Psychology Department Suspends Psych as Minor


Sophia Ricketts

As of August 2021, students at Georgia College and State University, including incoming first-year students, can no longer choose or change their minor to psychology. The change is the result of a considerable influx of psychology students in recent years and a shortage of staff.

The department has over 450 students, making it the second-largest department at the university after marketing. With the high density of students, class sizes are limited. This, with the inclusion of students pursuing minors, ultimately makes registration difficult for some.

“We stopped the minor effective August 2021 because we could not guarantee students could finish the minor due to the number of majors we have,” says department chair Lee Gillis. Although students may no longer change their minors to psych, Gillis reminds students that, “No one is prevented from changing their major to psychology.” Students currently pursuing psychology as a minor are not affected by this decision. The rule applies only to incoming first-year students and current students who want to switch their minors to psychology.

“The decision to temporarily freeze the minor was made as one of those decisions to help keep students on track and remove the bottleneck that was created by PSYC 2700 and 2800,” added Dr. Stephanie Jett. “Minors have to take those courses in order to gain access to upper-level courses, which increased the amount of students attempting to register for them and created a bottleneck.”

To students in the department, the change does bring some relief. “I think it would be great if people could minor in [psychology], but I’m glad that they took it away because I was waitlisted for every single one of my classes this semester…, and that is without [freshman] psychology minors. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be with them,” says sophomore psych major Ansley Huff.

With high student enrollment and limited staff, some students find it difficult to register for certain classes. Many say they are waitlisted for classes vital to their major. “Drugs and Behavior is a class that would get me my last science credit while also being psychology-related. It’s a class I really want to take, along with every other psych major. It’s nearly impossible to get into… I got waitlisted for all my classes this semester,” says Huff. “Everyone I talk to in my psychology classes this semester is having the same problem as me.”

“Even the seniors are having a hard time getting the classes they need to graduate. As a freshman, even when you’re coming in with credit hours that let you get rid of all your core…, you focus on taking your major classes, and there’s just not enough room,” says first-year student Trenholm Faye.

When asked about how the department plans to combat the students’ registration issues, Chairman Gillis said, “We have been down one faculty member all year and covering it with faculty overloads. We have hired a new faculty member who will begin on August 1st. I would like an additional faculty member, but that is a long process based on needs.”

Adding a new faculty member is just one way the department tries to address the problem. In addition to hiring new staff, students are given the option to complete classes at other USG schools online over the summer, and the credits will transfer back to GCSU.

Although the psychology minor is no longer available to students at GCSU, this is not necessarily how it will be in the future. “Right now, it’s on “pause” as we determine if our majors are not impeded from progression toward graduation. When we have some data, we will reassess”, says Gillis, leaving the future hopeful for students.