Psychological and Brain Sciences

Major and Minor

Psychologists study thought and behavior in humans and animals. To understand how and why an individual engages in any given behavior, one must have an understanding of several factors. The biological basis of behavior is studied to understand how the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and genetic influences all interact to yield observable behavior. Psychologists analyze the cognitive and perceptual systems as a somewhat more abstract level in order to characterize the internal representations and processes that underlie perception, thought, and action. The personality of the individual – how that individual differs from others – is also an important determinant of behavior. Social psychology is the study of how individuals behave in a social context, where virtually all behavior takes place. Because living organisms change over time, the development of physiological, perceptual, cognitive, personality, and social factors can also help explain behavior in humans and animals. Psychopathology is the study of psychological disorders which can interfere with an individual’s ability to cope with everyday life.

Highlights of the Hopkins Program

Since 1883, when the first psychological laboratory in America was founded at Johns Hopkins University, the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has been asking the questions and seeking the answers to the most fundamental questions of behavior, mind, and brain. Dedicated to research, not clinical training, Johns Hopkins has one of the smallest of the top-ranked psychology departments in the United States, and has consistently played a leading role in the evolution and progression of American psychology. The intimate size of the Department gives students and faculty significant flexibility to design individual training programs, and encourages an atmosphere of exceptional collegiality. At the same time, the Department has at its disposal all the resources of a major research university, as well as the advantages of its connection to one of the world's leading medical institutions.


Sample First Semester Schedule:
  • Introductory 100-level course in the department
  • Calculus I, 110.106, or Statistical Analysis 550.111
  • Consider an elective N, Q or E course to begin distribution requirements
  • Elective H or S course
  • Elective course
  • Total 12-17 credits

Career Exploration

Skill Set

The “real world” skills you’ll develop with a major in Psychology:

  • Comparing/synthesizing theories
  • Isolating potentially causal factors
  • Setting up a system to analyze data
  • Perceiving and understanding individual differences

Career Center

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