1. Department Contacts
  2. The Major in Psychology
  3. Requirements for the Major
  4. Guidelines for Course Selection
  5. Procedure for Declaring a Major
  6. Requirements for the Minor
  7. Procedure for Declaring a Minor
  8. Distinguished Majors Program
  9. Student Organizations
  10. Future Education and Employment

1.0. Department Contacts

Department Chair

Professor David Hill
102 Gilmer Hall

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Professor Dennis Proffitt
140B Gilmer

drp@virginia.edu

Office Hours: MW 2-3 TR 3:30-4:30  Or by Appointment

Undergraduate Coordinator

John B. Rudder
phone:  434-982-4981
Gilmer 140C

Standard office hours:
M-Th:  9:00-12:30; 1:30-4:00
F:  9:00-12:00
and by appointment: jbr8d@virginia.edu

 

 

2.0. The Major in Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior of humans and other animals. It ranges from studies of human development and complex thought processes to social relations, brain and neural mechanisms, psychopathology and beyond. The requirements for the major are designed to ensure breadth of coverage, and allows flexibility in selecting courses according to one's interests. Opportunities for independent work are available in research and field experience(through internship).

In addition to gaining a general liberal arts degree, training in the subject matter and methodology of psychology (including experimental methodology and statistics and an appreciation of the different views of human behavior) is excellent preparation for a variety of careers. Practical skills developed in the major include thinking critically, writing proposals and reports, designing and conducting research projects, collecting and analyzing data, reading and understanding basic research in psychology, and applying psychological principles in the workplace.

3.0. Requirements for the Major

3.1. Requirements for Declaration of Major

Attention: Beginning August 1, 2013, before declaring a major or minor in Psychology, students must have completed of one of the following math courses with a grade of C- or higher: MATH 1210 (Applied Calculus I), MATH 1212 or 1190 (Applied Calculus I with Algebra), MATH 1220 (Applied Calculus II), MATH 1310 (Calculus I), MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I), or APMA 1110 (Single Variable Calculus II). Students with transfer credit or AP credit in one of these courses (e.g., AP Calculus AB, or AP Calculus BC) are exempt from the requirement. NOTE: Calculus is a pre-requisite for PSYC 3005 or PSYC 4005. Since PSYC 3005 or 4005 is a required major course, calculus must be taken if you intend to major in Psychology.

3.1.1.
Students must have completed at least two psychology classes with grades of C or better and have a minimum 2.000 GPA for all psychology courses taken. One class must be PSYC 1010 and the other a 2000-level class. The 2000-level psychology class credits also count toward the major credit requirements. Transfer or AP credit may count for one or both classes.

3.1.2.
Major declarations are only performed during the office hours of the Undergraduate Coordinator.

3.2. Departmental Degree Requirements

3.2.1.
To graduate with a major in Psychology, a student must earn at least 30 credits for courses in psychology at the 2000-level and above. Students must have 30 credits for the major after subtracting the credits earned for PSYC 1010. Only PSYC classes count toward the major.

3.2.2.
At least one course must be completed from each of the following three 2000-level groups:

3.2.3.
IMPORTANT NOTES: We advise students who fail to get the minimum grade in a 2000-level class to take another class in the same group rather than repeat the same class because with a grade other than F students will get College credit for the class, but not for a repeated class. However, students who fail to earn the minimum grade in PSYC 2200 will likely have to repeat the class because PSYC 2210 has not been taught for some time. Likewise, students who take a 2000-level course in the first semester of their 4th-year may have to repeat that class in the second semester of their 4th-year because that may be the only class that is offered in that group.

3.2.4.
 Attention Transfer Students. The math prerequisite was instituted a couple of years ago. When that happened students had not completed the math prerequisite who recently transferred to UVa. Therefore they had to take MATH 1210 during their first semester at UVa. Unfortunately many transfer students were not successful in passing the class and subsequently had no major. In an effort to help transfer students we allowed transfer students who were unsuccessful in MATH 1210 during their first semester to complete the math requirement during their second semester. We also recommended that they take MATH 1212 or 1190 (Applied Calculus with Algebra) because more students were successful in that version of the calculus. However, that meant making an exception for taking PSYC 3005 by the end of the third year.

It has now been two years since the math requirement was instituted. Starting with the 2013-2014 academic year transfer students must take PSYC 3005 in their third-year the same as other students. Therefore, we strongly recommend that transfer students who are interested in being a psychology major to complete the math requirement before transferring to UVa. Otherwise, you will only have one semester to complete the math requirement in order to be a psychology major or minor.

3.2.5.
At least two courses (minimum six credits) must be completed at the 3000-level or higher, of which one course must be a 4000- or 5000-level course. Excluded are PSYC 3005, PSYC 3006, PSYC 4005, PSYC 4006 Directed Readings in Psychology, Research in Psychology, Internship and Advanced Psychobiology Lab.

3.2.6.
Majors must maintain at least a 2.00 grade point average for all psychology courses taken at the University. If a student retakes a course both grades are counted in computing the psychology grade point average. Grades in psychology classes must be C or higher to count towards the major or minor.

Important Notes

-Prerequisite for PSYC 3005 or PSYC 4005: Students must have completed of one of the following math courses with a grade of C- or higher: MATH 1210 (Applied Calculus I), MATH 1190 or MATH 1212 (Applied Calculus I with Algebra), MATH 1220 (Applied Calculus II), MATH 1310 (Calculus I), MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I), or APMA 1110 (Single Variable Calculus II). Students with transfer credit or AP credit in one of these courses (e.g., AP Calculus AB, or AP Calculus BC) are exempt from the requirement. 

-PSYC 3005 or PSYC 4005 must be taken before the 4th-year in order to complete the major. If a grade of C or higher is not earned in PSYC 3005 students may repeat the class during their 4th-year.

3.2.7.

Students receiving three grades of “C minus” or lower in three psychology courses and having less than a 2.0 GPA in all psychology classes will not be permitted to continue in the major or minor.

 

3.3. Comments on Requirements

3.3.1.
Courses counted in the 30 credits needed for the major cannot be taken CR/NC (Credit/No Credit). Research in Psychology and Internship, however, are taken Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. University Internship must be taken for ungraded psychology credit and not graded sociology credit to count toward the major. Credit cannot be given for paid research or work experience.

3.3.2.
Directed Readings, Research in Psychology and/or Internship can count for up to 9 credits toward the major. Additional credits may be taken as College electives.

3.3.3.
No courses outside of the College can be counted toward the major.

3.3.4.
Statistics classes taken in other departments, such as Math, Economics, or Sociology cannot be substituted for PSYC 3005 or PSYC 3006. ( PSYC 3005 or PSYC 3006)

3.3.5.
Transfer Credit:

  1. A maximum of 12 transfer credits is counted toward the major.
  2. Courses at the 2000-level are most suitable for transfer. Credit toward the major may be given for substantial courses, even if a comparable course is not offered in this department. Transfer credits for PSYC 3005/3006 or 4000- or 5000-level courses are difficult to obtain and are not recommended for transfer.
  3. Students who wish to take psychology courses at other institutions for credit toward the major are cautioned to get approval before taking a course. Submit the Request for Transfer of Credit form (available in Monroe Hall) to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Include as much information as possible about the content of the course (a course syllabus is preferred; the catalog description may be acceptable). Please indicate that you are requesting major credit.
  4. Transfer students should meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies after obtaining a list of courses that have been approved for credit in the College. Courses at the 200-level or above that have been approved by the College can be considered for credit in the major by submitting the Request for Transfer of Credit to the Psychology Major form (available in Monore Hall) to the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Depending on the course, either a catalog description or web listing with comparable information (for most lower-level courses), or a syllabus or copies of exams, papers, etc. will be needed.
  5. Students cannot receive credit for two classes with the same class number. For example, a common class offered outside of UVa is Human Development. It transfers as PSYC 2700. Thus, students with transfer credit for PSYC 2700 cannot take for Child Psychology for credit because there is too much overlap between the two classes.

 

3.3.6

 Students having problems with any of the requirements for the major or minor in Psychology should see the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

4.0. Guidelines for Course Selection

4.1. Course Information

4.1.1.
The major requires a minimum of 30 credits. The minimum number of classes you can take is 9 classes (six 3-credit classes and three 4-credit classes) for a total of 30 credits. Given that PSYC 3005 and PSYC 3006 are required and are 4-credit classes this usually means that your other 4-credit class is a 3-credit 2000-level class that has an optional 1-credit discussion section. Otherwise you will have to take 10 classes (eight 3-credit classes and two 4-credit classes) for a total of 32 credits.

4.1.2.
Descriptions of courses that are offered through the Department of Psychology are available in the Undergraduate Record. Note that not all courses are offered each semester or even each year.

4.1.3.
Descriptions of courses offered for the current or upcoming semester are available on the Department web pages and bulletin board.

4.1.4.
Waiting lists for most psychology courses are available online through the Schedule of Classes. If a course is not listed online, you will need to contact the instructor about a waiting list. If a class is on the online waiting list you should not contact the instructor about your status on the list or to make appeals to get into the class. Instructors are not obligated to respond to such inquires. If you think you merit special consideration you should contact the Undergraduate Studies Coorinator.

4.1.5.
Course Actions Forms are not used to add students to classes. All additions to classes are performed through the wait lists.

4.2. Required Courses

4.2.1.
PSYC 1010 Introductory Psychology is required to declare a psychology major, but it does not count toward the major.

4.2.2.
Requirements at the 2000 - level are designed to ensure breadth. They have no prerequisites.

4.2.3.
PSYC 3005 or PSYC 4005 must be taken before the 4th year. If a grade of C or higher is not earned in PSYC 3005 students may repeat the class during their 4th-year. (Note: completion of one of the following math courses with a grade of C- or higher is a prerequisite for PSYC 3005): MATH 1210 (Applied Calculus I), MATH 1212 or MATH 1190 (Applied Calculus I with Algebra), MATH 1220 (Applied Calculus II), MATH 1310 (Calculus I), MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I), or APMA 1110 (Single Variable Calculus II). Students with transfer credit or AP credit in one of these courses (e.g., AP Calculus AB, or AP Calculus BC) are exempt from the requirement.) Otherwise, these courses should be taken as soon as you think you might want to major or minor in psychology as it is considered a core course for other classes. Successful completion of PSYC 3005 or PSYC 4005 is a prerequisite for PSYC 3006. The prerequisite may not be taken concurrently with PSYC 3006. Note also that PSYC 3006 may be used to fulfill the Second Writing Requirement for the College.

4.2.4.
Courses at the 4000- (excluding PSYC 4005 and 4006) and 5000-level are seminars to be taken after completing PSYC 3005 and often PSYC 3006 . The topics offered change frequently, so flexibility should be used in planning and scheduling. These courses usually are restricted to majors. Courses at the 5000-level are open to graduate students as well as undergraduates; otherwise, there is no difference in these courses. Be sure not to overlook these courses as seminar options.

4.2.5.
Seminars are initially open only to psychology (or cognitive science) majors or minors who meet the prerequisites of the class. The maximum enrollment of seminars is usually 20 students.

4.3. Special Courses

4.3.1.
Research in Psychology ( PSYC 3590) provides three credit hours, and typically involves working on a research project conducted by a faculty member (working either with the faculty member or a graduate student). This may involve, for example, helping in the design and preparation of an experiment or field study, data collection, coding data, and/or data analysis. For notices requesting research assistants, check the Undergraduate bulletin board (Gilmer 1st floor). Otherwise, students must take the initiative to identify and approach faculty members who may be interested in involving undergraduates in their research. A list of faculty members with descriptions of their research interests is available on the Department web pages. You should use this list to identify faculty members whose research is most likely to be of interest to you. Students must have the prior approval of the faculty member with whom they will work before enrolling for Research in Psychology. Research Assistant Needs PDF

If you have any questions or miss the deadline to add please contact the Undergraduate Studies office at psych-info@virginia.edu

4.3.2.
Undergraduate Internship (PSYC 4910, 4920) is managed by the University Internship Program. It has two components: field placement with a local organization (i.e., private, nonprofit and public sectors that give students an opportunity to intern in a wide variety of human services, government, or business settings) and a weekly academic seminar. The program requires students to work 10 hours per week for two semesters and is open to all rising fourth year students with a cumulative GPA greater than 2.2. PSYC 4910 and 4920 are offered on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading basis. The internship office helps to match students with organizations, but it is recommended strongly that you look at possible placement to get ideas about where you might like to apply. The application deadline is usually mid-to-late February of the third year. Applications are sent automatically to all third-year psychology majors. For more information, contact Nancy Gansneder (918 Emmet St. North, Center for Public Service, Room 305, 982-5552).

4.3.3.
University Internship must be taken for ungraded psychology credit and not graded credit as sociology does not count toward the major.

Internships taken outside this program do not count toward the major or for transfer credit.

Note that if the internship was originally taken as a sociology class that it cannot be later switched or counted as a psychology class.

5.0. Procedure for Declaring a Major

5.1. Determine Eligibility

5.1.1
See the Requirements for Declaring a Major to make sure you qualify.

5.2. Preparation

5.2.1.
Download a copy of the  Major Declaration Form This form is an electronic form that you must fill out on your computer then print and bring to the Undergraduate Coordinator. The form cannot be faxed or sent via email. You must declare in person.

Fill in the identifying information required in the upper section of the form.

To complete the bottom section of the form see the Major Declaration Form template and sample below. Begin with the courses you have completed but do not include PSYC 1010. Next include courses you anticipate taking. The courses that are listed on the form serve as a "best guess" about the courses you will be likely to take; they are not binding and courses can be rearranged or substituted as desired. As a Psychology Major, you ultimately are responsible for ensuring all requirements for the major have been satisfied. Modifications should be discussed with your major advisor. The total number of credits should be between 30 and 32 hours of psychology credit that will count toward the major (PSYC 1010 is not included in this count).

Do Not print your form unless you have between 30-32 credits printed on the form. TWO copies of the form should print, please be sure to bring BOTH copies to the Undergraduate Coordinator. Please use Acrobat or Acrobat Reader to open and enter your information.

This is a typed form do not print a blank form and then handwrite your information.

 

5.2.2.
Make up a tentative list of courses you are interested in taking to fulfill your remaining requirements for the major.

5.2.3.
Read this handbook completely.

5.3. Meeting with the Undergraduate Coordinator

5.3.1.
Meet with the Undergraduate Coordinator during posted office hours. Make sure you bring your correctly completed Declaration of Major form (two copies) and a copy of your Transcript or your Course History. Please do not bring your Academic Requirements (VSTAA) page.

5.3.2.
The Undergraduate Coordinator will review your completed and current courses, verify your eligibility to declare a major in Psychology, and review the requirements for the major.

5.3.3.
After this meeting, the Undergraduate Cooridnator will check and approve your form.

5.3.4.
Your Major and advisor are usually not official for about one to two weeks after you declared. You can verify that your major and assignment of advisor has been added by checking on SIS.

A NOTE ABOUT MAJOR ADVISORS: Once you have declared a major, you must see your major advisor to have your hold released for registration. Your advisor should be much more than the person who releases your hold. You should get together with your advisor to discuss your long-range plans. Your advisor can offer you valuable advice about the program, other academic matters, and careers. Helpful hints: Schedule an appointment when there isn't a deadline, and always go to your advisor prepared. Your advisor does not create your course schedule for you, but will offer suggestions and provide input into a schedule or proposed program of study. Don't be afraid to ask questions. The better you know your advisor, the better advice you'll receive.

Major advisors are assigned as the primary department person responsible for guiding you through the major for the successful completion of your degree. This relationship is important. If you find you are unable to work with your advisor, please contact the Undergraduate Cooridinator to find an advisor who is a better match. If your advisor becomes unavailable for advising (e.g., goes on leave or leaves the University), you will be assigned to a The Director of Undergratue Studies.

6.0. Requirements for the Minor

6.1 Requirements for Declaration of Minor

6.1.1.

Prospective minors must have completed and obtained a grade of C or better in PSYC 1010.

Students must have completed at least two psychology classes with grades of C or better and have a minimum 2.000 GPA for all psychology courses taken. One class must be PSYC 1010 and the other a 2000-level class. The 2000-level psychology class credits also count toward the major credit requirements. Transfer or AP credit may count for one or both classes.

Students must have completed of one of the following math courses with a grade of C- or higher: MATH 1210 (Applied Calculus I), MATH 1220 (Applied Calculus II), MATH 1310 (Calculus I), MATH 1320 (Calculus II), APMA 1090 (Single Variable Calculus I), or APMA 1110 (Single Variable Calculus II). Students with transfer credit or AP credit in one of these courses (e.g., AP Calculus AB, or AP Calculus BC) are exempt from the requirement.

PSYC 3005 or PSYC 4005 must be taken before the 4th-year in order to complete the major. If a grade of C or higher is not earned in PSYC 3005 students may repeat the class during their 4th-year.

6.1.2.

Prospective minors must have a grade point average of 2.00 or better for all psychology courses completed at the University.

6.1.3.
Prospective minors must have a Declared Major in SIS to declare a Minor.

6.2. Departmental Minor Requirements

6.2.1
To graduate with a minor in Psychology, a student must have earned at least 16 credits for courses in psychology at the 2000-level and above.

6.2.2.
PSYC 3005 and PSYC 3006 must be successfully completed.

6.2.3.
At least one course (minimum three credits) must be completed at the 4000- or 5000-level, excluding PSYC 4005 and 4006, Directed Readings in Psychology, Research in Psychology, Internship and Advanced Psychobiology Lab.

6.2.4.
Minors must maintain at least a 2.00 grade point average for all psychology courses taken at the University. Grades in psychology classes must be C or higher to count towards the major or minor.

6.2.5.
Courses counted for the minor cannot be taken CR/NC.

6.2.6.
Directed Readings and Research in Psychology can count for up to 3 credits toward the minor. Internship can count for up to 4 credits.

6.2.7.
A maximum of 6 transfer credits can be counted for the minor. Transfer credit must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Procedure for Declaring a Minor

7.1. Determine Eligibility

7.1.1.
See the Requirements for Declaration of Minor to make sure you qualify.

7.2. Preparation

7.2.1.
Bring a copy of your Transcript and complete the pdfDeclaration of A Minor in Psychology form found at this link. Fill in the form with all psychology courses you have completed, the ones in which you currently are enrolled, and the ones you are planning to take to fill the remaining requirements for the minor. There is no deadline prior to degree application. Two Copies of the form should print, please bring both copies to the Undergraduate Coordinator.

7.2.2.
Return the signed form to the Undergraduate Coordinator. You will not receive a copy of this form unless you request one. It is recommended that you make a copy before you turn it in to keep for your records.

7.2.4.
The Director of Undergraduate Studies is the advisor for all Psychology minors.

8.0. Distinguished Majors Program

8.1. Description

8.1.1.
The Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in Psychology was initiated in January 1986 as an opportunity for psychology majors with exceptional records to prepare a thesis under the supervision of a departmental faculty member during the student's fourth year. The resulting thesis may be based on empirical research conducted by the student, analyses using an existing database, or a critical literature review. Professor Gerald Clore is the advisor to the Distinguished Majors Program.

8.1.2.
Upon successful completion of the program, a Distinguished Major's degree may be awarded with Distinction, High Distinction, or Highest Distinction. The level of distinction is determined by the Undergraduate Committee and The Director of the Distinguished Major Program.

8.1.3.
For more information about the Distinguished Majors Program, click here.

8.2. Requirements

8.2.1.
To graduate with Highest Distinction, High Distinction, or Distinction students must successfully complete the thesis and attain an overall grade point average (for all courses taken at the University for the degree) of 3.40 or higher. This grade point average is established by the University and there are no exceptions. Students with a grade point average greater than 3.60 who do not do a DMP may graduate with Distinction, but not High or Highest.

8.2.2.
DMP students enroll in six hours of thesis work (either PSYC 4970 or 4980) and attend a one-credit seminar (PSYC 3870) each semester while enrolled in the program.

8.3. Admission

8.3.1.
An overall grade point average of 3.40 is required for admission to the program. Students with grade point averages below 3.40 must submit a petition to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

8.3.2.
Questions about the program should be directed to the Undergraduate Psychology Office, during the fall or early spring semester of the third year.

8.3.3.
Applications may be submitted beginning in March the year prior to entering the program for May graduates, or beginning in December of the prior year for December/ January graduates. A completed application requires an advisor who agrees to supervise the project. A student is more likely to secure an advisor who was a professor with whom the student was a research assistant. Therefore, it is strongly advised that potential DMP students do one or more research assistantships prior to their 4th year.

9.0. Student Organizations

9.1. Psi Chi

9.1.1.
Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology. To be elected to the society, students must be a major or minor in psychology, must have completed 8 semester hours of psychology, and must rank in the upper 35 percent of their class. A registration fee pays for lifetime membership. Additional information and applications for membership are available from Prof. Bonvillian, the Psi Chi Chapter Advisor.

9.1.2.
Inductions for new members are held each fall and spring semester. Election dates are posted on the Undergraduate bulletin board on the first floor of Gilmer Hall.

9.2. University Psychological Society

9.2.1.
The University Psychological Society is a student organization that sponsors information and social events (e.g., seminars on how to apply for graduate school, ice cream social as student/faculty mixer, Outstanding Psychology Professor award). The University Psychological Society also promotes student interests to the faculty. http://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/Psych_Society/

9.2.2.
All students who are interested in psychology are encouraged to attend. Majors or non-majors, first years and up, are welcome.

9.2.3.
The faculty advisor to the University Psychological Society is Prof. James Freeman.

10.0. Future Education and Employment

Although some psychology majors choose the field because they plan to become professional psychologists in a clinical or research setting, it is common for students to choose psychology as a major because they find the subject matter and courses interesting, without giving much thought to career planning. Several books are available in the Bio-Psychology library. See the person at the reference desk. These books provide an introduction and overview of the different areas of psychology, and provide information about careers at the master's and doctoral levels.

10.1. Post-graduate Plans

10.1.1.

Graduate Training in Psychology. Becoming a professional psychologist requires graduate training in one of many areas of psychology. Traditional research areas include Cognitive, Developmental, Quantitative, Sensory and Systems Neuroscience, and Social Psychology. Persons interested in these areas usually pursue a doctoral degree. Applied areas include Clinical, Community, Industrial/Organizational, Counseling, Educational Psychology and School Psychology. Careers in these areas are usually possible at the master's or doctoral levels. Graduate programs in the last three areas may be offered in Education or Educational Psychology Departments instead of traditional Psychology Departments.

 

The American Psychological Association publishes a book entitled Graduate Study in Psychology. This book contains useful information about every institution in the United States and Canada offering graduate study in psychology. The information includes each department's areas of specialization, stipend allowances, number of faculty and graduate students, number of degrees granted in recent years, tuition costs, application deadlines, and addresses for admission applications. A limited number of copies occasionally are for sale in the Newcomb Hall Bookstore. Copies also may be obtained from the Order Department, American Psychological Association, P.O. Box 2710, Hyattsville, MD 20784-0710, or by calling 1-800-374-2721. Other excellent books are available in the Bio-Psychology library.

For additional, useful information about the graduate school process see:

10.1.2.
Psychology-Related Careers with a Bachelor's Degree. Those who are not ready or interested in going to graduate school often enter the job market and find work in areas that are relevant to their undergraduate training. Many of these jobs are in human service delivery areas, for example, youth counselor, recreation assistant, or rehabilitation advisor. Other jobs may involve analytical or research skills. The federal government, for example, hires Psychology Technicians with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Good books with useful information about the types of job opportunities are available in the Bio-Psychology library.

For additional, useful information about careers with a psychology degree see:

10.1.3.
Graduate Training Outside Psychology. Psychology majors are not limited to graduate training in psychology. Some majors use their background to pursue careers in Social Work and Education. In Education, psychology majors can do a combined program with the Curry school and get a Masters degree in 5 years. The Early Childhood & Developmental Risk program is an example (see http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/ecdr/). Other students go on to Medical School or Law School. University Career Services (UCR) has directories of graduate programs in a wide variety of fields. Careful preparation will ensure the proper background. Those interested in pursuing Medical or Law School should contact the appropriate advisor (Pre-Professional) at UCR in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium (see http://www.career.virginia.edu/students/resources/handouts).

10.1.4.
General Liberal Arts Careers. Many employers seek graduates with a general liberal arts degree, and psychology majors compete successfully for many of these jobs. These jobs may include, for example, management trainee or salesperson. UCR has information about job opportunities for liberal arts majors interested in pursuing a variety of careers. Psychology majors, along with other majors, participate in resume drop-offs that are conducted throughout the year. If you have not visited UCR already, you are urged strongly to do so to take advantage of the tremendous amount of information they have available.

10.2. Letters of Recommendation

Regardless of whether you plan to get a job or go to graduate school following graduation, you probably will find that you need letters of recommendation. Because the majority of lower-level courses in the psychology program are large lecture courses, many students reach their fourth year and find they have not established close relationships with faculty members. No matter how good a student you are, a letter written by an instructor who can only discuss your in-class performance will not be as strong or convincing as a letter written by someone who knows you better. You must plan ahead! Some tips: Take your relationship with your major advisor seriously. Schedule an appointment outside class with an instructor whose class you really enjoy. Sign up for an independent research project. Finish your lower-level requirements so you can sign up for smaller classes sooner. This can really make a difference.

When you identify faculty members who agree to write letters for you, it is helpful to organize a neat package that includes information about you (e.g., grades, personal statement) and all recommendation forms. Fill out all of the information about you at the top of each form, and include stamped and addressed envelopes. (For UCR forms, include an addressed envelope so they can be sent to Garrett Hall through messenger mail.) A checklist with deadlines is extremely helpful for multiple schools. Finally, please be sure to allow sufficient time (at least three weeks is recommended) for the faculty member to complete the letters.

At the beginning of the fourth year you can start a credentials file at UCR for your letters of recommendation. This service provides students with a means of collecting confidential references that then can be forwarded to schools of interest for up to five years (or longer by special request) after graduation. This is especially useful if you plan to go to graduate school after a one- or two-year delay.