Undergraduate Program

Our Values

The University of Virginia’s undergraduate program in psychology facilitates students’ development of a solid foundation of scientific understanding of human behavior and the correlates of mental health, and habits of critical thinking and methodological know-how suitable for ongoing refinement of this understanding. 

We value a curriculum that fosters development of strong quantitative, scientific methodological and analytic skills; broad familiarity with classic and contemporary findings of major areas of psychological inquiry—biological, clinical, cognitive, developmental; and social—and in-depth awareness in student-selected areas of advanced study. 

We strongly encourage our students to complement their classroom learning with laboratory research experience in one or more of the many psychological and behavioral research labs across the grounds. This positions them well for admission to competitive psychology graduate programs, as well as for graduate and professional school admission in many other fields. 

More generally, we are dedicated to producing strong graduates who are well-prepared to advance in careers in which understanding, predicting and positively-influencing human behavior is key to success.  

Finally, we are committed to cultivating an educational environment in which all students feel welcome, respected and inspired to learn.

Our Program

Psychology is a popular liberal arts major at the University of Virginia, with approximately 250 students graduating each year with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Each semester, the Department of Psychology faculty with expertise in various psychology subdisciplines, offer about 30 courses which enroll over 3000 UVA students.  The breadth of our curriculum allows students to follow distinct concentration tracks based on their career interests. Over 35 research labs provide opportunities for undergraduate research, which may lead to participation in our Distinguished Majors Program. 

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior of humans and other animals. It ranges from studies of human development and complex thought processes to social relations, brain and neural mechanisms, psychopathology and beyond. The requirements for the major are designed to ensure breadth of coverage, and allows flexibility in selecting courses according to one's interests. Opportunities for independent work are available in research and field experience (through internship).

In addition to gaining a general liberal arts degree, training in the subject matter and methodology of psychology (including experimental methodology and statistics and an appreciation of the different views of human behavior) is excellent preparation for a variety of careers. Practical skills developed in the major include thinking critically, writing proposals and reports, designing and conducting research projects, collecting and analyzing data, reading and understanding basic research in psychology, and applying psychological principles in the workplace.

Trends report: Psychology is more popular than ever.

Read the American Psychological Association (APA) report:  The demand for psychologists is robust