Choosing a Plan of Study Type

With six options, choosing a plan of study type may seem overwhelming. Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose a type right away, your type can be changed should you change your mind, and the academic advisors are available to discuss your options. The plan of study type you select will be largely based on future academic and career goals.

BA or BS

The first step in selecting a plan of study type is choosing the BA or BS degree (also known as the “plan”). The difference between the BA and BS degrees is largely found in Content Area III of the General Education Requirements. Thus, students completing the BS degree typically have a need (e.g., medical, dental, or physician assistant school) or desire to take the required science and math sequences. The BA degree is ample preparation for most other students, including those interested in graduate school and/or clinical psychology. We strongly encourage students with any interest in the BS degree to pursue the more rigorous, structured coursework from the start.

The choice is less clear for students interested in neuroscience or other pre-health paths (e.g., nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy), as either the BA or the BS degree may be appropriate. For example, most of our psychological sciences students interested in neuroscience complete the BS degree (a little over half), while many students choose to pursue the BA degree instead. Students on the BA track take only the science and math courses they need instead of all the sequences required for the BS degree; this allows students to reallocate credits to different areas of interest.

In general, graduate schools are typically less interested in the type of degree (BA or BS) and more interested in specific coursework and other experiences such as research. However, if you know you are interested in a particular graduate program(s), check the program’s admission requirements to make sure you are preparing accordingly.

Standard, Research, or Honors

Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to the BA or BS degree, you can select a concentration (also commonly known as a “sub-plan” or “track”). Students in the Honors Program and completing their honors coursework in psychological sciences follow the Honors Plan, while other students have the opportunity to select the Standard Plan or the Research Concentration.

The biggest difference between the Standard Plan and the Research Concentration is that the Research Concentration requires 6 additional credits, 3 of which must be earned from the research course PSYC 3889 (Undergraduate Research). While not required, many students pursuing the Standard Plan choose to take PSYC 3889 (Undergraduate Research); pursuing the Research Concentration is not required to participate in the research courses. Keep in mind that regardless of which concentration you select, you will be exposed to research when you complete the required course PSYC 2100WQ/Q (Principles of Research in Psychology).

The Standard Plan is the basic psychological sciences major plan and is well-suited for most students. Students considering graduate school, especially a Ph.D. program related to psychological sciences, are advised to consider pursuing the Research Concentration. However, the additional credits required of the Research Concentration may be better allocated towards pursuing other interests or developing transferable skills; the Standard Plan may be a beneficial option for those students.

We strongly encourage students with any interest in the Research Concentration to pursue the more structured coursework from the start.

Declaring or Changing Types

All psychological sciences students enter UConn in the BA Standard plan of study type. Generally, your type is changed to the desired type in the Student Administration System (i.e., PeopleSoft) following new student group advising. If you would like to change your type, please complete this online form: Change or Declare Plan of Study Type. It is important that your type be correctly declared in the Student Administration System, so it can accurately track your degree progress. Use the Major Plan of Study forms to plan and keep track of the courses you need.