ratner lab in action


The Department Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) at UCSB offers a comprehensive, research-based education within the discipline. The Psychological & Brain Sciences BS and Biopsychology BS majors are designed to provide students with an appreciation of the scientific study of behavior. Studies range from environmental effects on simple organism response to exploring the concept of human and group behavior in diverse and multi-dimensional situations.

At the undergraduate level, the department offers two majors: a B.S. in Psychological & Brain Sciences and a B.S. in Biopsychology. We do not offer any minors or emphases. All students must fulfill the Pre-Psychological & Brain Sciences B.S. or Pre-Biopsychology B.S. requirements to become declared “full major”. Full major status allows a student to continue working on upper division degree requirements in courses cataloged PSY 110-199.

The PBS department’s main focus is on experimental psychology. For clarification, PBS department does not provide instruction on the clinical aspects of psychology. For those interested in counseling, UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education offers an Applied Psychology minor.

Within the PBS department, Faculty research concentrates on four areas: 1) Cognition, Perception, and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2) Developmental and Evolutionary Psychology, 3) Neuroscience and Behavior, and 4) Social Psychology. Once a student is granted full major status in our department, they may select upper division courses in any combination of these areas.  

Common career options many of our students pursue range from (but are not limited to) sales and marketing, law enforcement, human resources, education, human services, professional research and medical field occupations. The department of PBS provides a broad foundation at the bachelor’s degree level. Therefore, our students are well prepared for a variety of graduate programs.

Opportunities to work in PBS Faculty Research Labs are available to students interested in becoming a Research Assistant as well. Additionally, students with high achieving academic performance will be invited to join PBS’ Honors Program to write a senior thesis.

The PBS Faculty and Staff encourage bright new students in our program to learn, collaborate, and grow into future leaders of psychological study and influence. Become the next ground-breaking Gaucho… Welcome to UCSB!

Difference Between Being “Admitted” to UCSB and “Accepted” into the PBS Department

UCSB Office of Admissions manages “admittance” to the university for both freshmen and transfer students wishing to study at UCSB. During the application process, as a courtesy and for record keeping, students may self-select their intended major of study. Although a student can select a PBS “pre-major” when they start their UCSB career, each student must actually qualify for full major by meeting our departmental qualifications identified on the major sheets. It is important to note that students admitted to UCSB as one of the PBS pre-majors might not eventually qualify to declare full major standing. 

Many prospective and new students contact the Department of PBS with questions regarding “admissions” into our majors. PBS does not “admit” students into the major, rather we “accept” students that qualify with UC classes meeting our required GPA.  For more information on pre-major requirements, please review the webpage of the major

UCSB Admissions Links

For questions regarding admission to the university, please visit the following pages:

AP Credit

Advanced Placement (AP) Credit is applicable to major requirements. With a score of 3 or higher*, students will be awarded “subject credit” for their passing AP classes.  Courses fulfilled by AP credits are not calculated into the UC GPA. A student awarded AP credit may not take the equivalent course for additional units. 

AP Psychology is UCSB PSY 1.

AP Statistics is UCSB PSTAT 5.

AP Calculus AB is UCSB MATH 3A/34A, and AP Calculus BC is UCSB MATH 3A/34A & 3B/34B.

AP Biology is UCSB MCDB 20.

AP Computer Science Principles is UCSB COMP SCI 8. *Requires a score of 4 or 5.

AP Environmental Science is UCSB ENVS 2.  

AP Human Geography is UCSB GEOG 5.  

AP Physics C Mechanics is UCSB PHYS 6A/L, and AP Physics C Electricity and Magnetism is UCSB PHYS 6B/L

Already Admitted...What's Next?

Welcome Gaucho!!!

Freshmen Students visit College of Letters & Science/ Cheadle Hall 1117 (1st Floor). 805-893-2038

Transfer Students visit Transfer Student Center/ Library Oceanside (1st Floor). 805-893-7799

Learn more about UCSB Orientation and UCSB Summer Programs