing pre-requisites have been met.

In order to earn full Psychology status and enroll in PSY 110+ courses, students must submit Change of Major paperwork to PBS. If eligible, this paperwork will be processed by the PBS department and forwarded to the Office of the Registrar where a student’s major standing will be updated on GOLD. This process typically takes about 10 working days.

By using the tabs to the left and the PDFs to the right, students will find all the information and petitions needed to move through their major requirements and assist with course selection throughout their academic career.


  1. At least a 2.7 University of California grade-point average (GPA) earned in Psychology 1, 3, 5, 7 and Math 34A (or 3A).
  2. No course with a grade lower than C-.
  3. Not more than one course with a C-.
  4. No course taken P/NP.
  5. Students must satisfy Pre-Major courses and GPA requirements prior to the completion of 144 total units.

Course Requirements:

Area I: Pre-Major Requirements

The following courses require a 2.7 UC GPA before admittance to the full major:

  • PSY 1, 3, 5, 7 (15 units)
  • MATH 34A (4 units)

Note: Transfer students who complete the entire Pre-Major prior to transfer must earn a 2.7 UC GPA in at least one upper-division Psychology course numbered 100-109 before they can be admitted to the full major. If more than one 100-109 course is taken before declaring full major status, course grades will be averaged.

Upper-Division Major

37 upper division units are required as follows:

  1. Four courses from Psychology 100-109 (16 units)
  2. One of the following laboratory courses: Psychology 110L, 112L, 117L, 118L, 120L, 153L, 190L (5 units)
  3. Sixteen units from Psychology 110-199, of which no more than 12 units may be numbered 197ABC, 198, 199 or 199P (16 units)


P/NP Grading Option: Up to 8 units of the following courses may be taken P/NP for major credit: Psychology 143P, 198, 199P. All other major courses, including courses applied to the major from other departments, must be taken on a letter-grade basis.

Substitutions: In the major requirements permissible only by petition. These substitutions are rarely approved. The few that are include PBS Faculty approval and require a letter of justification for substitution.

Residence Requirements: At least 20 upper division units in the major while in residence at UCSB.

GPA Requirements: At least 2.0 overall averages in: a) all upper division major courses; and b) all major courses, including preparation for the major and upper division courses, while at the UC.

Double Majors: With the approval of each department, up to a total of 8 units may be applied simultaneously to both upper division majors. For example: Chem 109AB could apply to both the UCSB Biopsychology B.S. and UCSB Pharmacology B.S.

Tips for Psychology Major Students

  • Students that transferred into UCSB should plan to work on PSY 100-109 courses in their first and second quarter at UCSB while they are not yet eligible to enroll in PSY 110+ courses on GOLD.
  • Seniors have registration priority in PSY lab courses. Non-seniors may only enroll in labs if courses do not fill up.
  • Psychology students are highly encouraged to work in Research Labs or participate in Honors to increase their marketability towards future graduate applications. To participate in most of these programs, students must take initiative in their junior year to find an opportunity in a lab or apply to honors.
  • High performing Psychology students are encouraged to consider the possibilities of adding in a second major or minor. More information can be found on our website under the “Double Majors/Minors” tab and by researching the UCSB General Catalog.