Course Placement Information

Most students will begin with PSYC-100 Introduction to Psychology, which will be taught in separate sections of about 40-50 students each.  Each section covers approximately the same material but the courses are taught independently and meet on their own schedule.  There will be some space for first-year students. In the spring semester, first-year students will be given preference for all spaces in all of these sections, and all first-year students who are interested are likely to have a space.  

Placing Out of Psychology 100


Students MAY NOT enroll in PSYC-100 if they:

  • scored a 4 or 5 on the Psychology Advanced Placement exam,

  • scored 6 or better on the Psychology International Baccalaureate exam, or

  • completed an introductory psychology course at another college or university. 

The department will check enrollments after pre-registration and will drop any students who meet any of these criteria. First-year students who place out of PSYC-100 should take an intermediate (200-level) course. Intermediate courses recommended for a first psychology course at Amherst College include Personality Psychology (PSYC-221), Social Psychology (PSYC-220), Abnormal Psychology (PSYC-228), Cognitive Psychology (PSYC-233), and Developmental Psychology (PSYC-227).

Information for First-Year Students for Fall 2019

Dear First-Year Students,

We have approximately 40 open spaces for first-years students in Introduction to Psychology (PSYC-100) this fall. You should plan to speak with your first-year advisor about your interest in Intro during the pre-registration process (that occurs during orientation). If you both agree that it is a good fit for you, you should request permission formally through the AC data system (you will be shown how to do this during orientation). Because we expect more interest in the course than available spots, we plan to randomly select a subset of students who request permission for the course; all other students will be placed on a waitlist and will be offered a spot in the course if one opens up. Students will be informed about whether they got into the course by the end of the day on first-year registration.  This means that no first-year students will be able to enroll in Intro to Psychology on the day of pre-registration. Students should therefore enroll in an alternative course during pre-registration, which they can then drop if they receive placement in Intro.

Intro to Psych is also offered in the spring semester with priority given to first-year students, so if you don’t get a spot this fall, you have a very good chance of being able to take it in the spring if you pre-register for it!

It is also very important to make sure that PSYC-100 is the right placement before requesting permission for this class.  Students may NOT enroll in Psych 100 if they:

      *   scored a 4 or 5 on the Psychology Advanced Placement exam,

      *   scored 6 or better on the Psychology International Baccalaureate exam, or

      *   completed an introductory psychology course at another college or university.

We will check enrollments after pre-registration and will drop any students who meet any of these criteria, so you will be much better served by signing up for an intermediate level class.  For Fall 2019, Social Psychology (PSYC-220) and Personality Psychology (PSYC-221) have available space and are good choices for first-year students who place out of PSYC-100. Additional 200-level courses will be offered in the spring semester.

Please email any questions that you have about these policies/procedures to either Professor Sanderson (casanderson@amherst.edu) or Professor McQuade (jmcquade@amherst.edu).