Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take psychology my first semester?

For students considering pursuing a major or minor in psychology, taking Introductory Psychology (PSY 100) with lab in the first semester is a great idea. PSY 100 is the path into a PSY major or minor and seats are reserved for first-year and sophomore students. If students considering a major in psychology try to enroll in PSY100 and are not able to secure a seat, they should email one of the lecture professors, who actively manage our PSY 100 enrollment and waitlists.

Students who wish to focus on the overlap between psychology and biology or psychology and philosophy should also consider either the Biological Foundations of Behavior (BFB) program, which offers majors in Neuroscience and Animal Behavior, or the Scientific and Philosophical Studies of Mind (SPM) program, which offers majors in Cognitive Science and Moral Psychology. These students should not immediately take PSY 100, but instead:

  • Students considering a BFB major should take BIO 101 and BIO 102, beginning with the course that best matches their interests. 

  • Students considering an SPM major should take SPM100.

Both of these courses are available to first-semester students and provide direct access to the BFB- and SPM-relevant upper-level psychology courses without the need for PSY 100.

Pre-health students should be aware that many health professions programs now require 1-2 social and behavioral science courses and the MCAT exam has a section called Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior: 65% of questions in this section cover introductory psychology content, 30% sociology, and 5% biology. We recommend students pursuing a career in the health professions who do not plan to major in psychology take PSY 101 (Introduction to Psychological Science, which does not have a lab) in their junior year, rather than taking PSY 100.


What if I have AP or IB credit in the math and/or the sciences?

It is often appropriate that students with AP or IB credit in science courses consult with a faculty member from the appropriate department during the summer to clarify and work out their proper placement.

Students considering medical school or other health professional schools who wish to use AP credit for an introductory science course should be advised that many programs have a variation of the following policy: "AP coursework can be used to fulfill basic premedical requirements if they are supplemented by more advanced course work in that subject."  Questions regarding AP credit and the health professions can be addressed to Director of Health Professions Advising, Marissa Sheaf,