Transferring to University Park
This page is designed to provide information for students transferring to the University Park campus from the New Kensington campus. Some of the most common questions are presented below with answers. If you don't see your question, feel free to contact the Psychology Advising Center at University Park.
How is psychology at University Park different from psychology at the New Kensington campus?
Well, it is certainly bigger: There are more than 45 faculty and around 1,200 psychology majors (and several hundred psychology minors). There are also more than 100 graduate students studying for their Ph.D.'s in psychology. More important, there is a greater variety of courses, activities, and opportunities. Research is a bigger part of what faculty do at University Park, and graduate students are always doing research. You will also encounter graduate students serving as teaching assistants in many of your courses (but usually not teaching). Many undergraduates get involved in research as well. There is also an advising center just for psychology, with advising staff and a staff assistant who can help you in understanding requirements, choosing courses, and navigating the "red tape" of a big University.
How big are classes at University Park?
Some of them are very big: PSYCH 100, and some of the 200-level PSYCH courses, are taught in auditoriums that hold as many as 370 students. However, there is a large range--during spring 1998 semester, 400-level classes ranged from 8 to 185 students. Some of the large courses break into small discussion sections once a week. Summer courses are usually quite a bit smaller.
Is there a way to schedule smaller classes at University Park?
Before you schedule your courses, you can look at the Penn State Registrar's website. This page has a section on courses that lists the enrollment limit for every course. You probably won't be able to take everything you want in smaller sections, but you can use this information to choose a mix of larger and smaller class sizes each semester.
How can I get involved with psychology other than attending class at University Park?
Once at University Park, one way is to watch the bulletin boards in the Moore Building for news of talks, meetings, and so on. Undergraduates are always welcome at talks by visiting psychologists. A second way to get involved is to work on a professor's research project by doing independent study; check the Research Experiences in Psychology page for more information. Finally, if you have good grades and are really interested in psychology, find out about joining the Penn State chapter of Psi Chi, the national honor society for psychology.
Where can I go for help with my psychology classes at University Park?
Your best starting point is your professor, or the teaching assistant if the course has one. Even though classes are big and professors are busy, you'll generally find that professors are easy to talk to--but use office hours, e-mail, or make an appointment so that you can find a time when your professor is available. The University Learning Resource Center in the Boucke building offers a variety of assistance services, including help with writing. They offer tutoring sessions for some courses, but usually the only course relevant to psychology majors for which specific tutoring is available is STAT 200.
How do I get advising at University Park?
Your starting point is the Psychology Advising Center in 130 Moore Building. The advising staff here can answer many of your questions, and you can make an appointment with an advisor to discuss your courses, your plans, or whatever questions you have about psychology. If you would like a faculty advisor (not all students have faculty advisors), you can ask the advising staff to assign you to a professor for advising. Keep in mind, though, that professors know about psychology, not necessarily about all the rules and requirements that students must follow. Also, watch for special advising sessions held several times per semester and announced by signs and in the News section of this Web site. Finally, if you aren't yet at University Park but are planning to come here, watch your mail for an announcement of a meeting for change-of-assignment students at the beginning of the semester.
Helpful Forms (PDF)
Recommended Academic Plans