Basic Methods & Research Methods

Basic Methods

Basic Methods is a requirement for all psychology concentrators - no matter the track - and all concentrators must receive at least a C-. The standard Basic Methods course is Psychology 1900, which it focuses on the basics of statistical analysis. This gives you the tools to understand psychology research so that you can evaluate the literature and formulate your own ideas and questions about what you’ve read.

While PSY 1900 is a math-heavy course, students who aren't very good at math shouldn't worry about taking PSY 1900! The class is meant to be challenging, but as with all classes at Harvard, if you work hard and are communicative with the professor and TFs, you should have the skills to pass the course. In addition, many students seek out tutors or form study groups to help them better absorb the material. Be proactive in the learning process and you will see results!

Generally, we expect Psychology concentrators to take PSY 1900, but if you have already taken STAT 100, 101, 102, or 104 before declaring Psychology as your concentration, you may petition to have it count towards your Basic Methods requirement.


Research Methods

Under the Class of 2015 and Beyond requirements, non-thesis concentrators must take at least one Research Methods course - PSY 1901 OR a qualifying lab course. Students writing a thesis must take PSY 1901 AND a qualifying lab course.

Psychology 1901 builds on PSY 1900 and teaches more advanced statistical techniques, discusses research methodology, and applies this information to a research project. PSY 1901 is required for students who are planning to write a thesis. If you're not sure you're going to write a thesis but are considering it, we strongly suggest that you take PSY 1901. 

Lab Courses are courses that involve volunteering in the laboratory of a Psychology Department or external faculty member. You can read more about them and view qualifying lab courses here!

If you are part of an earlier graduating class, you can petition to switch to the Class of 2015 requirements by emailing us at Students in earlier graduating classes who do not request to switch to the 2015 requirements must follow the requirements for their graduating year (based on the year they would have graduated when they entered Harvard). To find out more about these requirements, please contact the Undergraduate Office.