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A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts
or Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology


All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the NIU Undergraduate Catalog.  Information is valid through August 2015.


B.A. or B.S. Degree in Psychology

Preparing for Transferring to NIU

We welcome new majors who transfer to us from community colleges and have found that several of our very best majors each year have begun their college careers at community colleges. A solid preparation at a community college will help ensure a student's future success at NIU. Therefore, we strongly recommend that students plan their academic future in close consultation with community college advisers, and then with advisers in their major at NIU at the time of transfer. Each undergraduate psychology major at NIU is encouraged to meet with individual psychology faculty advisers who act as consultants concerning course scheduling and other academic and career plans.

What Classes Should I Take at My Community College?

As you earn your associate's degree or work toward completion of the IAI General Education Core Curriculum, you should try to take classes that will satisfy requirements for your degree at NIU. For example, you must choose either a B.A. or B.S. sequence at NIU.  A B.S. at NIU requires you to take a combination of math and science courses.  A B.A. requires completion of a foreign language sequence or four years of a high school foreign language with grades of 'C' or better.  Check NIU’s Articulation Tables to see which classes will transfer to NIU from your community college.  For more details about these and other NIU requirements, consult the Undergraduate Catalog.

Psychology at NIU

The Department of Psychology at NIU provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to obtain information about and become involved in the scientific study of mind and behavior. At its core, psychology is a research science that attempts to understand the behavior of all animals, with the primary focus on people. In addition to its research core, the discipline also includes professional applications to solving human problems.

We have 30 full-time faculty in the department (all with doctoral degrees) and offer undergraduate courses across a wide variety of areas, including clinical psychology, child and developmental psychology, social and personality psychology, behavioral neuroscience, learning and cognition, etc. Courses with different emphases within each of these areas are offered each semester and therefore our students have the opportunity to obtain breadth across areas as well as depth of training within key areas of psychology. Enrollment capacities in upper-division courses for our majors are kept low so that faculty contact with undergraduate students can be maximized. At the same time, these courses are taught by faculty who are active and productive researchers, conducting research at the cutting edge of their fields. Thus, our undergraduates receive training from faculty who are not just transmitting knowledge, but who are, in fact, actively engaged in creating that knowledge and bringing these experiences with them into the classroom. Psychology is a strong major that will provide you with an excellent background in the content areas of the discipline as well as in scientific methodology, and overall critical and analytical thinking.

As a result of close contacts in the classroom and during faculty office hours, faculty members come to know the work, unique strengths, and needs of our majors quite well. Recent surveys of former graduates indicate that the vast majority highly value the education they received in psychology at NIU and would recommend the program to their friends. Placement surveys indicate that over two-thirds of our graduates are employed in areas directly related to the training they received in psychology, such as human resources and health/social services, or are continuing their education beyond the undergraduate degree. Some of the special opportunities available to our majors include:

Independent Study: A large number of our undergraduates develop a desire to become more involved in specific areas of study and pursue independent study research projects in faculty laboratories. In these settings, they work alongside faculty and master's and doctoral graduate students on detailed aspects of ongoing research projects. Your academic adviser can help you select a faculty member with interests appropriate for your intended topic.

Cooperative Education/Internships: A number of our students are interested in obtaining field-based experiences in conjunction with our internship course. A sample of the agencies at which psychology majors have interned during the past few years includes:

  • Ben Gordon Community Mental Health Center of DeKalb
  • Cook County Circuit Court, Social Services
  • DeKalb County Youth Services Bureau
  • DeKalb County Senior Center
  • DeKalb County Office of the State's Attorney
  • Family Service Agency, DeKalb
  • Gateway Youth Care Foundation
  • Illinois Department of Child and Family Services
  • Illinois Youth Center, St. Charles
  • Kishwaukee Community Hospital, DeKalb
  • Organization of Catholic Charities
  • United Airlines, Human Resources

Honors Program: A departmental honors program is available for qualified psychology majors with high academic promise.

Student Organizations: The department houses two active undergraduate student organizations: Student Psychological Association (SPA) and Psi Chi--the national honor society for psychology. These organizations hold regular meetings, sponsor lectures by faculty and outside speakers, are involved in the selection process for undergraduate teaching excellence awards, provide student members to the undergraduate curriculum and standards committee, provide student representatives on the department grade appeals panel, and maintain an office in the psychology building that provides information, peer advisement, and graduate school and occupational placement materials for majors.

Career Information

The career opportunities open to someone with a degree in psychology depend largely on whether immediate employment is sought upon the completion of a bachelor's degree or whether advanced degrees (at the master's or doctoral level) are pursued by attending graduate school. Completion of an undergraduate psychology major provides a student with both a strong liberal arts education and adequate preparation for entry-level employment in a variety of career paths. About two-thirds of all psychology majors seek full-time jobs immediately after they graduate. Over the past five years, virtually all NIU psychology majors who have sought full-time employment have been successful, most typically obtaining positions in either health/social service/human resources area or in the business/management/finance area. Some examples of job market areas that graduates with bachelor's degrees in psychology have entered include: advertising; business merchandising, research, and sales; child care; community mental health; employment counseling; foster care; job evaluation/performance evaluation analyzing; marketing and public relations; personnel selection and placement; probation and parole; research assisting the collection of data in a lab or applied setting; social work; technical/scientific writing.

Suggested Semester Plans

ENGL 103   ENGL 104  3
PSYC 102 3   COMS 100 3
For Lang1/MATH2 3-4   For Lang1/MATH2 3-4
Soc Science Gen Ed 3   Science Gen Ed3 3
Humanities Gen Ed   Humanities Gen Ed 3
  15-16     15-16
For Lang1/MATH2 3-4   For Lang 1/MATH2 3-4
PSYC Elective 3   Humanities Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3   Social Science Gen Ed 3
Science Gen Ed 3-4   IDSP Gen Ed 3
Social Science Gen Ed   Gen Ed Elective 3
STAT 208 or 301 or 3503   PSYC 3054 3
PSYC 300/400 level 3   PSYC 300/400 level 3
PSYC 300/400 level 3   PSYC 300/400 level 3
Minor5 3   Elective (any level) 3
Minor5 3   Minor 300/400 3
  16     15
PSYC 400-level Lab   PSYC 400-level Lab 4
PSYC 300/400 level 3   PSYC 300/400 level 3
Minor 300/400 3   Minor 300/400 3
Minor 300/400 3   MInor 300/400 3
Elective (any level) 3   Elective (any level) 3
  16     16

1 Required for B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement.
2 Required for the B.S. sequence. See current Undergraduate Catalog for approved sequences.
3 B.A. students should choose STAT 208.
4 A grade of C or better in STAT 208, STAT 301, or STAT 350 is a prerequisite. Departmental Honors students should take PSYC 305 one semester earlier than the recommended path in order to prepare to tak PSYC 306H.
5 Lower-Division Prerequisite.

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level


For More Information

Department of Psychology
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact:

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115-­2857
(800) 892­-3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.