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):
The Department of Psychology is deeply committed to student access to a quality education and seeks to maximize students’ admission to the psychology major, while limiting wait times and maintaining a high quality of education as well as a reasonable time to degree. However, Psychology is highly impacted, with the number of fully qualified students interested in declaring the major exceeding the available seats.
To declare a major in psychology, a student must meet the following minimum requirements*:
- Completion (including currently enrolled WWU courses) of at least 90 credits;
- At least 20 of those credits must be in psychology, including:
- PSY 101 and PSY 203 completed;
- and TWO other courses from PSY 210, PSY 220, PSY 230, PSY 240 and PSY 250, completed or currently enrolled. Transfer credit accepted as indicated on the Transfer Equivalency Report.
- At least five PSY credits taken at Western
- Achieved a Western GPA (based on at least 12 credits) or psychology GPA (based on an average of all PSY coursework) of 2.70 or higher. In the absence of a Western GPA, a GPA of 2.70 or higher cumulative GPA from an equivalent four-year institution (based on at least 12 credits) or a completed Associates degree may substitute for the Western GPA.
*Meeting the above requirements does not guarantee admission to the Psychology major.
For students who have met the minimum requirements, admission to the 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 Department of Psychology website: chss.wwu.edu/psychology.
- 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 completed courses of PSY 203, PSY 210, PSY 220, PSY 230, PSY 240, and PSY 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).
Beginning the third week of each quarter, the application to the psychology major is submitted via an online portal. The Department of Psychology website (chss.wwu.edu/psychology) application deadlines and notification dates are posted annually. Students will be notified of major application status well in advance of Phase I registration for the subsequent quarter.
Other Departmental Information
The Department of Psychology employs all University academic policies, including but not limited to Insufficient Progress Toward Degree and Registration Holds: catalog.wwu.edu/content.php?catoid=18&navoid=4783#Insufficient_Progress_Toward_Degree_and_Registration_Holds
A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.