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Major & Minor

Explore and Discover. Psychology is the scientific study of brain, behavior, and beliefs. Have you ever wondered how people came to be the way they are? Why people act differently when they are with others? How the brain accomplishes the mundane feats of body movement, attention, memory, and language? Psychological science answers these and many more questions about how people think, feel, and act.

Major | Minor | Major/Minor Declaration

Psychology Major

The Department of Psychology offers a general program of study for students who desire a broad background in contemporary psychology, as well as an Honors Program for exceptional students. The department offers a wide variety of opportunities for undergraduates to gain active research experience alongside leading faculty. Such research experience is considered a fundamental aspect of education in psychological science.

Faculty in the department also play a significant role in the neuroscience major.

Benefits of Studying Psychology

Psychology majors obtain the following marketable skills in their courses:

  1. Scientific literacy. Courses in quantitative methods, experimental design, and directed study research provide the skills for designing, developing, executing, and reporting scientific experiments to test the human condition.
  2. Explaining and predicting behavior. Courses in neuroscience, cognition, and social and personality psychology give students the ability to recognize the underlying forces that describe individual and group behavior.
  3. Effective learning strategies. Courses in neuroscience, perception, and cognition offer students specific, usable techniques for improving memory acquisition and recall.
  4. Emotion management. Courses in health psychology, emotion, and abnormal and clinical psychology give students skills and coping strategies for regulating emotions, handling stress, building resilience, and sustaining happiness.
  5. Discerning and mitigating biases and prejudice. Courses in social and cognitive psychology provide students with an awareness of common biases and techniques to avoid letting it impact decisions.
  6. Understanding individual differences. Courses in personality and social and abnormal psychology emphasize how to identify another person’s strengths and weaknesses to recognize their unique value.
  7. Evaluating the impact of life changes. Courses in neuroscience and developmental and health psychology give students the ability to understand stages of personal development through the lifespan and how that interacts with a healthy lifestyle.


The psychology major requires the completion of 36 credit hours of coursework. The major includes the psychology core: an introductory psychology course, a quantitative course on data analysis methods in psychology, and a research methods course.

The major also requires completion of four distribution courses and five electives. There are no concentrations in the psychology major. Students with another related major or minor must identify 24 credit hours that will be solely attributed to the psychology major.

Comprehensive Exam Requirement

All majors must complete the psychology Comprehensive Exam at the beginning of their final semester at Vanderbilt. The department will email students to schedule the exam. Students studying abroad for their last semester should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Psychology in the second-to-last semester, or the last semester they are on campus, to take the Comprehensive Exam.

The exam is offered in person only and typically takes about 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

Psychology Minor

A minor in psychology requires completion of the following:

Students must complete 18 credit hours of psychology courses for the minor. Students with a related major or other minors must identify 15 credit hours that will be solely attributed to the psychology minor.

Faculty in the department also play a significant role in the neuroscience minor.

Declaring a Major or Minor

Students can declare a major or minor by completing a Declaration of Major/Minor form through Kuali. Instructions on how to fill out the Declaration of Major/Minor form can be found in the User Guide. For more information visit the URO’s Workflow Website.