Psychology Major at Duke

December 16, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Psychology Major at Duke

Does Duke Offer A Psychology Major?

Students who receive a degree in psychology engage themselves in the study of the causes, processes, and outcomes of human and animal behavior. The study of behavior and its antecedents is fundamental to the comprehension of diverse systems ranging from biological to social. Students who take the psychology major at Duke can apply their understanding of human behavior to an array of professional sectors.

These include mental and physical health care, research, education, policy, law, finance, consulting, marketing, and business management. Understanding psychological principles will also be advantageous in engineering and data analysis-related disciplines.

What Duke Offers

Does Duke offer a psychology major? The Undergraduate Program in Psychology provides students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Arts (AB), Bachelor of Science (BS), Interdepartmental (IDM), and minor degrees. Although the prerequisites to finish the AB and BS are very close to one another, there are some significant distinctions between the two degrees. Students seeking an AB degree are required to finish 11 courses in their major, while those seeking a BS degree must complete 16 courses. There is a requirement of five courses for the minor degree.

a view of duke university chapel

Duke University also offers a Neuroscience Undergraduate Program which provides Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Interdepartmental, and minor degrees. While the requirements for the AB and BS are comparable, there are significant distinctions between the two degrees.

The study of neuroscience is an example of an interdisciplinary approach that compiles findings from a wide range of different fields of study. The students are given the task of investigating the following knowledge, which is obtained from three stages of analysis:

  • the molecules that can be found inside the cells of nerve systems
  • neural circuits which are made up of cells that are structured and connected
  • behaviors that come from the operations of brain circuits

The integration of these analyses transforms the study of neuroscience into a thrilling experience consisting of inquiry and discovery. An undergraduate education that focuses on the liberal arts and sciences can provide one of the most rewarding experiences possible through the study of neuroscience as a major subject.

More than ever before, the widespread influence of innovations in neuroscience is expanding outside the traditional academic fields from which the brain sciences evolved. This trend is expected to continue. Experts in law, business, the social sciences, philosophy, the arts, and the humanities are engaging neuroscientists in new conversations and forming new partnerships. The neuroscience curriculum reflects this broadening interdisciplinary platform for discovery and learning, with a rich offering of learning experiences that reflect the exciting growth of neuroscience and its increasing relevance to real-world problems.

Students majoring in neuroscience are offered a plethora of opportunities to investigate the human brain in conjunction with academics hailing from a wide variety of fields and points of view. The undergraduate program is taught by faculty from a variety of departments, the most prominent of which are the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience and the Department of Biology, both of which are housed in Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, as well as the Department of Neurobiology in the Duke University School of Medicine and the Biomedical Engineering Department in the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

Students will be provided with a faculty advisor by the Office of Undergraduate Studibeforethey have declared their major. A student’s assignments may be determined by their desire for a specific advisor or their interest in a specific topic of psychology. Students have the option of indicating their choices by filling out an Advisor Request Form; however, some advisors might not be accessible because they already have a full roster or are on sabbatical leave.

All first-year students who selected the psychology major at Duke (AB and BS) will be assigned a faculty advisor with whom they must meet at least once per semester to be cleared for enrolment. Second majors (AB2 and BS2) and minors will be advised via their primary majors, not psychology. Nonetheless, all majors and minors are urged to contact the office at [email protected] with any degree-related inquiries.

What Courses Do You Need To Take To Major In Psychology At Duke?

When you declare your major in a department, you can become a part of a community that encompasses the department’s faculty, graduate students, post-docs, administrators, and fellow undergraduates. Each of these individuals can assist you in establishing a connection with the intellectual underpinnings of the field.

4 students working on an online internship

You have the option of declaring your major at any point throughout your sophomore year, but you must do so before the Friday that falls one week before your fourth semester of enrollment at the very latest. So, what courses do you need to take to major in psychology at Duke?

Foundation courses for the psychology major at Duke must be completed by the end of junior year:

  • PSY 101: An Overview of Psychology Introductory Course (AP or IPC counts as PSY 11, which can be used toward Trinity requirements but not for the major)
  • Methods and Statistics: PSY 204L and PSY 205L

Some courses have prerequisite recommendations, which indicate that the understanding of topics builds upon recommended courses; other courses have “hard-wired” prerequisites, which means that DukeHub will not allow a student to register for the course without having completed the prerequisite first.

Other Introductory and Survey Courses

These courses (PSY 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, and 106/7) offer comprehensive overviews of specific subfields of psychology and will lay the groundwork for subsequent studies in the subject. Certain courses at the higher levels need students to have completed either one or more of these survey classes as a prerequisite.

Before moving on to the higher-level seminars, you are required to finish the statistics and laboratory methods coursework. Most of the readings required to be completed for seminar classes are current primary sources that were just released. It is essential to have a basic understanding of experimental and quantitative methods to assimilate these readings successfully. Students are more prepared for seminar classes if, before enrolling in those classes, they take courses in statistics and laboratory methods.

Does Duke Offer A Master’s Degree In Psychology?

Does Duke offer a master’s degree in psychology? In the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, graduate students have access to a one-of-a-kind training program that combines the fields of social sciences and natural sciences in the investigation of the brain, behavior, and cognition in both humans and animals. This training can lead to a doctoral degree. Unfortunately, applications for the Terminal Master’s degree are not accepted at this time. Currently, 40 faculty members actively work with the 80 graduate program students.

The graduate program specializations available are Clinical Psychology, Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience (C/CN), Developmental (DEV), Social Psychology, and Systems and Integrative Neuroscience (SINS). The curriculum is broken up into different tracks, or fields of graduate study:

  • Clinical Psychology – The Clinical Psychology Program at Duke University is a Ph.D. program for students who are looking for excellence in academic, scientific, and clinical training. The American Psychological Association (APA) and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) have both granted their full accreditation to this program.
  • Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience – Members in the Cog/CN training areas employ behavioral, computational, and neural methodologies to study human cognition, such as attention, memory, training and learning, emotion, and decision-making.
  • Developmental Psychology – This subfield of psychology investigates how people’s social-emotional skills, as well as their cognitive abilities, mature from childhood into old age.
  • Social Psychology – The study of social psychology encompasses research on attitudes, the self, self-regulation, social motivation, emotion, stereotyping, gender, interpersonal interactions, and the link between personality and social behavior.
  • Systems and Integrative Neuroscience (SINS) – An academic program that encourages its teachers, postdocs, and graduate students to use several levels of analysis to investigate the intricate relationship that exists between the brain, behavior, and the surrounding environment. Approaches like these include electrophysiological, behavioral, pharmacological, cellular, genetic, molecular, circuit, and neural-network models.

Program Structure

  • All doctoral candidates are full-time.
  • All students are admitted during the Fall term.
  • Every student is admitted to a particular training program.
  • Only primary or joint graduate faculty are permitted to admit students.
  • All admitted students (both local and international) receive five years of academic year support, assuming they maintain a satisfactory academic standing.
  • Additionally, all accepted students have guaranteed funding for the first two summers (assuming good standing in the program).

Graduate School Application Requirements

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts must be submitted along with the application, and official transcripts must be shown before admission can be granted.
  • Recommendation Letters: Three letters are required
  • Resumé
  • GRE Scores

GRE General (Optional for 2023)

  • For Clinical Applicants only:  It is strongly suggested that you sign up for the GRE psychology topic test if your undergraduate degree did not focus on the subject. There is no requirement to take the subject test for students majoring in psychology. Within Psychology and Neuroscience, the subject test is not required for any other subfield.
  • English Language Exam: Examples are TOEFL, the IELTS, or Duolingo Test. This is required for applicants whose first language is not English, though a test waiver may be granted to certain applicants.
  • Grade Point Average: An undergraduate GPA based on a scale of 4.0 is necessary.

Additional Requirements

For admission to the joint Ph.D. program in Public Policy and Allied Disciplines, applicants must submit an additional essay. You may check the additional department-specific application instructions for the program to which you are applying on the Departmental Application Guidance website.

Is Duke A Good School For Psychology?

Is Duke a good school for psychology? The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience is located in the center of the Duke campus. It is renowned for its research and training in the areas of clinical psychology, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, social psychology, and systems and integrative neuroscience.

a group of students silently taking the test

For undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, several organizations and resources are available for them to widen their knowledge in various fields discussed in the neuroscience program, as well as in the psychology major at Duke. These organizations are also initiated to foster the psychology and neuroscience community on campus.

Duke NeuroCare

NeuroCare aims to increase awareness by teaching Duke students about neurological and mental problems and their prevention, push for research to find a cure, and help those who are afflicted with neurological disorders establish support systems for themselves. Awareness, advocacy, and action are the three pillars that makeup NeuroCare’s strategy for achieving this purpose as an organization.

NeuroCare will periodically set up booths with flyers and relevant information, advocate for the support and funding of neurological research, and take direct action by interacting with people affected by neurological disorders. These activities are designed to educate students and other members of the Duke community about neurological disorders and diseases.

Duke Synapse

The mission of Synapse is to provide support for undergraduate students at Duke University in the areas of academics, careers, and social life. The organization emphasizes on hosting events that not only foster networking in a social context but also serve to improve its members’ conceptual and factual understanding of neuroscience and neurology.

Neuroscience Majors’ Unionah

The mission of the Neuroscience Majors’ Union (NMU) is to advocate for the requirements and concerns of students who are majoring or minoring in neuroscience, whether they have stated their intentions or not. The Neuroscience Minor Union (NMU) offers one-of-a-kind academic and social opportunities that foster the expansion of Duke’s Neuroscience community. As a result, the Neuroscience major benefits from exposure to a more diverse range of activities and perspectives.

Psychology Majors Union

The objective of the Duke University Psychology Majors’ Union is to foster a sense of community within the Psychology Department, raise awareness of the psychology major at Duke, and facilitate research connections between faculty and students. To join, please contact Dr. Bridgette Hard.

Two students talking while walking in the campus.

Graduate Students Resources

The graduate students have a wide network of contacts around the school. For instance, the Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience training program is a member of the Consortium of Neuroscience Graduate Programs, which encourages connections with a diverse range of students and professors in an interdisciplinary setting.

A significant number of the clinical students collaborate with researchers at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) and/or teachers in the medical school (through mentorship by faculty in the Joint Training Program). The tools that are offered at Duke University’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) are frequently utilized by students studying social sciences.

a female student working on an online internship

Many students pursuing a degree in Developmental Psychology participate in either the UNC-Duke Collaborative graduate certificate program in Developmental Psychology or the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, which is located on the Duke University campus.

Duke was hailed as one of the Best Psychology Schools in 2023, ranking in 12th place. Moreover, its Cognitive Psychology Program gained recognition among the top universities in the US. It ranked #14 in the Best Cognitive Psychology Programs in the nation. With its competence in the field, it’s no wonder why the psychology major at Duke is popular among prospective applicants.

The admissions process for the class of 2025 at Duke was more competitive than ever before. Almost 50,000 students applied for just 2,855 spots, a 5.8% acceptance rate. This is a 25% rise from the previous year, and admissions are becoming increasingly competitive. Given Duke’s very low enrollment, this acceptance rate is likely to continue low.

However, you can still maximize your chances of enrolling at Duke. You may check AdmissionSight’s take on how to get into Duke so that you have the best chance of surpassing the acceptance rate of 5.8%. If you need further assistance with your college application, feel free to set up an appointment for an initial consultation with AdmissionSight experts.


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