For students who wish to concentrate in Psychology, the Department offers both A.B. and Sc.B. programs. Concentrators take advantage of a wide range of course options, including courses in the major sub-disciplines of psychology (perception and cognition; personality, social, and developmental; and comparative/physiology psychology), quantitative methods, laboratory techniques, and senior seminars on specialized topics. One of the hallmarks of the undergraduate program in Psychology at Brown is close collaboration between undergraduates and faculty members. Qualified undergraduates may work as teaching assistants in several courses. Students also have the opportunity to conduct independent research under the supervision of one of the faculty members in the department. Many concentrators choose to enter the Honors program, in which students work on a research project with a professor on a one-to-one basis for a full year. Honors students collaborate with their faculty advisor in all stages of the research process, from designing an experiment, to collecting and analyzing data, to writing a thesis, and giving an oral presentation on the research project.

Concentration Requirements

Introductory Psychology: Planning a concentration and choosing elective courses requires general knowledge about the topics psychologists study. Introductory Psychology (CLPS0010) is required for the concentration. Students may satisfy the Introductory Psychology requirement by submitting AP (score of 4 or 5) or IB (score of 5 or above) test credit or by transferring Introductory Psychology course credits from other 4-year institutions.

Quantitative: Because careers in Psychology and related fields require familiarity with statistics. Therefore, the Psychology concentration requires Quantitative Methods in Psychology (CLPS0900). CLPS0900 is a prerequisite for most of the laboratory courses, so concentrators should plan to take this course by their fourth semester. The department does not grant concentration credit for AP Statistics, regardless of score. Students who feel that CLPS0900 is too elementary can complete APMA 1650 for concentration credit.

Course Distribution: Concentrators must take at least one laboratory course, which provides students with hands-on experience with research methods in a substantive area of psychology. Because the laboratory serves as the basis for independent research and is a prerequisite for the Honors program, concentrators should plan to take their lab before their senior year. This course must be taken in CLPS. Independent study or laboratory courses in other departments will not fulfill this requirement.

Advanced Seminar: Both A.B. and Sc.B. concentrators are required to take one advanced limited-enrollment seminar/critical readings course. The list of approved seminars varies yearly. Contact one of the concentration advisors for details.

AP and Transfer Credits: Students receiving AP credit for Introductory Psychology can place out of CLPS0010, and can enroll directly in higher-level psychology courses. AP credits are not accepted for other concentration requirements. Students transferring from another college or university, or students studying abroad or at another US institution, may receive transfer credits for other concentration requirements. Please refer to our departmental policy on applying AP and transfer credits.

The A.B. degree requires 12 courses. The Sc.B. degree requires 17 courses. (Concentrators should complete either the A.B. or Sc.B. Concentration Worksheet before meeting with their Concentration Advisor.)

Requirements for A.B. and Sc.B. Concentrators

1. CLPS0010 (or advanced placement with a score of 4 or 5, or transfer credit) is required. If placement for CLPS0010 is granted on the basis of AP or IB test scores,  then another CLPS course (at any level) must be substituted.

2. CLPS0900 (quantitative methods) is required.

3. Six courses are required, two in each of the following areas: Perception & Cognition, Comparative/Physiological, and Social/Personality/Developmental. The pre-approved courses in each area are listed on the concentration worksheets. A laboratory course or seminar (indicated on the worksheet) may be used to meet the area requirement only if it is the studentís second lab course or second seminar. Independent study courses cannot be used for this requirement. First year seminars outside of CLPS cannot be counted for the area requirement.

4. An advanced laboratory course. These include: CLPS1090, CLPS1092, CLPS1190, CLPS1191, CLPS1192, CLPS1193, CLPS1194, CLPS1290, CLPS1490, CLPS1491, CLPS1492, CLPS1510, CLPS1690, CLPS1790, and CLPS1791. The worksheets include up-to-date lists of labs. Independent study courses and laboratory courses outside of CLPS cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

5. An advanced seminar/critical readings course in CLPS, numbered above 1000.  Consult one of the concentration advisors for lists of approved courses.

Requirements Specific to the A.B. Concentration

6. Two elective courses, with approval of the concentration advisor. The electives should complement the student’s main area of interest in Psychology. These courses can be taken outside of CLPS.  Only courses that carry concentration credit in the home department can be used for this requirement. In addition, independent study and GISP courses will not fulfill this requirement.

Requirements Specific to the Sc.B. Concentration

6. Six supporting science courses should be selected from the following areas: Applied Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Engineering, Mathematics, Neuroscience, or Physics. The following courses cannot be used to meet the requirement for outside science courses: independent study or GISPs, courses in science studies, or ENGN 0020, 0090, 0900, 1010. AP credit can substitute for only one of these courses.

7. Directed Research (CLPS1980). CLPS1980 typically involves one semester of independent research under the direct supervision of a faculty advisor in Psychology. This includes data collection and/or analysis, and a final written report. Upon department approval, the faculty advisor may be from another department or unit if the research program is within the field of psychology and approved by the concentration advisor as such. The proposal form for CLPS1980 must be submitted to the concentration advisor before the student can register for CLPS1980. Contact the Sc.B. Concentration Advisor for further details. CLPS1980 cannot be counted for the lab requirement. The CLPS Undergraduate Concentration Committee oversees the concentration and receives petitions regarding concentration requirements.


Detailed information about the Psychology Honors program is available on a dedicated page.


Page last updated in February, 2012.

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