About the Program
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Psychology as a scientific discipline aims to describe, understand, and predict the behavior of living organisms. In doing so, psychology embraces the many factors that influence behavior — from sensory experience to complex cognition, from the role of genetics to that of social and cultural environments, from the processes that explain behavior in early childhood to those that operate in older ages, and from normal development to pathological conditions. The Psychology Department at UC Berkeley reflects the diversity of our discipline's mission covering six key areas of research: Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience; Clinical Science; Cognition; Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental, and Social-Personality Psychology. Despite the existence of these specialization areas, the program learning goals focus on fostering methodological, statistical, and critical thinking skills that are not tied to any one particular content area in psychology but are relevant for all of them.
The major serves three purposes:
- For the liberal arts student, the study of psychology provides an avenue for increased self-understanding and insight into the behavior of others. The objective study of behavior is one of the major themes of intellectual history in the last hundred-plus years.
- For students preparing for training in such professions as medicine, law, education and business, psychology provides important basic knowledge and principles.
- For students who plan on pursuing graduate work in psychology, the undergraduate major seeks to establish a sound foundation of research principles and knowledge of a variety of content areas.
Declaring the Major
Psychology is a capped (impacted) major at UC Berkeley. This means that due to high demand, the program, unfortunately, cannot accommodate every student who wishes to major in Psychology. As part of the terms of being a capped major, all students who apply to the major and meet the following criteria are guaranteed admission:
- Complete all 8 prerequisite courses with a letter grade. Please refer to our Major Requirements website for more information on our COVID-19 Pass/No Pass grading policies for classes taken during the remote learning period.
- Have a minimum 3.0 grade point average (GPA) in the prerequisite courses. (Note: GPA is not rounded up.)
- If you entered UC Berkeley as a freshman, you must submit the major declaration form after completing three semesters at Cal and before you begin your 6th semester. If you entered Berkeley as a transfer, you must declare the major before you begin your 2nd semester at UC Berkeley. For students on a reduced course load who cannot complete major requirements within this semester range, we will extend the window if you can apply prior to the accumulation of 80 semester units, including work in progress.
- Submit the application to the major by the posted deadline. Please refer to the department website for exact deadlines.
If any of the above criteria are not met, students may still be admitted to the major. However, there is no guarantee. Please understand that applications will not be approved until all prerequisite courses are complete and final grades have been posted. This may mean that students will not technically be admitted to the major until the beginning of the following semester.
Declared Psychology major students may earn Honors or Highest Honors in the department for completion of the Psychology Honors program. This requires submission of a thesis of high quality, based upon independent study under the supervision of a member of the Psychology Department's faculty, satisfactory completion of the required courses, and attaining the requisite GPAs at the time of graduation (3.5 in the Psychology major and 3.3 overall).
Students are required to complete the following courses, none of which count toward major requirements, with a letter grade:
- UGIS 192B or PSYCH 199 Students applying to the honors program must have experience as a research apprentice in a Psychology lab or in a related field. To demonstrate this preparation, students must have a minimum of 2 units of UGIS 192 or Psych 199 on their transcript prior to applying for the honors program. It is recommended that students begin as a research assistant in their sophomore or junior year.
- PSYCH 102 Statistics for Psychological Research is a 3 unit upper division course that is designed to introduce students to the data analysis techniques researchers use in the field of psychology. This course is only offered in fall and may be taken as early as the junior year.
- PSYCH H194A / PSYCH H194B Honors students are required to concurrently enroll in Psychology H194A-B (2 units per semester), the honors seminar, in their senior year. This course provides excellent supplemental background and support for preparing the thesis.
- PSYCH H195A / PSYCH H195B Psychology H195A-B is offered for 1-3 units per semester and is mandatory in order to receive honors in the major. The course is sequential with a grade of In Progress or “IP” for the "A" portion and the final grade assigned for both semesters at the end of the "B" portion.
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program
The UC Berkeley, Department of Psychology’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program is a comprehensive retraining and immersion program for students interested in applying to graduate school in psychology. The program features intensive coursework to complete a psychology undergraduate major in three or four semesters, research opportunities with our world-class faculty, in-depth advising and a supportive community. If you are inspired to enter the field of psychology, switching focus from a previous major, or changing careers, the UC Berkeley Post Bac program may be your path to success.
In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.
- All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit. Please refer to our Major Requirements website for more information on our COVID-19 Pass/No Pass grading policies for classes taken during the remote learning period.
- No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's minor program.
- No more than two upper division courses may be used to simultaneously fulfill the double major requirements or simultaneous degree programs.
- A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.
For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.
**Please contact the Student Services offices or make an appointment with your Student Services advisor for any questions related to these requirements.**
Lower Division Prerequisites
Students must complete eight prerequisite courses in the following areas: General Psychology (1 course), Biological Sciences (2 course), Social Sciences (2 courses in two different departments), and Quantitative Reasoning (3 courses including Psychology 101). Students will follow a specific curriculum depending on when they were accepted to the university. For more information on which specific courses satisfy the prerequisite requirements, please visit the Psychology website.
Upper Division Requirements
Students must complete eight upper division Psychology courses separated into two tiers. Tier II consists of 5 courses with at least one in each of the following categories: Biological, Cognitive & Developmental, Social/Personality, and Clinical. The remaining three courses make up Tier III and can be satisfied by using any excess Tier II courses or any Psychology course numbered 104-182. For more information on which specific courses satisfy the prerequisite requirements, please visit the Psychology website.
Summer Minor Requirements
The Developing Child Minor is offered through the Department of Psychology in partnership with Early Development & Learning Science (ED&LS) at the Institute of Human Development. It is an interdisciplinary, developmental science Summer Minor and Certificate program, focused on children from the prenatal period to age 8. Integrating research, practice, and policy with problem-solving and implementation skills for the real world, the innovative coursework and practicum compliments many areas of study and will enrich your approach to impact-based science.
The Developing Child cohort is limited to 30 students and is available to matriculated UC Berkeley students; the Certificate is available to visiting students. All coursework is taught in English and requires complex discussion and problem-solving. Please email email@example.com with any questions or visit the program website for more information and to apply.
- All minors must be declared no later than one semester before a student's Expected Graduation Term (EGT). If the semester before EGT is fall or spring, the deadline is the last day of RRR week. If the semester before EGT is summer, the deadline is the final Friday of Summer Sessions. To declare a minor, contact the department advisor for information on requirements, and the declaration process.
The minor degree or certificate consists of a minimum of 15 units (five 3-unit courses).
All courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be taken for graded credit and must be taken in one summer.
A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
The minor is open to enrollment for all Berkeley students; the certificate is available to visiting students.
No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
The Developing Child consists of five core, required 3-unit courses:
|PSYCH 142||Applied Early Developmental Psychology||3|
|PSYCH 149||Early Development & Learning Science Core Seminar||3|
|PSYCH 149A||The Developing Child Practicum: Linking Research and Practice||3|
|PSYCH 149B||Contexts of Early Development||3|
|PSYCH 149D||Early Childhood Policy||3|
An exciting convergence of research, from neuroscience to economics, highlights the crucial role of early development and learning (0-8 years) in lifelong health, economic, and social success. Our interdisciplinary program provides innovative training that builds the essential knowledge and skills students need to connect science to practice and policy.
Students in the ED&LS Summer Minor and Certificate will:
Gain a complex understanding of the scientific basis of children's early development and learning within their social contexts.
Learn to use empirical research to develop practices and policies that support young children's positive developmental trajectories within real-world contexts.
Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to leverage actionable insights from research for social impact.
Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.
For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages.
University of California Requirements
All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley.
The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.
Berkeley Campus Requirement
All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.
College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements
The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.
The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.
In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.
College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements
The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.
120 total units
Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units
- Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.
Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.
Senior Residence Requirement
After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.
You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.
Modified Senior Residence Requirement
Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.
Upper Division Residence Requirement
You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.
Plan of Study
Students are strongly advised to work with an academic advisor to determine a personal program plan. Each program plan will differ depending on previous credit received, course schedules, and available offerings. To see one sample program plan, visit the Psychology undergraduate program planning webpage.
Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Psychology major requirements before making a program plan. For more detailed information about specific requirements, see the College Requirements and Major Requirements tabs.
Course offerings are subject to change every semester and there are multiple course options that can satisfy many of the requirements. Students must check the Online Schedule of Classes for the most up-to-date course offerings that will satisfy a particular requirement.
Student Learning Goals
The Psychology Department at Berkeley reflects the diversity of the discipline's mission covering six key areas of research: Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience; Clinical Science; Cognition; Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental, and Social-Personality Psychology. Despite the existence of these specialization areas, the program learning goals focus on fostering methodological, statistical, and critical thinking skills that are not tied to any one particular content area in psychology but are relevant for all of them.
Most of the program level goals are introduced in PSYCH 1 These goals are extended and reinforced in a majority of the core courses. These include PSYCH 101, required of all majors, and the upper division Tier II courses that survey the major fields of psychology. The program is designed to ensure that all students gain broad exposure to the field of psychology. In addition, students are able to develop a deeper understanding of at least one major content area in psychology.
Learning Goals for the Major
1. Understand basic concepts that characterize psychology as a field of scientific inquiry, and appreciate the various subfields that form the discipline as well as things that differentiate it from other related disciplines
2. Develop an understanding of the central questions/issues in contemporary psychology as well as a historical perspective of psychological theories and key empirical data
3. Develop a thorough understanding of one of the major content areas of psychology (i.e., Social/Personality, Developmental, Clinical, Cognitive, Biological)
4. Develop skills to critically evaluate the presentation of scientific ideas and research in original scientific papers as well as in the popular media.
5. Become familiar with research methods used in psychological research, and become proficient in basic concepts of statistical analyses and familiar with more advanced methods in data analyses and modeling
6. Learn to develop, articulate, and communicate, both orally and in written form, a testable hypothesis, or an argument drawing from an existing body of literature.
7. Apply a psychological principle to an everyday problem, or take an everyday problem and identify the relevant psychological mechanisms/issues
Major Maps help undergraduate students understand academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities at UC Berkeley based on their intended major or field of interest. Developed by the Division of Undergraduate Education in collaboration with academic departments, these experience maps will help you:
Explore your major and gain a better understanding of your field of study
Connect with people and programs that inspire and sustain your creativity, drive, curiosity and success
Discover opportunities for independent inquiry, enterprise, and creative expression
Engage locally and globally to broaden your perspectives and change the world
- Reflect on your academic career and prepare for life after Berkeley
Use the major map below as a guide to planning your undergraduate journey and designing your own unique Berkeley experience.
Faculty and Instructors
+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Ozlem Ayduk, Professor. Violence, developmental psychology, psychology, depression, self-control, emotion regulation, social-cognition in interpersonal relationships.
Sonia Bishop, Associate Professor. Neural mechanisms supporting attention, emotion and their interactions; individual differences in cognitive control and emotional responsivity; neural substrate of anxiety; genetic factors modulating recruitment of cortical control and limbic affective mechanisms.
Silvia Bunge, Professor. Cognition, human brain function, development.
+ Serena Chen, Professor. Close relationships, social cognition, social psychology, Self and identity, relational self, collective self, social power.
Anne Collins, Assistant Professor. Human learning, decision-making and executive functions, Computational modeling at multiple levels (cognitive and neuroscience), Behavioral, EEG, drug and genes studies in healthy or patient populations Human learning, decision-making and executive functions, Computational modeling at multiple levels (cognitive and neuroscience), Behavioral, EEG, drug and genes studies in healthy or patient populations .
Mark T. D'Esposito, Professor. Cognitive neuroscience, psychology, working memory, frontal lobe function, functional MRI, neurology, brain imaging, dopamine.
Nina Dronkers, Adjunct Professor.
Arianne Eason, Assistant Professor. Intergroup relations, prejudice, bias, social cognitive development, inequality, culture.
Jan Engelmann, Assistant Professor. Developmental psychology, comparative psychology, cross-cultural psychology.
Aaron Fisher, Associate Professor. Anxiety, depression, personalized medicine, psychotherapy, psychophysiology.
David Foster, Associate Professor. Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience , keywords: behavioral neurophysiology of spatial learning and memory, hippocampal replay, computational models of reinforcement learning and navigation.
Jack L. Gallant, Professor. Vision science, form vision, attention, fMRI, computational neuroscience, natural scene perception, brain encoding, brain decoding.
Alison Gopnik, Professor. Learning, philosophy, psychology, cognitive development, theory of mind, young children, children's causal knowledge, Bayes Net formalism.
Allison Harvey, Professor. Sleep, insomnia, comorbidity, bipolar disorder, cognition and emotion.
+ Stephen Hinshaw, Professor. Psychology, child clinical, developmental psychopathology, risk factors for attentional, conduct disorders, child psychopharmacology, multimodality interventions, diagnostic validity of disorders, peer relationships, stigma of mental illness.
Rich Ivry, Professor. Cognitive neuroscience, behavior, cognition, brain, attention, coordination, psychology, motor and perceptual processes in normal and neurologically impaired populations, temporal processing, executive control.
Lucia F. Jacobs, Professor. Cognitive and brain evolution, adaptive patterns in spatial memory, spatial navigation, cognitive sex differences and decision making.
+ Oliver P. John, Professor. Research methods, personality, measurement, emotion regulation, personality structure, personality development, traits, Big Five model, individual differences, emotion expression, self-concept, accuracy, bias, self-knowledge, personality assessment.
Sheri Johnson, Professor. Bipolar disorder, social dominance.
+ Dacher Keltner, Professor. Culture, conflict, behavior, love, psychology, emotion, social interaction, individual differences in emotion, negotiation, embarrassment, desire, juvenile delinquency, laughter, anger, social perception, negotiating morality.
Celeste Kidd, Assistant Professor. Attention, curiosity, learning, computational modeling, cognitive development.
Robert Thomas Knight, Professor. Cognitive neuroscience, language, physiology, memory, attention, psychology, working memory, neuropsychology, human prefrontal cortex, neural mechanisms of cognitive processing, sensory gating, sustained attention, ad novelty detection.
+ Lance Kriegsfeld, Professor. NeuroendocrinologyCircadian Biology, Neuroimmunology, cancer biology, animal behavior.
+ Ann M. Kring, Professor. Schizophrenia, emotion, gender, mental illness, psychology, psychopathology, emotion in social interaction, emotion and cognition, facial expression.
Nancy Liu, Assistant Clinical Professor. Implementation science, clinical training in empirically supported treatments for depression, trauma, and severe mental illness, underserved populations, mental health services in low-resource settings, primary care integration, global mental health .
Iris Mauss, Professor. Social psychology, personality psychology, affective science, psychophysiology, individual differences, emotion, emotion regulation, health psychology, happiness, well-being, psychological health.
+ Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Professor. Diversity, intergroup relations, education, prejudice, stigma.
Ken Nakayama, Adjunct Professor. Visual surfaces, the deployment of visual attention, and the role of attention in initiating eye movements, using visual psychophysical tests to assess neurological and psychiatric disorders .
Jason Okonofua, Assistant Professor. Mindsets, Large-scale psychological intervention, Relationships, Stereotyping, Prejudice, Stigma, Education, Interactional Justice, School-to-prison pipeline.
Steven Piantadosi, Assistant Professor. Language acquisition, language processing.
Mahesh Srinivasan, Associate Professor. Development, Language development, cognition.
Frank J. Sulloway, Adjunct Professor.
Frederic Theunissen, Professor. Behavior, cognition, brain, psychology, birdsong, vocal learning, audition, neurophysiology, speech perception, computational neuroscience, theoretical neuroscience.
Matthew P. Walker, Professor. Plasticity, learning, memory, fMRI, emotion, sleep, EEG.
Joni Wallis, Professor. Prefrontal cortex, neurophysiology, executive control, decision making.
Kevin Weiner, Assistant Professor. Visual perception, face processing, structural-functional relationships assessed using a variety of (a) functional measurements (e g high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging, electrocorticography, etc ) and (b) anatomical measurements in-vivo (e g diffusion weighted imaging, cortical folding, etc ) and post-mortem (e g cytoarchitecture, myeloarchitecture, etc ), comparative neuroanatomy, development, translational applications for patient populations.
David Whitney, Professor. Cognitive neuroscience, cognition, attention, visual perception, vision, visually guided action.
Linda Wilbrecht, Associate Professor. Neuroscience, addiction, early life adversity, adolescence.
Fei Xu, Professor. Conceptual development, developmental psychology, cognitive development, language development, social cognition in infants and children, learning in infants and young children, statistical learning and statistical inference, psychology and philosophy, computational models of cognitive development.
Qing Zhou, Professor. Culture, family, child development, developmental psychopathology, immigrants.
Joseph J. Campos, Professor Emeritus. Social-emotional development in infancy, emotional communication, perception of emotion, relation of motor development to cognitive and social and emotional development.
Carolyn Pape Cowan, Professor Emeritus. Child development, psychology, couple relationships, parenting styles, family transitions, preventive intervention.
+ Philip Cowan, Professor Emeritus. Couple relationships, family factors in children's development, parenting, fatherhood, preventive intervention with families.
Karen K. De Valois, Professor Emeritus. Psychophysics and electrophysiology of color vision, spatial vision and visual motion.
Ervin R. Hafter, Professor Emeritus.
Erik David Hesse, Adjunct Associate Professor.
John F. Kihlstrom, Professor Emeritus. Personality, behavior, memory, psychology, cognition in personal, social contexts, unconscious mental processes, hypnosis, social cognition, experimental psychopathology, health cognition, unconscious mental life.
Jonas Langer, Professor Emeritus.
Robert W. Levenson, Professor Emeritus. Aging, gender, culture, brain, psychology, emotion, psychophysiology, marriage, clinical science, interpersonal interactions, dementia, relationships, neurodegenerative disease.
Mary Main, Professor Emerita.
+ Christina Maslach, Professor Emeritus. Health psychology, individuation, burnout and job stress.
Laura B. Mason, Clinical Professor Emerita. Psychotherapy research, treatment development, dissemination science, and community mental health .
+ Gerald A. Mendelsohn, Professor Emeritus.
Charlan Jeanne Nemeth, Professor Emeritus. Decision making, jury decision making, influence and persuasion, creativity in small groups, managing innovation in organizations, psychology of creative scientists and entrepreneurs, corporate cultures, diversity of team members, brainstorming, psychology and law.
Stephen E. Palmer, Professor Emeritus. Psychology, visual perception, visual processing.
Kaiping Peng, Professor Emeritus. Psychology, East Asian studies, social cultural sychology, reasoning and judgment across cultures and domains, inter-ethnic, racial relations, cross-cultural communication and understanding.
William Prinzmetal, Adjunct Professor Emeritus. Behavior, cognition, brain, attention, psychology, visual perception.
Donald A. Riley, Professor Emeritus. Behavior, learning, memory, cognition, brain, psychology.
Lynn C. Robertson, Adjunct Professor Emeritus. Cognitive neuroscience, attention, psychology, representations of objects and space, visual search, binding mechanisms, perceptual organization in normal and neurological populations, functional hemisphere asymmetries, spatial deficits.
Eleanor Rosch, Professor Emeritus. Cognition, psychology, concepts, Eastern psychologies, psychologies of religion, cross cultural, causality.
Dan I. Slobin, Professor Emeritus. Sociolinguistics, behavior, cognition, brain, psycholinguistics, psychology, language and cognitive development, sign language, cross-cultural.
John S. Watson, Professor Emeritus. Psychology, development in infancy, evolution of psychological processes in artificial life.
+ Rhona Weinstein, Professor Emeritus. Community psychology, educational inequality and the achievement gap, teacher expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies, classroom and school reform.
Sheldon Zedeck, Professor Emeritus. Statistics, organization, psychology, research methodology, industrial, social psychology, personnel, cross-cultural work values, decision-making research, work and family issues, the work values of Chinese employees.
, Professor Emeritus. Biological rhythms, seasonality, behavioral endocrinology, melatonin, suprachiasmatic nucleus, reproductive physiology, behavior, ultradian rhythms, sex differences.
Department of Psychology
2121 Berkeley Way
Serena Chen, PhD
3316 Berkeley Way West
Department Vice Chair
Ozlem Ayduk, PhD
3430 Berkeley Way West
Department Vice Chair
Lance Kriegsfeld, PhD
Student Services Director
2210 Berkeley Way West
Undergraduate Student Services Advisor
2210 Berkeley Way West
Undergraduate Student Services Advisor
2210 Berkeley Way West