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Recommended General Education Courses for a Psychology Major

by Susan Revermann

Although your college assigns a designated set of required classes you must take to obtain a psychology degree, you need to fill in the general education gaps. You have the freedom to fill your transcript with several random classes, but you can strategically choose courses that strengthen your breadth of knowledge or add focus to a specific psychology avenue.

Specialized Psychology Classes

Although you’ve probably taken psych 101 or fundamentals of psychology, you can go beyond that general psychology course when choosing your general education classes. For instance, Illinois State University offers lifespan development, psychology of personality and social psychology courses. The University of Washington has motivation, learning, cognitive psychology, personality, infant behavior and development and abnormal psychology on its list of psychology classes that also fulfill one of their general ed areas. Any additional psychology courses that you can take that also fulfill your general education requirements can provide a good learning opportunity. When you have a specific field of psychology study in mind, choose classes that match that focus.

Math and Statistics

A psychology major student can find extra math courses and elementary statistics quite useful. These classes are prerequisites for other psychology courses, and they also strengthen your knowledge in these specific areas. Psychology majors need a strong background such as this, especially if they are doing a psychology research lab or internship later on.

Science

Science courses take up some of the required general education slots. If you plan on working with animals, the University of Florida considers animal behavior and evolutionary developmental biology as general education science courses. The school also offers classes such as sensory processes, behavioral neuroscience, developmental psychobiology and neurochemistry, pharmacology and behavior, which can go toward your science general education requirements. You can take biopsychology, sociobiology, animal communication and insect behavior at the University of Washington to fill these slots. General biology and chemistry are also possibilities.

Humanities

Most colleges require you to complete some humanities courses to fulfill your general education requirements. These include music, literature, history, foreign language, art and philosophy courses, and your college will have several to choose from in this general education category. For instance, The University of Florida offers philosophy of mind and humanities perspectives on gender and sexuality, which psychology majors may be interested in. Anthropology courses may interest a psych major, since they cover such topics as how individuals evolve and relate through social interactions and culture. If you add foreign language to your course load, you fulfill your general education requirements, and you also broaden your scope of the world, expand you ability to communicate with a larger group of people and possibly increase your clientele, if you’re going toward the psychologist or psychiatrist route.

Random Classes

Some classes fill up pretty quickly. You may find yourself every once in a while with a vacant slot that you had originally anticipated to fill with a certain class that now has no open slots. This is the perfect opportunity to take a random class that you may be interested in but doesn’t necessarily fit into the psychology realm. For example, you may find a poetry, yoga or pottery class that looks interesting. These are also viable choices if you have a hefty course load and need an elective without maxing out your mental payload.

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