FAQs for Undergraduates

What officially qualifies someone as a Psychology Major?

A student is a Psychology major when 1) all lower- division requirements are completed at FIU or by processing an Associate in Arts Degree from a Florida community college, 2) the student has taken Introduction to Psychology and earned a “C” or better, and 3) Most importantly, the student fills out the form to declare a major and is accepted by the department as a Psychology major.

Why are the research courses referred to as a “sequence”?

These classes must be taken in a specific order: Statistics II first, Research Methods second and the Senior Lab third. You cannot take any two of these courses at the same time, as each one builds on the material covered in the previous course(s). To make sure you can graduate “on schedule”, you are urged to take Statistics II the first semester of your junior year.

What courses can count as the four required Electives in Psychology?

Any upper division content courses (a course that is not a Field Experience course or Honor’s Thesis). However, field experience/ honors thesis courses will count as general upper division electives. Additionally, they don’t count as the Psychology electives if they are 1) graded only on a Pass/Fail basis, 2) they don’t cover one specific area of Psychology.

What is an “Honors Thesis”?

An Honors Thesis is a research project that you conduct largely on your own. Typically, you develop a research proposal, conduct a study, and write up the results. You work under the supervision or direction of an Honors Thesis committee. This committee must have at least two members. The committee members are Psychology faculty who are working in your area of interest or who are otherwise willing to serve on your committee. Application to undertake an Honor’s Thesis must be made to-and granted by-the Psychology Department before you begin. Many students take Independent Study credits the semester before they take Honor’s Thesis Credits to develop their research proposal.

How do I graduate with Honors in Psychology?

The only way to graduate with Honors in Psychology is by doing an Honors Thesis. Your thesis advisor will supply documentation for this to appear on your transcripts

What grade is needed for a Psychology course to count toward the major?

A “C” or better is needed. This is the requirement for all courses in the major, including those in the research sequence, the area requirements, and the Psychology electives. Note that a “C-” will not count toward the major!

What happens if I don’t get a “C” or better in a course?

The course will not count toward your major. The only solution to this problem is to repeat the course under the “forgiveness policy” or to earn a "C" or better in another course that meets the same requirement. When you repeat a course and get a higher grade, the higher grade replaces the old grade in the calculation of your GPA but you must file a Repeat Course form in the Office of the Registrar.

As a Psychology major, what other requirements or limitations concerning credit hours should I be aware of?

  1. You must complete your last 30 consecutive hours at FIU.
  2. You must have 48 upper-division hours.
  3. You may transfer a maximum of 18 hours from another university that can be applied to the major.
  4. Students must also be aware of the excess-credit surcharge policy.

What is an upper-division course?

In the Psychology Department, courses at the 3000 or 4000 level are upper division.

Is it necessary to have minor?

A minor (a concentration of courses in a secondary area) is not required. However, some students take a minor in an area outside of Psychology to get exposure to other fields. For example, a student may want to minor in Sociology or Statistics. To find out 1) whether or not you can minor in a specific field, and 2) what courses will be needed, you should contact the Department in which you want to minor. There are also various Certificate Programs you can investigate that allow you to concentrate your coursework in a specific area.

Can I major in Clinical Psychology as an undergraduate?

No—there is only one Bachelors degree in psychology and there is no formal way of specializing in a particular area. Thus, you cannot get a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical, Developmental, or Industrial, or Social psychology. However, you can take your elective courses so that you have a concentration in a particular area.