Undergraduate Studies

Psychology Advising

Faculty Advisors

Open Advising Hours held by CSP faculty are posted in the reception area of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, on the 3rd floor of Meliora Hall.

The faculty advisors are prepared to discuss the programs in Psychology and to accept applications for enrollment in Psychology programs; also refer to our FAQ section below.

Faculty Advising Hours - Spring 2016

Monday 12:00p-1:00p Marie-Joelle Estrada Mel 456
2:00p-3:00p Laura Wray-Lake Mel 464
Tuesday 11:00a-12:00p Ron Rogge Mel 462
Wednesday 4:00p-5:00p Edward Deci  Mel 429
Friday 1:00p-2:00p Christopher Niemiec Mel 436
2:00p-3:00p Laura Wray-Lake Mel 464


CSP's Committee on Undergraduate Studies in Psychology (CUSP) administers the major in psychology, the honors program in psychology, minors in psychology, and clusters in psychology. Support for CUSP is provided by our Academic Coordinator, April Engram (april.engram@rochester.edu), whose office is located in Meliora Hall room 441.

The current members of CUSP are:

  • Christopher Niemiec (Chair)
  • Marie-Joelle Estrada
  • Ronald Rogge
  • Laura Wray-Lake
  • Edward Deci
  • Loisa Bennetto (Ex-Officio)
  • April Engram (Staff)

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some FAQs that students sometimes have about the major, or the advising process.

1) I want to major in psychology but I’m afraid that if I declare my major that I’ll have to stick the courses I declare now. Can I change my major declaration form later?

YES. You can absolutely change your major declaration form at any time. After you’ve declared, simply see any faculty advisor and have them sign off on a revised declaration form (the blue form) and submit it to Lattimore 312.

2) I want to major in psychology but I don’t know how to go about it. What do I do?

- To major in psychology you will need to take 6 required classes (101, a statistics, 2 of the natural science core classes and 2 of the social science core classes) and choose 5 electives with 2 tag-along writing (W) sections.
- Of your 5 electives, up to 2 can be independent study classes (390x).
- A checklist of these requirements is available to help you, you can download it here.
- To declare your major officially, you will have to meet with an advisor and have him/her sign off on your major declaration form. The list of advisors and their hours can be found above.

3) What is a tag-along W (writing section)?

- Most classes (excluding PSY 101 and statistics) have an extra associated writing class worth 0.5 credits that you can apply to take during the first two weeks of the semester.
- You will need to take two of these W classes to complete your major.
- If you do an honors thesis, this counts for one “W” class.
- Preference is given to students in order of senior psychology majors, followed by junior psychology majors etc. and psychology majors above all other majors.

4) How do I get my AP psychology credit to transfer?

NOTE: Transfer of AP credit can be accomplished via Lattimore 312 (not the psychology department).

If you received a 4 or 5 in your AP psychology, then you will receive a 4-credit equivalent for PSY 101 and won’t have to take it again.

5) Are advisors assigned? I want a faculty member to be my advisor – how do I go about doing that?

Advisors are not assigned – rather, it is up to students to pick an advisor out of those who are listed above. Students often pick advisors based on: the advisor’s area of expertise, having taken a course with them, or simply because their advising hours match well with the student’s schedule. You may also change advisors as needed to fit your curriculum and scheduling needs

You can simply stop by any advisor’s office hour listed on the psychology website, found here (http://www.psych.rochester.edu/undergrad/advising.html). You don’t need to make an appointment – its typically first come, first serve,

6) I want to double major in psychology and another major. How many courses can overlap between majors?

Up to 3 courses may overlap between any 2 majors.

***If you are double majoring in BCS and Psychology, most students choose to use statistics (PSY/STT 212), BCS/PSY 110 & BCS/PSY 111.

7) Can I have course overlap between a psychology minor/major and another one?

You can have up to TWO classes overlap between two minors or a major and a minor.

8) I want to use a BCS class to substitute for a required psychology class for a major/minor or cluster. Can I do that?

Typically no. If you think you have a good reason for being able to substitute a non-psychology class, you can submit an appeal in writing and stop by and give it to an advisor during his/her advising hour. The advisor will take it to the committee and return with a verdict on whether or not the class is viable. Please note that exceptions are rarely made.

9) I want to create my own major. How should I go about it?

- If you want to propose your own major involving psychology, you would need to seek out two faculty members (one from psychology and one from the other field you’re looking to study).
- For each advisor, have an outlined list of classes you’d like to take and why, and be prepared to discuss the rational for your selection with your advisor. If your faculty advisor agrees with your plan, s/he will sign off on the form to be submitted to the department of inter-departmental studies.
- The inter-departmental studies program will have the final say as to whether the program is valid or not.

10) Do Psychology courses that I did not list on my declaration form count toward my major GPA?

Yes, all Psychology courses count toward your major GPA.

11) I took some classes at another university/college and want them to transfer. How do I go about making that happen?

You can transfer up to FOUR classes (PSY 101, a statistics + 2 others) from another university or college.

If you want to use these classes to substitute for introduction to psychology (PSY 101) or as ELECTIVES not offered by the University of Rochester, you can see any faculty advisor with a copy of the full syllabus (NOT course description) and have them sign off on the course approval form here.

If you want to use a transfer class to substitute for any other class that is currently being offered at the University of Rochester, you will need a copy of the full syllabus and take it to the professor who teaches the equivalent class at U of R and have them review and sign off on the course approval form here.
E.g. you took a Health Psychology class at Stonybrook and want to substitute it for Behavioral Medicine, PSY 283 at the University of Rochester, you would need to find the faculty member who teaches PSY 283 and make an appointment with her to review the syllabus and sign off on the form of whether it is an equivalent class. It is important to obtain this written statement from the person who teaches the equivalent course at the University of Rochester attesting to its (i.e., the transferring course’s) equivalency BEFORE meeting with an advisor in psychology.

12) I want to study abroad next semester. What do I need to do ahead of time to get my credits transferred?

- If you are participated in an accredited study abroad program, your credits will transfer as electives.
- If you want to transfer classes to be used in place of ones currently being offered by the university, please follow the same guidelines outlined above in “Course substitution”.
- Note that it is strongly encouraged to complete this process BEFORE your semester abroad.

13) I want to do work with a professor – what are my options?

You have several options available to work with a professor:

1. Working as a research assistant in a faculty member’s lab (individual faculty course number): responsibilities include running experiments, data entry/management, coding, literature reviews. Must meet with the faculty member to outline responsibilities, hours, and credits. You can find a list of RA positions here: http://www.psych.rochester.edu/research/rao.html

2. Doing an independent study (PSYC 391 + faculty permission code): more flexible – can take various forms such as readings, research, specialized class, internship etc. Must meet with the faculty member to outline responsibilities, hours, and credits.

3. Teaching/TAing with a faculty member for a class: (PSYC 390 + faculty permission code) Assisting a faculty member in conducting his/her class. Responsibilities can range from leading your own lectures, grading, office hours, proctoring exams, grade entry etc. Must meet with the faculty member to outline responsibilities, hours, and credits.

4. Honors project: conducting your own proposed research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Please see the detailed information below.

14) I want to participate in the honors program – how do I go about doing that?

Participation in the honors program occurs in your senior year and involves collaborating closely with a faculty member. In order to APPLY for the psychology honors program, you need to have met the following requirements:

1. Have declared your Psychology major with a psychology GPA of 3.3 (or higher) by the end of the junior year.
2. Have completed Research Methods in Psychology (PSY 219W) with a grade of B+ or higher.
3. Have completed either one semester of independent research in Psychology or 300-level research seminar in Psychology before senior year.

To apply:
1. You will need to approach a faculty member to sponsor your research project and discuss with them your proposed study. The advisor may be from Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Psychiatry, or another relevant department.
2. Submit the Research Honors application to the Psychology Honors Director preferably by the second semester of your junior year but by the latest August 1st of the senior year. The application should be completed in collaboration with and signed by the faculty advisor.

If you are accepted, the program takes place over the course of your senior year and entails the following 4 parts:
1. Taking PSY 310 – Honors Research I during the fall semester of the senior year.
2. Taking PSY 311W – Honors Research II during the spring semester of the senior year.
3. Writing an Honors Research Thesis approved by the faculty advisor and submitted to the advisor and a second faculty reader by the last day of classes in the spring semester of the graduating year.
NOTE: Completion of the Honors Program automatically includes completion of the Upper Level Writing requirement of the Psychology major.
4. Orally defending your thesis to the faculty in a public seminar held during the two weeks prior to graduation.