Psychological & Brain Sciences Major

The Pre-Psychological & Brain Sciences BS (Pre-PBS) & Full Psychological & Brain Sciences BS (PBS) majors are designed to guide students through the requirements of a Bachelor of Science degree. First, students work on pre-major courses to qualify for joining the full major. Should they meet the requirements of the pre-major, students must then declare full major to complete their PBS BS degree.

Major Course Requirement

The Psychological & Brain Sciences BS major has 4 parts: Area I, Area II, Area III 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 2A or 3A) - Calculus I (4 units)
  • PSTAT 5A (or equivalent) - 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 as prep for the major:

  • CHEM 1A-B (or CHEM 2A-B) - 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: 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 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 105, 121, 121T, 151T, 153S, 169, 177AB, 192AB; BLST 137E, 154, 160; CNCSP 114; COMM 117, 124, 133; EEMB 129, 131, 154, 157, 180; ED 190; ENGL 170 (AA-ZZ); ENVS 106; GEOG 153A, 153B, 153C; GLOBL 159; INT 133C; LING 127, 137, 149, 185; MCDB 110; PHIL 124A, 134, 180; RGST 156BE, 172; SOC 122, 128, 134, 142, 148, 152A, 185D

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 (3 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 a minimum of 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 an evaluation to audit the material as acceptable substitution for major credit.  Instructions for an audit request are located under the “course information” tab.