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FAQ

Questions are organized by category headings. Click on any question listed below the headings to find the answer.

Can’t find what you are looking for? Please see the Undergraduate Program section of our Contact page for details on how to reach us.

GENERAL:

New to UofC? Are you wondering what terms like “unit,” “term,” “full-course equivalence” and “minor” are all about?
Where can I find course add/drop forms, change of program forms et cetera?
How do I use the enrollment system to pick my courses?
How much are my courses and how do I pay my tuition?
Where can I find out what the course add/drop and tuition deadlines are?
How many consecutive terms can I take away from my studies at UofC before needing to apply for readmission?
How do I calculate my GPA?
Where can I get help writing my essays?
Finding the idea of writing a 2-3 hour exam intimidating? The office of the Student Experience can help!

COURSE INFORMATION, PREREQUISITES, AND ENROLLMENT RESTRICTIONS:

Can I be overloaded into a PSYC course?
Do you offer distance education or online courses?
What are Prerequisites and are they different then Co-requisites?
Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?
What is the maximum number of courses I can take per term?
What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?
Where can I find what courses will be taught in an upcoming semester?
I’m a Psyc major, but the enrollment system won’t let me enroll in 300-level PSYC courses. Why is this?
I’m a Psyc major, but the enrollment system won’t let me enroll in 400 and 500-level PSYC courses. Why is this?
I’m a Psyc minor, do course enrollment restrictions apply to me?
I’m not a Psyc major, but I’m really interested in psychology and want to take some PSYC courses. Why won’t the enrollment system allow me to enroll?
I’m an Open Studies Student, can I enroll into Psyc courses?
I’m a Visiting Student from another university, can I enroll into Psyc courses?
Can I use PSYC 203 in lieu of PSYC 205 or PSYC 200 & 201?
Can I take PSYC 200 & 201 and PSYC 312 concurrently?
Can I take Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) and PSYC 312 concurrently?
Does the Department allow course challenges (i.e. course credit by special assessment)?
What is a lab course?
What is a research course?
How do I know whether a course is a half-course, a full-course, or a lab course?

TRANSFER COURSES:

I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC from another university/college, where can I find out how my courses transferred?
I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC but my college/university Psyc course transferred over to UofC as an undesignated course (i.e., 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, 5XX), can I get my course re-evaluated so that I can use it towards my Psyc degree or as a course prerequisite?
I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC but my college/university Bio/Chem/Phys/Math courses transferred over to UofC as an undesignated course (i.e., 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, 5XX), can I get my course re-evaluated so that I can use it towards my Psyc degree?

PROGRAMS AND PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS:

What are the requirements for a Psychology Degree?
What courses should I take in the first year of my Psychology degree?
What courses should I take in my second year?
I’m a transfer student, how can I find out what my remaining requirements are or how my college/university courses will be counted towards my degree?
Do I still need Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) for Psychology now that it’s no longer required for admission?
Is it better to get a BA or a BSc?
If I major in Psychology, what courses in other departments (e.g., Options or Electives) should I take?
What is a minor, and should I declare one?
What are the advantages of the Honours Program, and will it help me get into graduate school?
What is "graduate school," how do I prepare for it, and why should I attend it?
I already have a degree, can I complete a second Bachelors degree in Psychology?
I have a degree in Psychology, can I upgrade my previous degree to an Honours degree?


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY:

What are the job prospects for someone with a Psychology bachelor's degree?
How do I become a Clinical Psychologist?
What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Counsellor?
What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
What is Experiential Learning?


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HONOURS PROGRAM:

The application form asks me to identify up to 3 supervisors. Do I really need to identify more than 1 supervisor?
How does the student-supervisor matching system work?
What do I look for in a potential supervisor?
I've identified a potential supervisor, what do I do now?
The person I wanted to work with isn't on the list. Why not?
Some potential supervisors have "adjunct" or "emeritus" in parentheses beside their names. What does this mean? 

 

GENERAL:

New to UofC? Are you wondering what terms like “unit,” “term,” “full-course equivalence” and “minor” are all about?
Find a glossary of frequently used terminology in the University Calendar. From the Table of Contents, click on the “Glossary of Terms” link.

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Where can I find course add/drop forms, change of program forms ect…?
Please refer to the “Forms for Students” link in UofC’s Enrollment Services website for these and many other forms.

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How do I use the enrollment system to pick my courses?
Please refer to the “Online Registration Guide” section of UofC’s Enrollment Services website. See also the questions on Programs and Program Requirements on this page.

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How much are my courses and how do I pay my tuition?
You will find tuition cost, information on general and related fees, along with tuition payment options on the “Fees & Finances” section of UofC’s Enrollment Services website.

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Where can I find out what the course add/drop and tuition deadlines are?
You can find these and other deadlines on the Important Dates page of the Enrollment Services website.

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How many consecutive terms can I take away from my studies at UofC before needing to apply for readmission?
Students can take up to 24 consecutive months away from their studies at UofC without losing their student status and needing to apply for readmission. Courses taken at other institutions while away do not count towards the maintenance of student status at UofC.

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How do I calculate my GPA?
To calculate your GPA, login to MyUofC and use the “GPA Calculator” found in your Student Center. You will find it in the drop-down menu under the Academics section.

You will have the option of manually selecting which courses to include in the GPA calculation (such as the last 5 FCE completed) or selecting courses by some criteria (such as only PSYC) courses. Should you have any questions about using the GPA calculator, you can drop by the Psyc general office or call the Enrollment System help line at 403-220-5555 (option 2).

For full regulations and a general explanation of all letter grades, please refer to the “Undergraduate Grading System” section found under “Academic Regulations” in the table of contents of the University Calendar.

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Where can I get help writing my essays?
Your instructor or TA will be there to provide you with guidance and feedback when it comes time to choosing a topic, but in terms of issues with grammar, how to properly structure your paper, or how cite your sources, you can get help through UofC’s Effective Writing Program.
The EFP offers workshops and non-credit courses on writing academic papers, writing essay exams, as well as free drop-in writing consultations and more.

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Finding the idea of writing a 2-3 hour exam intimidating? The Office of the Student Experience can help!
The Office of the Student Experience offers a variety of free Student Success Seminars each term on topics such as:
-Exam preparation
-Test anxiety
-How to prepare for multiple-choice exams
-How to take effective notes in class
-Oral presentations
-Time management

See also, Where can I get help writing essays? for workshops on how to prepare for essay exams.

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COURSE INFORMATION, PREREQUISITES, AND ENROLLMENT RESTRICTIONS:

Can I be overloaded into a PSYC course?
Unfortunately no. We do not overload courses. If a course you would like is full, you will need to keep checking the enrollment system to see if a spot opens up. To find out when course enrollment restrictions lift, see: What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?

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Do you offer distance education or online courses?
Unfortunately, at this point, we do not offer any distance or online courses. We do offer a limited number of evening courses. To see a listing of courses we offer each term, please refer to the Courses page of our website.

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What are Prerequisites and are they different then Co-requisites?
Yes, prerequisites and co-requisites are indeed different. A prerequisite is one or more course(s) which must be completed prior to enrollment in another course, whereas a co-requisite must be completed at the same time (in the same term) as enrollment in another course.

For instance, PSYC 345 – Social Psychology lists PSYC 205 or PSYC 200 & 201 as a prerequisite, which means that PSYC 205 or PSYC 200 & 201 must be completed prior to enrollment in PSYC 345.

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Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?
For a complete list of prerequisites for all courses at UofC, see the “Courses of Instruction” link found in the table of contents of the current University Calendar.

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What is the maximum number of courses I can take per term?
This is set by the Faculty of Arts. From the University Calendar table of contents, click on the Faculty of Arts link and refer to “course load” under the Faculty Regulations section.

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What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?
Enrollment restrictions have nothing to do with course prerequisites, but are instead tied to your academic program (major/honours), and in some cases, to what academic year you are in.

Enrollment restrictions are simply limits on who may enroll into specific courses. These exist for a variety of reasons, but most notably to give specific groups of students priority access to courses needed for program completion. A complete list of such restricted courses each term can be found on the Enrollment Services website.

Please note the following:

  • What academic year you are considered to be in, depends entirely on the number of units completed to date—not how long you have been attending UofC. Courses in progress do not count towards this total. Each academic year constitutes 30 units.
  • 400 and 500 level PSYC courses during Fall and Winter terms are restricted to students completing a PSYC major or honours degree only. Non-Psyc majors may be allowed to enroll when restrictions on 300-level PSYC courses are lifted, if seats are available. Contact the Psyc department shortly before this date to confirm. There are no PSYC enrollment restrictions during the Spring or Summer terms, so this is a good time for non-majors to enroll into senior PSYC courses.

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Where can I find what courses will be taught in an upcoming semester?
You can find this in the Courses page of our website. Please note that this information is only available two terms in advance.

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I’m a Psyc major, but the enrollment system won’t let me enroll in 300-level PSYC courses. Why is this?
There could be many reasons, including:

  1. Financial hold. Login to MyUofC, navigate to your ‘Student Center’ & have a look at your Account Summary. If you have an outstanding fee, pay this off as soon as possible the same way you would pay tuition or pay in-person at Student Stop in room 117 of MacKimmie Library Block. Payments made in-person at the Student Stop are processed immediately, whereas payments made through online banking may take a few days to process. Until your payment is processed and the financial hold is removed by Student Stop, your record is essentially frozen and no enrollments may occur. See also: How do I pay my tuition?
  2. Missing prerequisite(s) needed for the course. A Prerequisite needs to be completed before enrolling into a course which requires it. Don’t know what the prerequisites for a course are?
    See:Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?
  3. Transfer courses. Transfer students may have a valid transfer course which isn’t being recognized by the enrollment system. If your transferred course was granted credit for a specific UofC course, such as PSYC 205, contact the Psyc department. Note, however, that an external course which transferred to UofC as, say, Psyc 2XX is not equivalent to UofC PSYC 205 for prerequisite purposes.
    See: I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC but my college/university Psyc course transferred over to UofC as an undesignated course (i.e., 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, 5XX), can I get my course re-evaluated so that I can use it towards my Psyc degree or as a course prerequisite?

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I’m a Psyc major, but the enrollment system won’t let me enroll in 400 and 500-level PSYC courses. Why is this?
400 and 500 level PSYC courses in the Fall and Winter terms are restricted to Psyc majors who are in their 3rd and 4th academic year, usually for the first 4 weeks of the enrollment period to insure that senior students can get access to the courses they’ll need to graduate. A complete list of such restricted courses along with restriction lift dates each term can be found on the Enrollment Services website.
Note: These restrictions are not in place over the Spring and Summer terms.

What academic year you are considered to be in, depends entirely on the number of units completed to date—not how long you have been attending UofC. Courses in progress do not count towards this total.

ACADEMIC YEAR Full Course Equivalencies (FCE) completed Equivalent Units Completed
1 0 - 4.5 0 - 27
2 5 - 9.5 30 - 57
3 10 - 14.5 60 - 87
4 15 + 90 +

See also: What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?

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I’m a Psyc minor, do course enrollment restrictions apply to me?
Yes. Students completing a minor in Psychology do not have early enrollment access to PSYC courses. Space in Psychology courses is limited and Minors are not guaranteed access to or seating in any PSYC course. Therefore, students intent on pursuing a minor will need to plan ahead early in their degree program. Note that there are no enrollment restrictions during the Spring or Summer terms, so this is a good time for minors to enroll into senior PSYC courses.

See also: What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?

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I’m not a Psyc major, but I’m really interested in psychology and want to take some PSYC courses. Why won’t the enrollment system allow me to enroll?
Two reasons could be:
1. You are missing one or more course prerequisites. See: Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?
2. You are trying to enroll into a course prior to when enrollment restrictions for the course(s) lift.

See: What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?

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I’m an Open Studies Student, can I enroll into Psyc courses?
Open Studies students are students admitted to UofC but as non-degree students. Open Studies students may take regular university courses for credit, but need to meet the same course prerequisite requirements and are subject to the same enrollment restrictions as non-Psychology majors.

Open Studies students are required to present to the Psyc department a completed “Application for Admission (Open Studies)” form available from the Enrollment Services website.

Be sure to check the Alberta Transfer Guide to see if your courses are recognized as equivalent to prerequisites for PSYC courses you wish to take at UofC. Unless your courses are recognized as equivalent to our prerequisites, you WILL need to provide us with detailed course outlines in addition to your completed application form. These outlines should be from the term (semester) in which the course was taken.

See:
Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?
What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?

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I’m a Visiting Student from another university, can I enroll into Psyc courses?
Visiting students who are Psychology majors at their home institution are considered to be Psychology majors at UofC for the purposes of course enrollment. Visiting students are still required to provide evidence that they meet course prerequisites for all courses requested.

Visiting Students will need to provide a completed “Visiting Student Application and Registration” form available from the Enrollment Services website. Students may also need to provide detailed course outlines for courses to be used as equivalent to prerequisites for PSYC courses.

Visiting Students who are not Psyc majors at their home institution must abide by the enrollment restrictions in place for non-Psychology majors.

See also:
Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?
What are Enrollment Restrictions and where can I find out what they are?

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Can I use PSYC 203 in lieu of PSYC 205?
No. PSYC 203 cannot be substituted for PSYC 205 or PSYC 200 & 201. If you have taken PSYC 203 and wish to take additional course work in Psychology, you will need to complete PSYC 200 & 201 PRIOR to enrollment in other PSYC courses. The only exception to this is PSYC 305.

See: Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?

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Can I take PSYC 200 & 201 and PSYC 312 concurrently?
No. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for After-degree students in exceptional circumstances only.

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Can I take Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) and PSYC 312 concurrently?
No. Students must have completed either Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) prior to enrollment into PSYC 312.

See also: Do I still need Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) for Psychology now that it’s no longer required for admission?

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Does the Department allow course challenges (i.e. course credit by special assessment)?
The Department's policy is to not allow credit in any of its courses to be earned by special assessment.

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What is a lab course?
A lab course is a course which has extra meetings each week where students work on course assignments. As part of the requirements for the Psyc program, all major and honours students are required to complete 1 FCE (equivalent to 6 units) of senior Psychology lab courses. Please visit our Programs page or consult the University Calendar for complete degree requirements.

See also: How do I know whether a course is a half-course, a full-course, or a lab course?

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What is a research course?
The purpose of research courses (e.g., PSYC 504, 505) is to acquire independent research experience under the supervision of a faculty member. In a research course, you work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor, negotiating on a curriculum of study and the requirements you must meet to successfully complete the course (e.g., a literature review, ethics approval, data analyses, etc...). For additional information, please see visit our Exam and Course Information page.

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How do I know whether a course is a half-course, a full-course, or a lab course?
You can tell by the ‘hours of instruction’ code that follows a course name in University Calendar. Click on the “Courses of Instruction” link found in the table of contents of the current University Calendar. Then click on “How to Use” for an explanation of these and other course related information.

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TRANSFER COURSES:

I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC from another university/college, where can I find out how my courses transferred?
Login to MyUofC and look under the “Academics” section for a drop-down menu. From the drop-down menu, select “Transfer Credit Report” and click on the “>>” arrows next to it.
The UofC equivalent to your course, if present, will be found under the Equivalent Course column. Note that courses which transfer as 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, or 5XX are undesignated which means that although the units for such courses will count towards the total units needed to graduate, they will not meet specific Psychology degree requirements. So, a course which transferred as Psyc 3XX, cannot be substituted for a specific PSYC course required by the major, such as PSYC 375.

Want to get your Psyc course re-evaluated? See:
I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC but my college/university Psyc course transferred over to UofC as an undesignated course (i.e., 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, 5XX), can I get my course re-evaluated so that I can use it towards my Psyc degree or as a course prerequisite?

I’m a transfer student, how can I find out what my remaining requirements are or how my college/university courses will be counted towards my degree?

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I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC but my college/university Psyc course transferred over to UofC as an undesignated course (i.e., 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, 5XX), can I get my course re-evaluated so that I can use it towards my Psyc degree or as a course prerequisite?
First, you must check the Alberta Transfer Guide to see if your course is already listed. If your course is from one of the institutions listed in the guide and has equivalence, your course will not be re-evaluated by us.

If your course is from an institution not listed in the Alberta Transfer Guide and you believe that your Psyc course merits further consideration, contact the Psychology Department.

Note: You will be required to provide detailed course outlines for each course under consideration and such outlines need to be from the term (semester) in which you originally took the course. So, if you took Psyc 123 in fall of 2006, your outline needs to be from Fall 2006. You may need to contact the Psyc department of your previous institution to obtain these. For an example of a course outline, please see our Courses web page.

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I’ve been admitted to a Degree Program at UofC but my college/university Bio/Chem/Phys/Math courses transferred over to UofC as an undesignated course (i.e., 2XX, 3XX, 4XX, 5XX), can I get my course re-evaluated so that I can use it towards my Psyc degree?

  • If your course is listed in the Guide, your course will not be re-evaluated in terms of how it transfers to UofC. However, we may still allow the course to be used in lieu of a major requirement.

    You will need to provide the Psychology Department with a copy of your course outline from the term (semester) in which you originally took the course. So, if you took Chem 123 in fall of 2006, your outline needs to be from Fall 2006. See our Courses web page for example course outlines.

 

  • If your course is not listed in the Guide, your first step should be to compare your course outline with that of the UofC course you feel is equivalent to see if it is a close match. For instance, a chemistry course taken at college or university which was equivalent to high school chemistry will not receive equivalence with a junior chemistry course at UofC. Departments will post course outlines on their website. See UofC’s Departments and Programs page for a complete A-Z listing of all departments.

    If you feel your course is a suitable alternative after comparing the outlines, you will need to directly contact the department offering the UofC equivalent and request that they evaluate your course for potential equivalency. So, for example, if you took Chem 123, and feel that it is equivalent to UofC’s CHEM 201, you will need to contact the undergraduate advisor for UofC’s Chemistry department and request an evaluation of your coursework.

    You will need to provide them with a copy of your transcript, your full name and UCID (student number), and course outlines for each course under consideration from the term (semester) in which you took the course(s). You MUST request that they send the Department of Psychology a direct email of their evaluation to the following email address: psycugrd@ucalgary.ca

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PROGRAMS AND PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS:

What are the requirements for a Psychology Degree?
There are two sets of requirements, and they should be kept distinct. The Department of Psychology is a part of the Faculty of Arts. As such, all Psychology majors and honours students must meet both the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of Arts requirements.

Please visit our Programs page or consult the University Calendar for complete degree requirements. From the Calendar table of contents, navigate to the following pages:
Faculty of Arts > Faculty Regulations > Graduation
Faculty of Arts > Program Details > Psychology

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What courses should I take in the first year of my Psychology degree?
In your first year of study you need to complete PSYC 200 & 201, in the Fall and Winter terms. 

  • If you are working toward a BA degree, the remainder of your first year courses can be selected as follows:
Fall Term Winter Term
1. PSYC 200 or Open Option1 6. PSYC 201 or Open Option1
2. Arts Option 7. Science Option1
3 - 5. Arts and  Open Options1 8 - 10. Arts and Open Options1

1Options. Courses chosen from the following areas are recommended: Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Physics, and Sociology. First-Year Degree Guide.

Please refer to our BA programs page for additional details.

  • If you are working toward a BSc degree, seven of the Options you complete in your first year should be chosen from the required Science Foundation Courses:
    • BIOL 231 and 233
    • CHEM 201 and 203
    • MATH 249 or MATH 251 or MATH 281
    • One of MATH 211, 221, 253, 263, 283
    • PHYS 211 or 221

Remaining options can be chosen from the Option areas listed under BA program above. Please refer to our BSc programs page for additional details.

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What courses should I take in my second year?
In your second year of study it is critical, whether you are pursuing a BA or BSc, that you register in PSYC 312, as all 400 level courses (with the exception of PSYC 405) require PSYC 312 as a prerequisite. You should be taking other 300 level PSYC courses required by the major along w/ additional optional electives of your choosing.

During the final two years of your Psychology program, you will finish your required 400-level courses in Psychology and any other senior electives. Therefore, in order to insure degree completion within four years, it is essential that PSYC 312 be taken in your second year.
Refer to the Programs page on our website for a listing of required courses.

**IMPORTANT**
Although Pure Math 30 (PM30) is no longer required for admission to Psychology, PM30 is a required prerequisite for PSYC 312 as well as as for a number of Science Foundation courses.

See: Do I still need Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) for Psychology now that it’s no longer required for admission?
See also: Where can I find out what Prerequisites are needed for a course?

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I’m a transfer student, how can I find out what my remaining requirements are or how my college/university courses will be counted towards my degree?
You should make an in-person appointment with an advisor in the Student Sucess Centre.

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Do I still need Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) for Psychology now that it’s no longer required for admission?
Yes. Although as of Fall 2009, students can be admitted to Psychology without having completed Pure Math 30 (PM 30), PM 30 is a prerequisite for enrolling into Psyc 312 (Experimental Design and Quantitative Methods for Psychology) in Year 2. PM 30 is also a prerequisite for a number of Science Foundation courses which are required of students in the BSc program.

In order to ensure degree completion within 4 years, it is essential that Psychology students who enter UofC without Pure Math 30 either:

1) complete the UPG 101 Math II course offered by UofC’s Continuing Education during Year 1 of their studies with a passing grade. Please see the Continuing Education website for course details and availability.

Or,

2) write a Math Diagnostic Test and obtain a passing grade. For more information about the Diagnostic test or to sign up, please visit the Math department.

Note: Applied Mathematics 30 (or equivalent) is not equivalent to Pure Mathematics 30.

See also:
Can I take Pure Math 30 (or equivalent) and PSYC 312 concurrently?

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Is it better to get a BA or a BSc?
One degree is not "better" than the other, they are merely different. Students in the BSc stream, for instance, complete a series of Science Foundation Courses in their first year and tend to focus more on areas of psychology relating to biological processes. Students in the BA stream may be more focused on areas such as social or organizational psychology. This is by no means a definitive list of areas which may be of interest to students in either stream and courses taken by students in one stream will also be of interest to students in the other. Indeed, because of Psychology’s interdisciplinary nature, you will find that topics in psychology are studied from a variety of different viewpoints.

The critical factors that determine your attractiveness to employers, graduate schools, professional programs, etc…, are the courses you have taken and the grades you have obtained. Ultimately, your choice of a B.A. or B.Sc. degree depends upon your academic interests and your career goals.

See also:
What are the requirements for a Psychology Degree?
What courses should I take in the first year of my Psychology degree?
The Psychology Careers Handbook pdf on our Careers pages.

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If I major in Psychology, what courses in other departments (e.g., Options or Electives) should I take?
One of psychology's most noticeable features is its incredible breadth and diversity. It runs the gamut from neurophysiology to personality theory. This being the case, anything you learn in other courses, from physics to philosophy, is likely to have some connection and help you in some way. Our advice is to choose courses that interest you while aiming for some diversity - don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Experience has shown that many students in senior level courses wish they knew more about computers, math, and biology. But follow your interests too. If you prefer natural sciences, choose a lot of these courses; if you like the humanities or social sciences, concentrate there. Don't be afraid to consider courses from faculties outside these faculties either, such as Social Work, Education, Kinesiology, Management, or Engineering. (Remember that only six full-course equivalents may be taken from outside the Faculties of Arts, and Science.)

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What is a minor, and should I declare one?
A minor is a formal way of recognizing that you have completed a set number of courses in a particular subject. To receive a minor in Psychology, you must complete no more than and no less than 5 Full Course Equivalents (equivalent to 30 units) in Psychology.

Be sure to consult the University Calendar for complete minor requirements. From the Calendar table of contents, navigate to the following pages:
Faculty of Arts > Program Details > Psychology

Since the minor amounts to one quarter of the courses you need to graduate, there is a substantial commitment involved.

Many students declare a minor for the wrong reasons. For example, many students declare a minor to obtain 'official' recognition of expertise in a particular area, but this is not necessary. Anyone reviewing your transcript or resume will see the Psychology courses you have completed, and that you therefore have knowledge in this field, even if the number of courses you have completed is less than what is required for a minor. If you think that an extensive background in psychology will be important for your career, then you should be thinking about pursuing a double major, not a minor.

A minor can be declared in any term prior to applying for graduation. You will need to submit a “Change of Programme” form which should be returned to the Student Stop office, Room 117, MacKimmie Library Block. See the Enrollment Services website for forms.

Note: Psychology minors are not guaranteed seats in our courses nor are they given preferential access to any of our courses.
See: I’m a Psyc minor, do course enrollment restrictions apply to me?

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What are the advantages of the Honours Program, and will it help me get into graduate school?
If your goal is to attend graduate school, an Honours degree is not necessarily required, but it is certainly an advantage. (Be sure to always check the graduate studies website of all institutions you are considering attending to find out what their admission criteria are. Most institutions will gladly send you an information package if you request it.)

The Honours program will help you in a number of ways:

  1. The Honours program allows you to take more Psychology courses (up to a maximum of 12 FCE instead of 10), so your background will be more comprehensive.
  2. Completing the Honours thesis provides you the opportunity to conduct independent research and gain valuable research experience—skills that will prepare you for the research you will undertake in any graduate program. You will also be in a better position to decide whether pursuing a graduate degree is right for you. The thesis is an original piece of research completed under the close supervision of a faculty member in an area of psychology of interest to you. Don’t let this aspect of the Honours program intimidate you, as you will receive plenty of support from your supervisor and others along the way.
  3. You will develop a working relationship with your thesis supervisor (and perhaps others), who in turn will be in a much better position to evaluate your abilities when writing the reference letters you will need to apply for graduate studies.
  4. Lastly, in the Honours Thesis Seminar, you will give presentations about your research to other students, which will allow you to sharpen your public speaking skills in an informal and supportive environment.

Thus, an Honours degree can make you a more attractive applicant to a graduate program, enhancing your competitiveness relative to other applicants.

Admission to the Honours Program is competitive, and students meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed admission to the program. Please refer to our Honours page or to the University Calendar (see Faculty of Arts) for application and program requirements.

This is not to say that you cannot get into graduate school without an honours degree. You can get research experience by taking a research course (e.g., PSYC 504 or 505), or by volunteering in a faculty member's laboratory. So the Honours Program is not the only way of acquiring the skills and reference letters that will increase your competitiveness.

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What is "graduate school", how do I prepare for it, and why should I attend it?

  1. What is graduate school?
    While you are pursuing your first university degree (a bachelor's degree), you are classified as an "undergraduate". If you wish to pursue more advanced studies after completing your bachelor's degree you can obtain a master's degree (M.A. or M.Sc.), and if you wish to continue further you can obtain a doctorate, or Ph.D., the most advanced degree available. While studying for master's and doctoral degrees you are classified as a 'graduate student'. You have to apply for admission to graduate school, and your chances will depend upon your success in important undergraduate courses (especially your research methods and statistics courses, such as PSYC 312, and courses related to your proposed area of study), your GPA, your letters of reference, your research experience (if any), and your scores on such tests as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Most graduate programs look only at your last 20 half courses when calculating your GPA. Every year the Psychology Undergraduate Students' Association (PSYCHS) holds an information session on applying to graduate programs, and we strongly recommend that you attend this event if you have any interest in graduate school. Admission to graduate programs is very competitive, and the numbers admitted are limited to a department's resources. Each year a department determines how many graduate students it can admit, and then the most promising applicants are accepted. As a result, it is impossible to say exactly what grades you will need to get into graduate school. It is a competitive situation, dependent on the qualifications of the other applicants. If your GPA is in the 3.8 range and you have one or more good letters of reference, you have a good chance of being accepted into a graduate program (although not necessarily the program of your choice). If your GPA is below 3.3, your chances of admission are not good. Between these extremes there are no guarantees. The best tactic is to apply, because, after all, the worst that they can say is "no."
  2. How does one prepare for graduate school?
    First, realize that by following the requirements for an undergraduate psychology degree, you will already be preparing yourself for graduate studies. We have imposed these requirements partly so that our graduates will be sufficiently prepared for, and attractive to, graduate schools, and so if you complete your degree with a high GPA you will be one step closer to graduate school. The Honours program is especially tailored for prospective graduate students, and so we recommend it to all students planning on graduate studies. Note that admission to the Honours program is competitive (for details click here), and only the most qualified students are admitted every year. If you are planning for graduate school but are not in the Honours program you should try to meet as many of the Honours requirements as you can - in other words, be an honours student "in your own mind," as it were. For example, choose a large number of 400-level courses and take as many psychology courses as you're allowed, and acquire research experience by volunteering or by taking a research course. See our Research Courses section for more information.
  3. Why go to graduate school?
    For the chance at in-depth study, largely of an independent, self-directed kind in one specialized area of psychology that interests you. Graduate school involves depth in one area rather than breadth across several areas. Students are required to produce a research thesis (an original contribution to knowledge) for a master's degree to demonstrate their ability to think and work relatively independently. Graduate programs are quite different from undergraduate programs, as there are fewer formal courses and exams but much more independent study and research. Graduate school will equip you to work as a psychologist in the field in which you are trained, such as clinical, cognitive, applied, etc., so you will have a much better chance of working in an area that interests you. Graduate school is not for everyone. It is demanding, rigorous, and time and energy consuming. It is for the academically capable and highly committed. It is a full-time job. How long does it take to complete a graduate degree? This can vary greatly depending on a program's requirements, your own progress through the program, and the time it takes to complete your thesis. A typical period would be two years for a master's degree (M.A. or M.Sc.), and an additional four to five years for a Ph.D.
  4. How long does it take to complete a graduate degree?
    This can vary greatly depending on a program's requirements, your own progress through the program, and the time it takes to complete your thesis. A typical period would be two years for a master's degree (M.A. or M.Sc.), and an additional four to five years for a Ph.D.

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I already have a degree, can I complete a second Bachelor's degree in Psychology?
Yes, if you have a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than Psychology, you may consider completing a second degree (called an “After Degree” at UofC). Students with a bachelor’s degree in another discipline, but with a minor in Psychology may apply. However, if your previous bachelor’s degree was in Psychology, you are not eligible to apply. For more information, please see our After-Degree Program page.

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I have a degree in Psychology, can I upgrade my previous degree to an Honours degree?
Unfortunately not. Our honours program is an integral part of the Honours BA or BSc program and cannot be added-on after a student has graduated either from UofC or another institution.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY:

What are the job prospects for someone with a Psychology bachelor's degree?
There is no simple answer to this question, in part because jobs for psychology bachelor's graduates depend on the overall state of the economy and job opportunities within it. In addition, because of structural changes in the Canadian economy, new types of jobs are emerging and some traditional ones are disappearing.

The first thing to recognize is that you will not be hired as a Psychologist with only a bachelor's degree (B.A. or B.Sc.). You don't have enough training; you need at least a master's degree (M.A. or M.Sc.) and in many jurisdictions a Ph.D. (a doctoral degree) to practice as a psychologist. If you wish to work as a psychologist you should plan on going to graduate school and you should start preparing for that now.

A bachelor's degree in psychology is relevant to many different careers. Psychology students, through their diverse training, acquire a number of valuable skills throughout their degree program. These include the ability to analyze problems and to think critically; the ability to interpret and evaluate research, including statistics; an understanding of the genetic, biological, and social influences on behavior; and a sensitivity and awareness of interpersonal, developmental, and cultural differences. We and others who have surveyed psychology alumni have found that many graduates are working at jobs seemingly quite unrelated to psychology's supposed content. Yet the training, we argue, is still beneficial in instilling the "learning to learn" skills, the attitudes, abilities, and work habits, that will benefit you regardless of your career.

Many undergraduates study psychology as a first step toward a professional career, and it is a fact that a degree in psychology is excellent preparation for a variety of professional programs, including law, medicine, management, social work, speech pathology, audiology, counselling, and education.

One more important point. A university is not merely a "job training" facility. Employment is certainly a major reason to attend university, but there are other reasons too. A university is dedicated to the pursuit of "knowledge for knowledge's sake", and you will enjoy university a lot more while you're here and get a lot more out of it if you remember that. So, don't think about university and psychology as simply a means to an end. They are also ends in themselves.

More information can also be found in the Careers section of this website or by visiting the University of Calgary Career Services website.

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How do I become a Clinical Psychologist?
In most provinces and states, professional clinical psychologists are required by law to have completed a doctoral degree (Ph.D.), a full-time one-year internship, and to be certified by a local Board of Examiners. Therefore, to become a clinical psychologist, you will need to be admitted to a graduate program in clinical psychology, and then complete both a master's and a Ph.D. degree. (In some provinces professionals with master's degrees in clinical psychology can practice as clinical psychologists, but it is anticipated that the doctoral degree will become the standard qualification in the future.)

You should note that acceptance into graduate programs in clinical psychology is very competitive and only students with the highest GPAs are admitted. As is true for all forms of graduate study in psychology, you will require courses in all of the core areas, possibly with a special emphasis on courses in the areas of personality, abnormal, developmental, and clinical psychology. It will also be to your advantage to take an Honours Program when completing your undergraduate degree (or to obtain equivalent academic and research experience).

Additional information about how to prepare for a career in clinical psychology is presented in Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling by Tracy J. Mayne, John C. Norcross, and Michael A. Sayette (2000/01: Guilford Press, New York), and an excellent set of materials on "How to Get into Graduate School in Clinical Psychology" can be found in the appendix to Introduction to Clinical Psychology by M. Neitzel, D. Bernstein and R. Milch (1991: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall). Also, take a look at Careers on this site.

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What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Counsellor?
Both clinical and counselling psychology focus on helping people in distress, and some of the interventions used by clinical and counselling psychologists are similar. A major difference, however, is that whereas clinical psychologists deal with individuals suffering from mental and physical disorders, where the focus is on assessing, diagnosing, and alleviating the disorder and restoring normal functioning, counselling sychologists tend to work with less severe problems, including adjustment difficulties, marital disorders, and so on. Further, counselling psychologists are more likely than clinical psychologists to be involved in helping people, without any particular problem, achieve goals they have set (e.g., career counselling, personal development). Clinical psychology programs are typically found in departments of psychology, and counselling psychology programs are typically offered through departments of educational psychology, and some have an educational focus.
Please visit the Faculty of Education’s Counselling Psychology website for more information on their graduate program in counselling psychology.

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What is the difference between a Clinical Psychologist and a Psychiatrist?
Clinical psychologists obtain their training in psychology, including the theory and practice of both normal and abnormal functioning. Clinical psychologists are trained as researchers, they know how to interpret the research literature, and many conduct research themselves. Clinical psychologists are experts in psychological theories, assessment, and treatments.

Psychiatrists are first trained as physicians. Following medical school, they then specialize in psychiatry, doing a 3 or 4 year psychiatric residency program. Psychiatrists are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal behavior, mostly from the perspective of biologically oriented models. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications for psychological problems, or do other medically oriented treatments, such as electro-convulsive therapy. For more information on Psychiatry, please contact UofC’s Faculty of Medicine.

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What is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning refers to practical learning within and beyond the normal instructional setting. It leads to broader, more enduring learning outcomes. An essential component of experiential learning is that the student is guided toward reflective observation so that the relevance of the experience can be assessed and placed into context. Experiential learning activities are often open-ended in the sense that neither the student nor the instructor has prior knowledge of all the results.

Within the B.A. and the B.Sc. programs, experiential learning opportunities include:

  • in-class demonstrations of psychological phenomena;
  • laboratory components in some senior courses;
  • conference courses allowing students to prusue independent research projects;
  • honours thesis; and
  • participation in psychological research as research participants.

Outside of the normal instructional setting, students may be involved in research in various laboratories and research settings within the department. Sometimes they work for pay, sometimes they are supported through a summer student fellowship that is awarded on a competitive basis by a major funding body, and sometimes they work on a volunteer basis.

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QUESTIONS ABOUT THE HONOURS PROGRAM:

The application form asks me to identify up to 3 supervisors. Do I really need to identify more than 1 supervisor?
Although you are not required to list more than one research supervisor, you are strongly encouraged to do so. We try to match students with their first or second choice in most cases, but if you do not list more than one potential supervisor, this option is not available for you. If you list only one supervisor and are not matched, your application to the program effectively ends. For this reason, it is important that you identify more than one supervisor.

Note: A student who cannot secure a thesis supervisor cannot be admitted to the honours program.

 The list of potential honours thesis supervisors willing to take on new students each year can be found on our Supervisors page.

Note: Supervisors must be either Psychology faculty or hold an Adjunct appointment with the Department of Psychology (see below for a definition of ‘adjunct’).

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How does the student-supervisor matching system work?
All applicants to the honours program who meet the admission criteria will be put into the honours applicant pool. Supervisors will be invited to look through the applicant files of students who have indicated an interest in working with them.

Before they make a decision, supervisors will likely want to talk with you if you have not spoken to them prior to applying. Students who are matched with a supervisor will then be admitted to the honours program.

Although the Department will try to find honours thesis supervisors for all applicants who meet the admission criteria above, we cannot guarantee that all interested students can be accommodated.

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What do I look for in a potential supervisor?
Most important is mutual interest. The ideal supervisor is working in an area that is of sufficient interest to you that you can imagine yourself spending at least 8 months working intensively on a research project in that area. Three important points:

  1. Your honours thesis does not have to be directly related to the specialization you hope to pursue as a graduate student. We have found that many applicants to the honours program are interested in pursuing graduate studies in applied areas of psychology, such as clinical, counselling, and industrial-organizational. Consequently, many honours applicants are interested in completing an honours thesis in one of these fields. However, if you look at the list of potential supervisors, you will quickly realize that less than half of the applicants in any given year will be able to complete a research project in these areas. In thinking about alternatives, consider your interests in psychology and what you know about related areas of psychology. For example, social psychology is relevant to all of the three "top" choices. 

    Research in basic cognitive processes can be relevant to applications such as cognitive-behaviour therapy, which is a common psychotherapeutic method emphasized in many clinical psychology graduate programs. Alternatively, you may have a keen interest in visual perception and seek a supervisor in this area and plan to apply to graduate programs in Clinical Psychology. Any of these three scenarios is acceptable and a legitimate way to prepare for graduate studies in psychology.

  2. It is important that you carry out a well-designed project that makes some contribution to knowledge in the field of psychology. It is also important that you do this in a competent fashion, while learning new skills and expanding your knowledge of the discipline. This is most likely if you work with an expert in the field.
  3. The quality of the relationship between you and your supervisor is important. This is a one-to-one mentoring relationship and obviously your learning will be enhanced if you work well together. Also, the reference letter from your supervisor is the most important reference letter you will need for your application to graduate school, medical school, law school, etc. The better the work you do together, the better that letter will be.

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I've identified a potential supervisor, what do I do now?
We strongly encourage you to contact potential supervisors and arrange to meet with them to discuss the possibility of their supervising your honours thesis prior to submitting your application. Contact information is included on our Potential Supervisors page

Your initial email should be brief. Remember that you are simply asking to set up an initial meeting to discuss the possibility of working with them on an Honours thesis. When you meet with a potential supervisor in person, be prepared to provide them with the same information you are required to provide in your application, namely: a copy of your university grades, a statement of intent, and your Curriculum Vitae.

 When you meet with a potential supervisor, you can tell them about yourself and why you'd like to work with them. It is important to read some of their recent publications so that you are knowledgeable about their area(s) of research and are able to ask questions. In most cases, you will be able to find a listing of recently published articles on a faculty member’s home page, which you can access from the People page. If they do not list any, you will need to do some independent research or contact them directly. During your meeting, be sure to inquire about the kinds of projects they are willing to supervise, and their expectations for honours students (e.g., do they expect you to work regularly on Saturdays or Sundays, or during evenings?). Note, however, that you should not expect your supervisor to simply provide you with a ‘ready-made’ thesis project. You should come prepared with ideas of your own.

Lastly, feel free to ask them about the likelihood of your working with them (i.e., do they have so many potential honours students contacting them that your chance is 1/100?). You should, however, not expect them to commit to working with you on the spot.The purpose of the meeting is to get acquainted with one another. Either one of you may decide, upon reflection, that this is not the best supervisory arrangement.

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The person I wanted to work with isn't on the list. Why not?
There are a number of reasons why a particular professor, who normally supervises honours students, is not on the list this year. They may be planning to be away on sabbatical leave or have too many graduate students or other work commitments to commit the time needed to supervise an honours project. Unfortunately, if you intend to graduate at the end of Winter 2010, you will have to find an alternative. If you're planning ahead and reading this a year or more before you need to apply for honours, then you may be in luck. By the time you apply, the professor may once again be on the list of potential supervisors.

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Some potential supervisors have "adjunct" or "emeritus" in parentheses beside their names. What does this mean?
Adjunct professors have a formal, professional relationship with the Department of Psychology but are not regular members of the Department. Generally, this means that they are employed outside the University of Calgary or in another department at the University of Calgary. Nevertheless, they are psychologists, usually teach in the Department of Psychology and have been approved as honours thesis supervisors.
Emeritus professors have retired from the University of Calgary, but continue to contribute to the University on a volunteer basis or in contract positions. This usually means that they continue to teach certain courses and/or to engage in research. As in the case of adjunct professors, you should discuss with them their availability for consultation and where you will meet with them and conduct your research. 
Emeritus professors have retired from the University of Calgary, but continue to contribute to the University on a volunteer basis or in contract positions. This usually means that they continue to teach certain courses and/or to engage in research. As in the case of adjunct professors, you should discuss with them their availability for consultation and where you will meet with them and conduct your research. 

If your supervisor is an adjunct professor, you may or may not be doing your research on campus, and you may or may not be meeting with them on campus. Of course, their availability to you will be determined by their work commitments. This is something that you need to discuss with them in that initial get-acquainted meeting. It is important to feel comfortable with the degree of contact that you will have with your supervisor and the context in which you will meet and do your research.

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