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Common Pitfalls

Beware of Common Pitfalls

  1. Upper Division Hours 

    Students must have a total of 40 upper division hours to graduate. Upper division means 3000 or 4000 level MSU Denver courses and transfer courses numbered in the 9000s.

    Psychology majors will have at least 9 upper division hours in psychology (6 in addition to PSY 4510, which is required).

    Psychology minors must have at least 9 upper division hours in psychology.

  2. Overlaps with General Studies

    Psychology majors cannot use PSY courses to fulfill General Studies Level II requirements. You may use PSY courses to fulfill certain other requirements. For example, PSY minors can use PSY courses to meet Level II General Studies requirements; Behavioral Studies majors minoring in PSY will list some PSY courses under their major. However, if you list PSY courses in any category other than your PSY major or minor, you must take additional PSY credits to compensate. Bottom line: you must list 24 hours of PSY credit for the minor and 45 hours of PSY credit for the major. Courses listed elsewhere do not count toward this total. The sole exception to this rule is the Multicultural Requirement. Many courses that count toward this requirement also fulfill other requirements, either in the major or minor (e.g., PSY 3700 Psychology of Group Prejudice) or in General Studies (e.g., many Multicultural courses also fill Level II requirements). Such courses can be listed more than once on your graduation agreement, although you can only count the credit hours once.

  3. Transfer Tricks 

    If a course taken elsewhere provides more credit hours than the MSU Denver equivalent, only the hours granted for the MSU Denver course can be applied to the PSY major or minor. Other hours can be counted as general electives only. For instance, some universities have 2-semester Introductory courses that earn 6 hours, whereas our Introductory class is 3 credits. Therefore, you can count three of your transfer hours toward a PSY major or minor; the other 3 hours will count toward general elective credit.

    Courses taken elsewhere at a lower division level that are equivalent in title to an upper-division course at MSU Denver can be transferred in and will earn full credit. However, they are not considered equivalent to our upper division course and can therefore not be used to fulfill specific requirements. For example, many junior colleges have lower division courses in Child Psychology (which is an upper division course at MSU Denver). These can be transferred to MSU Denver for PSY credit. However, they cannot be used to meet the Level II General Studies requirement, even though our Child Psychology (an upper division course) does meet that requirement.

Unusual transfer questions should be addressed to the department chair, who makes decisions about the acceptability of transfer credits where questions arise.


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