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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 gain valuable experience as a research participant.

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

Swarthmore College encourages its students to include study abroad as part of their educational experience. The Psychology Department recognizes that international study has an important place in the educational programs of its students. Each year, many students take psychology courses while studying abroad. 

If you are planning to take psychology classes while abroad, we recommend discussing your plans with your faculty advisor in psychology and also with the department chair. The department usually recommends that psychology majors with strong research interests complete their study abroad experience during the fall semester of their junior year so that it does not interfere with applications for summer research fellowships or with the development of senior thesis proposals. 

With prior approval from the department, students are usually able to apply one credit of psychology coursework from a study abroad program towards the psychology major. This course can occasionally count as a core course in psychology (i.e., as one of the four core courses required for the major) if it covers similar content as a core course. The course can sometimes serve as a pre-requisite to a seminar. However, core courses that are part of honors preparations (core + seminar prep) must be completed here at Swarthmore. 

Off campus study courses do not count towards the minor in psychology. In general, all coursework for the minor must be completed here at Swarthmore.

Students who would like to receive psychology credit for a psychology course taken at another institution must have taken PSYC 001 or a relevant first year seminar in psychology, or placed out of this requirement through AP or IB work. The department may consider exceptions for students who have taken COGS 001 (Intro to Cognitive Science) when taught by a member of the psychology department. See the Catalog.

For more information about Psychology Department Policies regarding off-campus study, please visit:

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 Fall semester, where faculty members present ongoing research in their labs and discuss available positions for interested students. 

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 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 101-112)
  • Seminars (PSYC 130-139)
Do courses that are cross-listed as PSYC and 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/EDUC 021, PSYC/EDUC 023, and PSYC/EDUC 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 Betsy Durning ( edurnin1).

Please note that as of Spring 2020, EDUC 021, EDUC 023, and EDUC 026 are no longer cross-listed as PSYC  courses.


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 Betsy Durning, the Administrative Coordinator 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. The graduate school information session is usually hosted in the Fall semester.

For more information about the application process and resources for students, please visit:

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 Jobs and Internships Google Drive. Students can also find additional job and internship resources from our Job, Internship, and Graduate School Resources page.

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

The Psychology Department’s main office is located in Singer Hall 201  and is open Monday- Friday from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (closed from 12:00- 1:00 pm). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Betsy Durning.

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 Betsy Durning, Administrative Coordinator at edurnin1.