Psychological & Brain Sciences Major

The Psychological & Brain Sciences BS major is designed to guide students through the requirements of a Bachelor of Science degree. First, students work on the pre-major courses to qualify for joining the full major. Should they meet the requirements of the pre-major, students must then declare for the full major in order to eventually complete their degree.

Major Course Requirement

The Psychological & Brain Sciences BS major has 4 parts: Area I, Area II, Area III (also known as Preparation for the Major), and Upper Division.  Please also review the major rules & regulations below.

Area I: Pre-Major Requirements (Part 1 of 2)

The following courses require a 2.7 UC GPA before admittance to the full major: 

  • PSY 1 - Introduction to Psychology (4 units)
  • MATH 34A (or 3A or 2A) - Calculus I (4 units)
  • PSTAT 5A (or 5LS or COMM 87) - Statistics (5 units)
  • PSY 10A - Research Methods in Psych & Brain (5 units)
  • PSY 10B - Statistical Methods in Psych & Brain (5 units)

Area II: Pre-Major Requirements (Part 2 of 2)

The following courses require a 2.0 UC GPA before admittance to the full major:

  • CHEM 1A-B (or CHEM 2A-2B) - General Chemistry (6 units)
  • MCDB 6 or 1A and EEMB 7 or 2 - General Biology (7 units)
  • *CHEM 1C is a pre-requisite for MCDB 1A & EEMB 2 series. 

Area III: Preparation for the Major Requirements

Four courses from the following list require a 2.0 UC GPA before graduation. The following courses are not required to be admitted into the major, but are required to complete the major:

  • ANTH 2/2H, 5/5H, 7; CHEM 1C; C LIT 27; CMPSC 8, 16; EARTH 2, 3; ECON 1, 2, 9; EEMB 3, 22W; ENV S 1/1H, 2/2H, 3/3H; GEOG 5; LING 20, 50, 70; MATH 2B, 3B, 4A, 4B, 34B; MCDB 1B, 20, 29; PHIL 3, 4; PHYS 1, 2, 3, 6A, 6B, 6C, 20; POL S 1; RGST 15

Upper Division Major

All four PSY breadth requirement courses:

  • PSY 102 - Intro to Social Psychology (4 units)
  • PSY 105 - Intro to Developmental Psychology (4 units)
  • PSY 106 - Intro to Biopsychology (4 units)
  • PSY 108 - Intro to Cognitive Psychology (4 units)

Two courses from the following

  • PSY 110 - 195 (8 units)

One laboratory course (PSY xxxL)

  • 5 units

16 units chosen from a combination of the following:

  • PSY 110 - 195 (up to 16 units)
  • Research or Honors Experience (up to a combined 12 units) (197ABC, 199, 199P)
    • Note: Up to 8 units of 199P
  • Interdisciplinary List of Courses (up to 8 units)
    ANTH 121, 151T, 169, 177AB; BLST 137E, 154, 160; CNCSP 114, 190; COMM 117, 124, 133; EEMB 129, 131, 157, 180; ENGL 170 (AA-ZZ); ENVS 106; GLOBL 159; INT 133C; LING 127, 137, 149; MCDB 110; PHIL 124A, 134; RGST 156BE; SOC 122, 128, 134, 142, 152A, 185D
    • The PBS major sheet may not include all PBS INT courses due to a lack of space. However, the ones listed on this website will all count for PBS INT credit.

Pre-Major Rules & Major Regulations

The Psychological & Brain Sciences BS major has pre-major & full major rules and regulations. Please also review the major requirements above.

Pre-Major Rules:

Admission to the major is contingent upon fulfilling the following requirements:

  • 1) At least a 2.7 UC GPA in Area I. 
  • 2) At least a 2.0 UC GPA in Area II.
  • 3) All courses must be completed on a letter grade basis. 
  • 4) No courses with a grade lower than C- in Area I & II.
  • 5) Not more than one course with a C- in Area I & II.
  • 6) Students must submit a departmental Change of Major packet to for admission to the pre-major and full major

Major Regulations:

Enrollment in PSY 110 or higher courses is contingent upon satisfying pre-major requirements. 

  • Check the UCSB General Catalog for the prerequisites to all listed courses. Pre-reqs are strictly enforced, no exceptions. 
  • Up to 8 units of PSY 199P may be taken for major credit. All other major courses (prep or UD), including courses applied to the major from other departments, must be completed on a letter-grade basis. 
  • At least 2.0 overall UC GPA in all upper-division major courses and all courses (prep and UD) for the major, including courses in excess of minimum requirements.

Declaring pre- or full Psychological & Brain Sciences BS

To declare for the Pre- or Full PBS BS major, students must submit their “Change of Major” (CoM) paperwork (2 items total, instructions in documents below) to Pending qualifying grades posted on a student's transcript, this paperwork will be processed by the PBS department and forwarded to the Office of the Registrar (please allow 3-6 weeks for processing). Change of Major status will be updated via a student’s GOLD portal and will “unlock” access to PSY classes.  For those switching from pre- to full major, please turn in your request from Pre-PBS BS to Full PBS BS while you are enrolled in your final pre-major course(s) (CoM paperwork is due by finals week and will be processed after final grades are posted).

PSY 10A and 10B are limited to Pre-PBS BS standing students. 

PSY 110+ courses are limited to Full PBS BS standing students.

Transfer Student Info

Pre-PBS BS transfer students are encouraged to have completed at minimum one year of General Chemistry. The General Biology series is encouraged but not required. Additional pre-major courses that can be completed prior to transfer are Intro to Psychology, Calculus, and Statistics. Note: CC grades do not factor into UC GPA.

PSY 10A & 10B are only offered at UCSB (there is no CC equivalency). 

Use to identify California Community College course equivalencies to UCSB courses. For coursework transferred from CSU/private/out of state schools, students must request a course evaluation to determine if the material is an acceptable substitution for major credit.  Instructions for a course evaluation are located under the “course information” tab.