Department of Psychology

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Frequently Asked Questions

When do I select my program concentration (i.e. major)?

If you are an Arts and Science student, you will select your degree concentration (i.e. major) at the end of your first year. When you are beginning the registration process for your second year, you will be required to request your degree concentration. Please note that the Psychology department (and many other programs at Queen's) do have first year grade (PSYC 100/6.0) and cumulative GPA cutoffs required to proceed to second year.

I would like to take a second year Psychology course but I don't have the PSYC 100 prerequisite.

Unfortunately, we do not waive the PSYC 100/6.0 prerequisite unless a student has equivalent background (an advanced high school or a college course in PSYC). If you have such a background, you can bring, or scan, an unofficial transcript to the Undergraduate office in Humphrey Hall, room 225.

Can I re-take PSYC 100/6.0 to boost my grade, in order to get into a PSYC Major?

Yes, you can retake PSYC 100 for the purpose of qualifying for the Major, but with a few cautions;

  1. Only one re-take is usually allowed for competing for a spot in a PSYC Honours program.
  2. First year students get priority enrollment in PSYC 100/6.0.
I am currently attending another University. Can I transfer into the Psychology (Honours) program?

Unfortunately, the PSYC Honours programs at Queen's are not open to transfer students who have completed a year at another college or university (the equivalent of 4 full year courses or more). We do not even accept our own internal transfers (those from outside our Faculty of Arts & Science). This is due to the fact that we do not have enough space in the psychology programs for our own first year students and therefore have decided that it is not fair to have students transfer in from other faculties at Queen's or other institutions to compete for the limited number of spaces available.

Can I switch from a Medial to a Major?

It is somewhat more difficult to switch from the Medial to the Major once you have completed YR2 (aka PSYC 203/3.0). This is because the 140 Majors currently in YR2 have first priority for the 140 YR3 Major spaces. If a few don't make the minimum grade or choose to leave the program, then we offer seats to the top Medials (with the highest PSYC GPA's) who requested the Major in Round One.

How many credits do I need to graduate with a Minor in Psychology?

A Minor concentration in Psychology consists of 30.0 units (PSYC100/6.0 and 24.0 units in psychology). The BA MIN PSYC does not require upper year courses. Students will be permitted to register in a 3.0 unit upper year (300-level) PSYC course during the summer course selection period only if they have not already taken an upper year (300-level) PSYC course. This restriction is lifted during open enrollment.

Can I apply to Grad School with a Medial in Psychology?

A medial provides you with excellent background for professional programs (law, teaching, medicine, social work, counseling, public admin, MBA, etc) and for non-Psychology, but related, graduate programs such as epidemiology, public health, development studies, as well as for the work-force, but it does impede progress into a grad psychology, management studies, or health studies program which is research based. These programs look for advanced research methods (PSYC 301/3.0 and PSYC 302/3.0) and a thesis (PSYC 501/9.0) as examples of demonstrated research ability.

There are strategies for making your medial more attractive to psychology research programs, and that is by adding a special directed lab course (PSYC 570/3.0) and getting as much research experience as you can by volunteering in labs. If you are interested in counseling more than research, however, then a medial is not such a liability. You can apply to a Master's of Social Work (MSW), M.A. in Counseling, or M.Ed Counseling Psychology programs without a thesis and advanced stats. In fact, these programs prefer more mature individuals, often those who have been out in the workforce a few years and/or those with community helping/volunteer experience such as through a Sexual Assault Crisis centre, crisis phone line, Immigrant Services, Boys and Girls Clubs, HIV/AIDs work,etc.,..

In general, if you have a weakness in any area of your application package, it can sometimes be compensated for by building strengths in other components. Graduate committees usually consider your degree program, grades, entrance exam score, if any, (usually the GRE), research or community work experience, statement of interest and your letters of reference. In addition, the more widely you apply, the better your chances.

Should I choose the Thesis or the Seminar Option in my fourth year of the Major?

Thesis - you would work with a supervisor and under the guidance perhaps of senior students in the supervisor's lab, on a project of your own. The workload varies over the year, some weeks it dominates your life as you design stimuli, run participants, or analyze the data, other weeks there is little to do as you await your supervisor's feedback on a draft or wait to meet with the TA to discuss how to handle a statistical question.

It can be stressful, as it is your personal project and there are inevitably bumps along the way as you encounter problems that you need to solve. But, there are people around to help. It is important to learn to take initiative and be a flexible problem-solver. If you are interested in your research question, then you are likely to enjoy the thesis experience.

Seminars - these are smaller, discussion-based courses. The professor usually does some lecturing, but then you (alone or in a group) usually have to research a topic and present it to the class, as well as keep up with quite a few readings per week and maybe answer thought or discussion questions. At the end, you produce a research proposal with literature review, so about a 12-15 page paper usually. You take three of these to complete the 'capstone' experience. A few seminars have final exams, but most do not.

Three seminars are about the same workload as a thesis. A seminar takes about 8 hours per week in total (class and readings) and a thesis is 1.5 days a week on average. However, the thesis is fun because much of it is applied: collecting data, testing out your stimuli, analyzing the data etc. whereas seminars usually demand a lot of reading and thinking about the concepts in a more abstract way.

A thesis allows you to specialize in a narrow area and gain hands on research skills. The seminar option allows you to explore three broader areas understanding the most up-to-date theoretical and empirical literature.

Finally, which you choose can depend to some degree on what you want to do after your undergraduate degree. If you are considering a grad research program (including Clinical) then a thesis really is the best option, but for counseling degrees or entering the work force, it is less important than work experience/maturity.

How can I find a tutor to help me with my Psychology course?

ASUS Peer Tutoring is a service that partners upper year students with those looking for a tutor in a variety of Arts and Science courses. Tutors are trained and compensated $15/hour, making this both the highest paying undergraduate job on campus, and the cheapest way to be privately tutored in Kingston. There are also bursaries available to students with financial need and first year students can sign up to tutor for local high school students.

Interested in becoming a tutee or tutor? Visit the Queen's ASUS Website Tutoring page for applications, or visit the ASUS Core (183 University). For more information, please contact the Directors at  or the Academics Commissioner, at

If you cannot find a tutor through this service, please contact the Undergraduate office at for the contact information of an upper year UG student or Grad student who is knowledgeable in the specific area of Psychology that you are studying.

Where can I find more information regarding learning strategies and developing various academic skills related to my coursework?

The Learning Commons in Stauffer Library offers various learning strategies workshops including peer academic skills coaching three evenings per week, as well as an e-mail service, where students can ask learning skills questions to trained Peer Learning Assistants (PLA's). Please find more information regarding the workshops/services offered at the Learning Strategies webpage.