College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2018-2019

Department of Psychological Sciences

Psychological Sciences, Bachelor of Science

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Clinical/Health Psychology - Emphasis (beginning Fall 2019) (ending Summer 2022)
  • Developmental Psychology - Emphasis (beginning Fall 2019) (ending Summer 2022)
  • Neurosciences - Emphasis (beginning Fall 2019) (ending Summer 2022)
  • Social/Personality Psychology - Emphasis (beginning Fall 2019) (ending Summer 2022)
This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2022

The Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences, earned as either a Bachelors of Arts or a Bachelor of Science provides students with opportunities for focused study in this quintessential behavioral science and builds research skills necessary for scientific inquiry within this discipline. Both the Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Sciences degrees have proven useful for careers in many areas including law, entertainment, writing, journalism, government, education, business, and the arts. Additionally the language requirement of the Bachelors of Arts builds further understanding of the ways in which the mind works and learns.
The Department of Psychological Sciences enables students to develop understanding and knowledge about human behavior from several perspectives in psychological science, the ability to apply and synthesize that knowledge within specific psychological domains (research and statistics, developmental processes, social and personality, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, learning theory and behavioral health), and research method skills in order to become critical evaluators and producers of knowledge of human behavior.
The department’s learning goals for the undergraduate major in Psychology reflect the American Psychological Association’s Learning Goals (2013) and NAU’s Thematic Global Learning Outcomes. To accomplish these goals, the course of study in psychology focuses on understanding the methods, ethics, and sociocultural context of research in psychological science through coursework, associated laboratory experience, and opportunities for application. Students develop the ability to critically evaluate existing psychological knowledge, assumptions, and application in order to demonstrate literacy, proficiency, and efficacy in informational, technological, and communication (written and oral presentation) skills. The ability to engage in critical analyses of psychological ideas and scientific evidence constitutes a valuable personal asset, and is a key to success in many professions, including academic and clinical psychology, business, education, law, medicine, behavioral health, and human services. Further, our Department strives to tie our departmental goals explicitly to learning outcomes in such a way that students are aware of the skills they have developed and how these skills are relevant to their professional success. To accomplish these goals, the Department engages in timely and relevant assessment of student learning outcomes at all levels of the curriculum and uses those data for program refinement.


What Can I Do with a Bachelor of Science in Psychological Sciences?

If you find yourself fascinated about why we think, feel, and behave the way we do, consider pursuing a degree in psychological sciences. Psychologists take a scientific approach to studying behavior and mental processes, researching the ways in which life experiences, environment, culture, and biology all work together to shape mind and brain. Our psychological sciences majors explore a wide range of subjects such as autism, child development, psychological disorders and treatments, neuroscience, and sexuality, and master the major research techniques that professional psychologists use. As an undergraduate, you will even be offered the opportunity to perform research and fieldwork with faculty and graduate students.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Marketing
  • Human resources
  • Working with children and adolescents
  • Social work
  • Research
  • Organizational Development

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Counselor
  • Mental health professional
  • Social services professional
  • Academic professional
  • Genetics Counselor

University Requirements

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's liberal studies, diversity, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 55-59 units of major requirements
  • At least 18 units of minor requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA C
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 125
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
University Honors Program Optional
AZ Transfer Students complete AGEC-A Recommended
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

The Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychological Sciences enables students to develop an understanding of and knowledge about human behavior from several perspectives in psychological science, the ability to apply and synthesize that knowledge within specific psychological domains, and the research methods skills necessary to become critical evaluators and producers of knowledge of human behavior. The BS in Psychological Sciences is distinct from the BS in Psychology because it provides students with the opportunity for focused study in behavioral science through four emphases and one certificate program, and trains students in the more advanced research skills necessary for scientific inquiry within this discipline and for entry into a Ph.D. program in Psychology, if student choose to continue in an academic track. Both Psychological Sciences and Psychology majors complete a core sequence of courses including introductory psychology, a set of lower division breadth courses, introduction to statistics, research methods in psychology, a set of upper division depth courses, and a capstone course. However, Psychological Sciences majors receive additional research training through completion of an advanced research methods course and a minimum of 6 units of research experience. Additionally, Psychological Science majors have the opportunity for in depth study in a specific are of psychology through completion of a certificate in human resource management, or an emphasis in social/personality, neuroscience, clinical/health, or developmental psychology.
The degree program in Psychological Sciences has four distinct emphasis areas and one certificate program. Students completing the Social/Personality Psychology emphasis complete advanced coursework and engage in research that facilitates investigation of how individuals affect and are affected by other people and by their social and physical environments. Students completing the Neuroscience emphasis complete advanced coursework and engage in research at the intersection of neuroscience and psychology, including the relationships between brain and human cognition, emotion, and behavior. Students completing the Clinical/Health Psychology emphasis complete advanced coursework and engage in research that applies scientific knowledge of the interrelationships among behavioral, emotional, cognitive, social and biological components in health and disease to the understanding, promotion and maintenance of health. Students completing the Developmental Psychology emphasis complete advanced coursework and engage in research on human growth and lifespan changes, including the intersection of physical, cognitive, social, intellectual, perceptual, personality and emotional changes across time and context. Students completing the Human Resource Management Certificate will complete advanced coursework from both the business and psychology sciences departments and an internship in order to prepare them for a career in human resources or the area of industrial-organizational psychology. Students completing an emphasis or certificate will work closely with a faculty mentor to tailor their intensive, hands-on research or internship experiences to their specific interests.

Student Learning Outcomes 

Upon successful completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Psychological Sciences, students will be prepared in content related to the eight learning goals described below.

  • Demonstrate a fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings in psychology and be able to apply this knowledge.
    • Describe key concepts principles, and overarching themes in psychology
    • Develop a working knowledge of psychology’s content domains
    • Describe applications of psychology
  • Demonstrate the ability to design, conduct and interpret basic psychological research and to use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomena
    • Use scientific reasoning to interpret psychological phenomenon.
    • Demonstrate psychological information literacy
    • Engage in innovative and integrative thinking and problem solving
    • Interpret, design, and conduct basic psychological research
    • Incorporate sociocultural factors in scientific inquiry
  • Develop ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in an increasingly diverse landscape
    • Apply ethical standards to evaluate psychological science and practice
    • Build and enhance interpersonal relationships
    • Adopt values that build community at local, national, and global levels
  • Demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills.
    • Demonstrate effective writing for different purposes
    • Exhibit effective presentation skills for different purposes
    • Interact effectively with others
  • Demonstrate student readiness for postbaccalaureate employment, graduate school, or professional school.
    • Apply psychological content and skills to career goals
    • Exhibit self-efficacy and self-regulation
    • Refine project management skills
    • Enhance teamwork capacity
    • Develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation
  • Environmental Sustainability: Understand and apply psychological principles to environmental sustainability issues.
    • Demonstrate understanding of environmental sustainability concepts and issues, and the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing environmental issues.
    • Develop creative, adaptive, solutions to environmental sustainability challenges using psychological theories, principles and research findings.
  • Global Education: Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of globalization and international diversity.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the interpersonal and international contexts that influence individual differences and human behavior.
    • Describe the psychological, physical, cognitive, sexual, gender, and social development of humans within varied global contexts.
    • Explain how different empirical and theoretical strategies in psychology are employed to study human behavior within varied global contexts and cultures and the limitations of each approach.
  • Diversity Education: Recognize, understand, and respect the complexity of psychosocial and cultural diversity and incorporate this awareness into the understanding of psychological phenomena, application of psychological science, and the process of scientific inquiry.
    • Identify both the commonalities and diversity of humans in today's multicultural society (intrapersonal and interpersonal).
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the sociocultural contexts that influence individual differences and anticipate that psychological explanations may vary across populations and contexts.
    • Challenge claims that arise from myths, stereotypes, or untested assumptions related to culture and diversity. 
Emphasis Learning Goals

Within the selected emphasis content domain, students will be able to:
  • Demonstrate depth in their knowledge and application of psychological concepts and frameworks to complex problems.
  • Demonstrate mastery of critical thinking and research skills through completion of a research placement.
  • Produce a research study or other psychological project that meets writing standards of the profession, explain scientific results, and present information to a professional audience.  
Certificate Learning Goals
  • Demonstrate depth in their knowledge and application of psychological concepts and frameworks to complex problems.
  • Demonstrate mastery of core tenets of human resources management and industrial-organizational psychology through completion of an internship.


Major Requirements
  • Please note that of the 55-59 units required for this major, 15 units must be upper-division courses. In addition, individualized courses (PSY 485 and PSY 497) will not meet this 15-unit upper-division requirement. Three units of PSY 408C will count toward the 15-unit upper-division requirement. Finally, you can only count up to 6 units of individualized courses within the 55-59 unit major.

    In addition, at least 15 of the 55-59 units required for this major must be from courses offered by Northern Arizona University. These 15 units may not include individualized courses.

Minor Requirements
  • You must complete a minor of at least 18 units from those described in this catalog. In consultation with your advisor, you should select a minor that's appropriate for your career aspirations and educational needs. Your minor advisor will advise you about this part of your academic plan.
General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required, if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit. 

    You may take these remaining courses from any academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you. (Please note that you may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.)

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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