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Undergraduate Program

Studying psychology at WashU

Psychology is a multi-purpose, valuable discipline, with relevance for those considering careers in law, medicine, the health professions, education, business, and more. As the science concerned with the study of behavior, psychology includes diverse areas of study, including: biological bases of behavior; brain-behavior interactions; learning; memory; cognition; motivation; sensation and perception; the study of social interactions, persuasion, and attitudes; aging and development; personality; clinical, abnormal, and health psychology; and leisure and work experiences.

Our mission is to educate our Psychological & Brain Sciences majors in the discipline's core aspects, questions, theories, and approaches. A major in our department can include more focused study in a specific area, and possibly the completion of one of our concentrations.

Degree Requirements

Psychological & Brain Sciences (P&BS) Major

The Psychological & Brain Sciences (P&BS) major provides students with the content of psychology, including breadth and depth. It also provides students with the tools needed to evaluate critically psychological information, independent of specific content. Our students learn how to gather data, conduct literature reviews, and write proficiently and scientifically. We strive to ensure that our students understand the importance and become critical evaluators of empirical psychological research.

Major Requirements

Cognitive Neuroscience (CN) Major

How does the brain think? Cognitive neuroscience refers to scientific study of the linkage between mental functions and the operation of the brain and nervous system. The goal of cognitive neuroscience is to provide an understanding of psychological processes, such as attention, memory, thinking, and emotion in terms of physical principles and biological components. At the same time, it also aims to provide psychological constraints on how the brain processes, computes, and generates behavior.

Major Requirements

Psychological & Brain Sciences (P&BS) Minor

Even PB&S minors have the choice to study more broadly, or use their minor to specialize in on area of psychology.

Minor Requirements

Major Concentrations

To augment the major in Psychological & Brain Sciences (P&BS), the department offers the option of a concentration for students who wish to engage more intensively with a specific area within the discipline. A concentration may be a valuable experience for students planning on graduate study in psychology or related fields, or for those who have a particular interest or want to gain expertise in one of the approved concentrations.

Explore Concentrations
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Internships & Research

Research Listing

There are numerous and varied opportunities for students to become involved in ongoing psychological research conducted within the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences and affiliated programs. We publish a listing of those opportunities, including information on the research itself, as well as duties of a research assistant in each lab. There are also opportunities to earn course credit for this work. Students should speak with the contact individual directly affiliated with each listing.

Review Research Listing

Internships in Psychology

An internship in psychology gives you an opportunity to apply theories and principles you’ve been learning in your psychology courses to the “real world” of social service agencies, medical institutions, the criminal justice system, business, and industry. During an internship, you can explore career interests, develop pre-professional skills, see how community organizations work, expand your clinical and interpersonal skills, and, in many cases, help others. An internship is a great way to enrich your own college experience while making a valuable contribution to the St. Louis community. Internships are possible in either the fall or spring semester each academic year.

Internship Details

Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis: Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis: Autism Spectrum Disorder (Psych 235) offers an opportunity for students to be trained in applied-behavior-analytic techniques and to work with a child with autism spectrum disorder. The Practicum may be of benefit to anyone considering a career in an applied setting or in any number of health-related areas. It may be valuable for those considering graduate training in clinical or counseling psychology, social work, speech, occupational or physical therapy, or a career in education.

Practicum Information

Career Resources & Outcomes

Interested in learning more about career options in psychology & brain sciences? Unsure how to get started with the Career Center? Or want to explore what some of our graduates go on to do?

Explore Psychology Careers


Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Membership is open to graduate and undergraduate students who are making the study of psychology one of their major interests, and who meet the minimum qualifications. Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Society (APS).

Learn More about Psi Chi


The primary goal of the Honors Program in psychology is to provide those students who have achieved a superior academic record the opportunity in their senior year to conduct a comprehensive empirical investigation under the direction of a faculty member, who serves as the student's Honors advisor. The Honors Program is not restricted to students who plan to pursue graduate study in Psychology. 

Guide to Honors brochure

Learn More About the Honors Program
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Awards & Prizes

John A. Stern Undergraduate Research Fund

Undergraduate involvement in research is of obvious importance in fulfilling the mission of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences and for the intellectual development of our students. Our undergraduates have enormous opportunities to become engaged in the enterprise of research. Indeed, one of the special attractions of Washington University is precisely the opportunities for its undergraduates to immerse themselves in the research enterprise with active, first-rank scientists.

Through the generous donation of John Stern, a previous chair of the department, combined with donations from other faculty, friends, and former students, an undergraduate research fund, the John A. Stern Undergraduate Research Fund, has been developed. Students who wish to apply for research funds should submit a copy of their research proposal (usually the description provided for IRB or ASC protocol approval), the IRB/ASC approval, and the purpose for which funds are needed. Examples of appropriate purposes include: purchase of materials, subject payments, travel to meetings or symposia for presentation of research. Support is not provided for research that is covered under grant or other faculty funds. Application forms may be obtained from Shelley Kohlman, Psychology 207B, or

John A. Stern/Katherine F. Hoopes Undergraduate Research Prize

The Stern Undergraduate Research Award has been supplemented through the generous gift of the Hoopes family. The John A. Stern/Katherine F. Hoopes Undergraduate Research Prize recognizes a Psychology major’s undergraduate record of superior achievement in research.

Hyman Meltzer Memorial Award in Psychology

Hy Meltzer was a faculty member of the Psychology Department of Washington University, a leader in the field of Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and a philanthropist (e.g., the Meltzer labs in our previous building, Eads Hall). The Hyman Meltzer Memorial Award in Psychology was created to honor his teaching, research, and practice, and his devotion to the betterment of others. His work helped to shape the field of Psychology in general and Industrial/Organizational Psychology in particular. He was a person who cared about others, and made life better. The Hyman Meltzer Memorial Award recognizes a Psychology major’s overall academic record and significant contributions to serving others.

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