VCU Bulletins

Psychology, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in life science

Special requirements

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology curriculum requires a minimum of 120 credits, with at least 30 credits in psychology courses. A maximum of 40 credits in psychology (this limit does not apply to PSYC courses numbered 490 and above) can be presented for the degree. At least 15 of the 30 minimum-required credits must be completed at VCU. All students must complete the psychology core requirements (PSYC 101, 214 and 317) and collateral requirements (BIOL 101 and BIOZ 101; BIOL 103 or 201 or an approved biology course; and STAT 210).

This information outlines the requirements for students who are admitted and pursuing the life science concentration. To be admitted, continue and graduate with this concentration, students must achieve a minimum cumulative VCU GPA of 2.5 and also achieve a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the major. This concentration requires 34 credit hours in the major.

Core courses must be taken sequentially and ideally should be completed by the end of the junior year. Core courses are PSYC 101 with a minimum grade of C; PSYC 214 with a minimum grade of C (PSYC 214 also has the prerequisite requirement of STAT 210 or its equivalent with a minimum grade of C); and PSYC 317 with a minimum grade of C (PSYC 317 also has the prerequisite requirement of PSYC 214 or its equivalent with a minimum grade of C).

PSYC 451 History of Psychology is the capstone course and must be taken in the senior year.

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology curriculum reflects the discipline’s major functions — scientific research, teaching, acting as a healing profession and raising philosophical questions about the assumptions, values and ideals of human beings and their societies, which reflects psychology’s origin in philosophy. Through a core set of requirements the student systematically develops understanding and skill in scientific methods of inquiry, focusing on the human mind and behavior. To fulfill the degree requirements, students may pursue the standard curriculum by selecting courses from four content areas that introduce students to the healing and philosophical sides of psychology and provide a broad understanding of the field as a whole; or the student may apply to one of several more focused concentrations that draw upon the special strengths of the VCU Department of Psychology.

Degree requirements for Psychology, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in life science

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • Understanding of content domain
    The curriculum of the B.S. in Psychology is designed to provide students with an accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of psychological concepts, principles and findings in the key domains of the field, including developmental processes, social processes, physiological and behavioral processes, and mental health and well-being.
  • Development of intellectual domain
    The curriculum of the B.S. in Psychology fosters the development of the intellectual skills required to generate theories, do research, communicate ideas and information to others, evaluate conclusions statistically and locate the information needed for these intellectual pursuits. Students will learn to think scientifically, understand the relationships between theories, observations and conclusions, and skillfully evaluate the empirical support for various theories and findings.
  • Development of affective and interpersonal domain
    Students seeking the B.S. in Psychology learn a number of practical, applied life skills pertaining to personal adjustment, relations with others and cross-cultural awareness.
General Education requirements (32-46 credits) Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)  
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
Approved H&S general education electives 6-8
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)  
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)  
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)  
Experiential fine arts (course offered by the School of the Arts) 1-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement) 0-8
Collateral requirements (7 credits)  
BIOL 101 and BIOZ 101 Biological Concepts and Biological Concepts Laboratory 4
BIOL/ENVS 103 Environmental Science or BIOL 201 Human Biology (BIOL 201 fulfills both collateral and concentration requirement)  
STAT 210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
Major requirements (34 credits)  
BIOL 201 Human Biology 3
BIOL 445 Neurobiology and Behavior 3
PHTX 400 Drugs and their Actions 3
PSYC 101 Introduction to Psychology 4
PSYC 214 Applications of Statistics 3
PSYC 317 Experimental Methods 3
PSYC 401 Physiological Psychology 3
PSYC 406 Perception 3
PSYC 410 Principles of Learning and Cognition 3
PSYC 412 Health Psychology 3
PSYC 492 Independent Study or PSYC 493 Fieldwork: Human Services or PSYC 494 Research Internship in Psychology 3
PSYC 451 History of Psychology 3
Open electives (30-44 credits)  
Open electives 30-44
Total minimum requirement 120

Click here to download a sample outline. [PDF]



Comments/feedback about this site   |   Bulletin (catalog) archives/printer-friendly bulletins   |   About these bulletins

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us:

Last update: 6/21/2013

Created by VCU University Relations

The VCU Bulletin is in transition! As we move from this first iteration of our online Bulletin to a new product and process, what you find on this website is information for the 2014-15 academic year.

While much of the curricular information remains the same, changes that were approved with the effective date of fall 2015 will not be reflected on this website. Prospective students may wish to contact the school or department that administers their program of interest in order to discuss the most current curriculum and concentration options.

Enrolled students who are completing their studies under an effective Bulletin may continue to access the archives at, where past Bulletins are available to reference or download.

Our anticipated launch of the new VCU Bulletin is July 2015. To follow our progress, visit the new Bulletin blog.