As the science concerned with the study of behavior, Psychological & Brain Sciences includes such areas as learning and memory, motivation, sensory processes and perception, biological bases of behavior, social interactions, aging and development, personality, and clinical and affective psychology.

Undergraduate study in Psychological & Brain Sciences provides a sound basis for later professional graduate training at the master’s or PhD level in Psychological & Brain Sciences. The Psychological & Brain Sciences major may also provide important intellectual tools for those considering careers in management, law, education, social work, public relations, and health-related professions.

The WashU School of Continuing & Professional Studies programs in psychology are allied with the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences in Arts and Sciences at Washington University. Courses are normally scheduled one evening a week for two and a half hours. Most courses are three units.


Units of Basic Requirements


Units of Distribution Requirements

Basic Requirements – 18 units

All School of Continuing & Professional Studies undergraduate students must satisfy the same general-education requirements.

  • Analytical Writing (U11 111)*
  • Critical and Researched Writing (U11 203)*
  • One additional 3-unit advanced writing course, which may be chosen from EComp 304 Exposition, EComp 3120 Argumentation, EComp 324 Writing for Public Speaking, or EComp 331 Technical Writing.*
  • One 3-unit course in numerical applications with a minimum grade of C-
  • One 3-unit course in moral reasoning
  • One 3-unit course in cultural diversity: Courses that satisfy the cultural diversity requirement explore issues of global human diversity and the interactions among cultures.

These requirements are effective as of Spring 2023. Students admitted to School of Continuing & Professional Studies programs prior to Spring 2023 are expected to fulfill the requirements in place at the time of their admission.

This program is offered either mostly or fully online. Students entering the U.S. on an F-1 or J-1 Visa must enroll in a program full time. F-1 students are only permitted to enroll in one online course per semester and J-1 students may only enroll in non-credit online courses that do not count toward their degree program. The School of Continuing & Professional Studies (CAPS) cannot guarantee face-to-face enrollment options each semester of full time enrollment, therefore cannot issue an I-20 or DS 2019 to F-1 and J-1 students for this program. If you are an F-1 or J-1 student and wish to enroll in a CAPS program while here on a Visa, please contact our recruitment team to discuss your options for face-to-face program enrollment. F-1 and J-1 students should not enroll in online courses or programs without first consulting the university’s Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS).

*Students who receive a grade lower than a C- in EComp 111 Analytical Writing taken at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies must repeat the course. Students who receive a grade lower than a C- in EComp 203 Critical and Researched Writing taken at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies must, in consultation with the Department of English and the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, choose between two options to satisfy the requirement: (1) repeat the course; or (2) complete a 3-unit composition tutorial with a grade of C or higher. Students who have completed English composition courses at another college or university should be well prepared for the required writing courses at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies, and transfer credit will be awarded for this work according to our regular transfer credit policies. However, new students will begin with EComp 111 in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies. Students who feel they have a strong writing background may petition to take a placement test to demonstrate the skills needed to begin with EComp 203 instead. All students will complete EComp 203 and a 300-level writing course at the School of Continuing & Professional Studies.

Distribution Requirements – 27 units

27 units, 9 units in each area noted below.  Field-of-study courses also may fulfill basic and distribution requirements; however, each distribution area must include course work from at least two disciplines:

  • Humanities: (9 credits) Courses from Art History, Classics, History, Literature, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Creative Writing, Film Studies, Foreign Languages, Music, and Speech
  • Social Sciences: (9 credits) Courses from Anthropology; Economics; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics: (9 credits) Courses from Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Physics, and Science

These requirements are effective as of Summer 2023. Students admitted to CAPS programs prior to Summer 2023 are expected to fulfill the requirements in place at the time of their admission.

Additional Information

Advanced Courses

At least 30 units of advanced courses must be completed at Washington University.

Residency Requirement

Students working toward the Bachelor of Science degree at Washington University must complete the final 36 units of course work at Washington University. At least half of the units for the major must be completed at Washington University.

Additional Elective Courses

Students must complete a total of 120 credit units of course work for the degree by taking additional courses in either the liberal arts or professional areas. No more than 10 percent of a student’s course work may be in independent work (including internships, directed readings), and no more than 60 units in one department may count toward the degree.

Grade Requirements

To receive the Bachelor of Science degree, you must maintain a 2.0 GPA in all courses taken and receive a grade of C- or better in all courses applied to your major.

Field of Study Requirements

Students majoring in Psychological and Brain Sciences in the School of Continuing & Professional Studies must also complete a minimum of 33 units in psychology, including the following:

Introductory Psychology Courses

  • Introduction to Psychology (U09 100)
  • Introductory Psychological Statistics (to include a Community Engagement Module) (U09 300)
  • Research Methods (U09 3015)

Psychology Area Courses

Five upper-level (300-400) Psychological and Brain Sciences courses as indicated below::

Group A – Social/Personality (at least one course):

  • Introduction to Social Psychology (U09 315)
  • Psychology of Personality (U09 353)
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology (U09 381)

Group B – Clinical/Affective (at least one course):

  • Abnormal Child Psychology (U09 3195)
  • Perspectives on Counseling (U09 330)
  • Introduction to Psychopathology and Clinical Psychology (U09 368)
  • Addiction and Treatment (U09 488)

Group C – Biological/Neurological (at least one course):

  • Biological Psychology (U09 3401)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience (U09 3604)

Group D – Behavior/Cognition (at least one course):

  • Cognitive Psychology (U09 359)
  • Learning and Memory (U09 365)

Group E – Lifespan Development (at least one course):

  • Social Gerontology (U09 308)
  • Developmental Psychology (U09 322)
  • Psychology of Adolescence (U09 325)
  • Psychology of Aging (U09 3261)

Elective Requirements

To complete the Psychological and Brain Sciences major, students must complete three additional electives in psychology at the 300 or 400 level. A maximum of 3 units of independent study may apply to the major.

Application Requirements

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