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B.A. in Psychology

Gain a broad understanding of psychological theories and applications as you learn the principles of human behavior and experience.

Program Overview

Our Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) provides a foundation in core knowledge areas and requires coursework in social, developmental, cognitive and biological psychology. Students also have the opportunity to select electives from a variety of courses representing different areas of psychology, including applied settings such as health psychology, abnormal psychology and industrial-organizational psychology. 

Foundation Courses

  • PSY 200: Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY 230: Introduction to Psychological Research

Core Courses

  • PSY 311: Social Psychology
  • PSY 376: Developmental Psychology
  • PSY 420: Cognitive Processes
  • PSY 430: Biological Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Current Students

All academic advising in Psychology is handled through the Psychology Advising Office, located in Poe 639. Academic advisors assist students with registering for coursework, how to deal with problems related to their coursework, and planning for graduation. You can view who your advisor is through the Student section of your MyPack Portal. In most cases, all advisors are able to assist you with your questions when you come to the office.

To contact your advisor e-mail rather than emailing their personal accounts. This will ensure you receive a timely response.

Students should meet with their academic advisors as often as they feel necessary. All freshmen and transfer students (internal and external transfers) are required to meet with their advisor at least once during their first semester in the program.

In order to have your registration advising hold released, you do not need to meet with your advisor. Each semester, students are required to submit their pack planner for approval through the MyPack portal. See the pack planner FAQ for information regarding the pack planner process.

The first thing to do is to identify why you are having trouble. If you are struggling with the material because it’s a new subject for you or is one that you know is not your strong point, then be sure to take advantage of the available resources to help you improve your performance in the class. For example, go see your instructor or teaching assistant for the class during his/her office hours to discuss with him/her the challenges you are having in the class. S/he may be able to provide specific suggestions to help you improve your performance. Another option is to take advantage of the NC State tutorial center, which offers free tutorial services to NC State students. You have to make appointments to get help from them, but it is certainly worth the planning effort to improve your class performance. To learn more about them and the services they offer, visit the Tutorial Center website.

If your reasons for struggling in a class are unrelated to the course material, such as a family/personal problem, then you are encouraged to seek help from either your academic advisor or the NC State counseling center. Your academic advisor is not a counselor and there are no guarantees of confidentiality when you speak to her. However, if you simply need the perspective of a relatively unbiased outside observer, she may be able to help you. If your problem is more serious, then you are encouraged to seek help from the NC State Counseling Center which offers free counseling services to NC State students. The counseling center provides trained counselors who specialize in dealing with a variety of problems in the context of the university environment. If you want to drop a course after the deadline due to personal/family problems, you will likely need to see someone in the Counseling Center to support your request to the Dean. To learn more about them and the services they offer, visit the Counseling Center website.

There are lots questions students may have related to their plans of work and the automated degree audit tool. Therefore, we have a frequently asked questions page specifically for the degree audit/pack planner tool. Please see if that page tells you what you need to know by visiting the Psychology Degree Audit/pack planner FAQ.

A minor is usually around 15-18 credits and can be used to enhance the value of your major, open a particular job market to you, or satisfy an interest area you have. There are currently over 100 different minors available at NC State. To see the full list of available minors, requirements for the minor, and information about the minor advisor, go to the NCSU Minors website Minors can distinguish your transcript from other job or graduate school candidates and help you stand out in a crowd. For advising related to the minor, it is always best to see the specific minor advisor listed on the website above. Additionally, you can run a “what if” on your degree audit to see how your current and planned courses align with the minor requirements. Paperwork to declare your minor must be completed and filed with the appropriate department at least one semester prior to graduation.

Some courses that are part of a sequence (e.g., MA 131, 231) are not a good choice for summer school. Some courses might not transfer back to NC State as the exact course that you need. Therefore, you should look at the Transfer Course Equivalency Information page, but it is also useful to discuss your ideas with your academic advisor.

  • Freshmen: 0-29 hours
  • Sophomores: 30-59 hours
  • Juniors: 60-91 hours
  • Seniors: 92+ hours

Full-time students with 12-14 graded hours must have a 3.5 semester GPA. Students with 15 or more graded hours must have a 3.25 semester GPA. Students are not eligible for the Dean’s List in any semester in which they receive an F or IN grade. When IN grades are resolved, however, students who are otherwise eligible shall be added retroactively to the Dean’s List for that semester. Dean’s List recognition shall be noted on the student’s semester grade report and permanent academic record. Students who take less than 12 hours at NC State, for example, part-time students or those who take half their courses in a semester at NC State and half at another institution through Cooperating Raleigh Colleges, are not eligible for the Dean’s List.

NC State has a policy of allowing students at any point in their academic career before graduation to exclude two grades of C- or lower from their GPA. Grade Exclusions cannot be changed after they are applied, be sure to meet with your advisor and talk about the impact this may have on your progress toward degree. Students should be aware that the grade and course will always remain on their transcript, but the grade will not be factored into calculation of their GPA. Check the Undergraduate Grade Exclusion Regulation for more details.

Keep in mind that you are allowed to use two Ds to your degree. Prior to using a grade exclusion, speak with your advisor about if you can use the course toward your degree.

A maximum of 12 hours of free electives can be taken for credit only.

Any course that is taken to satisfy an academic requirement must be taken for a letter grade (with the exception of PE). Therefore, changing a course like SOC 202 to credit means it cannot be used towards your Social Sciences requirement. It could be used as a free elective only, as long as you have not reached the limit on credit-only free electives. Courses taken as credit only do not factor into your GPA, but will factor into your total number of credit hours.

It is always wise to ask your advisor before you make any changes to your schedule.

It depends on what time of the semester it is. If it is within the first week or two, you can use the MyPack Portal to make adjustments to your schedule. Remember to stay above 12 hours in order to maintain full-time enrollment status. As always, consult your advisor if you are uncertain about which course to drop or add.

If you are dropping a course before the deadline you should think carefully about how it will affect your academic progress, financial aid, etc. Your adviser can help.

If you are considering dropping a course after the deadline, speak to your advisor. Depending on the time of the semester and your specific circumstances you may or may not be allowed to withdraw from the course. Your advisor will inform you about the consequences of withdrawing from a course.

If you are trying to withdraw from the university (dropping all of your classes for the semester), you should speak with your advisor. Usually, a semester withdrawal is processed through the Counseling Center.

The Co-operative Education program can help students get work experience and internships. There is also an internship program called STEP, which is a good fit for many Psychology majors. Job opportunities can also be researched through the Career Development Center. Financial Aid also maintains a listing of part-time jobs available for students. Additionally, some employers contact the Director of Advising when they are recruiting NC State psychology majors and/or graduates. These opportunities are posted on the Psychology Advising moodle page when available.

Most graduate programs in Psychology want students to have hands-on experience with research. The best way to go about obtaining such experience is by participating in PSY 499 with a faculty member. Faculty recruit undergraduates to help with their research in various ways. Some recruit by directly asking the best performers in their classes. Some recruit by posting flyers around Poe Hall. Others recruit via their website. Many faculty use more than one approach to recruitment. Some faculty require that students have completed particular courses and/or have a particular GPA in order to work in their lab. Some faculty require an application and/or interview. If you are unsure of what you would be interested in working on, it would be a good idea to review the research lab websites for the department and read about the different projects in each lab. Then make contact with the appropriate persons as per the website.

Before you take any action to make a formal change in the system, you are encouraged to speak with an academic advisor for the new major to make sure that the new major is really the correct fit for you. If, after that meeting, you want to add a second major or switch to another major, you need to make sure you meet the CODA (Change of Degree Application) requirements. Requirements and procedures for CODA can be found at Registration and Records Change of Degree Application website.

Study abroad is a unique opportunity to gain insight about oneself and other cultures. It has enriched the lives of many students. However, one must plan ahead to maximize the academic benefits of studying abroad.

When you are actually getting ready to study abroad, remember to fill out the form from the study abroad office that allows you to identify how your study abroad courses will count towards your graduation requirements. You want to get all of the courses you plan to take approved BEFORE you actually travel. You must get approval from the appropriate authorities. General education requirement courses must be approved by the Dean’s Office, Psychology Major requirement courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Coordinator for Psychology, Minor courses must be approved by the minor advisor for the Minor department. It is often wise to get approval for more courses than you actually plan to take while you are abroad. That way, if you cannot get into the courses that you wanted to, you have several other pre-approved courses to choose from. If you must take a course that was not approved before you left, be sure to save your syllabus and assignments to help the approving authority with the decision of whether/how it can count when you get back.

Approaching graduation is a very exciting thing but there are some policies you should be aware of and activities you’ll need to do to keep yourself on track. To help you, we have developed a frequently asked questions page specifically for graduation-related questions and issues. Please go to that page to see if it tells you what you want to know by visiting the Psychology Graduation FAQ.

As you approach the end of the semester in which you plan to graduate, you will have many questions related to the graduation ceremony and other graduation-related issues. To help you, we have developed a frequently asked questions page specifically for graduation-related questions and issues. Please go to that page to see if it tells you what you want to know by visiting the Psychology Graduation FAQ.

Understanding Your Degree Audit

Instead of a specific class that you must take (such as you Psychology Foundation classes or your Core Psychology classes) to fulfill a specific requirement, there are several requirements that could be met by one of several classes. Clicking on the “details” links shows you a list of all of the possible classes you could take to fulfill the requirement in question

You must have four social science classes from three DIFFERENT disciplines. (Ex. You can have a SOC, ANT, PS and ANT but you cannot have SOC, ANT, SOC and ANT).

Sometimes classes are “cross-listed” and fall into two disciplines. This situation will frequently violate the “three different discipline” rule and you will have to pick a different class to fulfill the requirement. Just because the class title isn’t violating the rule, doesn’t mean the content isn’t

For free electives, you can literally take anything you want with a few minor exceptions. A lot of people use free electives to explore other areas of interest or to complete a minor or second major.

Psychology electives can be any psychology class listed on the “details” link.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Several common reasons are:

1. Foreign Language 101 classes almost always fall into non-degree classes. If this is where you place via your placement test, you will still need to take this class!

2. You have planned for the same class multiple times

3. You overplanned for your degree. If you exceed the number of free electives you need for your degree, they will start falling in non-degree

4. You received a grade that is unsatisfactory for fulfilling the requirement (ex: A D in a class that requires a C- or a U that requires an S)

5. You used a grade exclusion

There are a few reasons this may happen:

  1. You changed the course to pass/fail- All courses to be used towards graduation requirements must be taken for a letter grade. If you took a course that would normally count towards a requirement, but is showing up as a free elective, then you probably took the course pass/fail (for credit only). Remember that the university rule is that the only thing you can take for credit only are your two PEs and up to 12 hours of free electives. If you are taking a course towards a requirement and you change it to satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading, then it can no longer be used towards the requirement.
  2. For the social sciences requirement you are required to take 4 courses from 3 different categories.

Regardless of which letters you see, the bottom line is that you have met the requirement!

  • CR: Credit. You likely have AP credit from high school
  • WA: Waived. You got this requirement waived. This can happen in specific circumstances. However, you are still required to make up these hours. Consult with your advisor!
  • MET: You have met this requirement (US Diversity and Global Knowledge). Typically, this is achieved without any additional classes or specific planning. If you have questions, consult your advisor  

IN means Incomplete. This temporary designation is usually agreed upon by both student and professor and is assigned in situations where class work is not complete. You should get in touch with your professor as soon as possible if you receive an IN grade.

LA means Late. This happens if a professor does not submit his or her grades by the deadline. Therefore, there is nothing a student must do to resolve a LA grade. Keep checking your transcript via the MyPack Portal. Also, LA grades will appear on students’ records temporarily during the second summer session for students enrolled in 10-week summer courses. For more details see the Academic Regulations pages for grading descriptions.

Pack Planner

The pack planner is a tool that the university offers to help you plan your coursework during your time at NC State. Because the psychology degree offers a range of options to meet most of the requirements, we require students to submit their pack planner each semester in order to have their registration hold released. This ensures that you are continuously making progress to your degree and that you will graduate within the time frame that you have planned.

If you are a new student to the psychology department you MUST meet with your advisor to get your hold released!

**please note that the pack planner is NOT the same thing as the enrollment wizard**.

You will be required to complete a Planner before your advisement hold will be released. Your advisor cannot see whether the classes in your shopping cart on your enrollment wizard actually fulfill requirements, and we will not approve classes that we cannot verify will fulfill requirements.

In order to actually enroll in courses that you have planned for in your pack planner you will have to use the enrollment wizard to do so during your specified enrollment time**

Please watch our video tutorials: 

As a starting point, use the “load suggested plan” button to get placeholders for all the courses you still need to complete your psychology degree. From there you can rearrange the placeholder courses to specific semesters and then you can choose specific courses that you are interested in and meet the requirements rather than just having those placeholders there. Utilize the provided checklists below to make sure your plan is on track. If you think you would benefit from more help building your plan, make an appointment with your assigned advisor.

Advisors begin to check plans of work about 1-2 months prior to registration and stop checking plans of work after the registration period. You will receive an email from the Psychology Advising Office when you should submit your pack planner for review. We typically suggest submitting your pack planner at least 3 weeks prior to your registration date. Since many plans are not approved during the first submission, you will likely have to make changes. Submitting early ensures that your hold will be released before your registration date. If you change your pack planner during a time period when advisors are not typically reviewing plans, you can email your advisor and ask if they will review your changes.

When you submit your pack planner for approval, you are added to a queue of plans for your advisor to check. Advisors review plans based on when they are submitted. Clicking “Submit” multiple times will move your plan to the bottom of the queue to check. Keep in mind that it typically takes advisors up to 5 business days to review a pack planner and provide you with feedback. Once your advisor has responded you will receive an automated email notifying you of their comments. You will also be able to review their comments through the “Comment Section” of the pack planner. Your advisor may require you to make changes to your pack  planner before they can approve it and release your hold.

YES! Since the course you register for each semester do not always line up with the courses in your pack planner, we require that you revise and resubmit your pack planner prior to registration every semester.

What to include depends on your academic year (which is based on your total number of hours). Freshmen and Sophomores should plan for three semesters. Juniors and Seniors should plan through graduation.
See the below links for specifics on what to include in your plan:

Due to the number of plans of work that we are reviewing in a short period of time, we strongly encourage to students to attempt to develop their pack planner independently prior to coming into the Advising Office for help. There is a section on the pack planner where you can include any comments or questions for you advisor. Once you have received initial feedback from your advisor about your pack planner, you are more than welcome to come meet with you advisor regarding additional questions or concerns.

If you no longer want to be a psychology major, you do not need to submit a pack planner with plans for the psychology degree. Instead, please visit the Psychology Advising Office to speak with your advisor about your alternative plans.

If you plan to change your major you should instead plan your semesters based on the intended major’s requirements. You can view these by going to your degree audit and clicking on the “What if” option. This allows you to view your degree audit as if you were in a different major.

Term Release Form Link


The Spring 2024 commencement ceremony for students who graduate in the Spring 2024 semester takes place on May 4th, 2024 at 2 pm in the State Ballroom in Talley.

There are several things you should do to make sure that everything goes just as you hope:

  • If you haven’t already done so, you should meet with the Director of Advising (Dr. Dana Kotter-Gruehn) to make sure that everything is going to count the way you think it will and that you are as close to graduating as you believe yourself to be.
  • You should make sure that you have an updatedpack planner that accurately shows your planned coursework until graduation, where accurately refers to the coursework on the plan matching what you are registered for and/or genuinely plan to take and that the semester indicated is when you actually plan to take the course.
  • You need to make sure that all of your courses are in the correct place on your degree audit/pack planner. If you believe that any of the courses you have previously taken are not meeting the intended requirement, contact the Director of Advising (Dr. Dana Kotter-Gruehn).
  • You should submit your electronic application for graduation in your MyPack Portal. Please submit your graduation following registration for your final semester (i.e., during October if you plan to graduate in May or during April if you plan to graduate in Summer or December).
  • If you are completing an official university minor, you also need to fill out the Application for Minor at the same time as electronic graduation application. The department administering the minor should send it to the Dean’s Office of the college of the minor department. If your minor advisor gives you the application, you should submit it to the college Dean’s Office for the minor department. If you do not know what to do in order to obtain, complete, or submit the Application for Minor, visit the official NCSU Minors pageto see if the instructions are available there.

Graduation refers to the successful completion of a program of study. You “graduate” when your degree is posted to your transcript and your diploma is given to you because you successfully completed your program requirements. Commencement refers to an academic exercise in which degrees are conferred. The commencement ceremony is a culminating experience to celebrate your years of hard work in the university.

Yes, there are two commencement ceremonies. Students are encouraged to participate in both, but they may choose to participate in only one or neither. The University commencement ceremony is a very large ceremony that takes place at the PNC Arena usually at 9:00 a.m. It is a traditional commencement ceremony, typically about 2- to 2 1/2-hours long commencement ceremony with inspirational speeches to help you reflect on the time you’ve spent at the University and to provoke thoughts about what you will do in the future. Because all of the students graduating from the University attend the ceremony, students are not given individual recognition at the University commencement ceremony, except for students completing their doctoral degrees.

The Department ceremony is the ceremony at which you will get individual recognition. It is at the Department ceremony where your name is called, any honors you are graduating with are announced, and you walk across a stage. Because we assume that you have been to the University commencement ceremony, there are only one or two brief speeches and the ceremony is kept short and sweet. The ceremony is primarily focused on recognizing all of our graduating students. Depending on what aspects of the experience you seek from the commencement ceremonies, you may wish to attend both commencement ceremonies or you may prefer to attend only one.

Students will not actually receive their diplomas at commencement. Instead, they will receive their diplomas in the mail approximately 4-8 weeks after the official graduation date.

The University rule is that students must have completed all of the requirements for graduation at the time of commencement in order to participate in the commencement ceremony. Therefore, students who graduate at the end of a summer session are eligible to participate in the December commencement ceremony of the same year in which they graduate.

Information about the University commencement ceremony will be mailed to you during the first half of the semester in which you plan to graduate IF you submitted your graduation application by the deadline. Details regarding the University commencement ceremony can be found at the University Graduation website. Be sure to look at the Graduation submenus on the left of the screen. Details regarding the Department ceremony will be disseminated via email.

Caps and gowns may be purchased at the NC State bookstore approximately two weeks before the commencement ceremonies. Students must be on the official list of graduation candidates in order to purchase caps and gowns. You may be required to show your student ID card in order to purchase a cap and gown.

There are different ways to graduate with honors from NC State. If you have participated in the University Honors program, the University Scholars program, or the Psychology Department honors program, those items will be reflected on your transcript but not on your diploma. Typically this question refers to the Latin honors that are associated with graduating with a particular GPA. There will be an indication on your diploma, as well as your transcript, if you graduate with honors. The cutoffs for these honors for NC State are as follows (note that the university does not round here):

  •  Cum Laude – for grade point averages of 3.25 through 3.499
  •  Magna Cum Laude – for grade point averages of 3.5 through 3.749
  •  Summa Cum Laude – for grade point averages of 3.75 and above

Whether or not you graduate with such honors on your official record is determined by your GPA at the end of your entire career, so it does include your final semester. However, many students purchase their honor sash before they know their final grades for the semester. Therefore, you purchase the sash based on your grades up through the current semester. The bookstore’s list of graduation candidates also includes whether or not any students are eligible to purchase a particular honor sash. Keep in mind that if you have a rough last semester and your GPA drops below the cutoff, or if you have a very good semester and your final GPA rises above a cut-off, your sash may not match what will be on your official record. If you want to purchase a sash that is different from the bookstore list because of the final shift in your GPA, you may need a letter from the department stating what has happened with your GPA and for which honor sash you are now eligible. You may need to present this letter at the bookstore in order for them to be willing to sell you that sash.