Psychology AB

Requirements for the A.B. Major in Psychology

Requirements for the A.B. degree

1. Introductory Psychology. Completion of PSY 101, AP credit, or equivalent transfer course.

Students who receive a score of 5 on the AP psychology test or a 7 on the IB psychology test will receive credit for PSY 101 and may not take it for credit at Duke. Students who receive a 4 on the AP or a 6 on the IB may choose to receive credit for PSY 101 or retake the course for credit at Duke in which case their AP/IB credit will be lost. Please note that students who receive AP/IB credit for Psychology 101 will need to complete a total of eleven courses in the major beyond Psychology 101. Thus, AP/IB credit allows you to place out of Psychology 101, but does not reduce the total number of courses you must take. Students who do not have credit for PSY 101 should take this class as their first psychology class at Duke. 

Please note that students who receive AP credit for PSY 101 will need to complete a total of 11 courses in the major beyond PSY 101. 

2. Distribution Requirement. At least two Introductory/Survey courses. You must complete—

(a) At least one of the following:

      PSY 106 (Biological), or PSY 102 (Cognitive)


(b) At least one of the following:

      PSY 105 (Abnormal), PSY 103 (Developmental), or PSY 104 (Social).

Note: Although you must complete at least two of the above courses, some students may wish to complete more than the required two classes. This is perfectly acceptable, and up to four of these courses may count toward the major (see #7 - Eleven-Course Requirement below).

3. Depth Requirement. For depth, you must complete at least 3 intermediate/advanced courses spread across 2 areas where a survey course was completed. At least one course beyond the survey level must be in the Biological or Cognitive area and at least one must be in the Abnormal/Health, Developmental, or Social area. For example, if a student completed survey courses PSY 106 (Biological)  and PSY 103 (Developmental) areas, at least 3 additional courses in the Biological and Developmental areas are required, with a minimum of one course in each area. (1 in one area and 2 in the other) [*For a listing of courses that fit into each of these areas, click here.] Students can also use one Independent Study course to count towards the Depth Requirement. To do so students should contact the Psychology Office of Undergraduate Studies to make the request as the IS will not be applied to this requirement automatically.

4. Seminar Requirement. One upper level seminar in psychology. The course used to satisfy this requirement may also count as one of the advanced courses required for the depth requirement and listed above. Seminars are identified by course numbers ending in the letter 'S'. Exception: Freshman seminars (e.g., PSY 89S and FOCUS courses such as PSY 190FS) do not satisfy this requirement.

5. Methods Requirement. Each student will take Research Methods in Psychological Science (301), or one of the specialized research methods in the 301-315 series. Students are advised against enrolling in research methods prior to statistics.

6. Statistics. The required course is Introduction to Statistical Methods in Psychology (201). The course completed to satisfy this requirement will also count as one of the eleven courses required for the major. The following courses are also acceptable: Mathematics 342, Statistical Science 101, 102, 111, or 250. Other courses may be substituted only with advance permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Students who plan on taking courses in the Department of Statistics/Decision Sciences should consult with the director of undergraduate studies in Psychology & Neuroscience prior to enrolling in their initial statistics class. Please note that you may not use multiple introductory-level statistics classes to satisfy elective requirements.

7. Eleven-Course Requirement. All majors must complete a total of at least eleven courses in psychology. As noted above, students who have received AP credit for PSY 101 must complete 11 additional courses, i.e., AP credit for PSY 101 does not count as one of the eleven required courses.

Courses completed for other requirements listed above (i.e., PSY 101, PSY 201 (or equivalent), PSY 102-106, etc.) count toward this requirement. Note, however, that no other course numbered <100 may count (e.g., PSY 89S) may count toward the major. Additionally, courses cross-listed with other departments (e.g., BIO 224, NEUROSCI 101) may count, so long as the course is not also being used to satisfy an extra-departmental co-requirement (i.e., as a natural science course toward the B.S.)