First-Year Focus and Program Overview
Welcome freshmen! Interested in Psychology? Read on!
Table of Contents
- What is Psychology?
- Why Study Psychology?
- What to Do With a Major in Psychology?
- AP Credits
- Courses to Start With
Psychology is the scientific study of behavior – how people perceive the world, think, and act. The Department of Psychology at Northwestern University reflects the richness of the field of psychology as a whole. Its five main areas of research and instruction—Brain, Behavior, & Cognition; Clinical; Cognitive; Personality; and Social—are among the best in the nation. Members of the psychology faculty at Northwestern are active researchers, and the undergraduate program in psychology reflects their common concern with the advancement of knowledge about human behavior.
Students of psychology ask the question "why are people the way they are,"? A better understanding of human behavior has obvious benefits. In addition, many of our courses emphasize the development of critical thinking skills such as the ability to consider evidence and evaluate opposing points of view. Students also gain practical experience developing research ideas, analyzing data, and communicating results.
Psychology combines the study of people with a focus on the analysis and interpretation of data, which provides an excellent foundation for a wide range of careers. Some of the careers that students who major in psychology go on to pursue are:
- Clinical and Counseling
- Research and/or teaching
- Human Resources
- Management and Business
- Social work
- Other social service professions
Students who earn a 4 or a 5 on the AP Psychology test should have PSYCH 110 listed on their transcripts, along with an indication that this is a test credit rather than credit for Northwestern course work. These students do not need to take PSYCH 110 in order to fulfill the major or minor requirements nor do they need it as a prerequisite for any other psychology courses.
Other AP credits
To fulfill the requirements for a major or minor in psychology, students must complete Introduction to Psychology (PSYCH 110), Statistical Methods in Psychology (PSYCH 201), Research Methods in Psychology (PSYCH 205), and a variety of other psychology courses. The major also requires five “related courses” offered by other departments. AP credits may count toward the statistics and “related courses” requirements.
Course Requirement It Satisfies
Department courses for a major or minor in psychology
Can substitute for PSYCH 201
Related courses for a major in psychology
(2 200 level Math courses plus 3 additional eligible courses)
1 credit (MATH 220)= 1 200-level Math course
2 credits (MATH 220 and 224)= 2 200 level Math courses
AP Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Environmental Sciences, and Physics
All credits earned can count toward the "3 additional" related courses for the major
Freshmen are eligible to take a variety of courses in our department.
Our department offers freshman seminars on a range of topics pertaining to psychology. Recent examples include "Music and the Mind", "The Psychology of Bullying", and "The Psychology of Weird Beliefs".
Introduction to Psychology
Another good place to start is Introduction to Psychology (PSYCH 110). This course provides a broad introduction to the field of psychology and the variety of questions that psychologists ask. It is a prerequisite for most of our other courses.
Students with AP Psychology credit
As noted above, students with AP credit for PSYCH 110 do not have to take the course at Northwestern. They can start with a 200-level psychology course. Options include:
- Special Freshman Section of Developmental Psychology
In Fall 2013 the department will be offering a special section of Developmental Psychology (PSYCH 218) just for first quarter freshmen. This is an excellent choice for students who already have credit for PSYCH 110. Psych 218 is by department permission only. To be eligible for this class, you must be a freshman in Fall 2013 and have (a) earned a 4 or 5 on the AP Psychology exam and/or (b) completed Introduction to Psychology at a college or university from which Northwestern accepts credit.
If you have any general questions about the course, please get in touch with Maria Candelario, the undergraduate program assistant for Psychology, firstname.lastname@example.org. An invitation for enrollment will be sent out via email to eligible freshman twice, once before orientation week and again during orientation week. Only students that receive the invitation will be allowed to enroll. Instructions for enrollment will be provided in the invitation email. The course meets twice a week for lecture, and once a week in smaller discussion sections. Course and discussion section times are available on CAESAR.
- Other Good Courses for Freshmen
Freshmen who have AP credit for PSYCH 110, or have already completed the course, are also eligible to enroll in Statistical Methods in Psychology (PSYCH 201), Social Psychology (PSYCH 204), Psychology of Personality (PSYCH 215), Cognitive Psychology (PSYCH 228), and some of our other courses.
Freshmen with credit for both PSYCH 110 and PSYCH 201 are eligible to enroll in Research Methods in Psychology (PSYCH 205). However, it is advisable to take at least one content course at Northwestern (Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, or another course listed above) before taking Research Methods.how to declare a psychology major or minor is on the department website.
major and minor requirements on our web site and read more about our undergraduate program. If you have questions about our major, our minor, or our courses, please contact Maria Candelario in the Psychology department office (Swift Hall 102, 847-491-5190) to set up an appointment with one of our advisers. Another way to make an appointment during the academic year is to use our online system by clicking on this link. Or, if you would like to contact an adviser directly, feel free to email David Smith at email@example.com.