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The major is a part of the Department of Psychology, an academic unit within the College of Health and Behavioral Studies.

Psychology is the major to consider if studying the area of science that explores how people and animals think, feel and act is of interest. Psychology majors complete coursework that explores behavior, emotions, cognitive processes and the factors that influence them from a variety of perspectives. Psychologists study behavior at both a cellular (e.g. examining the role of the brain and the nervous system) and at a more global level (e.g. examining the influences of culture). As Psychology majors students will enhance their problem-solving, critical thinking, writing and oral expression skills as they learn to use the tools available to behavioral scientists.

Students choose to major in psychology for many reasons. Psychology can be students' primary area of interest within a liberal arts education that will lead to many professional opportunities that require a bachelor's degree, or it can be a pre-professional program leading to advanced study in graduate school. The most popular types of graduate programs pursued by graduates of our program since 2006 have been counseling, school psychology, education, clinical psychology, psychological science, social work, forensic psychology/criminal justice, industrial/organizational psychology, behavior analysis, law school and college administration.

Each year hundreds of Psychology students participate in research and service learning projects. Each year approximately 50 complete field placements and 16 complete honors thesis projects. Many of our students take their scholarship to a high level, participating as co-authors with faculty on professional conference presentations. See examples of the accomplishments of Psychology students and faculty.

The Department of Psychology moved to newly renovated and well-equipped facilities in January 2008. See for additional information about the JMU psychology major.

Degrees Offered




Behavior Analysis



Declaring the Major

New Freshmen and Transfer Students
Students should declare the Psychology major when they register for orientation.

Currently Enrolled Major Changers 
Current students can declare the major at any time by visiting the main office in Miller 1120. For information on how to then apply to be fully admitted, please see the admissions process:

Other Declaring Information 

Admission to the Major

Students who meet all of the following criteria will be allowed to change their status from "declared" to "fully-admitted" and will be permitted to make progress in the psychology major beyond a few preliminary courses. Equivalent courses completed at another university for which the student has earned JMU approved transfer credit are acceptable.

  • Complete General Psychology (PSYC 101) with a grade of "C-" or better.
  • Complete mathematical statistics (MATH 220), calculus (MATH 205, 231 or 235), or another acceptable math course (see with a grade of "C-" or better
  • Complete any one of the following:
    1. Earn a grade of "B" or better in PSYC 101 taken at JMU
    2. Complete any general education PSYC course at JMU (PSYC 101, PSYC 122 or PSYC 160) and earn a 3.00 grade average in the course
    3. Complete at least 15 credits at JMU and earn an overall cumulative GPA of 3.00 or better
    4. At the time of admission to JMU, be a student who is transferring at least 30 credits including the prerequisite courses (General Psychology and Math) or General Psychology and either Psychological Statistics or Research Methods in Psychology.
  • Complete an online orientation and application available on the Department of Psychology website.

New transfer students who have earned at least 30 JMU approved transfer credits including the prerequisite courses in General Psychology and Math (Statistics or Calculus) or General Psychology and either Psychological Statistics or Research Methods in Psychology are automatically admitted to the major. Students should apply for full admission during the semester when they expect all requirements to be met. Admission decisions are made at the end of each semester and during the summer.Student not admitted to the major may reapply the following semester.

Progressing in the Major

Remain in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0.

A psychology course completed with a "D" grade may be credited towards graduation requirements but not major requirements.

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