Advising in General
The Psychology Department is proud of its systematic and informed advising of students. Several recent enhancements in the advising process have improved it further.
- The Psychology Handbook represents the department's consensus on a number of vital advising issues ranging from career choices to course recommendations. The Handbook is provided gratis to all majors, incoming and transfer, for academic planning.
- Psychology majors profit from a single faculty advisor from your sophomore through senior years. This approach allows advisors and advisees to know each other better over the years. All freshmen are advised by the CAS Academic Advising Center.
- Students complete a 1-credit Career Development Seminar in Psychology. This junior seminar entails applying information on academic planning, career development, and graduate school.
How To Use Your Advisor
Sometimes students think that they need a reason to see their advisor, such as to obtain signatures or to change their major. This is a fallacy. When you have questions, go to your advisor. He or she is also there to get to know you as a person. It's fine to go in to talk over a range of things -- your major, a course, any concerns, your career, or simply school in general.
When you go to see your advisor, go in with the attitude that he or she is there to be your advocate.
Your advisor may be busy or unavailable. In these cases, check your advisor's office hours and make an appointment. Advisors often welcome the chance to chat informally with students. Since a diversity of interactions is useful, approach other psychology professors as well, especially those who have expertise in the subfield in which you are interested.
Understand and exercise your role in the advising process. Advising is not just something the professor does. It is an active, collaborative process requiring your preparation.
Responsibilities of Advisees
The psychology faculty takes the responsibility of departmental advising seriously and expects students to do the same. In order for us to advise you effectively, you should, at a minimum, do the following (as listed in the Undergraduate Advising Handbook):
- Maintain a personal academic file. This file should include an updated CAPP, copies of any schedule changes, and paperwork related to grades.
- Read the Undergraduate Catalog and this Psychology Handbook. Become familiar with the psychology major (and minor, if applicable), the general education requirements, and all academic regulations. Consult the catalog descriptions of courses you plan to take to ensure that you have satisfied the prerequisites.
- Keep us informed of changes in your program. When you declare a minor or concentration, please inform us. If you plan to study abroad, consult with your psychology advisor early in the planning process.
- Allow adequate time for advising during registration. Consult your advisor's office hours and make an appointment to see him or her as early as possible during the registration period. Also examine your CAPP sheet carefully and bring any potential discrepancies to the attention of your advisor.
Note: If you do not make genuine effort to obtain advising at least one day before the pre-registration deadline, then you will be denied your PIN. This will mean that you cannot register for classes at the assigned time. The moral of the story is to seek out your advisor early and often during the pre-registration period.
Pre-Advising Checklist plus or minus
Please check the items that apply to you and be prepared to discuss them.
REVIEW OF LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGES
- Want to discuss changes in life circumstances (e.g., relationships, work, finances, health)?
- Want to discuss how college life is going for you?
REVIEW OF PREVIOUS SEMESTER/S
- Any transfer credits not yet recorded?
- Any deficient or incomplete grades?
- Any failed or dropped courses?
REVIEW OF CURRENT SEMESTER
- Any deficient grades at midterm or dropped courses this semester?
DOUBLE MAJORS, CONCENTRATIONS, MINORS, HONORS
- Any recently added or dropped programs not previously on CAPP sheet?
- Want to discuss dropping a program or adding a new program?
- Need to discuss completing your current program(s) in remaining semesters?
- Want to discuss study abroad?
PROGRESS TOWARDS GRADUATION
- Are you behind on credits to graduate or want to determine if you are on schedule to graduate?
- Need to plan to complete your GE requirements over the remaining semesters?
- Need to discuss completing the writing intensive and cultural diversity requirements?
PROGRESS IN PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR
- Are you behind schedule for completing required courses and core sequence?
- Want to discuss your schedule for completing the 42 total credits for Psychology?
- Are you behind schedule for completing the required GE courses? Math? NSCI?
PLAN FOR UPCOMING SEMESTERS
- Want to discuss course selections for the Psychology major?
- Want to discuss course selections for GE, other programs or free electives?
- Want to discuss your plans for post-graduation life?
- Want to discuss your plans for preparing for the GREs?
- Want to discuss plans for doing research or being a TA?
- Want to discuss volunteering or doing an internship?
- Want to review the accuracy of your CAPP sheet?
- Need help correcting CAPP sheet errors?
OTHER GOALS AND CONCERNS YOU WISH TO DISCUSS (list below)
Credit / Course Progress Grid plus or minusPlease use the department's Credit / Course Progress Grid to help you stay on track to graduate.
22 Advising Hintsplus or minus
- Psychology majors have 30 credits of free electives. You can easily develop minors and concentrations by judiciously using free electives.
- Up to 15 credits of psychology can be put in the free electives. Undergraduate Research in Psychology (Psyc 493-494) credits are typically placed in the free electives.
- Only one Special Topics course can be used as a Psychology elective.
- The GE requirements need not be taken in the sequence set out in the catalog. You have a great deal of flexibility in this regard.
- Take a diversity of the core 8 psychology courses early in your undergraduate career and strive for breadth of exposure in psychology.
- Core courses may also count as psychology electives; that is, a student who takes one course in a pair to satisfy the "core requirement" may take the other course as a psychology elective.
- Be aware of the scheduling of courses, particularly those offered only one time per year. This will facilitate your curriculum planning.
- Note the importance of completing Abnormal Psychology as a prerequisite for later courses in clinical/counseling/school psychology.
- Tailor the psychology major towards your interests. Consult with advisors for recommended courses to meet your individual interests for employment and/or graduate school.
- Review the criteria (in the catalog) for taking Undergraduate Research in Psychology to avoid confusion.
- Schedule an advising conference in advance of registration that substantive advising can take place. Waiting until the last minute makes it difficult to advise you adequately.
- For Psychology Field Experience courses, complete all the prerequisite courses ideally by the Spring of the junior year or Fall of the senior year.
- If you plan to take the GRE Psychology Test in the Fall of your Senior year, try to take as many of the core 8 psychology electives before then. This may mean loading up on psychology courses in your Sophomore and Junior years and pushing GE credits to your Senior year.
- Remember that Behavioral Neuroscience (Fall) and Learning & Behavior (Spring) are typically offered once a year. If you plan on taking these classes, plan ahead and plan the rest of your schedule around them.
- To conduct research, you do not have to take it for credit. Start with volunteering or FSRP (both of which are free), and then take Undergraduate Research (PSYC 493 & 494) for credit. You may take Undergraduate Research in units of 1-3 credits.
- If you are interested in Biology or Neuroscience, then do not take the biology classes for psychology students. Take the biology classes for Biology majors (BIOL 141 and BIOL 142). They will fulfill your Natural Science requirements.
- If you are interested in clinical/counseling/school psychology, take Clinical (PSYC 360) during the fall term; it is only offered in the Fall.
- Optimally, Field Experience (PSYC 481) should be taken in the Spring term of your Junior year or the Fall term of your Senior year. If applying to graduate school, then optimally take it before you apply.
- Save Personality and Individual Differences (PSYC 224) until at least your Junior year. It is a class that is offered every term. And, if you are interested in personality, then you are probably interested in clinical.
- The Natural Science (NSCI) electives for fulfillment of the General Education requirements are courses designated with an (E). One NSCI elective must be from Biology, and the other may be from Biology, Chemistry, or Physics.
- Sociology (SOC 110) is not a required course, but recommended. If not taken, a course with an (S) designation (but not a Psychology course) must be taken instead.
- As specified in the Undergraduate Catalog, because of duplicate material, psychology majors should not take the following courses: Counseling Theories (HS 242), Research Methods in Human Services (HS 293), or Psychiatric Rehabilitation (HS 323).