University of California, Berkeley

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:

  1. 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.
  2. For students preparing for training in such professions as medicine, law, education and business, psychology provides important basic knowledge and principles.
  3. 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 high demand major at UC Berkeley. This means that due to high demand, the program, unfortunately, cannot accommodate every student who wishes to major in Psychology. 

For Students Admitted to UC Berkeley Fall 2023 or thereafter:

Admission into the Psychology major will be guaranteed to those who selected Psychology as their primary major on their UC Berkeley admissions application. Students are guaranteed a spot in the Psychology major, subject to completing the major prerequisites, maintaining good academic standing in L&S, and filing a declaration form.

The opportunities for being admitted into the Psychology major after enrollment at UC Berkeley will be extremely limited, and applying to the Psychology major via the comprehensive review process does not guarantee a spot in the major. If you have an interest in the Psychology major, we strongly encourage you to select Psychology as your primary major during the UC application process. If you opt to change to the Psychology major after being admitted to Berkeley, you will be required to have an alternate plan to declare a non-high demand major as a back-up.

For more information on the high-demand major policy please visit the "Admissions" page for the College of Letters and Science on the Berkeley Academic Guide.

Honors Program

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.

Minor Programs

There are two Summer Minor programs offered through Psychology. The Clinical & Counseling Psychology summer minor allows students to explore the diverse career paths of clinical and counseling psychology. The Developing Child summer minor is offered in partnership with Early Development & Learning Science (ED&LS) at the Institute of Human Development.

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

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.

General Guidelines

  1. 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.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's minor program.
  3. No more than two upper division courses may be used to simultaneously fulfill the double major requirements or simultaneous degree programs. 
  4. 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 the college and university 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/Tier I Prerequisites

Students must complete prerequisite courses in the following areas: General Psychology, Biological Science, Social Science, and Quantitative Reasoning including the required PSYCH 101 course. ALL courses taken for the major (both lower division prerequisites and upper division requirements) must be taken for a letter grade.

*We require a minimum of four letter-graded courses to satisfy prerequisites. If you take more than one AP exam you may choose which one to use for the major prerequisites. The other requirements must be satisfied with letter-graded courses. 

General Psychology
AP Psychology with a test score of 4 or 5 Psychology 1 *
General Psychology [3]
Biological Science
One courses is required. (Lectures are required and Labs are optional)
AP Biology with a score of 4 or 5 *
ANTHRO 1Introduction to Biological Anthropology4
BIOLOGY 1AGeneral Biology Lecture3
INTEGBI 31The Ecology and Evolution of Animal Behavior3
MCELLBI 32Introduction to Human Physiology3
PSYCH/MCELLBI C61Brain, Mind, and Behavior3
or PSYCH/MCELLBI C64 Exploring the Brain: Introduction to Neuroscience
Social Science
One course is required
AP US Government or AP Comparative Government with a score of 4 or 5 *
ANTHRO 3Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology4
or ANTHRO 3AC Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology (American Cultures)
SOCIOL 1Introduction to Sociology4
or SOCIOL 3AC Principles of Sociology: American Cultures
LINGUIS 5Language and Linguistics4
PHILOS 3The Nature of Mind4
or PHILOS 4 Knowledge and Its Limits
or PHILOS 5 Science and Human Understanding
or PHILOS 12A Introduction to Logic
or PHILOS 25B Modern Philosophy
POL SCI 1Introduction to American Politics4
or POL SCI 2 Introduction to Comparative Politics
or POL SCI 4 Introduction to Political Theory
A total of 2 courses is required. Students must take Psych 101 and one additional quantitative course.
PSYCH 101Research and Data Analysis in Psychology4
One course from the list:
MATH 10AMethods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics4
or MATH 10B Methods of Mathematics: Calculus, Statistics, and Combinatorics
MATH 1ACalculus4
or MATH 1B Calculus
MATH 54Linear Algebra and Differential Equations4
MATH 55Discrete Mathematics4
STAT 2Introduction to Statistics4
or STAT 20 Introduction to Probability and Statistics
or STAT 21 Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business
STAT C8Foundations of Data Science4
Please note that AP exams and IB standard & HL exams do not satisfy the quantitative course requirement.

Transfer students and UC Berkeley students who wish to complete prerequisites at community colleges should consult for further information about the appropriate transferable coursework. Like the AP exams, the Psychology and Biology IBHL scores of 5, 6 or 7 can be used to fulfill one of the prerequisites. 

Upper Division/Tier II Requirements

Students must take at least 8 upper division courses according to the guidelines below.

Tier II: Survey - A total of 5 courses with at least one in each area
PSYCH 110Introduction to Biological Psychology3
PSYCH 114Biology of Learning3
PSYCH C115CNeuroethology: Complex Animal Behaviors and Brains4
PSYCH 117Human Neuropsychology3
PSYCH 124The Evolution of Human Behavior3
PSYCH 125The Developing Brain3
PSYCH C127Cognitive Neuroscience3
Cognitive & Development
PSYCH C120Basic Issues in Cognition3
PSYCH C126Perception3
PSYCH 140Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH C143Language Acquisition3
PSYCH 147Methods in Cognitive Development3
PSYCH 150Psychology of Personality3
PSYCH 156Human Emotion3
PSYCH 160Social Psychology3
PSYCH 166ACCultural Psychology3
PSYCH 180Industrial-Organizational Psychology3
PSYCH 130Clinical Psychology3
PSYCH 131Developmental Psychopathology3
PSYCH 134Health Psychology3
PSYCH 135Treating Mental Illness: Development, Evaluation, and Dissemination3
PSYCH 130MPsychopathology Across the Life Span (Psych 130M is a lifespan psychopathology class and is not the same as Psych 130. Students who have take both Psych 130 and Psych 131 are discouraged from also taking Psych 130M.)3

Upper Division Electives/Tier III

  • Select three courses from upper-division PSYCH courses numbered 104-182. Each course must be at least 3.0 units.
  • Any excess Tier II survey courses will count towards Tier III.
  • Psych 149, Psych 149A, Psych 149B, Psych 149C, and Psych 149D DO NOT COUNT for the major requirements.

Additional information regarding upper division Psychology course requirements: 

PSYCH 102, H194A/B, H195A/B, 197, 198, and 199 do not count toward the coursework requirement although students are encouraged to become involved in research.

Students may use up to two upper division courses outside the department to satisfy these requirements. The following is a list of previously approved courses:

ANTHRO 106Primate Behavior4
ANTHRO 149Psychological Anthropology4
COG SCI C131Computational Models of Cognition4
COMPSCI 188Introduction to Artificial Intelligence4
ECON 119Psychology and Economics4
ESPM C126/INTEGBI C144Animal Behavior4
INTEGBI 139The Neurobiology of Stress4
INTEGBI C143ABiological Clocks: Physiology and Behavior3
INTEGBI C144Animal Behavior4
LEGALST 180Implicit Bias4
LEGALST 181Psychology and the Law4
LEGALST 183Psychology of Diversity and Discrimination in American Law4
L & S C160VHuman Happiness3
MCELLBI 160Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology4
MCELLBI 165Course Not Available3
POL SCI 164APolitical Psychology and Involvement4
PB HLTH 129The Aging Human Brain3
PUB POL C189/SOC WEL C181Social Science & Crime Prevention Policy3
UGBA 105Leading People3
UGBA 160Customer Insights3

Summer Minor Requirements

There are two Summer Minor programs offered through the Department of Psychology: the "Clinical & Counseling" and "The Developing Child" minors.

Minor Requirements

  1. Summer minors must be declared prior to the first day of classes of your Expected Graduation Term (EGT). If your EGT is a summer term, a minor must be declared before the first day of classes of Summer Session A. 
  2. The minor degree or certificate consists of a minimum of 15 units (five 3-unit courses).
  3. All courses taken to fulfill the Developing Child minor requirements must be taken for graded credit and must be taken in one or two summers.

  4. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.

  5. The minor is open to enrollment for all Berkeley students; the certificate is available to visiting students.

  6. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.

Clinical & Counseling Psychology

The Clinical & Counseling minor (or certificate) consists of 5 courses, and a total of 15 upper division units, including two core courses and three electives. While not explicitly required as part of the minor, our expectation is that students will have taken a General Psychology or Introduction to Psychology course before enrolling in the minor. Please email with any questions or visit the program website for more information and to apply.

Required Coursework

Core 1
Psychopathology Across the Life Span [3]
Core 2
Clinical and Counseling Professions: Practice & Research [3]
Electives 1, 2, 3
Human Sexuality [3]
Mind-Body and Health [3]
Case Studies in Clinical Psychology [3]
Global Mental Health [3]
Psychological Research on Children of Immigrant Families [3]

Learning Outcomes

The Clinical & Counseling Psychology minor allows students to explore the diverse career paths of clinical and counseling psychology. The curriculum focuses on basic psycho-biological and sociocultural mechanisms (e.g., neurobiology, social relationships, culture/race/ethnicity) that underlie common mental health problems across the life span. It also provides an overview of major theories and issues/debates in applied mental health professions across different practice settings (e.g., schools, independent practice, hospitals, and industry).

The Developing Child

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. The program helps students develop an interdisciplinary approach to understanding child development in a variety of contexts.

The minor is available to enrolled undergraduate UC Berkeley students. The certificate is available to all. Both require a Declaration of Minor/Certificate Form to be submitted and must be completed in one or two summers. All coursework is taught in English and requires complex discussion and problem-solving. Please email with any questions or visit the program website for more information and to apply.

Required Coursework

The Developing Child consists of five core, required 3-unit courses:

PSYCH 142Applied Early Developmental Psychology3
PSYCH 149Early Development & Learning Science Core Seminar3
PSYCH 149AThe Developing Child Practicum: Linking Research and Practice3
PSYCH 149BContexts of Early Development3
PSYCH 149DEarly Childhood Policy3

Learning Goals

Upon completion of the Developing Child Summer Minor and Certificate, students will:

  1. Understand the theoretical bases and empirical science of early development and learning, from prenatal to age 8;

  2. Examine the interaction of biological, psychological, and socio-culture mechanisms that shape young children's health, development, and learning;

  3. Develop an interdisciplinary and scholarly approach to research, practice, and policy issues across early development and learning science domains;

  4. Learn how to apply developmental science for positive impact in the lives of young children and their families;

  5. Learn how to apply developmental science for positive impact in the lives of young children and their families;

  6. Understand how to establish and foster effective partnerships with families, schools, organizations, and communities, at local, state, national, and international levels to create more responsive systems to serve diverse young children and their families.

College Requirements

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

Entry Level Writing

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. 

American History and American Institutions

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

American Cultures

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

Quantitative Reasoning

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.

Foreign Language

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.

Reading and Composition

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 in sequential order by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

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.

Unit Requirements

  • 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
Residence Requirements

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, or two years for transfer students. 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 Map

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.

View the Psychology Major Map PDF.



Contact Information

Department of Psychology

2121 Berkeley Way

Phone: 510-642-5292

Fax: 510-642-5293

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Serena Chen, PhD

3316 Berkeley Way West

Department Vice Chair

Ozlem Ayduk, PhD

3430 Berkeley Way West

Department Vice Chair

Sheri Johnson, PhD

Student Services Director

Harumi Quinones

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-642-7097

Undergraduate Student Services Advisor

Jennifer Ochoa

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-8114

Undergraduate Student Services Advisor

Zoe Xu

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-8114

Undergraduate Student Services Adviser

Olivia Owens

2210 Berkeley Way West

Phone: 510-643-8114

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