Psychological & Brain Sciences Major

The Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS B.S.) major is designed to guide students though the requirements of a Bachelor of Science degree. Admission to the full PBS B.S. major is contingent upon meeting the Pre-Major requirements.

Declaring as a PBS B.S. student informs the Office of the Registrar - which manages course enrollment on GOLD - and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences (PBS) - which manages PSY courses - of a student’s intention to join the full major. PBS B.S. standing will give students first priority registration in Pass 1 and Pass 2 on GOLD for PSY courses.

In order to earn full PBS B.S. status and enroll in PSY 110+ courses, students must submit Change of Major paperwork to PBS. If eligible, this paperwork will be processed by PBS and forwarded to the Office of the Registrar where a student’s major standing will be updated on GOLD. This process typically takes about 10 working days.

By using the Undergraduate pull-down menu at the top of the page and the PDFs below, students will find all the information and petitions needed to move through their major requirements and assist with course selection throughout their academic career.


Pre-Major Rules:

  1. At least a 2.7 University of California grade-point average (GPA) earned in PSY 1, MATH 34A (or 3A), PSTAT 5A, PSY 10A, and PSY 10B.
  2. At least a 2.0 University of California grade-point average (GPA) earned in CHEM 1A or 2A, CHEM 1B or 2B, MCDB 1A or 6, and EEMB 2 or 7.
  3. No course with a grade lower than C-.
  4. Not more than one course with a C-.
  5. No course taken P/NP.
  6. Students must satisfy Pre-Major courses and GPA requirements prior to the completion of 144 total units.


Pre-Major Course Requirements:

(Note – Please see Psychological & Brain Sciences Major Sheet below for full major requirements)

Area I: Pre-Major Requirements The following courses require a 2.7 UC GPA before admittance to the full major: PSY 1, PSTAT 5, MATH 34A (3A), PSY 10A, PSY 10B (23 units).
Area II: Pre-Major Requirements The following courses require a 2.0 UC GPA before admittance to the full major: CHEM 1A or 2A, CHEM 1B or 2B, MCDB 1A or 6, and EEMB 2 or 7 (13 units).

Note: Transfer students may take the equivalencies of PSY 1, MATH 34A (3A), PSTAT 5A, and CHEM 1A or 2A, CHEM 1B or 2B, MCDB 1A or 6, and EEMB 2 or 7 prior to arrival at UCSB. However, transfer students must take PSY 10A & 10B at UCSB to qualify for the full PBS BS major. Classes taken at the community college level are accepted if approved by, but grades from community college classes will not be calculated into the UC GPA for full major qualification. If a student transfers from a non-CA community college, then the course must be evaluated by UCSB PBS faculty for UCSB PBS credit.

Area III: Preparation for the Major The following courses require a 2.0 UC GPA before graduation: Four courses from the following: ANTH 2, 5, 7; EARTH 2, 3; EEMB 3; ENVS 1, 2, 3; GEOG 5; MCDB 20, 29; CHEM 1C; CMPSC 8, 16; MATH 3B, 4A, 4B, 34B; PHYS 1, 2, 3, 20; CLIT 27; ECON 1, 2, 9; LING 20, 50, 70; PHIL 3, 4; POLS 1; RGST 15


Tips for Pre-Major Students

  • AP Courses with scores higher than 3:
    • AP Psychology fulfills the PSY 1 requirement
    • AP Statistics fulfills the PSY 5/PSTAT 5A requirement
    • AP Calculus AB fulfills the MATH 34A requirement
    • AP Calculus BC fulfills the MATH 34B requirement
  • The statistics requirement can be satisfied by: PSY 5 or COMM 87. It is important to understand only one statistics class will count towards the major. For anyone attempting a legal repeat, they must repeat the same course title they originally attempted. For instance, PSTAT 5 cannot be replaced with PSY 5.*Note: PSY 5 is discontinuing in AY 17-18 and students are encouraged to take PSTAT 5.
  • Upon completion of PSY 1, students in the Pre-Major may begin making progress toward their upper-division requirements by taking the PSY courses numbered 100-109. We recommend only students with sophomore standing or higher take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Students that transferred into UCSB should plan to work on PSY 100-109 courses in their first and second quarter at UCSB while they are not yet eligible to enroll in PSY 110+ courses on GOLD.
  • Students should submit Change of Major paperwork during the quarter in which they are enrolled in their last Pre-Major course(s). Although paperwork cannot be processed before final grades are posted, this is a step we recommend to ensure student major status is updated as quickly as possible. The department cannot “rush” petitions.

*Special Note for Transfer Pre-Psychological & Brain Sciences Students Advisors recommend that Pre-PBS B.S. transfer students start the Pre-PBS B.S. major with series from their transfer institution. Please complete the full CHEM and BIO series at your local institution if you can as this helps transfer students pursing the full PBS B.S. stay on time to degree and focus on upper divisions while at UCSB! Transfer Pre-PBS students are highly encouraged to review the schedule planning tools under “course information” and consult with an Advisor prior to attending UCSB to understand the requirements of the degree.