Major in Psychology – Years 2 & 3

This page describes the Psychology program for students who have completed their first year, including PSYC 1010 (6) with a grade of at least C, and have registered as Psychology majors.

The links below will explain the program in broad terms, including the common requirements for all Psychology programs, the prerequisite structure, and will guide you through course selection in your 2nd and 3rd Years.

Information about the last year of the Honours programs, including PSYC 4000 vs 4170, and finding a supervisor may be found on the Honours Program page.  Information about Specialized Honours may be found on the Specialized Honours  website.

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Overview of Psychology Programs

All Psychology Major programs (BA, BSc, 120 credit or 90 credit) including Double Majors have the following general pattern of Psychology requirements although the details, in terms of the number of courses and specific courses, differ for each program.  The Specialized Honours program has some additional requirements not listed here.

  1. PSYC 1010 with a grade of C or better  - this is a prerequisite for ALL other Psychology courses.
  2. Methodology courses:  Statistics and Research Design courses – these should be completed in the 2nd year of the program
  3. Foundation Courses - all students must meet requirements from two groups of courses, one focusing on the social and personality aspects of Psychology  (21-, 3100 series) and the other on the biological and cognitive aspects (22-, 3200 series).   These should also be completed in the 2nd year of the program if possible
  4. Psychology electives – these courses are given at the 3000 level.  Note that some require prerequisites from among the Foundation courses and others do not.

In addition, Honours degrees (including double major degrees) have the following requirements, normally completed in the 4th year of the program.    In order to enroll in these courses, students must have completed at least 84 credits and maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 5.0, must have completed the Statistics and Research Methods requirements for the Honours Program, and must have completed all specific prerequisites for the individual course in question.

  1. 4000-level seminar courses in specific sub-disciplines of Psychology.
  2. A 6 credit thesis or advanced research course  (PSYC 4000, PSYC 4001 (Specialized Honours only), PSYC 4170 or PSYC 4175)

Psychology Minors (BA or BSc): all of the above categories of requirement apply to the Minor in Psychology except for #3 and #6.   While not required, the Foundation courses may be taken as Psychology electives in a Psychology Minor.   There is no thesis requirement in the Minor and the minimum Statistics requirement for the Psychology minor is PSYC 2021 (3).

Degree Requirements outside of Psychology:

All degree programs have requirements in terms of General Education Courses, electives from outside of Psychology, and in the case of BSc degrees, basic science  and science breadth requirements.  These requirements differ for each program, so go to the drop-down menu “Degree Requirements” and follow the links to find the requirements for your program depending on your year of entry.


Understanding Prerequisites

Why are they important?  

Psychology, like all sciences and other fields of scholarly enquiry, requires you to lay down a foundation of basic knowledge and skills upon which more specialized expertise may be built.   For this reason, courses at each level of the program are  designed with the assumption that students possess the skills and knowledge base laid down at the previous levels, and their objective is to advance the student to a higher level of expertise.  This cannot be done if the same early level material must be repeated at every level.

How are prerequisites enforced?

In some courses, you will find it impossible to register if you do not have the prerequisites for the course.   Transfer students may find that they have to have their prerequisites confirmed by the department in order to register in these courses.   However, even if you are successful in registering (in some cases, lack of prerequisites cannot be detected at the time of enrolment), this does not mean you will be able to remain in a course for which you do not have the prerequisites.  Students found to be lacking a stated prerequisite may be removed from a course at any time, and if this happens after the deadline for course change, your tuition fee for the course will not be refunded, so it is very important to pay attention to prerequisites and to plan your courses a year or two in advance.

Are exceptions ever made?

Very rarely, and only the Undergraduate Director can admit you to a course for which you do not have the prerequisites.  A course director cannot do this, although they may inform the Undergraduate Director if they think a particular student is an exceptional case, providing the reasons for this position in writing.  However, the final decision is made by the Undergraduate Director in all cases, so it is very wise to deal with this at the very beginning of the term.  The fact that you have been attending a particular class will not be enough to justify an exception.

Note that NO EXCEPTIONS will be made in the case of the Statistics and Research Methods prerequisites for all thesis courses (4000, 4001, 4170, 4175).   You may not enroll in these courses until you have achieved a passing grade on all the required methodology courses for your particular program.   This includes courses for which you have a petition in progress or any other situation that has caused you to delay fulfilling the requirements.


In a few cases, one course may be allowed as a co-requisite (meaning that it is taken at the same time as another course) instead of as a prerequisite.   This applies in only a very small number of situations.  If you are uncertain about a particular course, it is your responsibility as a student to clarify this before the start of classes.

Prerequisite Maps

These tables show you the prerequisite structure graphically.    In all cases, blue arrows indicate the connection between lower level courses and the 3000 and 4000 courses for which they are prerequisites.   Tables 1, 2 & 3 show sequences for which the Foundational Courses (21/3100 and 22/3200 series) are prerequisites.   Table 4 shows the sequence of Methodology and Research courses for our various programs.  Table 5 lists upper level courses that do NOT have prerequisites other than PSYC 1010, or in the case of 4000 level courses, no prerequisites beyond PSYC 1010, PSYC 2120 or 2021 and PSYC 2030).  Please note that some 4000 level courses have more complex prerequisites and are not shown in these tables, or have co-requisites which are not included on the maps.  These courses are marked by ** on Table 3  - check the Psychology Handbook and the Courses website for details.

Table 1:   Developmental, Social, Health

Table 2:   Abnormal, Personality

Table 3:   Perception, Cognition, Biological Bases of Behavior

Table 4:   Methodology and Research Courses

Table 5:   Courses with few prerequisites

Choosing Courses for your 2nd Year

You have completed PSYC 1010 with a grade of C or better.  What next?

In choosing your next courses, you must be planning ahead to meet the degree requirements for your particular Honours  (120 credit) or 90-credit degree program.  This page will walk you through those choices, looking at the components of the program described earlier.   Choices will differ somewhat depending on whether you are a BA or BSc student, and whether you are planning to do an Honours degree.


1) Statistics and Research Methods

 2) Foundational Core Courses

3) Psychology Electives

4) General Education Requirements

5) Sample 2nd year programs

Choosing Courses for your 3rd Year

Before picking your courses for your 3rd year (3rd year = someone with at least 54 credits completed), you need to take stock of where you are and where you are going.

(1) Are you planning to complete an Honours degree (120 credits) and is this a realistic plan for you?

(2) If you are planning to graduate with an Ordinary degree in Psychology (90 credits), what are you missing and can you complete this in time for June graduation?

1.) Is Honours realistic?

2.) Completing the 90-credit Degree – Year 3

3.) Choosing 3rd year courses for an Honours degree


YSR Program & HCBS Program


For more information please contact the Undergraduate Office.