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Psychologists study thought and behavior in humans and animals.  To understand how and why an individual engages in any given behavior, one must have an understanding of several factors.  For example, the biological basis of behavior is studied to understand how the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and genetic influences all interact to yield observable behavior.  Psychologists analyze the cognitive and perceptual systems at a somewhat more abstract level in order to characterize the internal representations and processes that underlie perception, thought, and action.  The personality of the individual – how that individual differs from others—is also an important determinant of behavior.  Social psychology is the study of how individuals behave in a social context, where virtually all behavior takes place.  Because living organisms change over time, the development of physiological, perceptual, cognitive, personality, and social factors can also help explain behavior in humans and animals.  Psychopathology is the study of psychological disorders, which can interfere with an individual’s ability to cope with everyday life.

To fulfill the program mission and objectives, undergraduates at Johns Hopkins University who complete the Psychology major should attain the following learning goals.

  1. Understand the basic concepts underlying the major sub-disciplines of psychology as a field of scientific inquiry.
  2. Develop a thorough grounding in quantitative skills and experimental methodology in the field of psychological science.
  3. Be able to appreciate and critically evaluate the primary research literature in psychological and brain sciences.
  4. Develop effective skills in written and oral communication, including the ability to structure a logical argument using supporting scientific evidence, geared to both specialists and non-specialists.
  5. Be prepared for career paths and advanced graduate study in psychology and related fields.

At Johns Hopkins, the study of psychology extends to other departments, including Biology, Biophysics, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Philosophy and Sociology, as well as to some departments in the School of Medicine. Psychology majors are required to complete a year-long sequence in statistics and laboratory methods to ensure their quantitative and methodological proficiency, and they are urged to take advantage of research opportunities within the Department or through the Medical School. If you would like to declare a Psychology major or minor, please make an appointment to meet with Dr. Drigotas (drigotas@jhu.edu).

For complete details about our undergraduate program, please download our undergraduate student handbook.

Major Requirements

These requirements are not meant to replace the official Degree Audit Checklist posted by the Office of Undergraduate Academic Advising.

Students wishing to complete the Psychology major must complete 4 required courses (3 outside the department and 1 within - 200.207) and choose 3 intro-level as well as 5 upper level Psychology courses. In addition, students must complete a small-group or individual experience and finish 18 additional credits of H, N, Q and/or E.

Complete details can be found in our undergraduate student handbook (.pdf).

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Departmental Honors

To graduate with honors in the Psychology major, you must complete the criteria on the Honors Checklist by April 1st of your senior year. The criteria are outlined below. Failure to complete all the criteria on the checklist and submit it for approval by the deadline date means you will not receive honors in your major. You cannot complete the checklist before February 1st of your senior year. Please note: These requirements are not related to the “General University Honors”. General University Honors are automatically assigned to all students who graduate with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

To receive your Honors in Psychology, you must have met the following criteria:

1.   Have a G.P.A. in your major requirements of 3.5 or higher

2.   In your junior year you will need to do the following:

a.    Submit a 2-page statement of intent to pursue honors research by March 7th, before spring break, of your junior year. The statement should include a copy of your transcripts, a brief description of the research topic, and an indication that you have discussed these plans with a member of the full-time Psychological & Brain Sciences faculty.  The faculty member must also write a letter in support of your proposed thesis.

b.    You must then submit, by the 1st Monday after spring break, a full detailed thesis proposal of the research project including: background research, methods, and a time table for completion for review by the entire faculty to approve your honors project. The faculty will then meet and your faulty supervisor will contact you with the final decision.

Honors Thesis Proposal Requirements (detailed description)
Example of thesis propsal

3.   Complete two 300 or 600- level Psychology courses in addition to those required for the regular B.A. degree

4.   You will also need to register for 200.519 (Seniors Honors Research) during your fall and spring semesters of your senior year.

To notify Academic Advising that you are eligible for honors:

1.   To obtain an honors checklist by either downloading it from www.advising.jhu.edu or you can go to the Academic Advising office located in Garland Hall, 3rd floor.

2.   In March of your senior year you should have the following completed: the checklist, had two faculty members (your advisor and one other full-time faculty member) read and approve your paper. You will then need to make an appointment to meet with Dr. Halberda (halberda@jhu.edu) to have him sign-off on your checklist.  You will need to turn in all paperwork to Academic Advising by April 1st.

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Department Minor class

A minor in Psychology is available to undergraduates majoring in any other department. Students electing to minor in Psychology should declare their intention by the end of their junior year. To do this, pick up a Declaration of Minor form and a checklist (.doc) from the office of Academic Advising and then make an appointment with the Advising Coordinator in Psychological & Brain Sciences.

The minor requires the following:

  1. Three (3) Introductory level Psychology Courses from the following:

    200.101 Introduction to Psychology
    200.110 Introduction to Cognitive Psychology or 050.101 Cognition
    200.132 Introduction to Developmental Psychology
    200.133 Introduction to Social Psychology
    200.141 Foundations of Brain, Behavior & Cognition
  2. Three additional psychology courses, including at least two at the 300 or 600 level.
  3. One Psychology course at any level.

Courses taken for the minor cannot be taken pass/fail except for courses taken during the first semester of freshman year. All courses for the minor must be passed with a grade of C- or higher. No courses taught during Intersession or through the School of Business & Professional Studies may be used to satisfy the requirements for the Minor in Psychology; however, JHU Summer credits will be accepted to satisfy these requirements.

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Double Major

Students wishing to double major in Psychology and another field (e.g., Biology or Philosophy) are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor in each department as early as possible to devise an appropriate plan of study. Check with the Office of Academic Advising about procedures for declaring a double major. If you do not have an advisor in the Psychological & Brain Sciences Department, make an appointment to see the Dr. Steve Drigotas (drigotas@jhu.edu) for Psychology Majors.

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Research & Internship Opportunities

Visit links below for full listings.

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