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College of the Sciences

Psychology Major and Minor - Transfer Student Guide

General information for students transferring to CWU is available on the web, at

The course requirements for the 45- and 60-credit Psychology majors and the 30-credit Psychology minor are in the CWU catalog and posted on the web.  Follow the links beginning at

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.

General advice:

  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.  Your AA degree will exempt you from taking any CWU general education requirements.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. If you are transferring from an accredited four-year institution, you have the option of petitioning to have some of your psychology courses substitute for our CWU psychology courses. It’s a good idea to keep all of your syllabi from these previous courses so you can submit them as part of the substitution petition paperwork. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. Both the 45-credit and 60-credit majors are just a portion of the 90 credits that most transfer students will take at CWU.

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.

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