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Psychology Major and Minor - Transfer Student Guide

Thank you for your interest in transferring to CWU’s bachelor’s degree program in psychology.  General information for students transferring to CWU is available on the web, at  Information about the psychology department and our undergraduate programs is also available on the web at The psychology department offers a Bachelor of Arts major and minor in psychology.

An undergraduate student at CWU has two options for completing a major in psychology.  The 45-credit major requires a student to also complete a minor or a second major in some other subject.  The 60-credit major leads to a bachelor’s degree without a minor or second major.  A psychology advisor can discuss your academic and career goals and help you choose the appropriate major.  The course requirements for the major and minor are in the CWU catalog and posted on the web.  Follow the links beginning at

General advice for transfer students interested in getting a psychology major or minor from CWU:

1. If you are a community college student in Washington State working toward an AA degree, it’s important to complete the AA degree before transferring.  This is good advice for all majors, not just psychology.  Your AA degree will exempt you from taking any CWU general education requirements.

If you are a community college student outside Washington, a Washington state community college student without an AA degree, or if you are attending a four-year institution, your past college courses will each be compared to our general education requirements and you may be required to take additional courses to complete our general education requirements.

2. Don’t take many courses in psychology before transferring to CWU.  We want our psychology majors to take the majority of their psychology courses at CWU.  We usually advise community college students to take only introductory psychology and maybe one elective course in psychology at a community college.  Community college courses are lower division (100 and 200 level) courses and we allow only 5 quarter credits of lower division courses to count toward the psychology major.  If you are transferring from an accredited four-year institution, we will compare each of your prior courses to our major requirements and upper division courses may transfer to our upper division. It’s a good idea to keep all of your syllabi from these previous courses so we can evaluate them if necessary. Please be advised that the CWU psychology department will only allow students to transfer a maximum of two courses in the required core classes and the five required groupings of classes. Additional course transfers for psychology elective courses are permitted.

Recommended courses for psychology majors to take prior to transferring to CWU:

1. Introductory or General Psychology (equivalent to PSY 101 at CWU).

2. Finite Math (equivalent to MATH 130 at CWU). Finite Mathematics OR higher, is prerequisite to our psychology major courses in statistics.  Community college and four-year institution equivalents of MATH 130 or higher will take care of this prerequisite.  Washington state community college students can see if their institution offers an equivalent course by going to our transfer guide at:  Equivalencies for some in-state four-year institutions are also listed there.

3. Introductory Biology class that deals with the structure and function of the nervous system (equivalent to BIO 101 or BIO 201 at CWU or other class in cell biology)

Recommended courses for psychology majors to take during their first quarter at CWU:

1. PSY 200: Introduction to the Psychology Major (1 credit)

2. PSY 300: Research Methods in Psychology (5 credits). If you haven’t taken PSY 101 or its equivalent, you should take that your first quarter instead and take PSY 300 your second quarter.

3. PSY 362: Introductory Statistics (5 credits) is recommended in your first or second quarter at CWU. If you have not fulfilled the requirement for MATH 130, you should plan to take that your first quarter instead because it is a prerequisite for PSY 362.

4. You can also register for one or more classes from the required course groups that do not require PSY 300 as a prerequisite. Examples of applicable courses include PSY 303 (Analysis of Everyday Behavior, 4 credits), PSY 313 (Developmental Psychology, 4 credits), PSY 346 (Social Psychology, 4 credits), and PSY 449 (Abnormal Psychology, 4 credits).

How to apply for the psychology major:

1. Complete the psychology major application form (you can get a copy of this online at or in the psychology department office (Psychology building, Rm. 421).

2. Bring the completed application to the psychology department office (Psychology building, Rm. 421). At that point you will be assigned a psychology faculty advisor.

3. Schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor (email or come by during their regular office hours) so that you can get your application form signed, ask any questions you may have about the major, and discuss your plan for completing the major.

Don’t worry if you can’t register for core classes in the major in your first quarter.  Our continuing students register before transfer students and some major classes might be full.  Please remember that both the 45-credit and 60-credit majors are just a portion of the 90 credits that most transfer students will take at CWU and you will be able to finish your major in a timely manner if you plan ahead.

Information about the psychology minor:

The psychology minor requires students to take at least 30 credits in psychology.  Transfer students can transfer 5 credits, usually a course in introductory psychology, to the minor.  The rest of the courses need to be upper division (300 and 400 level) courses.  If you’re interested in minoring in psychology, we advise you to begin with PSY 300 and choose among required and elective courses with the help of an advisor.  Psychology minors majoring in Law and Justice, Sociology, and Social Services may not need to take PSY 300 and should see an advisor before registering.

Get involved in student organizations, faculty research, and service learning

We encourage our psychology majors and minors to get involved with our two student organizations, Psi Chi and the CWU Psychology Club.  Notices about organization activities are posted in the Psychology Building.  We also encourage students to get involved in research partnerships with our faculty members.  A departmental information sheet about opportunities to work with faculty members on research is available in the department office. Finally, we believe that service learning (i.e. volunteering in the community) is a valuable experience for psychology students as well as a way to support human service organizations in the community. All psychology majors will be required to spend a minimum of 10 hours working with faculty on research or in service learning activities related to psychology. Your PSY 200 instructor can provide more information about this requirement.

We are eager to make your transition to CWU as smooth as possible and make your learning experience as a psychology major or minor both interesting and useful.  Our faculty and staff are ready to help you.  Please drop by the department office and get acquainted soon.

Transferring Credits and Course Substitutions


  1. Only courses from accredited institutions can be substituted for CWU Psychology courses.
  2. Generally speaking, lower division courses cannot be substituted for upper division courses; exceptions may be made if the student is able to demonstrate comparable work requirements, student learning objectives, and textbook.
  3. Decisions to accept or reject course substitution requests will be made by a majority vote of a three-person committee.
  4. The committee in charge of course substitutions may consult with other faculty with expertise in the area(s) of the courses requested for substitution, as deemed necessary.
  5. No substitutions will be permitted for PSY 200 or PSY 489.
  6. No substitutions will be permitted for PSY 300 for students majoring in psychology.
  7. No more than two of the required or Group I-V courses can be substituted with courses taken at other institutions, with the exception of PSY 101, which is a direct transfer from most community colleges in the state.
  8. Exceptions to this policy may be considered under very unique circumstances on an individual basis.


  1. Requests are directed to student’s major advisor. The advisor will review the department’s course substitution policy and procedure with the student.
  2. The student will complete the “Permit to Substitute” form. Both the student and the advisor will sign the form. Advisor signature does not imply endorsement of the request.
  3. The student must, at a minimum, provide the following documents in support of the substitution request:
    1. The completed and signed “Permit to Substitute” form
    2. The syllabus from the course taken at another institution;
    3. The syllabus from the CWU course for which the other course is requested as substitute (current syllabi can be obtained from the Psychology Department);
    4. A minimum one-page statement as to how the to-be-substituted course aligns with the CWU course and its learner outcomes.
  4. Supplemental materials may be requested by the committee, for example, evidence of work comparable to senior-level requirements in the case of a lower division course requested to be substituted for an upper-division course.
  5. The student will submit the substitution request paperwork to the Psychology Department office. Once the committee has reviewed the materials and made a decision, the department secretary will notify the student of the decision. If approved, the Permit to Substitute form will be sent to the Registrar’s office.