Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

Psychology BS

(HEGIS: 20.01 PSYCHOLOGY- GENERAL, CIP: 42.0101 Psychology, General)


283 Park Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4110
Ph: 716-645-3650
F: 716-645-3801
W: www.psychology.buffalo.edu
Stephen Tiffany
Peter Q. Pfordresher
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Christa M. Greenberg
Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies / Senior Academic Advisor
Wendy J. Quinton
Director, Psychology Honors Program

Why study Psychology BS at UB?

  • UB’s modern, vibrant Department of Psychology has cutting-edge research facilities, highly productive faculty, and effective undergraduate classroom and laboratory education that reflect the latest in psychological science
  • The BS degree in Psychology provides students with an undergraduate major that emphasizes the scientific foundation of psychology along with a strong basic science background
  • The BS degree program is specifically aimed at helping to prepare students for graduate study in the sciences and science-based professions (e.g., cognitive science, neuroscience, medicine, and other related disciplines).
  • Even if students do not continue their education at the graduate level, the background in science and mathematics that is part of the BS program provides knowledge and skills that are sought after in a wide variety of careers

Learning Outcomes

The Psychology BS is designed to address the standards established by the American Psychological Association for an undergraduate psychology major. Five goals and learning outcomes represent departmental expectations for the undergraduate psychology major.

  1. Knowledge Base in Psychology: Students should demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings to discuss how psychological principles apply to behavioral problems.
  2. Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking: The skills in this domain involve the development of scientific reasoning and problem solving, including effective research methods.
  3. Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World:The skills in this domain involve the development of ethically and socially responsible behaviors for professional and personal settings in a landscape that involves increasing diversity.
  4. Communication: Students should demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills.
  5. Professional Development: The emphasis in this goal is on application of psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project-management skills, teamwork skills and career preparation.

The Learning Environment

  • Introduction to Psychology (PSY 101) showcases the diversity of the science of psychology in a large lecture format (~400 students) and incorporates experience with research
  • 200-level courses (200-300 students) build skills in psychology
  • 300-level courses (100-200 students) increase knowledge in specific areas of psychology (e.g., abnormal, social, cognitive, biopsychology)
  • Smaller 400-level courses (maximum 42 students) focus on specialty topics (e.g., mood disorders, adolescent development, biological clocks) and are reserved for majors
  • Students gain experience in writing skills through PSY 295, PSY 450, and 400-level courses
  • One-on-one instruction is available by participating in research or independent study
  • The Psychology Honors Program enables students to complete an independent research project, an experience that closely resembles graduate-level work in psychology
  • Cutting-edge research talks are available through departmental colloquia and the cognitive science speaker series

About Our Facilities

  • Fully equipped psychological research labs (most located in Park Hall and Hochstetter Hall) allow faculty and students to conduct a wide variety of experiments utilizing cognitive, affective, behavioral, neurological, and psychophysiological measurements
  • Shared research space is available for research using specialized measures such as electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), and eye-movements
  • Research facilities downtown include the Research for Institute on Additions, and the Center for Translational Research, which has facilities for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Conference rooms in Park Hall are used for small group meetings and seminars
  • A computer lab on the 4th floor of Park Hall offers specialized statistical software
  • The James R. Sawusch PhD Psychology Undergraduate Resource Center, in Park Hall 282, is a meeting place and general study area for all students in psychology

About Our Faculty

  • The department has 26 tenure-track/tenured and 4 full-time teaching faculty members, all of whom teach undergraduate psychology courses
  • Faculty specializations include the study of:
    • clinical disorders (e.g., depression, addiction)
    • developmental challenges (e.g., bullying, social withdrawal)
    • the self-concept and self-esteem
    • the formation and maintenance of close relationships
    • responses to stressful situations and resilience
    • infant language acquisition
    • auditory perception in humans and non-human animals
    • neural systems for learning and motivation
    • ingestive behaviors, taste, and feeding

  • Faculty conduct research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Faculty members serve as editors for leading journals and as officers in professional organizations
  • Core faculty teach the majority of undergraduate courses. Approximately one-third of undergraduate courses are taught by highly qualified adjunct faculty or graduate instructors

Faculty List Directory

Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

  • Psychology majors develop a highly desirable skill set that includes an understanding of the scientific method and psychological principles, critical analysis, problem solving, evaluation of evidence, statistical analysis, and scientific writing
  • Career possibilities include: 
    • Directly related clinical practice in psychology (with PhD in psychology) or psychiatry (with MD and residency)
    • Directly related work in mental health as a counselor (e.g., vocational, rehabilitation, probation, alcohol and drug), school psychologist, or social worker (with further education at the master’s level)
    • Directly related work in psychology research and teaching (with further education at the master’s or PhD level)
    • Allied fields involving the analysis of human behavior (e.g., market research, government programs and agencies, personnel manager, human resources, management analyst, human factors specialist, public relations specialist, research/research technician, administrative services, community service, sales)
    • Allied fields involving public health (e.g., behavior modification management, caseworker, occupational therapist, administration of hospitals and mental health facilities, medical technician)
    • Allied fields involving education (e.g., teacher, vocational rehabilitation counselor and youth worker, guidance counselor, youth worker)
    • Work in criminal justice, probation officer
    • Work involving behavioral statistics and computer applications used in psychological research, including computer programming
  • Salary Information
    • According to the 2016 NACE national salary survey for bachelor's degree graduates in psychology, the average salary was $44,851, with salaries ranging from $40,000 to $49,500

Academic Advising

Students’ connection to advisors is a top priority.

  • College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Student Advisement and Services provides educational planning and advisement on the adjustment to university life.
  • The Department of Psychology provides individual consultations, faculty-led presentations, and student workshops on educational opportunities, career planning, applying to graduate school, professional programs, and resources for the psychology major.
  • Senior Academic Advisor for Psychology available in person Monday through Friday (no appointment needed) and by email.
  • Meeting with an academic advisor at least once per semester is recommended.

Academic Advising Contact Information

CAS Student Advisement and Services
275 Park Hall, University at Buffalo, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260
Phone: 716-645-6883
Email: cas-advisor@buffalo.edu
Web: casadvising.buffalo.edu

Senior Academic Advisor for Psychology/Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies
Christa M. Greenberg
283 Park Hall, University at Buffalo, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260
Phone: 716-645-0205
Email: cmgreen@buffalo.edu
Web: psychology.buffalo.edu/undergraduate/

Scholarships and Financial Support

Academic Opportunities

  • Undergraduates can contribute to ongoing research in psychology research labs. Current areas include:
    • Behavioral neuroscience (e.g., how biological factors control behavior)
    • Clinical psychology (e.g., how to diagnose, treat, and prevent psychological disorders)
    • Cognitive psychology (e.g., how we perceive, retain, recall, and use information)
    • Social psychology (e.g., how we navigate our interpersonal world)
  • Research facilities available to undergraduates are used to explore:
    • How the brain responds to surprising information
    • Eye movements that give clues to an individual’s interpretation of a sentence
    • Consumption of addictive substances like nicotine and alcohol
    • Muscle contractions involved in movement preparation
    • Cardiac responses during stressful situations
    • Movement of fingers while performing a melody on the piano
    • How non-human animals regulate their behavior and interact with each other
  • Students can receive course credit through PSY 498 Undergraduate Research

Experiential Learning

Undergraduates extend learning beyond the classroom via:

  • PSY 498 Undergraduate Research
    • Students serve as research assistants in one of the department’s labs
    • Participation usually lasts more than one semester
    • Interested students should review faculty research interests and contact relevant faculty
    • Permission of a faculty sponsor is required
  • PSY 499 Independent Study
    • Students pursue a program of specialized study that would not be available through
      regular courses
    • Permission of a faculty sponsor is required
  • PSY 495 Undergraduate Supervised Teaching
    • Students serve as teaching assistants for one of the department’s undergraduate courses
    • Open to students who have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, grade of A- or better in the
      relevant course, and junior standing or higher
    • Permission of a faculty sponsor is required
  • PSY 496 Supervised Applied Experience
    • Students do in applied work in a community, government, or private agency, or related organization
    • Permission of the department and sponsoring agency is required

Study Abroad

Students are provided with opportunities to use Study Abroad coursework in psychology to satisfy major requirements, pending approval of the department. Interested students should contact the Senior Academic Advisor for Psychology.

Extracurricular Activities

  • Undergraduate Psychology Association
    • The Undergraduate Psychology Association (UPA) is led by student officers and open to all students
    • UPA sponsors guest speakers on topics of interest to psychology students, volunteering on campus and in the community, social activities for students and faculty, and a yearly awards and recognition ceremony
  • Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology
    • Psi Chi, the world’s premier honor society in psychology, was founded in 1929 for the purpose of encouraging excellence in psychological science
    • Membership in Psi Chi is an earned lifetime honor, which is open to psychology majors who have a minimum GPA of 3.1 overall and 3.4 in psychology courses
    • UB’s student-run Psi Chi chapter inducts new members twice yearly (Fall and Spring), sponsors workshops on careers in psychology and applying to graduate school, and promotes travel to regional and national psychology conferences
  • See the UB Student Association

Honors and Awards

  • Dean’s Departmental Award for Outstanding Senior: The Dean of UB’s College of Arts and Sciences recognizes the undergraduate who has best demonstrated the highest level of academic achievement and involvement in the Department of Psychology and the field of psychological science.
  • The Marvin Feldman and Walter Cohen Award: The Department of Psychology recognizes the most outstanding undergraduate Honors Thesis with the Marvin Feldman and Walter Cohen Award. Named in honor of two of the department’s most distinguished former faculty, this monetary award is bestowed on the undergraduate whose Honors Thesis receives the highest ranking by the student’s examination committee, faculty advisor, and the Director of the Honors Program.

Departmental Honors

  • The Psychology Honors Program is a year-long program designed to enable students to complete an individual research project (i.e., Honors Thesis) under the supervision of a faculty advisor
  • Seniors with a GPA of at least 3.0 overall and in psychology courses who have secured a faculty advisor to supervise their work are eligible
  • Prior or concurrent completion of PSY 450 Advanced Research Methods is required. Prior research experience (PSY 498) is strongly recommended
  • The Psychology Honors Program consists of two parts:
    • Fall semester: PSY 497 Honors
    • Spring semester: Completion of the Honors Thesis, which students work on throughout the Fall and Spring semesters, and defend in an oral examination at the end of the Spring semester
  • Students who successfully complete the program graduate with Honors, High Honors, or Highest Honors in psychology
  • The Psychology Honors Program is particularly beneficial for students who plan to pursue graduate study in psychology or related disciplines

Becoming a(n) Psychology BS Student

Becoming a University at Buffalo Student

Admission to UB is highly competitive. For the 2016 incoming freshman class, UB reported an average ACT score of 24-30 and an average SAT (CR+M) score of 1100-1300. 90 percent of admitted students are in the top 50 percent of their class.

Admission to UB is based on a holistic review. We consider high school average, class rank, SAT (critical reading and math) or ACT scores, and strength of the high school academic record. A personal essay, recommendations, documented creative talent, demonstrated leadership, community service and special circumstances are also considered.

The following is not required for admission, but is suggested as adequate preparation for university-level coursework:

  • Four years of English (with a substantial writing component)
  • Four years of social studies
  • Three years of college-preparatory science
  • Three years of a second language
  • Three years of college-preparatory mathematics

Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn more.

Freshman Admission to the Program

Freshmen who have identified psychology as their area of study will be listed as intended psychology majors at the time of acceptance to UB.

Transfer Admission to the Program

Transfer students who have completed 60 credit hours but have not completed or have not earned the minimum-required 2.5 GPA in prerequisite courses may be provisionally accepted into the major.

Current UB Students Applying to the Program

  • Students who have completed 60 credit hours but have not completed the prerequisite courses or achieved the minimum GPA of 2.5 may be provisionally accepted into the major
  • Students who are provisionally accepted must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the prerequisites to be fully accepted into the major
  • Students who do not have a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the prerequisites must repeat appropriate prerequisite coursework. The second grade in the repeated course is honored by the department for the purpose of admission to the psychology major.
  • To apply for major status, contact the Senior Academic Advisor for Psychology

Suggested Introductory Courses

Completing the Psychology BS Program

Academic Requirements

  • A minimum GPA of 2.0 in psychology courses is required for good standing in the major and for graduation
  • Majors whose GPA in psychology courses falls below 2.0 during any semester are automatically placed on probation
  • Majors whose GPA remains below 2.0 in consecutive semesters are dismissed from the major

Academic Advice

  • 400-level courses are open only to psychology majors. Students are advised to apply early for the major, preferably while enrolled in PSY 250. Acceptance decisions can then be made contingent upon completion of PSY 250, and registration in upper-level courses is facilitated
  • PSY 495 Undergraduate Supervised Teaching and PSY 496 Supervised Applied Experience augment the undergraduate experience but do not count toward the course requirements for majors
  • PSY 497 Honors, PSY 498 Undergraduate Research, and PSY 499 Independent Study may be taken for degree credit, but only 3 credit hours from this group may count toward major requirements

Transfer Credit Policy

  • Transfer students who bring psychology coursework to UB must meet the same acceptance criteria as students who start at UB 
  • Students may transfer coursework required for admission into the major, as well as additional psychology coursework. However, courses taken in statistics and research methods, as well as upper-level psychology courses, must be evaluated and approved by the department
  • Access previous articulated coursework from many schools at UB Taurus
  • SUNY Seamless Transfer is a SUNY-wide program intended to make transferring to UB and other SUNY Schools simple and efficient for SUNY students. SUNY has defined courses that students can take before transferring which will apply to the major at UB and ensure timely graduation. Information about the Transfer Path for this major can be found on the SUNY Website
  • Students should contact their academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite, or major requirements

Residency Requirement

  • A minimum of 3 upper-level (300- or 400-level) psychology courses must be taken at UB

Prerequisite Courses

Required Courses

  • BIO 200 Evolutionary Biology
  • CHE 101 & CHE 102 General Chemistry or CHE 105 & CHE 106 Chemistry: Principles and Applications
  • Nine additional PSY courses, distributed as follows:
    • Four 300-level courses, one from each of the four substantive areas listed below:

      PSY 321 Psychology of Personality
      PSY 322 Abnormal Psychology
      PSY 324 Clinical Psychology
      PSY 325 Health Psychology

      PSY 331 Social Psychology
      PSY 332 Social Conflict and Its Resolution
      PSY 333 Psychology of Work in Organizations
      PSY 336 Developmental Psychology

      PSY 341 Cognitive Psychology
      PSY 342 Introduction to Cognitive Science: Concepts of the Mind
      PSY 343 Sensory Processes and Perception

      PSY 351 Biopsychology
    • A minimum of 5 courses* at the 400 or graduate level, including PSY 450 Advanced Research Methods in Psychology
      • *Two of the five 400-level courses must be from the following list:

UB Seminar courses cannot count towards major requirements.

Departmental Honors Requirements

Departmental Distinction

Students must earn the following GPA in all psychology courses in order to graduate with distinction in the psychology major*:

  • 3.2 with distinction
  • 3.5 with high distinction
  • 3.75 with highest distinction

*At least 50% of major coursework must be completed at UB.

Total Credit Hours Required

Credits Required for Major 60
Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum   32
Additional Credits Required for Electives  28 
Total Credits Required for Degree 120

See Baccalaureate Degree Requirements for general education and remaining university requirements.

Curricular Plan / Degree Map

View the curricular plan for the Psychology BS (PDF) which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.


283 Park Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-4110
Ph: 716-645-3650
F: 716-645-3801
W: www.psychology.buffalo.edu
Stephen Tiffany
Peter Q. Pfordresher
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Christa M. Greenberg
Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies / Senior Academic Advisor
Wendy J. Quinton
Director, Psychology Honors Program

Curricular Plan

Psychology BS

Subjects & Courses

Complementary Programs

Published: March 30, 2017 09:21:02 AM