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Psychology and Social Action Curriculum

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The Psychology and Social Action curriculum teaches students about psychology, the science of human behavior, how individuals affect others, factors leading to social problems, and techniques for bringing about positive individual and social change.

The course schedule is organized to maximize student learning and enable all students to graduate on time. Registration in classes is always guaranteed. There are no waiting lists, and students are never frozen out of a class.


Understanding human behavior and social issues requires a grasp of psychology along with an understanding of individual behaviors in a social, cultural, ethnic, political, and economic contexts. Students explore these perspectives in their Psychology and Social Action classes.

General Education Requirements

Most students complete these requirements prior to enrolling.

Area 1-A: English Language Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units
Area A-2: Critical Thinking Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units
Area A-3: Communication Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units
Area B-1: Physical Science Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units
Area B-2: Life Science Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units
Area C: Arts and Humanities Minimum of 9 semester units or 12 quarter units; Select courses in at least two disciplines
Area D: Social Sciences Minimum of 9 semester units or 12 quarter units; Select courses in at least two disciplines
Area E: Human Understanding and Development Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units
Mathematics Minimum of 3 semester units or 4 quarter units; College Algebra (non-remedial) or higher
Major Requirements (92 units)
Core Course Requirements
(complete all courses, 56 units)
PSYC300 Psychological Writing 4
PSYC310 Psychology of Learning & Memory 4
PSYC320 Social Psychology 4
PSYC340 Research Design & Methods
 -or- MATH 325 Research Methods & Data Analysis
PSYC360 Psychology of Gender 4
PSYC375 Cross-Cultural Psychology 4
PSYC380 Psychology of Lifespan Development
-or- PSYCH 381 Developmental Psychology 
PSYC385 Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy 4
PSYC390 Clinical & Abnormal Psychology 4
SOCI340 Fundamentals of Social Action 4
PSYC395 Senior Internship (must take all 3 classes; 12 units) 12
PSYC400 Senior Seminar 4
Non-Core Course Requirements
(select from courses below for a total of 36 units)
ANTH350 Cultural Anthropology
 -or- ANTH 351 Multicultural Studies 
ANTH370 Ethnic Identity & Social Stratification
-or- ANTH 351 Multicultural Studies 
BIOL350 Biological Psychology 4
MATH320 Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences 4
PHIL300 Philosophy of Science 4
PHIL310 Philosophy of Ethics 4
POLI310 International Political Economy
 -or- ECON400 Global Economics
SOCI300 Social Problems
-or- ANTH 351 Multicultural Studies
SOCI320 Globalization 4
PSYC330 Theories of Personality
 -or- PSYC 331 Theories of Personality and Assessment
Special Topics in Psychology  4

In their senior year, all students in the BS in Psychology and Social Action program complete a nine-month internship at a community agency or nonprofit organization. Students already employed in these types of settings may be able to do their internship at their place of employment. The internship provides valuable professional experiences that help students enter a professional field or gain admission to a graduate program.

More About Internships
Senior Capstone Seminar

Another major component of the senior year in the Psychology and Social Action program is the Senior Capstone course. Taught by faculty who are experts in their field, the Senior Capstone course provides students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge they have gained in their courses to current psychological and social issues.

The theme of the Senior Capstone course changes every year, to reflect current trends or research. Past topics have been: the Psychology of Good and Evil, Veteran Mental Health and Social Issues, Critical Issues in Adolescence, Substance Abuse, Community Mental Health, the psychological impact of climate change, and psychology and technology.

Free Continuing Education Courses for all Students

Students in all programs are encouraged to supplement their curriculum with courses from PAU's Continuing and Professional Studies Division. This extensive catalog of on-demand courses is free to students!

Continuing & Professional Studies Forensic Courses Counseling Practice and Essentials