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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 course work 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. Popular types of graduate programs pursued by graduates of our program 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 40 complete field placements and five 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 student accomplishments here.

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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.

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 wishing to declare or change a major or minor must complete a request through MyMadison. Additional department specific information will be available when that academic plan is selected.  Follow the directions and steps provided to complete your request.  Once submitted, the department will either approve or deny your request or contact you for additional information.

For additional assistance making this request, view the Change/Declare a Major/Minor tutorial in MyMadison or on the tutorials website

  • Degrees Offered: 
    • B.A.
    • B.S.
  • Concentrations: None
  • Minors: None

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 PSYC 101. General Psychology, with a grade of "C-" or better. Equivalent courses completed at other institutions that transfer to JMU are acceptable.
  • Complete MATH 220, MATH 205, MATH 231, MATH 235 or another acceptable math course with a grade of "C-" or better. Equivalent courses completed at other institutions that transfer to JMU are acceptable.
  • Complete any General Education Psychology course (PSYC 101, PSYC 122 or PSYC 160) with a grade of "B" or higher.  Earning a 4 on the AP Psychology exam meets this requirement. With departmental approval, grades from other institutions can fulfill this requirement.
  • Complete an online orientation and application, available from the Department of Psychology website.

Students can declare at any time and should apply for fully admitted status when they are enrolled in (or have completed) the admissions requirements above. Admission decisions are made at the end of each semester and during the summer. Students not admitted to the major may reapply the following semester.

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

All psychology courses taken must carry a grade of "C-" or better to apply to the major.

A psychology course completed with a grade of "D" may be credited toward graduation requirements but may not be included in courses credited toward the psychology major.

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Career Planning

A successful career and a meaningful life is what it’s all about. Whether it’s an internship, a great first job or a top graduate school appointment, JMU Dukes make their dreams ignite. You will, too.

Here are current openings available to JMU students.

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