Psychology Major/Minor FAQs

Q. I AM INTERESTED in BOTH PSYCHOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE AS A MAJOR. WHICH COURSE SHOULD I TAKE BETWEEN PSYC 1 VS. PSYC 6?

A. PSYC 6 is required for the Neuroscience major, so if you know that you are interested in neuroscience, then PSYC 6 may be your best choice. However, if you are unsure, then selecting PSYC 1 (required for the Psychology major) is a good option, because you will cover the field of psychology in more breadth and it will include some neuroscience.  Many students end up taking both to help with the decision.

Q. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR AND THE NEUROSCIENCE MAJOR?

A. Psychology is the study of behavior–from the level of brain mechanisms of behavior to social interactions. It encompasses a large breadth of topics including: applied, social, developmental, clinical cognitive, and physiological psychology. Majoring in psychology will expose you to many of these disciplines. In contrast, neuroscience is the study of brain mechanisms and encompasses material from the molecular and cellular level of how neurons work, to cognitive and behavioral levels where questions of how neural processes lead to behavior and cognitive thought is studied. In between these two levels, neuroscience also involves anatomical and system level analyses of brain function.

Q. CAN I NRO (NON-RECORDING OPTION) PSYCHOLOGY COURSES?

A. You may only NRO PSYC 1. You may not NRO any other required prerequisite, elective, or culminating experience courses taken to complete the psychology major or minor.

Q. CAN I MODIFY THE PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR?

A. The psychology major cannot be modified with any other major.  However, students can petition to modify another major with psychology (e.g. Biology modified with Psychology) if the major forms a unified and coherent whole, as approved by the Chair of the Departmental Undergraduate Committee.

Q. Do I need to take Psyc 10 and 11 before I move on to courses numbered in the 20s?

A. No, you may take 20s-level courses as soon as you have completed PSYC 1.

Q. When should I take Psyc 10 and Psyc 11?

A. Psyc 10 must be completed first, so you should take it at your earliest convenience, ideally by the end of the sophomore year.  Psyc 11 builds on knowledge gained in Psyc 10, so taking it as soon as possible after completing Psyc 10 will make it easier to remember what you've learned.  We strongly recommend that you complete Psyc 11 before the beginning of your senior year, because that will give you the widest range of culminating courses from which to choose. (Most culminating courses require that Psychology majors have completed Psyc 11.)

Q. CAN I SUBSTITUTE ANOTHER DEPARTMENT'S STATISTICS COURSE FOR PSYC 10?

A. Though we strongly recommend against substituting, some other statistics courses are permitted, with permission, as alternatives to PSYC 10, specifically: ECON 10, GOVT 10, or SOCY 10.  Math 10 is acceptable if the course was taken at Dartmouth, but Math 10 credit by AP or IB is not an acceptable substitute.

Q. HOW DO I CALCULATE MY PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR GPA?

A. The major GPA in Psychology is calculated by averaging all of the currently-completed courses that are part of the major, including PSYC 10 (or equivalent), PSC 11, and all PSYC courses 21-87. This excludes PSYC 1 and independent/honors research courses (PSYC 88 and 89).

Q. Do I need to add exact course numbers in my major declaration plan?

A. When selecting courses in your major declaration, please scroll down until you come to the exact course number. Please note that course numbers with decimals come later than course numbers without decimals. Courses are listed in order based on the first number (i.e., PSYC 83.08 will come later than PSYC 085 and PSYC 174).