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yasminemaried's avatar

How much math (and what courses) are required for an undergraduate psychology major?

Asked by yasminemaried (22points) December 8th, 2012

I’ll be a freshman in college next fall (2013) and I plan to major in psychology. I am not the smartest individual at math and sometimes it takes me awhile to grasp concepts, so I was wondering how much math I would be required to take and what math courses they would be. I am hoping to be admitted to The University of Texas at Austin and have tried looking this up, but with no luck. Also, I want to earn my PhD in psychology so does that affect requirements?

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19 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Here is some general but detailed information about course requirements for a BA in general psychology. Statistics is always required but the U. Texas may have slightly different criteria.

Send an email to the admissions department or the psych department and ask them the same question.

” Some of the commonly required core psychology courses include general psychology, statistics, experimental psychology and personality psychology.”

Mariah's avatar

The specifics will depend on the particular school, but in general there is very little math in a psychology degree.

BhacSsylan's avatar

[edit]Read things a bit more carefully, for a Ph.D. you’re going to need a decent amount of math. A lot of psych research requires a very good knowledge of statistics to pull out relevant data (and lacking this leads to some really terrible stuff, sadly). So if you want that track you’ll need several calculus classes and probably stats 1 and 2, possibly a few others like differential calc as a prereq to stats. But, this depends on your school, too. Also, you may get some of that math in a grad school program. But it is coming. However, I wouldn’t write off your ability to do math yet, give yourself some time. You grow a lot in college.

Also, your college adviser will help you a lot with this. Your first semester will be almost entirely core classes that will be needed regardless of major (basic physics and chem and calc, etc), and then you can talk with your adviser about the course path that you want, and they’ll be able to give you all the requirements for your school. You shouldn’t worry too much about major before you’re even a freshman. Chances are quite good it will change if it’s not the right fit, and you have time to do that.

yasminemaried's avatar

Thank you!! Also, I am still debating on B.A or B.S degree. I know that a B.S degree will require more science and math courses, while B.A is more liberal arts…I am torn because I love science classes but I am not great in math, and I love the humanities courses for B.A….decisions decisions….

gailcalled's avatar

You don’t have to make any serious decisions for several years.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Yeah, B.A. vs B.S. is an even less important distinction to make right now, most of the relevant differences can be figured out late Junior or even Senior year, so no worries. Also, It’s not hugely important for the future, I have a B.A. in chemistry and didn’t have trouble getting into a Ph.D. program.

yasminemaried's avatar

@gailcalled It feels like everyone pushes for decisions or at least an idea of your future plans, so it’s a tad bit stressful. Also, for myself it just reassures me sometimes knowing that I have a clue of what I want. @BhacSsylan Thank you, that is great to know. Eases the thoughts on those degrees.

BhacSsylan's avatar

“It feels like everyone pushes for decisions or at least an idea of your future plans, so it’s a tad bit stressful”

Yeah, they do, don’t they? Try not to let it get to you, you really do have lots of time to make up your mind. I switched my whole department (or ‘school’, but I was still at the same university) for a similar subject, Chem Engineering to Chemistry, but it still meant a whole new list of classes, a new advisor, getting a half dozen signatures and changing a few other things late sophomore year and it still wasn’t a problem in the long run (graduated on time, and, as I mentioned, Ph.D. student, so not too shabby). So while it’s good to have an idea, don’t feel like you have to be decided, and try not to let anyone make you decide (my college even had an ‘undecided’ major. You had to change it eventually, but it let you take more time if you weren’t sure). Even if you do end up changing for a different major, chances are a lot of your classes can be counted as electives and won’t hold you back in terms of graduating.

yasminemaried's avatar

@BhacSsylan I use to want to be a veterinarian, but I go to a agriculture-horticulture school and working with the animals (small and large) allowed me to come to the realization that although I really love animals and are passionate about them, I did not want them to be my career. I didn’t enjoy most of the work I was doing with them, so I rather do something I love and just enjoy owning some pets when I am older lol. I have had psychology as my choice since the middle of my sophmore year and I hope that I stick with it and I believe that I will because everything about the human mind interests me and grabs my attention. Thank you so much for your advice and yours as well @gailcalled

hearkat's avatar

I was originally a psych major, and there was a lot of math. I generally am good at math, but I had to take Probability And Statistics twice.

yasminemaried's avatar

@hearkat I heard that I would take calculus like everyone else and maybe only a semester of statistics. what kind of psychology did you take?

Shippy's avatar

Maths is my weakest subject. But I did very well in Statistics in Psychology up to Majors. Statistics are an integral part of Psychology of course as used for measuring data. But when I say I am bad at Math, I mean really bad. I managed.

yasminemaried's avatar

@Shippy Oh now that is a relief because I too, am REALLY bad lol but as a senior in high school I have managed…I am taking pre-calculus now and most days I am just like whaaaaaaaaaa

Shippy's avatar

@yasminemaried I doubt you could be as bad as me! I have a mental block with Maths. I did not do any prep courses at all. How I managed was to take it slow and keep on asking questions. I accepted up front that it would take me longer on those sections and I took my time. I really did OK. It is not as bad as you think! My passion for the other sections of Sociology and Psychology forced me to persevere.

hearkat's avatar

@yasminemaried: This was in 1984–85… to the best of my recollection, it was a B.A. program, because my career goal was clinical, rather than research. I did not have to take calculus; and what I meant by having to take statistics twice, was that I didn’t do well the first time, so I had to take it over again.

yasminemaried's avatar

@hearkat Ahh, I understand your point. Hopefully I won’t have to take any courses over. Going off to college is a very exciting yet nerve wracking thing. A roller coaster of the two for sure.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I have a PhD in Psychology and I have taught statistics and research design for psychology majors.

You need a solid understanding of basic and intermediate algebra. You need to understand how equations work and what formulae mean so you will understand how statistics works and why it works. The conceptual part of the math is more important than just knowing how to compute the correct answers.

I was never a mathematical wizard. Hard work and lots of practice allowed me to become especially competent in Statistics. You can do it to if you prepare yourself properly before you start graduate school.

I wish you the best.

yasminemaried's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Thank you very much for that positive feed back : )

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m a psych undergrad, too! :)

Like others have said, it depends on your school. The exact classes should be listed on the website. In fact…

BA in Psychology:

BS in Psychology:

Of course, more math is required on the BS track. On one hand, either type of degree will qualify you for a PhD program. On the other hand, the more undergrad math you take, the more prepared you’ll be for graduate-level math courses. Psychology has a good bit of statistics involved. I’ve taken 3 required courses that were statistics courses, and only one other math, a basic prerequisite course. I’m on the BA track, though. The social sciences aren’t nearly as math-heavy as many other degree programs.

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