Sep 25, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Psychology Major, B.S.

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Department of Psychological Sciences  

College of Letters, Arts and Sciences  

  Available Program Format(s): Online, In-Person, Hybrid  

About the Program

The major in Psychology is designed to help prepare students who are pursuing a career that involves working with people and/or understanding people’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior.  The major provides students with a foundation in the science of behavior and mental processes, and the application of psychological principles to real-world problems. The coursework in the major exposes students to the major methods and subspecialties within the field of psychology, offering a broad foundational base. Students are also offered opportunities for applied experiences in the completion of the major, to allow specialized and practical training in the discipline. The major prepares students for post-graduate study or entry into the workplace upon graduation.

Student Outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of major historical trends, basic principles, current issues, and emerging developments in psychology, and demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge to address simple problems and effect behavior change.  
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate knowledge of the field of psychology, both orally and in writing, using a scientific approach. Written work shall include a research study or other psychological project using APA guidelines; oral presentations shall demonstrate effective communication skills that optimize information exchange.  
  • Apply psychological knowledge, skills, and values to work effectively and ethically with others in personal and professional settings at local, national, and/or global levels. 
  • Apply critical and skeptical inquiry, critical and scientific reasoning, and creative and integrative thinking to solve problems related to behavior.  
  • Demonstrate information literacy in the field of psychology. 
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply the fundamentals of research methodology, research ethics, and statistical analysis to the interpretation and evaluation of research.  
  • Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of human diversity, and embrace the richness of experience and knowledge that sociocultural differences contribute to the human experience. 
  • Apply skills gained during schooling-like self-reflection, work ethic, time management, project management, and teamwork-to develop meaningful goals for life after graduation.  

General Degree Requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the four areas below, in addition to their individual major requirements. 

Program Requirements

  • A total of 120 semester hours are required for graduation. 
  • A grade of “D-” or better is required for each course in this program to count toward the bachelor’s degree. Students should note that programs differ in the minimum grade required. 
  • Psychology majors must have a GPA of 2.00 in their major and an overall GPA of 2.00 to graduate. 
  • A minor is required for this program.  
  • A total of 42 hours is required for the Psychology major. 
  • All students must complete a minimum of 15 semester hours of upper-division PSY coursework for the psychology major. 
  • In meeting the requirements for the psychology major, transfer students must take a minimum of 15 semester hours of psychology coursework at MSU Denver, of which at least 9 must be upper-division credits. 
  • Transfer students must have completed both semesters of a two-semester introductory psychology course for equivalence to exist. Three semester hours will count toward the major or minor; three semester hours will count as general electives (i.e., PSY8888) to graduate. If a student has taken only one semester of a two-semester introductory course and takes PSY 1001 at MSU Denver, the transfer introductory credits will not count toward the degree. 
  • Senior experience courses in the Department of Psychological Sciences require psychology majors to complete the Majors Field Test (MFT) prior to receiving a grade in the course. The MFT is taken at the Testing Center. Should a student elect to take multiple senior experience courses, or to repeat the same senior experience course, the MFT need only be completed in the 1st course. 
  • The Department of Psychological Sciences does not accept correspondence study courses toward the total number of semester hours required for a major or minor. However, correspondence study credit can count toward the degree. 
  • Students considering advanced degrees should be aware that, in addition to course work in the areas listed above, graduate programs often have specific undergraduate course prerequisites. Required or recommended courses, depending on the graduate program, include Theories of Personality, Abnormal Psychology, Psychology of Learning, Child Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Organizational Psychology, Sensation and Perception, Internship in Psychology, Teaching of Psychology, and Advanced Statistics. Therefore, students should consult with a Department of Psychological Sciences advisor to choose appropriate psychology electives.

General Studies Requirements: 33 credits

Students should consult the General Studies Requirements for a list of courses that fulfill the General Studies Requirements for degree completion.  


** Students will fulfill the global diversity requirement by taking an approved course within one of the following categories: arts and humanities; historical; natural and physical sciences; or social and behavioral sciences. 

Ethnic Studies & Social Justice Requirement: 0 or 3 credits

Content Areas: 12 credits

In addition, students must take one course in each of the following areas.

Psychology Electives: 15 credits

A minimum of 15 additional semester hours in psychology courses selected in consultation with and approved by a  Department of Psychological Sciences advisor.

Clinical and Counseling Concentration (optional)

The Clinical and Counseling Concentration in the Psychology Major is designed to better meet the needs of students who plan on a career and/or graduate school in the mental health field. The curriculum combines the foundational courses from the psychology major with the core courses from the clinical and counseling area. Coursework examines the personal and interpersonal functioning of individuals, therapeutic skills, assessment/diagnosis, treatment and intervention. In addition to coursework, students are required to complete an internship at an approved facility as their senior experience.

The goals of the Clinical & Counseling Concentration in the Psychology Major are to:

  • Prepare students for successful job placement and/or graduate admissions in clinical and counseling psychology
  • Educate students on the basic principles, major theories, significant research findings, current issues, and emerging concepts in the field of mental health. This will include a focus on:
    • cognitive, behavioral, and emotional functioning of individuals
    • identification, assessment and understanding of personality, clinical disorders and other mental health problems
    • therapeutic skills
    • treatment and interventions
    • research methods
    • ethics
    • psychological well-being
    • working with diverse populations from a multicultural perspective
  • Provide students with the opportunity to apply and build on their learning through an approved internship in the community
  • Strengthen institutional linkages between MSU Denver and 1) local facilities that provide psychological services, and 2) clinical and counseling graduate schools.

Content Areas: 9 credits

In addition, students must take one course in each of the following areas.

Psychology Electives: 6 credits

Students must complete an additional 6 credits (i.e., 2 courses) of PSY-prefix courses, making a total of 43 hours in psychology.

  • Any PSY course, with the exception of PSY8888, may be used toward meeting this requirement. 
  • No more than 3 hours in PSY 3980 Internship in Psychology  may be used for the Clinical & Counseling Concentration.
  • Psychology courses selected in consultation with and approved by a Department of Psychological Sciences advisor.

Senior Experience: 3 credits

Summary of Requirements

Psychology Major, No Concentration
General Studies Requirements 33 credits
ESSJ Requirement 0-3 credits
Psychology Core 13 credits
Content Areas 12 credits
Psychology Electives 15 credits
Senior Experience 3 credits
Minor and Unrestricted Electives 41-50 credits
Total for the Psychology Major, B.S. 120 credits
Psychology Major with Clinical and Counseling Concentration
General Studies Requirements 33 credits
ESSJ Requirement 0-3 credits
Psychology Core 13 credits
Clinical and Counseling Core 12 credits
Content Areas 9 credits
Psychology Electives 6 credits
Senior Experience 3 credits
Minor and Unrestricted Electives 41-50 credits
Total for the Psychology Major, B.S., Clinical and Counseling Concentration 120 credits

Required courses for the major may also count for General Studies and ESSJ requirements, so the total credits listed may be greater than the number required to complete the degree. Therefore, it is important that you work with your advisor to make sure you are meeting requirements for your degree.

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