Choosing the right general electives

In order to graduate, every PSU student must earn 120 total credits.  It is recommended that you take 15 credits each semester to graduate in 4 years.  You won’t reach 120 credits from general education courses and required psychology courses alone.  The leftover credits needed to reach 120 are for general electives — that means you are free to take ANY COURSE.  Students often ask me what to take as a general elective, and here are some suggestions:

  • Consider a minor – Most minors can be completed in 15 credits.  You can choose a minor that complements your psychology degree (e.g., Child Welfare and Family Studies), but it’s much more fun to use this opportunity to pursue one of your interests (e.g., Art).
  • Take a graduate-level course – PSU offers masters programs in School Psychology, School Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and Couples and Family Therapy.  A 3-credit graduate course at PSU will count as a 3-credit general elective toward your undergraduate degree.  (WARNING: This is only recommended for seniors that are able to maintain a high GPA.  It requires a signed student request form [be sure to indicate that you want the course to count towards your undergraduate degree!] from the graduate instructor and chair.)
  • Economics – Learn how to manage your money wisely.  Personal Financial Planning (BUDI 2300) is a great option from the College of Business Administration.
  • Fine Arts – Now may be a good time to take a fun class to improve yourself.  The Art Department offers classes like Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, and Ceramics. The Music, Theatre, and Dance Department offers classes in Piano and Guitar, American Pop Music, Modern Dance, and Acting.
  • Law – Know your rights and stay out of trouble! The Individual and the Law (CJ 1030) is a good choice.
  • Web design – The world is rapidly changing, and the ability to create and maintain webpages is an increasingly valuable skill.  Web Expressions (CSDI 1200) is a nice introductory course that covers the basics.
  • Marketing – Learn the Principles of Marketing (BU 2450) so that you can learn how to market yourself after graduation!  There are also classes in career exploration that will instruct you in how to create a resume, search for jobs, and have a successful interview.  Upper-level students should try Career Development (BU 3720) or Professional Employment (BU 4650).
  • Business Communication – Learn what defines good writing outside of the college environment so that you can be successful in the business world.  Technical Communication (CM 3090) is a course that will serve you well.
  • Political Science – Stay current on what’s happening around you so that you can make a positive contribution to society.  The Social Science Department offers a number of courses, including American Government (PO 1025) and World Politics (PO 1035) to get you started.
  • Stay healthy – The Health and Human Performance Department offers a wide variety of 1-credit physical education courses like Yoga, Self-Defense, and Ice Skating.  Note that each of these lasts only half of the semester!