Psychology (B.A.)

B.A. Major in Psychology

Note: The UBC Okanagan campus also offers a B.Sc. Major in Psychology.

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Major in Psychology provides a strong foundation for advanced training that can lead to a career in Psychology or other professions.

Students gain a broad perspective in Psychology with courses in such diverse areas as biopsychology, cognitive, developmental, social, and abnormal psychology. In addition, students gain an understanding and appreciation of the empirical method as it is applied across the disciplines.

Students intending to pursue graduate studies in Psychology are advised to consider taking the Honours Program since many Canadian universities expect potential graduate students to have completed an Honours degree.

Enrolling as a Psychology Major

Students are encouraged to declare their major in Psychology at the end of their first year. To be admitted to the major program, students must successfully complete both PSYO 111 and 121 (or equivalent) and a minimum of 24 credits. To continue as a Psychology Major, a student must complete both PSYO 270 and 271 (or equivalent); these courses should be completed in second year.

First and Second Years

B.A. requirements, including PSYO 111, 121.

A student must complete PSYO 270 (Introduction to Research Methods and Design) and PSYO 271 (Introduction to Data Analysis) to graduate as a Psychology Major.

Third and Fourth Years

  • At least 18 credits in 300-level or higher courses outside of Psychology;
  • At least 30 credits of 300-level or higher Psychology courses;
  • Psychology breadth requirement of at least 3 credits from each of the following five areas. Each area is defined by the centre digit in the course number (e.g., PSYO 219 satisfies category 1; PSYO 321 satisfies category 2; etc.); students may complete this requirement with 200-level as well as upper-level courses:
    1. Cognitive/Learning/Perception;
    2. Developmental;
    3. Biopsychology;
    4. Personality/Abnormal;
    5. Social/Sex/Forensic.

Electives are available to complete the 120 credits required for the degree.

For the Major, students need a minimum of 48 credits in Psychology courses, with at least 30 credits at the 300 level or higher. It is possible to take additional upper-level Psychology credits beyond this minimum value.

In addition, and with reference to non-Psychology course electives, students must complete at least 18 credits at the 300 level or higher outside of Psychology. Therefore, at least 48 credits (including the minimum 30 credits in Psychology and 18 credits in non-Psychology) toward the degree requirement of 120 credits must be from courses numbered 300 and above. As a consequence, it is possible to take a limited number of lower-division courses (including Psychology) during third and fourth years.

Note: not all Psychology courses are offered each year. A number of courses are offered in alternate years, and some may not be offered for several years. Students are advised to check the current schedule of course offerings.

B.A. Psychology Honours Program

The Honours degree program in Psychology enables high-achieving students in the Psychology Major to increase their concentration in Psychology and to gain research experience in the completion of an Honours thesis. Students are expected to satisfy high levels of competency in their academic achievement and to successfully complete a research project under the supervision of a faculty member.

Students intending to pursue graduate studies in Psychology are advised to consider taking the Honours Program since many Canadian universities expect potential graduate students to have completed an Honours degree.

Admission Requirements

  • Fourth-year standing;
  • Minimum weighted average of 76% from all courses in Psychology;
  • Minimum weighted average of 76% over the last 60 credits;
  • Preliminary thesis topic approved by a thesis supervisor (note: the department head must approve the thesis supervisor);
  • Completion of PSYO 372.

Graduation Requirements

  • All general program requirements for the B.A. degree, including the general, English, Science, Language other than English, and Distribution requirements;
  • All requirements for the Psychology Major, including the breadth requirement;
  • Completion of PSYO 372 (Research Methods and Statistics), PSYO 373 (Advanced Research Methods and Statistics), and 6 credits of PSYO 490 (Undergraduate Honours Thesis) with a minimum of 76% in each of these courses;
  • Minimum weighted average of 76% from all courses in Psychology;
  • Minimum weighted average of 76% over the last 60 credits;
  • Public presentation of the thesis; and
  • A minimum of 54 credits of Psychology, of which 42 must be upper-level courses.

B.A. Psychology Honours Program with a Specialization in Forensic Psychology

This program provides exceptional undergraduate psychology students the opportunity to concentrate their studies in forensic psychology during the completion of their B.A. Honours degree in Psychology. The program will allow students to learn - through coursework, thesis, and practical experience - about the various roles that psychologists play in the legal system, psychological aspects of crime and criminal investigation, the assessment of risk for violence, and mental health issues/psychological interventions among both victims and offenders.

Program Outline

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a four-year, 120-credit B.A. Honours degree in Psychology, and a transcript notation verifying completion of the Specialization in Forensic Psychology. Students must commit to the specialization prior to their fourth year of studies, tailor courses to the program requirements, and begin their practicum hours in the summer after the third year. Successful completion of the specialization requires admission into the Honours program after the completion of the third year of study so that the two practica can be successfully completed (one before the Winter Session of the final program year).

Curriculum Requirements

Students interested in this specialization will first register for the standard B.A. program in Psychology. They will then follow the B.A. program with the intention of taking Honours (acceptance at end of third year) and with attention to the specific requirements of the specialization program listed below.

Admission Criteria

Admission of students to the Specialization in Forensic Psychology will occur on a competitive basis. A limited number of students will be accepted each year based on compatibility with research interests of potential supervisors, and practicum and supervisor availability. Applicants must have completed PSYO 372 (Research Methods and Statistics) with a minimum of 76%. Applicants' overall weighted average will also be considered, and a minimum weighted average of 76% over the last 60 credits will normally be required. Qualified applicants will undergo an interview by the selection committee. Acceptance will be based on both academic performance and possession of interpersonal skills and ethical knowledge suitable for work with forensic staff and populations.

Course Requirements

Psychology (all required with at least 76% in each course)

  • PSYO 355 (3) and 356 (3) Forensic Psychology I and II
  • PSYO 381 (3) Directed Studies in Psychology on a forensic topic, broadly defined.
  • PSYO 490 (6) Undergraduate Honours Thesis. The thesis must address a forensic topic, broadly defined.
  • PSYO 508 (3) Advanced Topics in (Forensic) Psychology

Psychology (minimum of 12 credits with at least 76% in each course)

  • PSYO 241 (3) Personality
  • PSYO 252 (3) Introduction to Social Psychology
  • PSYO 311 (3) Memory
  • PSYO 335 (3) Drugs and Behaviour
  • PSYO 343 (3) Psychopathology I
  • PSYO 344 (3) Psychopathology II
  • PSYO 353 (3) Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality I
  • PSYO 354 (3) Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality II
  • PSYO 380 (3-9) d Special Topics in Psychology (based on topic)
  • PSYO 442 (3) Interpersonal Behaviour and Psychopathology
  • PSYO 443 (3) Psychometrics and Test Evaluation
  • PSYO 444 (3) Psychological Tests and Administration
  • PSYO 480 (3-9) d Advanced Special Topics in Psychology (based on topic)

Non-Psychology (at least 68% in each course)

Students are required to take two relevant courses in Sociology as part of their degree elective requirements. Students must complete:

  • SOCI 249 (3) Crime and Society
  • one of SOCI 270 (3) Youth, Crime, and Deviance, SOCI 309 (3) Violence in Intimate Relations, SOCI 371 (3) Deviance and Social Control, or another relevant Sociology course as determined by the program

Practicum Requirements

Students will be required to complete two practica in approved forensic settings in the Okanagan region: PSYO 452 (1.5) and PSYO 453 (1.5) Forensic Specialization Practicum I and II. The minimum number of hours for each practicum will be 160 hours (four full-time weeks which can be spread throughout the school year or during the summer months). Each practicum will allow a student to (a) observe/shadow psychologists and other forensic staff in their work, (b) receive relevant on-the-job training, and (c) work with trained staff members during their interactions with crime victims and/or criminal offenders. Students will be evaluated by the practicum supervisor at the end of the practicum. Grading will be Pass or Fail, as evaluated according to pre-set criteria depending on the practicum site (e.g., attendance, acquisition of relevant knowledge, ethical behaviour, etc.). Students will complete their practica in one of two ways: (a) one practicum in the summer following their third year and one across the fourth year or (b) one practicum in the summer following the third year and one in the summer following the fourth (final) year. This will be decided on an individual basis.

Application Process

After gaining admission to the Honours program, students interested in applying for the Specialization in Forensic Psychology should submit a one-page cover letter, CV, and completed application form.

Please send this information to:

Forensic Psychology Specialization Selection Committee
c/o Department Assistant
Psychology Department
3187 University Way
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7

Minor in Psychology

To complete a Minor in Psychology, students must accumulate no fewer than 30 credits in Psychology out of the 120 credits required for the B.A. degree. At least 18 of these credits must be numbered 300 or above.

The University of British Columbia

Enrolment Services
University Centre, Room 322
3333 University Way, Kelowna BC, Canada V1V 1V7