Psychology Major FAQ
Psychology major Frequently Asked Questions
This document is a work in progress and is intended to provide answers to commonly-asked questions from Shepherd University undergraduate Psychology majors. If you see something that should be corrected or would like to suggest an addition, please contact Dr. Lovelace at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a glossary at the bottom that explains terms terms in this document that may be unfamiliar to some students.
- Do I have to get at least a grade of C in all my Psych classes?
- When do I need to take my Core Curriculum Math course? Which one should I take?
- When do I need to finish the Core Curriculum English requirement?
- Do I need to take any of my Psychology classes in any particular order?
- Do I have to take a foreign language? Which one should I take?
- How can I learn who my advisor is?
- Can I change who my advisor is?
- Can classes count for more than one part of my degree (major/minor/Core Curriculum)?
- A form is asking for my “catalog year”–what is that?
Do I have to get at least a grade of C in all my Psych classes?
No. A grade of D or better is a passing grade. However, to graduate you must maintain at least a C average (2.0) across all your Psychology classes, all the classes in your minor, and all of your classes taken together (both those earned at Shepherd and any you may have transferred in).
When do I need to take my Core Curriculum Math course? Which one should I take?
You are strongly encouraged to complete the Core Curriculum math requirement during your first semester at Shepherd. Some, but not all, of those options will satisfy the prerequisite for the required PSYC 250 Statistics for the Social Sciences course. This includes MATH 101, MATH 105, MATH 108, and MATH 109 or 109A. (Note this does not include MATH 107.)
When do I need to finish the Core Curriculum English requirement (ENGL 101 and 102)?
Both ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 are required in Tier 1 of the Core Curriculum and both must be completed with a grade of C or better. These courses will help you sharpen your writing skills, which will be important for the Psychology major. We suggest you complete ENGL 101 before you take PSYC 251 Research Methods in Psychology. ENGL 102 is a prerequisite for the Group I Lab courses (PSYC 370L, 371L, and 372L) taken during the junior year.
Do I need to take any of my Psychology classes in any particular order?
The first psychology class most students take is PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology, which is the prerequisite for the other psychology courses. First-year students (freshmen) are prevented by university rules from taking courses with numbers that start with a 3 or a 4 (we call these “300- and 400-level courses”), but you can take those that start with a 1 or a 2. During your first year, focus on PSYC 101, PSYC 102 Introduction to the Psychology Major (optional), PSYC 250 Statistics for the Social Sciences, and possibly PSYC 251 Research Methods in Psychology (consult your advisor), along with your Core Curriculum classes. There are several classes in the Psychology major that, based on their prerequisites and corequisites, are intended to be taken in a particular order. While PSYC 101 is the prerequisite for most psychology classes, there are some that are intended to be taken in a particular order. This is illustrated by the program “spine”, illustrated in the diagram linked here. Work with your academic advisor to determine the timing of classes that will work best for you.
Do I have to take a foreign language? Which one should I take?
Since Psychology is a B.A. degree, the University requires that you also take four semesters of the same foreign language. These will be numbered 101, 102, 203, and 204. The Department of English and Modern Languages offers courses in several languages, but note the following two things. 1. There tend to be more sections for the Spanish courses, so you’ll have an easier time fitting those into your schedule. 2. The first and third semester of French (101, 203) are only offered in the fall and the second and third semester (102, 204) are only offered in the spring. 3. There are usually few sections of German on the schedule and the times often conflict with required Psychology classes. Talk to your advisor.
If you have already taken at least a year of French, Spanish, or German, you are supposed to take a placement test in the Department of English and Modern Languages to determine which course in the sequence you should start with (visit this website instructions). If you start in a later class in the sequence and finish it with at least a grade of B, then you’ll get the credits for the classes you skipped. (E.g., if you start with SPAN 102 and get an A or B, you also get the three credits for SPAN 101.) You can alternately take a language CLEP test in the Career Services center. Consult your advisor for more information.
How can I learn who my advisor is?
You’ll find the name of your academic advisor by logging into your account in RAIL. For instructions, visit this page from the Registrar’s website.
Can I change who my advisor is?
Sure! Your academic advisor can be any full-time member of the Psychology faculty. Just fill out the Academic Change Form and bring it to the Department Chair (Dr. Lovelace) to sign. Your current advisor doesn’t have to sign and isn’t notified of the switch. (If Dr. Lovelace is your advisor and you’d rather not ask him to sign, talk to the faculty member you’d like to be your advisor and they’ll arrange for you to get a Dean’s signature.)
Can classes count for more than one part of my degree (major/minor/Core Curriculum)?
In some cases, yes. We call this “course-sharing” (or, more informally, “double-dipping”). You may count up to two classes for both the Psychology major and a minor. For example, PSYC 340 is required for Psychology majors and is an option for Education minors. It can count for both as long as you’re not also counting more than one other class for both. Another example would be classes that count for both the Psychology major and the Core Curriculum. You may count up to two classes for both the Core Curriculum and your Psychology major (PSYC 101 falls into this category) and you may do the same between the Core Curriculum and your minor. (Those are two separate counts–two Core/major classes and two Core/minor classes.) Note that the third and fourth semesters of your foreign language (203 & 204) can count towards the Humanities section of the Core Curriculum as well as toward the University’s language requirement. Because that requirement isn’t part of the Psychology major, those two classes counting both for that and the Core Curriculum doesn’t count as double-dipping.
A form is asking for my “catalog year”–what is that?
This refers to the Shepherd University Catalog, the document that describes Shepherd’s academic policies, programs, and courses. That document is updated every year and is in place for an academic year (summer/fall/spring semester), and your catalog year is the academic year during which you started. Your catalog year defines the catalog, and therefore program requirements, in place when you started at Shepherd, and you follow those requirements throughout your time at Shepherd. So, if you started in either the fall of 2020 or spring of 2021, then you’re under the 2020-2021 catalog. Note that if you started during a summer session, you’re under the following year’s catalog. So, if you started in summer of 2019, then you’re under the 2019-2020 catalog.
If there are requirements put in place in a later year’s catalog, then you can fill out a form to switch to that catalog. But note you can’t switch to just part of a catalog–you switch to the whole thing. So, if the requirements for your minor change after you start at Shepherd and you like those better, you can switch to the catalog when the new minor went into effect, but you’ll also have to follow any new requirements for your major, Core Curriculum, etc. Talk to your academic advisor before switching catalogs.
Academic advisor: This is a full-time faculty member in your major who has been assigned to help you navigate the academic requirements for graduation.
Catalog year: This is the academic year (which includes a fall and the following spring semester) during which you started at Shepherd.
Core Curriculum: The Core Curriculum is the set of classes that every Shepherd University undergraduate student must complete.
Corequisite: This refers to a class that must be taken at the same time as the class for which it is a corequisite (or “coreq”). For example, the Labs that go along with the Group 1 restricted electives have the lecture listed as the coreq. If you sign up for PSYC 370L, you must also be signed up for PSYC 370.
Prerequisite: This refers to a class that you must pass before signing up for the class for which it is a prerequisite (or “prereq”). Prerequisites are how we ensure you have the knowledge and skills required for a class before you move on to that class. For example, PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology must be successfully completed before you can sign up for most other Psychology courses.
Prerequisite or corequisite: Sometimes a course will be listed as either a prerequisite or a corequisite for another course. This means that the first one must be passed before, or may be taken at the same time as, the listed course. For example, while we strongly suggest you take PSYC 250 Statistics for the Social Sciences before you take PSYC 251 Research Methods, you may take them at the same time. (But you may not take PSYC 251 before you’ve signed up for PSYC 250.)