Frequently Asked Questions

Undergraduate Students

Questions about Finding an Advisor

  1. How can I find out the name of my major advisor? Answer
  2. I am a transfer student and want to know how to find out the name of my advisor? Answer
  3. How can I find out the name of my minor advisor? Answer
  4. How can I find out when my advisor is available to meet with me? Answer

Questions about Course Scheduling

  1. I just finished taking General Psychology and want to know what I should take next? Answer
  2. What classes should I take my sophomore year? Answer
  3. When should I take the Careers in Psychology course? Answer
  4. When should I take the Basic Statistics and Research Methods courses? Answer
  5. How can I register for RODP courses? Answer

Question about Student Forms
  1. What is the "upper division form,"; and where can I get one? Answer
  2. When should I complete and submit the upper division form? Answer
  3. What is the "intent to graduate form,"; and when should I complete this? Answer

Questions about Majors and Minors

  1. How do I declare a minor in psychology? Answer
  2. What is required for a minor in psychology? Answer
  3. If I am a psychology major, can I also minor in psychology? Answer
  4. What is the PreGraduate major in Psychology? Answer
  5. How do I apply to the PreGraduate Psychology major? Answer
  6. How can I change my major to psychology? Answer
  7. Can I double major if I am a psychology major? Answer
  8. I want to complete an Honors thesis in psychology but don't know how to get started. Answer
  9. How can I find out if the psychology course I want to take is offered as an honors course? Answer
  10. Who can sign up for honors courses in psychology? Answer
  11. How can I get involved in undergraduate research in psychology? Answer
  12. What can I do with a major in Psychology? Answer

Information for Graduating Seniors

  1. What tests do graduation seniors have to take? Answer
  2. What is the Major Field Test? Answer
  3. What is the General Education Exam? Answer

1. Psychology majors who are not transfer students are automatically assigned an advisor in the department according to the first letter of their last name. You are a transfer student if you have ever taken a course at another institution. Transfer students should contact either Dr. Skip Kendrick, Dr. Alan Musicant, or Dr. Kim Ujcich-Ward for advising. PreGraduate Psychology majors should contact Dr. Boyer-Pennington for advising, and I/O psychology majors should contact either Dr. Burke or Dr. Van Hein (determined by the student's last name) for advising. Contact information for all faculty and staff can be found at the Faculty and Staff link on the Department homepage. Back to top

2. Transfer students should contact either Dr. Skip Kendrick, Dr. Alan Musicant or Dr. Aimee Holt for advising. Back to top

3. Students who are psychology minors are automatically assigned an advisor in the department according to the first letter of their last name. Specialty (i.e., lifespan development, I/O psychology, neuroscience, mental health services) and interdisciplinary minors (e.g., behavioral research) have assigned primary advisors, and students should see that individual for advising and to sign the upper division form. See the advisor list to determine your minor advisor's name. Back to top

4. Most faculty have established office hours that are specified times of the week when they are available to meet with students. This is the preferred time for appointments, advising, and meeting with students. Office hours for faculty members vary each semester depending on course schedule, other commitments and personal preference. Many faculty members have their office hours posted on their doors and listed on their syllabi. Students also may contact faculty members directly to determine a faculty member's availability. Additionally, office hours for the semester are posted on the departmental website on the "Faculty and Staff" page. Back to top

5. There is no separate form for declaring a minor in psychology. Students should list their minor(s) on the Upper Division form and have it signed by their minor advisor(s). The minor advisor should sign off on minor courses—not the major advisor. In many cases, the minor advisor will be from a different department on campus. Students should contact the main office of that department to find out the name of their assigned minor advisor . Back to top

6. The Psychology Department offers 6 different minors in psychology. Each minor has a set of specific requirements. Requirements for each minor can be found in the catalog and on the Undergraduate Students page of the Psychology Department website. Back to top

7. Students who are following the guidelines for the 38-hour Psychology major have the option of choosing a psychology-related minor as one of their two minors. The second minor, however, must be from a non-psychology field. Students who are following the requirements for the PreGraduate Psychology major or the Industrial/Organizational Psychology major cannot choose a psychology-related minor as their one minor. Back to top

8. The PreGraduate Major in Psychology is a specialized concentration/major designed for high-achieving students who are seriously considering attending a research-based masters on Ph.D. program in psychology. As part of this major, students are required to complete an additional statistics course and research methods course and to be involved in undergraduate research in psychology. To be eligible for consideration, students should have completed (a) 45-60 hours, (b) at least one semester at MTSU, (c) several courses in psychology (including General Psychology and preferably Basic Statistics), and (d) General Education courses in English, Math, and Science. A minimum overall G.P.A. of 3.25 and a major G.P.A. of 3.50 are required for consideration by the Admissions Committee. Students should consult their major advisor and the PreGraduate Major advisor to determine if this program is right for you. Because different graduate programs (e.g., I/O, counseling, clinical, school psychology, quantitative) look for different kinds of experiences in their applicants, it also is recommended that students consult with graduate faculty in those programs to determine if this major is right for you. Students should not self-select this major or change their major to this concentration themselves. Back to top

9. Students who wish to pursue the PreGraduate Psychology major must formally apply and be admitted to this program. Eligible students may obtain an application form from that program's major advisor. See the "Finding Your Advisor" link on the "Undergraduate Students" page for the name and contact information of that program's current major advisor. Back to top

10. The upper division form serves as an official record of a student's progress toward his or her degree. Students fill in the general education requirements they have completed, the major courses they have completed, and the minor courses they have completed. Students should complete this form and turn it in to the Records Office no later than three semesters prior to graduation. The form must be signed by the student's major advisor and minor advisor(s). It is strongly recommended that students use this form when meeting with their advisors to plan course schedules. Because there is no other form for declaring a minor, the upper division form serves as the official record of a student's minor(s). Back to top

11. The Upper Division form should be turned in to the Records Office no later than priority registration when two semesters are remaining until graduation (this would be three semesters prior to graduation). Students should submit the upper division form and intent to graduate form at the same time. The upper division form must be signed by the major advisor and the minor advisors. Only the major advisors for I/O psychology and PreGraduate Psychology can sign those upper division forms. Back to top

12. Students who intend to graduate should submit a "Notice of Intention to Graduate Form"; and "Upper-Division Form"; together to the Records Office during priority registration when two semesters are remaining until graduation (this would be 3 semesters prior to graduation). This allows time to check records and notify students so they will have two semesters to plan remaining courses. Students should consult the online calendar maintained by the Records and Scheduling Office for deadline dates. The undergraduate form is available in the Records Office, Student Services & Admissions Center, Room 150, and on the webBack to top

13. Students may choose "Psychology"; as their major on the Admissions forms for the university. Alternatively, students who initially list their major as "undecided"; or who wish to change their major to psychology may change their major to psychology using the online "Change of Major"; form on the Office of Records and Scheduling webpage. Students who wish to pursue the PreGraduate Psychology major should obtain an application form from that program's major advisor. Students should not self-select this major on the university Admissions forms or change their major to the PreGraduate Psychology major themselves. Back to top

14. Psychology majors may double major providing they satisfy the requirements of both majors, and the second major also leads to the B.S. degree. Students must submit an upper division form for each major. The second major may count as one of the two minors required for the Psychology major. Back to top

15. It is strongly recommended that students take PSY2000: Seminar on Careers in Psychology; PSY2300: Developmental Psychology; PSY221: Psychology of Social Behavior; and PSY3020: Basic Statistics prior to enrolling in other 3000 and 4000-level psychology courses. Back to top

16. Students should take PSY2000: Seminar on Careers in Psychology; PSY2300: Developmental Psychology; PSY2210: Psychology of Social Behavior; and PSY3020: Basic Statistics prior to enrolling in other 3000- and 4000-level psychology courses. Also, it is advisable for students to satisfy their General Education requirements prior to their junior year. Students should talk with their advisor to determine the courses that are best for their schedule and their goals. Back to top

17. It is strongly recommended that students take the 1-hour Seminar on Careers in Psychology course the semester after they take the General Psychology course and no later than the sophomore year. Back to top

18. It is strongly recommended that students take the Basic Statistics course (PSY3020) no later than their sophomore year, as it is prerequisite for Research Methods in Psychology (PSY3070). Completion of MATH1710 or 1730 is a prerequisite for enrolling in the Basic Statistics course. Research Methods should be taken the semester following Basic Statistics. Back to top

19. The honors thesis project is required of every student who graduates from the University Honors College. Students who plan to complete an honors thesis in psychology should first consult the thesis requirements (and deadlines) published by the University Honors College ( http://honors.web.mtsu.edu) and fill out the appropriate paperwork. The second step involves selecting a faculty member to be the thesis advisor. We recommend that students begin thinking about the honors thesis during the first semester of their junior year. After identifying an advisor, students should enroll in UH4900 (Thesis Tutorial) the second semester of their junior year. To enroll in UH4900, students must have completed 16 hours of lower-division Honors courses and 4 upper-division Honors hours, as well as maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher. Once a thesis proposal is approved by the Honors Council, students may register for UH4950: Honors Independent Research, a three-credit hour graded course, in the subsequent semester. Students should take this course the first semester of their senior year so they have an additional semester to finish the project if needed. Back to top

20. Students who desire to enroll in honors psychology courses should first check the online schedule of courses during preregistration for available sections.

According to the University Honors College Hand book, "If an honors section of a course is not offered, students have the option of taking upper division courses in their major fields of study as H-Options. An H-Option refers to a course not listed as Honors that is allowed to count for Honors credit. In order to H-Option a course, the student and course instructor must agree upon unique course requirements or projects that justify Honors credit a semester in advance. The agreement amounts to a contract between the student and teacher concerning the work necessary to justify Honors credit for a non-honors course. Juniors or seniors may be granted H-Option approval by following the guidelines found in the University Honors College Handbook (p. 14)"; or by consulting the University Honors College website: http://honors.web.mtsu.edu.
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21 . According to the University Honors College, "To be admitted to the University Honors College as an entering freshman, a student must have a high school GPA greater than or equal to 3.5 and an ACT composite score greater than or equal to 25 (SAT greater than or equal to 1160). There is no essay to write or separate admission form to complete (with the exception of the Buchanan Fellowship). Transfer students or established MTSU students who have completed at least 12 semester hours are eligible to enroll in Honors courses provided that their cumulative GPA is greater than or equal to 3.25. Eligible students are encouraged to enroll in Honors courses even though they may not plan to graduate from the University Honors College."; Back to top

22. To be competitive for research-based graduate programs in psychology, it is important for students to have research experience in psychology. Many students who become involved in research as undergraduates do so through PSY3990: Research in Psychology. Students have the opportunity to work with a faculty member on that person's ongoing research; some opportunities may involve entering data on the computer, conducting library or computer research, assisting in the development of research materials, and/or assisting in data collection.

Students may learn about a particular faculty member's research on the "Faculty and Staff" link of the Department homepage. Those interested in a particular subfield of psychology should also consult with their major advisor for information about ongoing research in the department. Students should take the initiative to contact faculty about their ongoing research to determine the availability of PSY3990 opportunities. Back to top

23. The Seminar on Careers in Psychology course is designed to provide students with a number of options regarding possible careers and careers paths. More information can be found at the "Careers in Psychology" link of the department website. Additionally, the American Psychological Association (APA) has posted a comprehensive paper entitled "Careers in Psychology"; on the Careers page of its website. This paper can be accessed at http://psyccareers.apa.org. Another website that students may find useful can be accessed at http://www.psywww.com/careers/. Back to top

24. Students who wish to register for RODP courses must first complete an RODP Request for Override Form prior to registering for the course. This form can be found on the Continuing Education and Distance Learning website. Back to top

25. Graduating senior psychology majors, including I/O psychology majors, are required to take two tests prior to graduating. The Major Field Test is administered Fall and Spring, and the General Education exam is administered Fall, Spring, and Summer. Back to top

26. The Major Field Test covers material that is specific to the field of psychology. Psychology majors and PreGraduate Psychology majors can expect to see questions about developmental psychology, social psychology, research methods in psychology, cognitive psychology, abnormal psychology, and statistcs in psychology. I/O psychology majors can expect to see questions that are specific to psychology classes they will have taken: research methods, statistics, human learning, and social psychology. Each test is multiple-choice. Students should allow at least 2 hours to take the test.

It is very important that each student do his or her best on the Major Field Test because student performance on this test affects the amount of money the psychology department and the university receives from the state. It is very important that at least 55% of majors perform better than the national average on the test. Student tests scores also reflect the quality of the department and university.

Dates the Major Field Test will be administered can be found on the website of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning and Research or www.mtsu.edu/~iepr . Back to top

27. Commonly referred to as the "Exit Exam," the General Education exam is required of all graduating seniors. MTSU presently uses the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST) as its General Education exam. The test consists of 34 multiple-choice items and lasts approximately 1 hour, A complete description of the CCTST can be found at http://frank.mtsu.edu/~iepr/gened.htm .

It is very important for students to do their best when taking this test because performance on this test is used to determine the amount of money that the university receives from the state. MTSU can earn more than $500,000 each year from the state if students do well on this test. Test scores also affect others' impressions of the university. Presently, the executive vice president and provost sponsors a $100 award for each student who achieves one of the top five scores in his or her college.

Graduating seniors should receive an email the semester of graduation informing them of the General Education test. Additionally, the dates of the General Education test can be found on the website of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning and Research or www.mtsu.edu/~iepr . Back to top