APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major

The APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major represents a national effort to describe and develop high-quality undergraduate programs in psychology.



The Guidelines 2.0 were approved by the APA Council of Representatives in August 2013. This document is a revision of the original APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major, approved by the council in August 2006. This first revision, effective as of August 2013, supersedes the previous guidelines. It will expire in 10 years.



The Guidelines 2.0 abandons the original distinction drawn between psychology-focused skills and psychology skills that enhance liberal arts development. Instead, the new guidelines describe five inclusive goals (PDF, 38KB) for the undergraduate major that represent more robust learning and assessment activities. Developmental levels of student learning outcomes capture expectations at both a foundation level, which represents the completion of approximately the first four courses in the major, and a baccalaureate level, which corresponds to the indicators in the original guidelines. Although in most cases foundation and baccalaureate developmental changes occur across courses in the curriculum, some changes can occur within specific courses (e.g., scientific reasoning and critical-thinking skills developed in research methods and statistics courses). 

Another major change in Guidelines 2.0 is the emphasis on the advantages of studying psychology as a strong liberal arts preparation for attaining a position in the professional workforce.

A final improvement in Guidelines 2.0 includes a carefully designed infusion approach to the important goals related to the development of cultural competence and diversity skills development.