Saint Louis University

Major in Psychology

Psychology majors at SLU have two degree options: Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a
Bachelor of Science (BS). In trying to assist you in determining the appropriate
course of study, please read the following FAQs and speak to both your College
of Arts and Sciences advisor and your Psychology faculty mentor.

What is the difference between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree?

Arts & Sciences departments at many universities often offer both
Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor
of Science (BS) degrees. The
BA degree typically is considered a more traditional Liberal Arts degree.  

Students working toward the BA degree have more exposure to liberal
arts core courses (e.g., literature).
Therefore, they receive a more thorough
background in the arts, humanities, and social and behavioral
In contrast, BS degree programs allow a more in-depth study within the
major field and
frequently involve additional coursework in mathematics,
statistics and research methods, and/or natural
science courses.

What are the differences between a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the College of Arts & Sciences at Saint Louis University?

Students working toward a BS in Psychology will follow BS core for the
College of Arts & Sciences, which
requires one less course in Literature,
Philosophy, and Theology, as compared to the BA core. The BS
core also
requires a total of 8 hours of science within a single discipline (e.g. Biology,
Chemistry), in
contrast to 6 hours of science in the BA core. Finally, the BS
core requires 4-7 hours of Mathematics
(through Calculus/Math-1510), in
contrast to the 3 hour Math requirement in the BA core.

What are the differences between the BA and the BS within Psychology at SLU?

A primary difference between the BS and BA degree within Psychology is
the requirement that BS
students receive a grade of B- or higher in PSY-2050,
and complete both PSY-3060 and PSY-4010. Thus,
8 additional hours of statistics
and research methods are required in the BS whereas this 2-course

sequence is elective in the BA.  Additionally, PSY-4010 automatically satisfies the
capstone requirement.
Additionally, students working toward the BS degree will
be required to take PSY-3930 "Disciplines & Practices
in Psychology" while BA students
may take PSY-3930 as an elective.

BS students, like BA students will take at least one course in the four designated
content areas: 
Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, Social Personality
Psychology, and Applied
Psychology. The minimum number of hours for the BS degree
is 36, while for the BA degree the minimum
is 31 hours. Regarding electives, BS students
must take a minimum of 6 hours, including at least one non-capstone 4000 level course.

Deciding whether to pursue the BA versus the BS degree in Psychology?

The BA curriculum is a less research intensive educational experience.  As such, the
BA degree is
designed to provide a broad understanding of psychology, as a potential
preparation for professional
schools (e.g. law, medicine), non-research oriented graduate
school programs, professional masters
programs in counseling, or as a general liberal arts
career preparation.
The BS curriculum provides a research intensive educational experience
where students acquire the
ability to apply the methods used to acquire evidence-based
knowledge about psychological phenomena.
As such, the BS degree is designed for
students interested in graduate study in doctoral psychology
programs which have a
significant research emphasis.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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