Department of Psychology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Psychology’s attempt to understand the human condition takes many approaches. Some psychologists study brain chemistry and its relation to behavior, while others study the behavior of individuals in groups. Still others are engaged in providing counseling or psychotherapy to people who are mentally ill or who are having difficulty in coping with the demands of life. With a faculty of more than 30 people, the department offers a program of study which provides a solid foundation in the general concepts and methods of psychology, as well as courses and programs for students in many of the more specialized areas.
The core program in general psychology is designed to ensure that all students majoring psychology will develop a sound basic preparation for advanced study, as well as have a solid grounding in psychological research and the real world applications of research findings in the field. The program is designed to allow students flexibility in selecting courses with the assistance of their advisor. However, the design of the major ensures that each Psychology major has direct experience with research methodology, from the theoretical underpinnings through research design, implementation and data analysis, and finally to a manuscript of the entire research project.
Why Consider a Psychology Major?
Most of the primary issues facing the people of the world today — hunger, overpopulation, the continuing threat of war, prejudice, pollution, drug addiction — are people problems; people have created them, and it will be people who must and will find solutions to them. Psychology, as the scientific study of mind and behavior, helps provide the answers to many of these pressing problems.
Undergraduate Advising: Upon major declaration, students are assigned a faculty advisor who works with the student to develop a plan of study that meets the student’s academic and career goals.
| Sample Careers
Counselor | Employment Agency Counselor | Training and Development Professional | Mental Health Coordinator | Human Resources Personnel | Social Service Administrator | Public Relations | Corrections Officer | Educator | Market Research Analyst | Social Service Worker | Psychologist | Foster Care and Adoptions | Data Analyst
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
Psychology is a highly impacted major, with the number of fully qualified students interested in the major exceeding the available seats. The Department of Psychology is deeply committed to student access to a quality education, and seeks to maximize students’ access to the psychology major, while limiting wait times and maintaining a high quality of education and a reasonable time to degree.
To become a psychology major, students must first declare the psychology pre-major. Because current student interest outstrips available resources, completion of the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the pre-major. Rather, students will be accepted on a space-available basis using the process outlined below. Once students have been accepted to the psychology pre-major, they may enroll in PSY 301. Students are fully admitted to the Psychology major following the successful completion of PSY 301 with a C- or better and the other major requirements.
- Minimum Requirements: Students intending to declare a major in Psychology must first apply to the Psychology pre-major. In order to apply, students must meet the following minimum requirements. Note that meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission to the Psychology pre-major; admission to the pre-major is granted on a space-available basis:
- Completion (including classes currently enrolled in) of at least 90 credits
- At least 20 of those credits must be in psychology, including
- PSY 101 and three courses from PSY 210, 220, 230, 240 and 250, or transfer credit for those courses, as indicated on the Transfer Equivalency Report
- At least 5 credits taken at Western
- Achieved a Western GPA (based on at least 12 credits) of 2.60 or higher. In the absence of a Western GPA, a GPA of 2.60 or higher from an equivalent four-year institution (based on at least 12 credits) or a cumulative GPA from a completed Associates degree may substitute for the Western GPA.
- Applying for the pre-major: For students who have met the minimum requirements, admission to the pre-major will be determined each quarter on a space available basis after ranking candidates by GPA, from high to low. Number of admissions and GPA information from recent quarters will be posted on the Psychology Department website at www.wwu.edu/psychology/premajor.
- The GPA used will be the highest of either:
- the student’s cumulative Western GPA (in the absence of a Western GPA, a cumulative GPA from a completed Associates degree may substitute for the Western GPA), or
- an average of the student’s grades from at least two completed courses of PSY 210, 220, 230, 240, and 250 obtained at each of the schools attended (advanced placement classes are not included in the calculation; running start classes recorded on a community college transcript are included).
- The application to the Psychology pre-major is submitted via an online portal on the Psychology Department website at www.wwu.edu/psychology/declare. The pre-major portal is available during the third and fourth full weeks of the fall, winter, and spring quarters.
- Quarterly application deadlines are available at www.wwu.edu/psychology/declare.
- Student applicants are notified of the outcome of their application as soon as possible following after the application deadline, well in advance of the registration Phase I for the subsequent quarter.
To declare a major in psychology, a student must have the following:
- Successfully completed or be currently enrolled in PSY 301;
- Achieved a Western GPA (based on at least 12 credits) of 2.70 or higher. A GPA of 3.0 or higher in Western Psychology courses, including PSY 301, may substitute for the overall 2.70 GPA.
Beginning of the third week of each quarter, an email is sent to students currently taking PSY 301 with instructions on how to declare the major. Professors teaching PSY 301 also make an announcement in their class. Student should declare the major at least one week prior to the Phase I date of registration for the following quarter.
In special cases, it may be possible to declare the major at other times as well (for example, you may not have the required GPA at the normal time for declaring, but you do achieve that GPA at the end of the quarter. You will then be able to declare at that time).
If you have met the requirements for declaring the major (see the section above), visit the Psychology Department office (Academic Instruction Center 434) and fill out the application for the major form.
A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.