May 22, 2018  
2015-2016 CSU East Bay Catalog 
2015-2016 CSU East Bay Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology, B.A.

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Program Description

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. Many psychologists work primarily with people to understand how they think, respond to stress, learn and forget, develop into unique personalities, and interact with one another. Others study the behavior and nervous systems of animals in order to find general principles that apply across species. Psychologists apply their knowledge to do therapy and counseling, to improve practices in schools, prisons, and rehabilitation centers, and to enhance performance in industry, business, and the professions.

The Psychology department offers a major in both the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. These are basic programs; to become a “psychologist” requires graduate training.

The B.A. program is appropriate for most psychology students. It provides a basic understanding of human behavior and motivation that is valuable in many careers in business, government, and education. It also provides the background expected for entry into graduate programs in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, health psychology, social psychology, or experimental psychology.

The B.S. programs are designed for more specialized purposes. Students in the B.S. program must select one of the two options in that program: Industrial/Organizational Psychology or Ergonomics and Human Factors. The option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology provides preparation for careers related to business, with an emphasis on personnel management. The option in Ergonomics and Human Factors provides preparation for careers in the design of work environments to take account of human limitations and strengths, for example, the design of equipment (computers, aircraft, automobiles) or the design of industrial procedures.

In Psychology’s minor program, students can choose courses to complement training in business, communication, health and medicine, law and criminology, statistics, biology, and many other fields. Of special interest to students in that program might be our courses in developmental psychology, personality, cognitive processes, and learning.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a B.A. or B.S. in Psychology will be able to:

  1. think scientifically and employ sound scientific methodology;
  2. speak and write clearly about the content and theory of the field of psychology;
  3. apply psychological principles and prepare for careers.

Career Opportunities


  • Clinical/Counseling/Child Psychologist
  • Community Mental Health Employee
  • Experimental Psychologist
  • Human Service Worker
  • Police/Probation Officer
  • Recreation Worker
  • School Counselor
  • Social Worker
  • Special Education Teacher
  • Substance Abuse Counselor


  • Advertising Account Executive
  • Business Executive
  • Career Counselor
  • Employee Counselor and Trainer
  • Human Resource Specialist
  • Personnel Representative
  • Program Evaluator
  • Public Relations Specialist


The Psychology department’s facilities include a fully equipped computer lab, an animal lab, and several labs for studying human behavior. These facilities support an unusual and important characteristic of the department - its emphasis on hands-on student involvement in the study of human and animal behavior through participation in laboratory courses and faculty research, in field trips, and in community volunteer placements.

Both the Psychology Club and Psi Chi (national honor society in psychology) provide opportunities for students to get together to hear speakers and to discuss topics such as career and graduate school opportunities.

All courses required for the psychology B.A. major are offered in the evening program over each three-year cycle. However, the range of choices and flexibility of scheduling is more limited in the evening program.


For Advanced Placement course equivalencies, see Registration .

Major Requirements

Please consult an advisor in your major department for clarification and interpretation of your major requirements. The major consists of 72 units; the B.A. degree requires a total of 180 units.


  1. May also be used to satisfy the General Education Requirement in Life Science.
  2. May also be used toward satisfying the General Education Requirement in Mathematics.
  3. May be taken CR/NC.

II. Breadth Requirements (20 units)

One course from each group required:

testing/survey and test construction/individual differences/applied measurement/decision theory

comparative/heredity/psychopharmacology/cognitive neuroscience

theories of learning/history and systems/theories of personality

III. Laboratory Requirements (4 units)

Any two required:

Two different courses from those listed below. Although courses in this series may be repeated for unit credit, two different courses are required in the Psychology major.

IV. Elective Requirements (12 units)

Twelve additional units of permissible upper division (3000 or 4000 level) psychology courses; or STAT 4000  and eight additional units of permissible upper division psychology courses. A maximum of four units from PSYC 4900  or Laboratory Requirement courses may be used toward satisfying this requirement. Course descriptions indicate whether an upper division course is permissible for credit toward the major.

Other Degree Requirements

In addition to major requirements, every student must also complete the University requirements for graduation which are described in the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements chapter in the front of this catalog. These include the General Education-Breadth requirements; the second composition (ENGL 1002 ) requirement; the cultural groups/women requirement; the performing arts/activities requirement; the U.S. history, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government requirement; the University Writing Skills Requirement; and the residence, unit, and grade point average requirements.

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