Course Information


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The objective of psychology, as a science, is to understand, explain, and predict the behavior of organisms. The Department of Psychology has developed and organized its course offerings to meet three major goals:
1. To provide a strong foundation for those students who plan to enter a graduate school of psychology after completing their undergraduate degree requirements.
2. To assist those students who are planning careers in psychology or in related fields by providing a flexible curriculum that can be designed to meet the career goals of individual students.
3. To meet the needs of those students who are taking psychology courses as part of their liberal arts education.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

A minimum of 36 semester hours in psychology including 30 hours from the undergraduate core and six hours of electives.
 Majors in Arts and Sciences may be completed with a minimum of 120 semester hours unless designated otherwise. At least 30 hours of course work, which represents 25% of the required 120 hours, must be at the upper division level in order to fulfill the University’s residency requirement. At least 15 of the 30 upper-division hours must be in the major or concentration area. An overall grade-point-average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for graduation. In addition, a minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in the student’s major or concentration area. 
Topic Area Course Number Required
Basic PSY 120 or PSY 121,
PSY 220, PSY 310, PSY 320
All four
Experimental/Learning PSY 416, PSY 420 OR PSY 317**, PSY 428, PSY 475 Any Two
Personality/Social and Abnormal
PSY 340, PSY 435, PSY 440 Any Two
Developmental PSY 350, PSY 456 Any One
Capstone Course PSY 412, PSY 490 Any One
Twelve courses (32 hours)
** You may take either PSY 420 or PSY 317 but not both.
The remaining six hours of electives needed for a major may be taken from any courses not taken previously (excluding PSY 250).
Students who are preparing for graduate study are encouraged to take all courses listed in the undergraduate core and any additional courses recommended by their faculty advisor. Student research is encouraged by the faculty and students may obtain course credit for individual student research projects in PSY 494. Students pursuing a degree in Psychology also must have a minor in another discipline.
General Education Requirements for Psychology majors are specified on the College of Arts and Sciences section. Note that Area IV is partially satisfied by the major requirements specified above.



A minimum of 21 semester hours in Psychology, including PSY 120 or PSY 121, PSY 220 and 15 semester hours of electives (twelve of those must be in courses numbered 300 or above).
The Department of Psychology accepts applicants to the Master of Science program and to the Doctor of Philosophy program in Clinical/Counseling Psychology. The Master of Science degree program in Psychology is designed to provide individuals with knowledge of current theories, principles, and methods of psychology in preparation for future work toward a doctoral degree, employment in a research setting or employment in a junior college teaching position. The Department of Psychology currently accepts applicants to the Master of Science degree program, with an interest in one or more areas of concentration in the Experimental Psychology Program. The available areas of concentration include: Behavioral Statistics/Computational Modeling, Cognitive and Perceptual Processing, Psychophysiology, Social/Developmental Psychology, and College Teaching Preparation. Students enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology have the opportunity to earn a Master's of Science in Psychology as they progress towards completion of the doctoral degree. Students interested in a graduate degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology are encouraged to see the full program description of the doctoral program in Clinical and Counseling Psychology under the heading "The Graduate School" for more information. Students can apply directly to the Master of Science degree program in Psychology as described below.
Students are admitted Fall Semester only. Applications to the Psychology Graduate Program should be completed by December 15 for admission the following Fall. Applications completed after December 15 will be considered only if there are still openings available. Please note that the Psychology Graduate Program is a competitive program with a limited capacity and admits students to begin in the Fall Semester only.
In addition to the Graduate School application form and required supporting documentation, the Department of Psychology requires submission of a Psychology Department application form, statement of purpose, writing sample, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants will be asked to indicate whether they are applying for the general/experimental or the applied concentration.
The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria for admission (see Categories of Admission).
In addition to meeting graduate school requirements for regular admission (see Categories of Admission), applicants to the Master of Science program must meet the following criteria:
1. Completion of at least 21 semester hours of psychology courses on the undergraduate level including at least one statistics course and one course in experimental methods/research design. In addition, the following courses are highly recommended: abnormal psychology, biological psychology, learning, personality, social psychology, developmental psychology, and history/systems of psychology.
2. Summed score of 300 or better (1000 or better based on previous scores) on the verbal and quantitative sub tests of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination.
3. Submission of an academic writing sample (e.g., a college term paper; preferably a paper that is psychology related) that is entirely the student's work and reflects the student's writing skills.
4. Three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.
Please note that these are the minimum requirements for admission. Admission is competitive and students who are admitted to the program may far surpass these minimums.
Applicants who do not meet all requirements for regular admission but who show evidence of promise as a graduate student may, in exceptional cases, be considered for provisional admission if space is available in the program. The graduate admissions committee will consider provisional admission on an individual basis. Students admitted provisionally may be required to make up deficiencies in their undergraduate course work without graduate credit in addition to completing the normal degree requirements listed below.
Provisional students may apply for regular standing after satisfactory completion of the first nine semester hours of recommended graduate course work in psychology. Students must also remove any undergraduate deficiencies before being approved for change of status. Students in provisional standing who receive a grade lower than "B" in any graduate or undergraduate psychology course will be recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School for academic dismissal.
Applicants for non-degree status in psychology are considered only in exceptional cases and will normally be admitted only if they meet regular admission standards. That is, they must have a 3.0 GPA overall and in psychology, a score of 300 or better on the verbal plus quantitative sub tests of the Graduate Record Examination, and must have completed the required undergraduate course work. Following admission, non-degree students must have permission of the department chair and director of graduate studies of the college for each course they wish to enroll in. Enrollment will be approved on a space-available basis with preference being given to degree students. Non-degree students must satisfy the same prerequisites and corequisites as degree students.
All graduate students will be evaluated each semester to determine if they are making satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements. Students will be given written reports, including specific deficits, if they are not making satisfactory progress. Such students will have one semester to remedy the specific deficits listed or will be subject to dismissal from the program.
Each year the Psychology Department recommends qualified applicants to the Dean of Graduate School for graduate assistantships. Applicants must be students in Regular Standing. The graduate admission committee strongly recommends that applicants for assistantships submit scores from the GRE Subject Test in Psychology as part of their application materials.
Application forms for graduate assistantships may be obtained by writing the Psychology Department, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL 36688-0002 or by calling the secretary of the Psychology Department at (251) 460-6371. The deadline for receipt of completed assistantship applications is December 15.
Experimental Concentration
Students admitted to the experimental concentration must complete the curriculum described below and appropriate electives. All students are required to complete and defend a thesis based on original research. A minimum of 36 hours of graduate courses are required.
Research Methodology/Statistics PSY 500,  501, 502  
Biopsychology PSY 510 or PSY 528 or PSY 575  
Social PSY 520 or PSY 522  
Cognition PSY 514 or PSY 516  
Developmental PSY 524 or PSY 570  
Thesis (PSY 599 - 6 to 9 hours)      
Clinical and Counseling Psychology Concentration
Students in the Clinical and Counseling Ph.D., program will complete the following courses as requirements for a Master of Science degree in Psychology. In addition, students must complete either a major project in psychology (minimum of three hours required) or a thesis (minimum of six hours required). Satisfactory completion of PSY 530 with a minimum grade of "B" is required before a student is allowed to enrolled to enroll in any practicum course.
PSY 500 2 hrs PSY 501 3 hrs
PSY 502 3 hrs PSY 510 3 hrs
PSY 516 3 hrs PSY 522 3 hrs
PSY 524 3 hrs PSY 532 3 hrs
PSY 530 3 hrs    
PSY 540 3 hrs PSY 542 3 hrs
PSY 544 3 hrs PSY 550 3 hrs
PSY 556 9 hrs    
The Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science and the Department of Professional Studies in the College of Education and Professional Studies. This program is designed to prepare professionals to provide the most effective types of psychological care for individuals and communities. The graduates of this program will have a set of competencies that will enable them to work successfully with a variety of professionals for the purposes of health promotion and to treat mental disorders. Please see the full program description under the heading "The Graduate School" for more information.


Course descriptions are available here.


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