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Programs / Arts / Psychology (BA)

Program Details

Psychologists study the mechanisms that underlie our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. They examine a diverse range of topics, such as how we think and learn, how we interact with others and how we can promote healthy development and wellness. This is accomplished by conducting research so that the knowledge gained can help us to better understand the human mind, enhance well-being and performance, and generate additional research questions.

All of our programs provide opportunities to explore psychology’s major areas within the context of an active and diverse research environment. Our honours programs offer six concentrations for students wishing to focus on one of these major areas.

Cognitive Psychology focuses on basic and applied processes related to memory, attention, perception, decision-making, human performance, and speech and language.

Developmental Psychology centres on the physical, social, and emotional changes that we experience across the lifespan, considering such topics as shyness, emerging adulthood, bullying, positive youth development, and the development of language, literacy and mathematics skills.

Forensic Psychology looks at the relationship between psychology and the justice system in order to improve our understanding of such topics as the development of criminal behaviour, the classification and rehabilitation of offenders, eyewitness testimony, and police psychology.

Health Psychology involves the study of the psychological, social and behavioural influences on health and illness, covering such topics as stress and coping, forgiveness, life-changing experiences, health decision-making and our relationship with nature.

Organizational Psychology looks at individuals and groups in workplace settings, examining issues such as occupational health and employee morale, with the ultimate goal of enhancing organizational effectiveness and individual well-being.

Social and Personality Psychology involves the study of the complex interplay between our characteristics and the environments in which we live, including a wide range of phenomena such as close relationships, procrastination, happiness and relationships between groups.

The insights you gain from studying psychology will serve you throughout your life, in virtually any career.

Psychology is offered as an Honours, Combined Honours or General BA program. Psychology is also available as a minor or as a Bachelor of Science Honours program.

Carleton University’s undergraduate programs in psychology are designed to provide you with a deeper appreciation of the complexity and diversity of human behaviour, knowledge of the principles of systematic and empirical investigation, and specific skills that enhance your employability.

The insights you will gain from studying psychology will serve you throughout your life, in virtually any career. If you are interested in a career as a psychologist, our Honours programs prepare you for additional study at the graduate level.

Ottawa, the nation’s capital, is home to first-class medical facilities such as the Ottawa Hospital, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Royal Ottawa Hospital, which provides specialized mental health assessment and treatment for adults, adolescents and children with a mental illness.

Bachelor of Arts (General and Honours)

Bachelor of Science (Honours)

General program

Six of your 15.0 credits will be in psychology. You may choose your other courses from other disciplines of interest. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) provides a good foundation for occupations that deal with psychological issues, but is not intended to prepare you for a career as a professional psychologist.

Honours programs

If you are interested in becoming a professional psychologist or to further enhance your knowledge and skills set, you should consider one of our Honours programs.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers a four-year Honours program leading to a BA (Honours) in Psychology. The Faculty of Science offers a four-year Honours program leading to a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Psychology. Both the BA (Honours) and the BSc (Honours) in Psychology require 20.0 credits for the degree; nine of these credits are from psychology. In addition to a number of core courses in fourth year, Honours students either design and carry out a supervised research thesis or participate in a Project class.

Concentrations are available in Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Health Psychology, Organizational Psychology and Social/Personality Psychology. Each one requires students to complete 3.5 credits within a given area of research. The concentrations are designed to allow to students who are interested in a specific aspect of psychology to experience it to its fullest!

The BA (Combined Honours) in Psychology program allows you to combine your studies in psychology with studies in another discipline.

Co-operative education

Through co-operative education, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) students may gain applied knowledge in the workplace in a variety of settings including community agencies, government departments and the private sector. Students accepted into the co-op program will begin their first work term after having achieved second-year standing (among other prerequisites), and must include three work terms in their academic studies to graduate with the co-operative education designation on their transcript and degree.

Core courses

No matter which one of these programs you choose, your first year will include an introductory course that highlights what psychology offers and describes its basis as an experimental science. In second year, you will take courses in research methods, statistics, and specialized areas within the discipline. In third year, you will take courses that deal with specific areas relating to your own interests and will receive additional training in research methods and data analysis.

First-year Seminars

First-year BA students are strongly encouraged to include a First-year Seminar (FYSM) in their first-year course load. Our First-year Seminars will get you away from the lecture hall and give you the chance, in a small class of no more than 30, to discuss and debate topics with your classmates and your professors.

First-year Bachelor of Science students have their own unique seminar course, Seminar in Science (NSCI 1000).

The workplace

Throughout your Carleton Psychology program, you will have opportunities to acquire and refine skills that will contribute to your personal, intellectual, and social development. You will also be developing skills that will enhance your desirability in the workforce. For example, you will be working on skills related to research methods, statistics, critical thinking, information literacy, and communication. These skills can be applied in careers such as corrections, education, health and social services, human resource management, marketing and public relations, mental health services, research, and more.

Many of our graduates wish to become professional psychologists. Most Canadian provinces, however, require you to have a PhD degree and be registered by a provincial college or board of psychologists before allowing you to use the professional designation of psychologist. Carleton’s Honours programs in Psychology provide you with the foundation you need for graduate study leading to a doctoral degree.

Graduate studies

Graduates of our program are well qualified to go on to graduate studies in a variety of fields including experimental psychology, clinical psychology, counselling, social work, education, criminology and medicine.

What students are saying about Psychology (BA)

The Psychology department at Carleton has provided me with a framework for understanding the workings behind thought, action and emotions in both myself and the people around me. Going into the program, my idea that I would merely learn about behavior was quickly changed when I was introduced to a world of so much more. The professors are approachable and make the effort to make courses engaging, and the student psychology society, which provides professional, academic and social information and opportunities for students, ensures there’s never a dull moment in the department.
Patty Eddu, Psychology and Communication Studies student