Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to complete PSYC 001 if I have AP or IB credit?

While a score of a 5 on the AP exam or a score of a 6 or above on the higher level IB exam qualifies students for placement out of Psychology 001: Introduction to Psychology, we strongly recommend that students complete PSYC 001. Introduction to Psychology explores the basic processes underlying human thought and behavior and provides students with a solid, comprehensive foundation. By completing PSYC 001 on campus, students can adjust to the workload at Swarthmore and the expectations and demands of courses in the psychology department before completing advanced level coursework. Additionally, PSYC 001 provides students with an opportunity to be exposed to different psychology department faculty members through small, discussion-based mini-seminars and a chance to gain valuable experience as a research participant.


Can Psychology courses that I complete abroad count toward my Psychology major/minor?

The Psychology Department recognizes that international study may have an important place in the educational programs of students, and we support those who wish to include such an experience during their time at Swarthmore.

We usually advise students to complete their time abroad by the middle of the junior year so that it does not interfere with applications for summer research or with the development of thesis proposals and senior research project proposals. Students may wish to consult with an advisor in the department about their specific plan because of the absence of uniform international standards in psychology. In most cases, we encourage students to emphasize work in areas other than psychology while away.

However, the Department of Psychology may permit a student to transfer a single psychology course from a study abroad program to count toward the minimum major requirements, but normally not in fulfillment of a core course requirement or as a prerequisite for an advanced seminar. Additional work may be considered for transfer beyond the minimum major requirements. All coursework completed for the psychology minor must be completed at Swarthmore.

Students who would like to receive credit for psychology courses taken at another institution must have taken Psyc 001, a first year seminar in psychology, or placed out of this requirement through AP or IB work. See the Catalog.


How can I get involved in research on-campus?

At Swarthmore there are a number of ways that students can get involved in research on-campus, whether that be through coursework, independent research projects, participation in studies, or working as a research assistant.

If you are a student interested in working as a research assistant, please visit our Research & Practica page to learn more about the labs in the psychology department. Once you have identified a lab or a faculty member that you are interested in working with, please feel free to reach out to them directly through email or stop by during their office hours to inquire about available positions. The Psychology Department also hosts a research panel each year, where faculty members present ongoing research in their labs and discuss available positions for interested students. Slides from the Fall 2017 research panel can be accessed on the Psychology Department’s Google Drive. For more information about this event, please contact Kim Hoang, the Academic Assistant for the department.

Another way for students to get involved in research is through coursework in the psychology department.  One component of PSYC 001 is participation in research studies, which provides students with valuable experience as research participants. Additionally, the Psychology Department offers a number of Research Practicum and Research Design and Analysis courses every semester. These courses provide students with an opportunity to get hands-on experience with research by designing their own studies and collecting and analyzing data. In addition to these courses, students can also pursue thesis work in their senior year or conduct independent research with a faculty member for course credit.


What are the Psychology Department’s policies on completing courses Credit/ No Credit?

Apart from PSYC 001: Introduction to Psychology, it is strongly recommended that all courses that count toward a major, minor, or special major involving psychology be taken for a grade.

Moreover, students who are completing a program in psychology (a major, minor, or special major) cannot take the following courses for credit/no credit:

  • PSYC 025: Research Design and Analysis
  • PSYC 090: Clinical Field Placement
  • Independent Research Projects and Senior Research Projects (PSYC 094 and PSYC 098)
  • Thesis Work (PSYC 096/097, PSYC 099, PSYC 180)
  • Research Practica courses (PSYC 101, PSYC 102, PSYC 103, PSYC 104, PSYC 105, PSYC 106, PSYC 108, PSYC 109, PSYC 110)
  • Seminars (PSYC 130, PSYC 131, PSYC 131A, PSYC 132, PSYC 133, PSYC 134, PSYC 135, PSYC 138A, PSYC 138B, PSYC 139)

Do psychology courses taught by faculty members in the Education Studies department count toward the psychology major/ minor?

No, psychology courses taught by faculty members in the education studies department do not count toward the psychology major or minor. For example, courses such as PSYC 021, PSYC 023, and PSYC 026 do not count towards the minimum number of courses required for the major in psychology, though they can, of course, be counted as additional psychology credits beyond the requirements for the major. If you have any questions about whether a course counts toward the psychology major or minor, please feel free to contact Kim Hoang (khoang1).


How are advisors assigned?

In the psychology department, advisors are assigned based on students’ interests in the field of psychology and faculty members’ availability. If students have a strong preference or request for an advisor, they can indicate this preference on their Sophomore Plan or feel free to reach out to Kim Hoang, the Academic Assistant for the department. Due to leave schedules, the need may arise for a change in advisors. If and when this time comes, students will be contacted to discuss this change, and we greatly appreciate their flexibility in this matter.


Is it okay to take PSYC 025 and STAT 011 at the same time?

While STAT 011 is a prerequisite for PSYC 025: Research Design and Analysis, STAT 011 can be completed concurrently with PSYC 025.

NOTE: STAT 011 does not count toward the credits required for the Psychology major or minor.


How do I get advice about graduate school?

If students are interested in continuing their education and applying to graduate school in psychology, they can consult department faculty members, who will provide guidance and support in the application process. Additionally, the Psychology Department hosts an annual graduate school information session, which explores the process of applying to graduate school and what to expect as a graduate school student.

For more information about the application process and resources for students, please visit the Psychology Department’s Google Drive.


How can I learn about jobs, internships, and research opportunities?

Internship and career opportunities are sent out to students as they are received, and they are also posted on the Psychology Department’s Google Drive. Students can also find career opportunities on eRecruiting or UCAN (instructions for which can be found under the Job & Internship resources section). The Career Services Office is also an excellent resource for students to learn more about available positions.


What are the hours of the Psychology Department’s main office?

The Psychology Department’s main office is located in Whittier Hall 101A and is open Monday- Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (closed from 12:30- 1:00 pm). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kim Ngan Hoang or Kathryn Timmons.


As a prospective student, how can I learn more about the Psychology Department at Swarthmore?

If you are a prospective student interested in learning more about the psychology department, please contact Kim Ngan Hoang, the Academic Assistant for the department, at khoang1@swarthmore.edu or 610-328-8430.