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Psychology Advising FAQs

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FAQs about the Psychology Department

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For answers to any questions not found here, please contact psy-undergrad@utexas.edu.

For Psychology majors, contact your academic advisor here.

Degree Requirements and Department Policies

    • You can find degree plans for both the BA and BS in Psychology here. 
    • In general, each psychology student will need to complete the University Core Requirements, General Education requirements for their degree set by the College of Liberal Arts (different for BA and BS students), their major requirements, and a minor or certificate. In addition each UT degree must include 120 hours of coursework overall, 60 of which must be taken in-residence, 39 of which must be upper division work, and 24 hours of upper division work must be completed in-residence.
  • What is my catalog year (and why does it matter)?
    • The catalog of the University is the document of authority for all students. The Undergraduate catalog contains degree requirements for all undergraduate majors, rules that affect undergraduates, and a list of the faculty of each college. The university updates the catalog every two years, and a student is generally governed by the catalog that corresponds to the year they were first a full-time student at any Texas public institute of higher education. For example, a student who took dual credit courses in high school, but only started full time college at a Texas public college or university in the Fall of 2021 would be under the 20-22 catalog. A student who started full time college in the Fall of 2021 at a college or university in another state or a private school in Texas who transferred to UT Austin in the Fall of 2022 would be under the 22-24 catalog. If you have further questions, contact your academic advisor.
    • This matters because a student who runs a degree audit using the IDA tool under the incorrect catalog year may not have an accurate understanding of their completed and uncompleted degree requirements. When running a new degree audit, be sure that you select the correct catalog year, or better yet, run the audit directly from your degree profile. 
  • What is the difference between a BA vs BS in Psychology and which degree is better for me?

    For degree requirements, the BA requires more foreign language in the COLA general education requirements, where the BS requires more science and mathematics. For students interested in pursuing a graduate degree of any kind in psychology or a different career with a background in psychology, the BA is appropriate. For students interested in the medical field, or any other field that requires undergraduate course work in biology, chemistry, or physics the BS is appropriate.

  • What is the two strike rule?
    • In certain psychology courses students are limited to a maximum of two attempts to make the required grade. Both PSY 317L and PSY 420M must be passed with at least a C and a student is allowed only two attempts.
    • PSY 301 must also be passed with at least a C to progress in the degree, but PSY 301 is not subject to the two strike rule.
    • Should a student reach their maximum attempts without meeting the required grade, they will be informed they must change their major, and will be sent to a Dean’s Office advisor in the COLA Student Division in order to select a new major. Their major will be changed to undeclared until a new major is chosen.
  • How do I drop a class?
    • All students should consult with their academic advisor when considering dropping a class after the 12th class day. 
    • For more detail on procedures and policies for course drops, withdrawals, and the one-time-exception, see the Ask Libby FAQ.
    • Q-drops are processed by an advisor in the COLA Student Division

Registration FAQs

  • If you are under the 22-24 catalog, you are required to take PSY 317L, even if you have previous statistics credit. If you are under a previous active catalog you do not have to have credit for PSY 317L in order to take PSY 420M, although you must meet the other prerequisites for PSY 420M.

  • When can I take upper division PSY courses?
    • For psychology majors prerequisites are as follows: upper-division standing (60 completed credit hours) and Psychology 301 and 420M with a grade of at least C in each.
    • For non-psychology majors: upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C:African and African Diaspora Studies 302M, 350, Biomedical Engineering 335, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 308, 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, 317L, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Data Sciences 301, 302, 302F, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318, 320E, 321, 325H, or 328M.
    • All Psychology writing flag courses are restricted to psychology majors only.
  • What are the prerequisites for PSY 420M?
    • For students on the 22-24 catalog: 30 semester hours of college coursework including Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C and Psychology 317L or 120R with a grade of at least C.
    • For students on active catalogs prior to 22-24: 30 semester hours of college coursework including Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C and credit for one of the following: Thirty semester hours of college coursework including Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C and credit for one of the following: African and African Diaspora Studies 302M, Educational Psychology 371, Mathematics 302, 303D, 403K, 305G, 408C, 408K, 316; Statistics and Data Sciences 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318, 328M.
    • PSY 420M is restricted to psychology majors only. 
  • Can I be late added to a PSY course?

    All late adds for psychology courses end on 6th class day, NO EXCEPTIONS. Requests for being late added to a psychology course before the deadline should be sent to your academic advisor.

  • I didn’t get the PSY course I needed/wanted. What should I do?

    The first step is to place yourself on the waitlist, if available for that course. If the course does not have a waitlist, you may continue to check during add/drop periods for open seats or an activated waitlist. If you believe not getting the course will affect your graduation timeline, contact your academic advisor. 

    • An elective is any course that does not satisfy a specific degree requirement, but counts towards your overall required hours. In other words, once you have completed every specific requirement in the Core, General Education, Major, and Minor/Certificate, any hours left over to complete in order to meet overall hour requirements is an elective.
    • The best elective is one that you will be interest you/motivate you to perform well. Some common suggestions for psychology students are: Communication Studies (CMS), Educational Psychology (EDP), Sociology (SOC), Social Work (S W), Advertising (ADV), or any other topic you are interested in. Using the keyword search on the course schedule can be a good start to finding courses.
  • Which AP/IB credit should I claim?
    • All students with AP/IB credit to claim should speak with their academic advisor prior to claiming credit. In general, any credit which fulfills a Core requirement is good option, as well as any credit that allows you to complete/continue with foreign language requirements. Psychology majors are allowed to claim credit for PSY 301. For a list of accepted AP and IB credits, see this page. 
    • Student with pre-health aspirations should double check with the Health Professions Office (link) prior to claiming AP credit, or can refer to this chart (link). In general science should not be claimed by these students.
    • Psychology majors should delay claiming credit for statistics courses if PSY 317L is required by their catalog as the AP credit given does not count for PSY 317L.
    • AP/IB Credit can be claimed here. 
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FAQs for Non-PSY Majors

  • You can find a link to the degree plans for both the BA and BS in Psychology here.

  • Can I take psychology courses as a non-psychology major?
    • Yes, many PSY courses are open to non-psychology majors. Lower division psychology courses (subject to any prerequisites) and upper division psychology courses without a writing flag have limited seats for non-majors.
    • Upper division psychology courses have the following prerequisites for non-majors: upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Advertising 309R, African and African Diaspora Studies 302M, Biomedical Engineering 335, Chemical Engineering 253K, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 308, 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, 317L, Public Relations 309, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 301, 309, Statistics and Data Sciences 301, 302, 302F, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318, 320E, 321, 325H, 328M.
  • Can I be late added to a PSY course?

    All late adds for psychology courses end on 6th class day, NO EXCEPTIONS. Requests to be late added to a psychology course should be sent to psy-undergrad@utexas.edu.

  • I want to change my major to Psychology (Internal Transfer). How do I do that?
    • Psychology is a closed major, meaning any current UT students wishing to change to or add psychology as a major must meet all eligibility requirements and internal transfer application (link). Beginning in the 2022-23 academic year, the Department of Psychology will only accept applications during the Spring semester. Our next application cycle will begin in Spring 2023.
    • More information about the process, as well as details on upcoming Internal Transfer Information Sessions can be found here.
  • Any additional questions may be directed to psy-undergrad@utexas.edu

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