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FAQ

General Information

Q:  Where is the Psychology office?

A:  301 Wilson Hall

Q:  Where is my professor’s/advisor’s/TA’s mailbox?

A:  315 Wilson Hall

New and Prospective Psychology Students

Q:  Why should I major in Psychology?

A:  Lots of reasons!  You learn valuable critical thinking and “people skills” which are valuable in a number of different career options.  Click here for more information, or talk to your advisor.

Q:  How do I declare a major/minor in Psychology?

A:  To declare, go to the Psychology office (301 Wilson) and ask to speak with Lydia Dumas.  Lydia is our Education Coordinator for the department.  She can give you the paperwork you need, and assign you an advisor.

Q:  I’m interested in finding out more about majoring/minoring in Psychology, who should I talk to?

A:  First, review the information on our website.  If you have further questions, contact the Director of Undergraduate studies.

Q:  If took AP Psychology in high school, do I have to take PSY 101?

A:  It depends.  If you took the AP exam and received a 5, we offer equivalent credit for PSY 101.  We do not give credit for scores of 4 or lower on the AP exam.

Q: I want to take an upper-level PSY course, but don’t want to take PSY 101.  Is this possible?

A:  Unless otherwise specified, PSY 101 is a prerequisite for all upper-level PSY courses.  PSY 101 provides important theoretical and empirical foundations that are required for upper-level courses.

Q: Are there tracks in the PSY major?

A:  Currently, we offer two tracks, a Psychology major, and an Honors Psychology major.  The Honors track is highly recommended for students who are planning to apply to graduate school, and may be useful for other students as well.  Students apply to the Honors program in their sophomore year.  For more information on the Honors program, see the link above and discuss your plans with your advisor.

Q: How do I declare a major/minor in Neuroscience?

A:  Contact Shirin Pulous in U1205 MCN (located in MRB III).

Current Majors

Q:  Do I need to take PSY courses in a particular order?

A:  PSY 101 is a prerequisite for almost all higher-level PSY courses.  After that, students should generally move into the distribution courses, statistics and methods, and then higher level courses.  Consult with your advisor for a specific course of study based on your needs.

Q:  Do Peabody PSY courses count for my A&S PSY major?

A:  Yes, all Peabody PSY courses count toward the A&S PSY major, generally as electives unless they are explicitly specified as counting toward another requirement for the major. So PSY 2101 is equivalent to the A&S PSY 209 stats course, and they are inter-changeable. And PSY 1630 (an introductory development course at Peabody) counts as one of our distribution courses.

Q:  Is PSY 290 an elective?

A:  Yes, all PSY courses that do not count as another requirement count as electives toward the major.

Q:  Will PSY xxx be offered next semester?

A: We set the course schedule for spring in October, and for fall in March.  Although courses are generally offered on the semesters listed in the course catalog, sometimes there will be changes due to faculty being on leave, needing to balance graduate and undergraduate courses, etc. PSY 101, PSY 208 and PSY 209 are offered every semester, and sometimes in the summer. All distribution courses are offered at least once a year, but can vary across fall and spring semesters.  Beyond that, we cannot guarantee specific courses in specific semesters until the final schedules for that semester are published.

Q: Can I take graduate level (PSY 300 and above) courses?

A:  Maybe.  In general, graduate courses are not appropriate for undergraduates.  However, seniors with a B average or above, on the advice of your advisor and with permission of the instructor of the graduate course, can request permission to take a graduate course.  Contact the instructor of the course you are interested in if you’d like to pursue this option.

Q: I took a course in another department that seems very “psychological”.  Can it count toward my A&S PSY major?

A:  Generally, no.  Departments differ tremendously in the approach that they take to particular topics.  Courses offered in other departments pursue topics based on their pedagogical and research approaches, and that is often very different from a psychological approach to the same topic.  Occasionally, a course will be considered sufficiently similar in terms of approach and content, and a variance can be made.  Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology for more information.

Q:  If I am double-majoring, or minoring, in a related area, how many courses can I double-count?

A: For a minor, the College of Arts & Sciences requires 15 unique hours, meaning you can only double-count one course.  For majors, the College requires 24 unique hours, which currently means you can double-count four courses for the PSY major, or 6 if you are pursuing the Honors track. Note that these are A&S policies, there are no departmental waivers available for this requirement.

Q: Can I take a PSY course pass/fail?

A:  Yes, but it won’t count toward your A&S PSY major/minor.  Again, this is a College policy.  See the A&S academic policies site for more information:  http://as.vanderbilt.edu/registrar/academicpolicies/passfail/

Q: I want to get involved in research, how do I do that?

A: Excellent, we highly recommend this for our majors!  We have a webpage detailing research opportunities, but in general, you should look over the list of faculty, find a project that seems interesting, and email the professor to see if they have spots available in their lab.  It really is that simple.  Don’t be hesitant to email us – we don’t bite, and almost all faculty in our department have active labs with undergraduate members.

Q:  Is there a Psychology Majors club?

A:  Yes, there is a majors association, the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Psychology Society (VUPS), which is open to anyone interested in Psychology (whether or not they are majors).  There is also a Vanderbilt chapter of Psi Chi, which is an honors association for Psychology majors.  For more information on VUPS, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  For more information on Psi Chi, contact the Psi Chi advisor, Elisabeth Sandberg.

Planning for the Future

Q:  I want to go to graduate school in Psychology, what should I do?

A:  First and foremost, talk to your advisor about options as soon as possible.  There are a number of different options for graduate work in Psychology, at both the master’s and doctoral level.  Students who are serious about graduate school should get involved in research, and look into the Honors program.  We have a webpage with more detailed resources for learning about programs and applying to graduate school, and we offer panels with faculty in the spring of each year to discuss grad school advice and options.

Q:  I do NOT want to go to graduate school in Psychology, what else can I do with my degree?

A:  Psychology is a very versatile degree, you have numerous career options with your degree.  Talk to your advisor to begin discussing options.  We also offer a panel with faculty and other professionals in the  The Vanderbilt Career Center also has great resources available. Here are some other links to get you started brainstorming ideas:

http://www.westga.edu/psydept/index_8082.php

http://www.apa.org/careers/psyccareers/

http://www.psichi.org/pubs/articles/article_50.aspx

http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/psych/undergraduate_studies/career_planning/jobs_for_psychology_majors.html