University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Frequently Asked Questions

Advising

How do I get an advisor or change advisors?

You will be assigned a Psychology faculty advisor if you declare Psychology as your major when you first enroll at the University of Vermont. Students who are switching from another major or from "Undecided status" to a Psychology major should declare the Psychology major using the online form. You will then be automatically assigned a Psychology advisor.

Be sure to contact your new advisor by phone or e-mail to introduce yourself and, if needed, set up an advising appointment. You should meet with your advisor prior to the pre-registration period each semester to discuss your progress towards fulfilling your degree requirements.

Now that you are a Psychology major, the Department strongly advises that you meet in person at least once per semester with your academic advisor. It is the student's responsibility to schedule and attend the meeting at the agreed upon time. It is important to confer with your Psychology faculty advisor at least once per semester over email or in person while following carefully the College of Arts & Sciences degree requirements and the Psychology major requirements.

Why can't I register (Removing an Advisee Registration Hold)?

If there is a "registration hold" on your advisement file, you will not be able to register for courses until the hold is removed. You must see your advisor before he or she will remove this hold. It's very important to not wait until the last minute to contact your advisor to request a release of the registration hold.

Your Advisor must follow these steps:

  • at myUVM enter the faculty's UVM ID and PIN and click on Login
  • at the Main Menu page, click on Faculty Menu
  • at the UVM Faculty Menu page, click on Remove Advising Hold
  • at the Remove Advising Hold page, enter the Student ID (without the hyphens) and click on Remove Hold
  • a confirmation page confirms that the hold has been removed and the student may now register
What if I can't register for a course I want or need to take?

If you are unable to register on-line for a course you want or need to take, then you can request an override ONLY from the Instructor for that course, not your Advisor. The Instructor may deny your request for an override if class enrollment has already reached maximum. You might also be denied an override if there are restrictions on which students can register based on their major, minor, class level, or the degree program in which they are currently enrolled.

Once the Instructor has entered the on-line override, you are responsible for going on-line to register for this course. The override only gives you permission to register. If denied an override, you can wait until all Level Restrictions are removed and try to register again. Check the Registration Schedule for specific dates.

Degree and Course Requirements

What are my course requirements?

Course requirements vary by degree. The checklists for the Psychology Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees are available on our website and in hard copy on the wall rack outside Room 246 John Dewey Hall. The CATS AUDIT operated through the Registrar's Student Information System (SIS) also indicates the requirements for your particular program of study.

When should I take PSYC 109?

PSYC 109 (Psychology Research Methods I) should be taken the Fall semester of your sophomore year, and PSYC 110 (Psychology Research Methods II) the Spring semester. This will allow you time to complete other 100 and 200-level courses for which PSYC 109/110 are prerequisites. Also, if you plan on studying abroad your junior year, it's imperative to have these course completed first. Waiting until your Senior year to take them is dangerous, since this course fills up to its maximum enrollment each semester.

Should I do a B.A. or a B.S. degree?

You should choose one degree or the other based on your interests and aptitudes. The B.S. degree is best for students who like physical science. The B.A. is for students with broad academic interests in arts, humanities, social sciences, physical sciences and languages. Your career aspirations should not necessarily dictate which degree you should choose. For example, students often attend medical school having earned a B.A. Of course, these students would have still completed significant course work in physical sciences and mathematics. What is important for your career aspirations are good grades at UVM! Good grades are likely to come from courses you find most appealing.

What is a good minor for a Psychology major?

It is impossible to specify what is a particularly useful minor for a psychology major because: (1) people major in psychology for a variety of different reasons, (2) the minor can serve an array of purposes, and (3) even among psychology majors, people have different career goals. However, we can offer a few suggestions for relevant considerations when selecting your minor.

A number of psychology majors choose to minor in a field that has close ties with some aspect of psychology. This can help to broaden or deepen their understanding of psychology-related issues. For example, sociology addresses many issues that psychologists also find of interest, but sociologists come from more of a systems and demographic perspective; similarly, biology and communication sciences each examine issues that are closely related to certain aspects of psychology, offering greater depth and different vantage points on psychological concerns. So the minor can help you approach psychological issues from complementary perspectives, and also may better qualify you for interdisciplinary graduate programs and careers in the future.

Some minors, such as economics or political science, may seem less closely related to psychology, but may help prepare the psychology major for an interdisciplinary career as well. For example, psychologists who work in government, community organizations, and other policy settings can find such minors very helpful. Similarly, a minor in art might be used by a psychologist who pursues art therapy or an education position.

Other psychology majors select a minor that will help them develop knowledge that they believe will serve them well in any future career, whether in psychology or another area. For example, those who minor in a foreign language will have the flexibility to pursue careers that involve non-English speakers (including, for example, psychotherapy or designing mental health and educational programs, in a multi-cultural setting).

Finally, the purpose of the bachelor's degree is to provide the student with a broad liberal education. Your minor does not need to be a practical choice; rather, psychology majors can select a minor that they believe will simply provide a rewarding and exciting opportunity to learn and grow. So there is no "bad" choice; simply think about what your own goals are for your minor and select accordingly.

Which Psychology courses count for credit in other majors? For example, if I take PSYC 109, do I still need to take SOC 100?

Psychology courses that are cross-listed with other courses in other departments for that semester will count towards your degree requirements for both majors. Make sure to check with your advisor and the Registrar's Office for specific cross-listed courses.

How do I find out what my final grade is prior to receiving it in the mail?

Typically the fastest way to identify your course grade is to check your transcript online through the Registrar's Student Information System. Your course grades are posted as the Registrar receives them from instructors. Grades are NEVER available from the Department of Psychological Science Staff or over the phone. Grade change issues can only be handled by your course instructor.

Research and Independent Study

How can I get involved in research?

Review the Department website to learn about faculty members' research. Contact a faculty member whose research interests you and ask about the possibility of getting involved. Keep in mind that the number of students who can participate in research with a given faculty member is limited and a faculty member may not have openings at a particular time. Faculty and graduate students who are recruiting undergraduates to become involved in their research often post announcements around the Department. Note that you can earn academic credit for your research involvement.

How do I sign up for an honors thesis?

Please check the Arts & Sciences web page devoted to Honors Programs for the most current information.

Employment After Graduation

What can I do employment wise with a B.A. or B.S. in Psychology?

Check our Careers in Psychology page for several helpful websites.

Be sure to watch the video "What can you do with a B.A. or B.S. in psychology?" on our multimedia page. It is also available for checkout at the Media Desk at Bailey/Howe Library (DVD #7326). In it a panel of individuals working in business, research, social services, and government discuss how you can use your bachelor's degree in psychology.

What summer jobs might provide me with good experience for figuring out what I want to do?

Summers are a great time to explore some aspects of possible jobs and/or activities involved in careers in psychology. You can get these experiences in a variety of ways; through a full- or part-time job or volunteer position. Just because you can't devote all your time to the work, don't believe it isn't important. Even a few hours a week might help you (and a future employer or graduate program) get a sense of your interests and comfort working with particular skills, populations, settings, and/or material.

Working in a research laboratory or on a research project is great experience for exploring research and academic settings. Some faculty have funds to pay students (part- or full-time) in the summer; UVM also has some programs to fund undergraduate research. To explore these possibilities, talk with faculty who are working in an area that you find interesting by first checking out their research interests.

If you believe you might want to pursue a career in some area of applied psychology, there are a variety of community settings that can provide useful experience. Contact mental health agencies, YMCAs, Boys' & Girls' Clubs, and other nonprofit agencies to check out possible volunteer or paid positions. Some business settings can provide you with experience that is useful for exploring a future in organizational psychology, personnel, and related issues. You might also consider summer camps or child care settings if you think you want to pursue a career working with children (it's important to know if you're really up to working with children for 8 hours a day).

UVM's Office of Career Services may also be able to provide assistance; and remember that if you are eligible for work-study, you can earn your work study hours off-campus in community nonprofit organizations as well as on-campus in research laboratories and offices.

Graduate School

How do I find a graduate school to apply to?

Check our graduate school link for details on applying to graduate schools. Also be sure to check the APA website. If you are serious about applying, then it's best to purchase a copy of the APA's current guide to graduate schools for up-to-date information.

What should I do to improve my chances of getting into graduate school?

Probably the number one thing you can do to improve your chances of getting into graduate school is to gain research experience working with a faculty member. Being able to discuss research experiences on a graduate application will go a long way towards minimizing any possible shortcomings of your application, such as a less-than-perfect GRE, or a less-than-stellar GPA. This is not to say that these will be completely overlooked, but many if not most faculty members are looking for new graduate students who know more than a "textbook" version of Psychology. In other words, they are looking for students who understand and appreciate what research entails as far as time and effort.

It is important to emphasize that the research experience gained as an undergraduate need not be exactly what you would like to pursue in graduate school; research experience in the same general area, broadly defined, is sufficient. The best time to seek out a professor to work with is probably your Sophomore or Junior year. Do not wait until your Senior year to seek out research experience! Most professors would prefer to work with someone for several years, given the investment they make in training people in conducting research. A good working relationship with a professor is also important for a letter of recommendation, which is an important additional component of a graduate application.

Finally, the most important reason to get involved with research is that it's fun! If you are considering graduate school, you need to have a deep love for the area that you study to make it through the rigors of a graduate program; hands-on research experience will help you in making a decision about whether graduate school is right for you.

Does UVM accept its own undergraduates for the Graduate Program in Psychology?

Yes, but very rarely. Since 1990, only 12 undergraduates from UVM have been accepted into our graduate program. This isn't because our undergrads are of poor quality, but the philosophy of our program is to encourage undergraduate students to seek graduate degrees from other universities as a means of expanding their intellectual and curricular perspectives.

Last modified September 23 2014 11:10 AM

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