Concentrations in Psychology

Psychology encompasses a range of phenomena and levels of analysis in pursuit of three goals: to deepen understanding of cognitive and neural mechanisms of sensation, perception, learning, and emotion; to probe the biological and evolutionary foundations of animal behavior; and to clarify the social perception and assessment of individuals and groups. The A.B. and Sc.B. concentrations in Psychology offer an array of course options, including study in quantitative methods, laboratory techniques, and senior seminars on specialized topics. Students take upper-level courses in the field’s major sub-disciplines, including perception and cognition, behavioral neuroscience, and social psychology. The concentrations prepare students for graduate programs in the brain and behavioral sciences and clinical psychology, and for careers in business, policy-related research positions, law, and education.

Student Goals

Students in these concentrations will:

  • Develop a foundation in the science of perception and cognition, as well as social, comparative, and developmental psychology
  • Acquire expertise in at least one of the core areas of psychology
  • Learn to formulate a scientific question
  • Apply quantitative and other research methods
  • Produce a piece of original research

Description of the Concentrations

The A.B. and Sc.B. Concentrations in Psychology have several features in common. Both require Introductory Psychology (or AP equivalent), a Quantitative Methods course, six core courses from three broad areas ( Perception & Cognition, Comparative/Physiological, and Social/Personality/Developmental ), an laboratory course, and an advanced seminar.

The requirements specific to the A.B. Concentration include two elective courses that complement the student's main area of interest in Psychology.  In all, the A.B. Concentration requires 12 courses.  

The requirements specific to the Sc.B. Concentration include six supporting science courses and a Directed Research course (CLPS1980) that involves one semester of independent research under the supervision of a faculty advisor in Psychology.  The Sc.B. requires a total of 17 courses. 

Details on the concentrations may be found here

Planning your concentration in Psychology includes the following steps:

1. Read the descriptions of the undergraduate concentrations on the CLPS website, the Registrar's entry for Psychology, and the and the material on concentrations on Brown's Advising SideKick (ASK) website, including Planning your Sophomore Year, and Brown's Writing Requirement

2. Attend any concentration orientation meetings that are scheduled, including those scheduled by the Dean of the College (see the ASK event calendar) and departmental events listed on the CLPS site and on the AB/ScB advising calendar.   

3. To help you plan courses you will take to satisfy your concentration: 
  • Review the AB/ScB worksheets (see link below), which provide further details on distribution and other requirements.  
  • Check Banner for the Registrar's descriptions and other details on courses that are currently offered.  
  • Check the list of CLPS courses that are to be offered in the coming year; this list also indicates which courses satisfy seminar or other requirements.  
  • Preview the ASK website to familiarize yourself with the information that you will need to submit as part of your declaration.

4. Complete the AB or ScB "Concentration Worksheet" using the links shown below.  Contact your AB or ScB advisor if you have questions about the worksheet. Your responses will be forwarded to your concentration advisor when you submit your completed form.  

5. Prepare your "Personal Statement" and your answers under "Additional Academic Goals", as described on the Advising Sidekick (ASK) site.  

6. Your advisor will preview your Worksheet, Personal Statement, Additional Academic Goals, and concentration course plan.  You may be asked to revise your statement and/or course selections.   You will also need to meet with our concentration advisor to review your plan.

7. Once your advisor has approved your Statement, Goals, and course selections, you will need to enter your final list of approved courses using the ASK website.  

8. Your advisor will then indicate his or her approval of your Concentration Declaration on the ASK website.  

Concentration Worksheets and other Forms

The concentration worksheets identify each of the requirements for the concentrations, including where possible the specific courses that can be taken to meet these requirements.  The forms also provide your concentration advisor with a record of your concentration plans; typically your advisor will preview your worksheet before meeting with you to finalize your declaration.  Please note that these worksheets are separate from the ASK website, where you will also submit your personal statement and explain what steps you have taken to meet Brown's writing requirement. 

Revising a Concentration Plan

Even after your final concentration declaration is approved, you may discover that a course included in your plan is not offered.  

If you are sure that a replacement course will satisfy your concentration requirements, revise your worksheet using the same online form you initially submitted (see links above) and notify your concentration advisor via email.  If you are not sure a replacement course meets requirements, email your advisor before submitting a revised worksheet. 

You must also your list of approved courses on the ASK website. Under "Declarations", look for "My Declarations".  On the "Status" tab, you should see 3 options next to "Actions".  One of them should be "Change".  If you are unable to change your declaration as needed, you should contact your advisor and/or the ASK webmaster. 

Electronic and Paper Filing

As of September 2012, most students will file their concentration declarations electronically.  If for some reason you initially filed using the Registrar's paper forms, the current procedure is for you to file any revisions to your concentration using paper forms available from the Registrar.