Ever wonder what motivates behavior?

Our students explore psychology from neurons to neuroses and apply their skills to real-life problems. You'll survey contemporary approaches to mental health and think critically about human behavior.

Because of its versatility, careers in psychology can be tailored specifically to your passions. Our students are highly valued in all fields, including development, research, human resources, clinical and counseling psychology, social work, hospital administration, law, public health and graduate studies.
Program Requirements

Every psychology major must complete thirty-six semester hours in psychology, as well as four hours in statistics.

The following five core courses are required:

  • PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science
  • MATH 118 Introductory Statistics
    or MATH 227 Statistical Design and Analysis
    or MATH 229 Regression Models
  • PSYC 201 Biological Psychology
  • PSYC 203 Research Methods in Psychology
  • PSYC 345 History and Systems of Psychology

To ensure that students receive sufficient breadth across substantive areas, as well as some depth within at least one area, the department also requires that students successfully complete at least one course chosen from each of the following five areas:

Basic Processes

  • PSYC 243 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 244 Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC 245 Learning and Conditioning
  • PSYC 247 Perception

Social and Developmental

  • PSYC 235 Developmental Psychology
  • PSYC 236 Psychology of Adolescence
  • PSYC 239 Psychology of Aging
  • PSYC 248 Social Psychology

Clinical and Personality

  • PSYC 230 Theories of Personality
  • PSYC 231 Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC 232 Health Psychology


Students fulfill the capstone requirement in the Department by completing two Courses: one Upper Level Theory and Application Course and one Upper Level Research Course (listed below).

Upper Level Theory and Application

  • PSYC 331 Seminar in Clinical Psychology
  • PSYC 335 Social and Emotional Development
  • PSYC 336 Childhood Psychopathology
  • PSYC 339 Psychology and the Law

Upper Level Research

  • PSYC 301 Research in Biopsychology
  • PSYC 303 Research in Cognitive Processes
  • PSYC 304 Research in Personality
  • PSYC 305 Research in Child Development
  • PSYC 308 Research in Social Psychology

Prerequisites: PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science, is a prerequisite for all courses offered by the department except PSYC 220 The Psychology of Women, for which the prerequisite is PSYC 101 or WGST 100. Upper-level courses have additional prerequisites as detailed in the course descriptions. Students may use an AP psychology test score of 4 or 5 to replace the PSYC 101 course requirement, but they are still encouraged to take the course for the comprehensive background it provides.

Recommendations: Students considering a major in psychology are advised to take PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science during their first year and MATH 118 Introductory Statistics in the fall semester of their sophomore year. In general, the department encourages flexible and individualized course planning both within and beyond the field of psychology. The chair or an advisor in the department can help with such program planning. The following examples serve as guides to planning an appropriate program.

  1. A student planning a career working with children, such as early childhood education, counseling, child guidance, or school psychology, should consider PSYC 235, 236, 305, 335, and 336.
  2. A student planning a career in a medical or physiological research setting should consider PSYC 232, 243, 244, 247, and 301. Relevant courses in biology, chemistry, and computer science are also recommended.
  3. A student interested in a career in behavioral research, human factors, or computer-based instruction should consider PSYC 243, 245, 247, 248, and 303. Relevant areas of mathematics and/or computer science are also recommended.
  4. A student with career interests in the clinical and personality area should consider PSYC 230, 231, 232, 304, 331, 336, and 339.
  5. A student planning a career in social service or human resources should consider PSYC 220, 230, 231, 232, 248, 308, and 339.

Independent Learning in Psychology

Independent learning experiences enrich a student's education in Psychology and can distinguish a student's qualifications when applying for employment and admission to graduate school. Although not required for the Psychology degree, majors are strongly encouraged to speak with their advisors about integrating one or more of the following courses into their plan of study:

  • PSYC 350: Independent Study
  • PSYC 355: Thesis in Psychology
  • PSYC 380: Fieldwork (Note: Must apply in spring before senior year)
  • PSYC 381: Thesis in Fieldwork

Interdisciplinary Major in Neuroscience and Behavior

Students interested in both psychology and biology can pursue the joint major in Neuroscience and Behavior.

Minor Requirements

The requirements of the Psychology minor include:

  • PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science

One course chosen from the Basic Processes area:

  • PSYC 243 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYC 244 Drugs and Behavior
  • PSYC 245 Learning and Conditioning
  • PSYC 247 Sensation and Perception

And three electives with the PSYC designation. Nursing students can count NURS 335 or 348 as one of the three electives.

Customize Your Program

The psychology major combines aspects of statistics and science to prepare our students for careers and graduate study in a myriad of fields. Your advisor will help you tailor a program of study that fits your interests and career goals — which might include a dual major or a complementary minor.

A minor in psychology is also available. The minor is psychology includes PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychological Science, one course from the basic processes area, and three electives in psychology.

Internships and Research

We believe that students need both theoretical and practical experience as preparation for psychology careers. That's why we encourage all of our students to do fieldwork and complete research projects.

Because we are a relatively small college, we provide meaningful interaction with students both inside and outside of class. Many students are involved in faculty research and are often co-authors on papers and presentations at scientific meetings.

    Greg Feldman
    • Gregory Feldman
    • Professor - CHPHY, Department Chair
    • Phone: 617-521-2606
    • Office: S168
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    Amanda Carey
    • Amanda Carey
    • Assistant Professor
    • Phone: 617-521-2619
    • Office: S170
    Elizabeth Donovan
    Rachel Galli
    • Rachel Galli
    • Associate Professor of Psychology and Co-Coordinator of the Neuroscience and Behavior Major
    • Phone: 617-521-2607
    • Office: S171
    Sarah Martin
    • Sarah Martin
    • Associate Professor of Psychology
    • Phone: 617-521-2603
    • Office: S166
    John Reeder
    • John Reeder
    • Associate Professor of Psychology
    • Phone: 617-521-2610
    • Office: S172
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    • Geoff Turner
    • Associate Professor of Psychology
    • Phone: 617-521-2609
    • Office: S169
How to Apply

So you know that Simmons is a great place to be, you've learned about our programs, maybe even come for a visit...now you're ready to apply! Let's get started.