The field of psychology scientifically studies the mind and behavior. Psychologists study a number of specific topics including perception, cognition, emotion, motivation, personality, development, mental health, social processes, and organizational behavior. Understanding these topics requires multiple perspectives, and the field uses a number of different levels of analysis. Psychologists investigate mental processing from the level of the neurons and brain function up to the level of how behavior is shaped by complex social processes. Because of this interdisciplinary breadth, psychology is by nature a diverse discipline that spans the natural and social sciences.
The Psychology major aims to provide students with a strong academic foundation in the science of psychology. Students who major in Psychology often differ widely in their reasons for choosing the major and in their post-graduation plans. Some students go on to graduate training in Psychology, while others enter professional schools (e.g., medicine and law) or choose from a variety of professions such as education or business and finance. The specific requirements of the major ensure that students with a variety of goals can achieve the necessary background in psychology within the context of a general liberal arts education.
The prerequisite to many courses in the major is PSYC 110, Introduction to Psychology. Students interested in the major are encouraged to take PSYC 110 during their freshman year. This prerequisite may be waived for students who present a score of 5 on the AP test in Psychology.
The following introductory courses also have no prerequisites and are open to freshmen:
PSYC 126, Attraction and Relationships
PSYC 130, Introduction to Cognitive Science
PSYC 147, Animal Models of Clinical Disorders
PSYC 161, Drugs, Brain, and Behavior
PSYC 180, Abnormal Psychology
In addition to the standard Psychology major, the department offers a neuroscience track. Interested students are encouraged to consult Yale College Programs of Study for more information about the scope and requirements of this track, as well as for further information about the standard major.