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What Do You Study In Psychology At University

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What Will You Learn

What is Studying Psychology at University Really Like?

You will learn to analyze, evaluate and apply psychological principles and theories, all of which are applicable to you professionally and personally. As a psychology major, you will:

  • Engage in a critical examination of a variety of exciting psychological concepts
  • Develop exceptional research skills, spanning a variety of techniques
  • Develop essential intellectual, critical thinking, and analytical skills
  • Hone your communication skills – both written and verbal

Choose from a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree with the help of your academic advisor, who will guide you based on your career goals and interests. You may also choose an optional concentration in industrial/organizational psychology.

Additionally, education students have the option to concentrate in psychology.

Entry Requirements For Psychology Degrees

Entry requirements for psychology degrees vary from institution to institution. Although many good universities dont require students with specific qualifications, you will need a strong academic record and an aptitude in both scientific and non-scientific subjects. Students with a broad skillset in both sciences and humanities are particularly sought after.

Industrial And Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology is the study of how human behavior impacts organizations and industries. Pursuing this major prepares you for a career that involves assessing a work situation and developing a plan for work-life balance with optimum performance. Industrial and organization psychologists specialize in research, studying workplace setups and decision-making theories. Industrial organizational psychologists usually have consulting roles to help with workplace diversity, team building and leadership development.

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Research Areas In Psychology

There is no way to answer the question “what is psychology?” without introducing the many interesting topics of interest within the field. Such exciting topics include learning and memory, sensation and perception, emotion and motivation, development and disorders, and many others. If there is an interesting question about human behavior to be asked, there is sure to be a body of research worthy of study. So, to answer: what is psychology? Psychology is the broad science of studying the mind that breaks up the particular functions and dysfunctions of the mind to study them more closely.

Is Psychology A Good Degree

See all of the different psychology abbreviations # ...

Dr. Barbara Lesniak, senior associate dean of social science programs at Southern New Hampshire University , said one of the main advantages of studying psychology is that the concepts you will encounter are applicable in virtually any profession.

Its a very broad-based degree, Lesniak said. I would say one of the biggest values is it can get you a job in a directly psych-related field, but psychology applies to any job.

As many as 80% of social sciences graduates go into a different field, research from the National Science Foundation and National Science Board showed. According to an article in Psychology Today, some popular alternatives include:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Training and development

Psychology is the study of the mind and how the workings of the mind affect behavior, according to the APA. That incorporates every level of human behavior, from individuals to entire groups and at every stage of life. When you earn a bachelors degree in psychology, you will equip yourself with the knowledge that can help you better understand and work with the people in your world.

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Different Types Of Psychology Majors

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Psychology is a broad field with over a dozen majors. Studying psychology presents opportunities in various fields including sports, education and business. Understanding the different types of psychology majors can help you better prepare for a career in this field. In this article, we define psychology and the different types of psychology majors you can pursue.

Related:22 Different Types of Psychology

Licensure Requirements Are Not Universal

Most states require licensure for applied roles in clinics or private practice. School psychologists, rehabilitation counselors, and other mental health professionals all need state-issued credentials in order to practice. If you plan to pursue a licensure-dependent role, familiarizing yourself with the process can help you prepare for exams and other steps.

Eligibility for licensure depends on educational requirements that vary by state. You will need to complete a board-approved program at the very least and likely fulfill individual course requirements in key content areas like professional ethics, cultural competency, and state regulations. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards keeps a useful directory where you can find more information on your area’s requirements.

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Harvard’s Department Of Psychology

Itâs not surprising that Harvard ranks #1 in our list of best colleges to study psychology. Itâs the top university for many degrees! The goal of Harvard’s Department of Psychology is to understand the mind, brain, and behavior through empirical investigations. The high caliber of teaching at Harvard reflects this ambition. Students and faculty study basic psychological processes: attention, perception, memory, categorization, reasoning, decision-making, language, cognitive and social development, social cognition, intergroup relations, and morality.

Is it for you?

Psychology at Harvard allows you to get close to understanding human behavior. The psychology department hosts professors that are just as fascinating, interesting, and impressive as the material they teach. You’ll gain many valuable skills studying psychology at Harvard, such as learning how to work with data, write clearly and objectively, and analyze other studies. These skills will prepare you for a myriad of careers after graduation, including consulting, finance, healthcare, public policy, marketing, computer science, and even music and film.

Find out your chances of getting accepted into Harvard with our free College Admissions Calculator!

Course Structure And Assessment Methods

Psychology Study Tips for Uni! | HOW TO GET A FIRST CLASS in Psychology!

The majority of undergraduate psychology degree programs last three or four years, with some institutions requiring students to undertake a relevant work placement as part of the course. Placement options are varied, but common choices include roles within hospitals, prisons and rehabilitation centers. This placement year can prove to be vital when pursuing psychology careers after graduation practical experience is valued highly by prospective employers.

If your university doesnt offer a placement option, you may want to find some work experience yourself, either during the vacations or in a part-time capacity. Although specialized experience can sometimes be difficult to access, many relevant roles can stand you in good stead for example, working with children and adults with learning difficulties, mentoring, or helping in a care home.

Psychology degrees typically employ a range of teaching techniques, allowing students to gain the diverse skills needed to carry out psychological investigations. This will often include practical lessons lectures in relevant theory and tools, such as how to carry out research and analyze data and training with professional software programs. Assessment is also varied, typically including timed examinations, essays, laboratory reports and final project reports.

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Famous People Who Studied Psychology

A number of Hollywood actors studied psychology including actor Natalie Portman, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Wes Craven, actor Marcia Cross and Jon Stewart, the comedian and former presenter of TheDaily Show.

Other well-known psychology graduates include Gloria Estefan, the singer Lil Wayne, the hip-hop artist and Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern.

Guy Kawasaki, Apples former chief evangelist, best-known for marketing the first Macintosh, also studied psychology. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg studied psychology, along with computer science, but he dropped out of university during the second year of his degree in order to devote his time to setting up the social network.

Where Can Psychology Take You

Psychology is a versatile subject that can take you into many different career paths. You could work in the fields of mental health, justice, cognitive or behavioural science, research, industry and marketing, education or counselling. You can also work within a business environment that uses psychological tests, statistical analyses, or survey and questionnaire development or employs people with organisational psychology skills. Staff recruitment, human resources, personnel training and evaluation are areas in which many psychology graduates are employed.

Research careers can be developed in many aspects of psychology including neural function, neuropathology and cognitive science. Some postgraduate degrees in psychology will prepare you to work as a registered psychologist in applied fields such as clinical psychology or applied behaviour analysis.

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Nonprofit Agency Program Manager

As a program manager at a nonprofit agency, you would handle projects that an organization has embarked on to further its mission. You would likely work with anyone from volunteers to agency executives and ensure other employees and volunteers are appropriately trained to participate in the project you manage.

Nonprofit agency program managers make an average of $54,981 a year, according to Payscale.

Psychology Careers In Education

Pin on Psychology Quotes

Psychology graduates interested in the education sector have a number of different options. As well as educational therapy, educational psychology and social work within education, psychology graduates may qualify as teachers, working in primary, secondary or tertiary level education. They may instead work within social services to help support learning in the community at all ages, or within the prison sector to provide support for young offenders.

To become an educational psychologist, you will need the same qualifications as any psychologist . This is a role concerned with the development of young people in educational settings, with the aim of enhancing learning and dealing with social and emotional issues or learning difficulties.

To teach psychology, depending on the level you choose, youll need an additional teaching qualification. To enter careers in tertiary education you will likely need a further qualification, such as a masters and/or PhD. Roles in higher education are likely to encompass both teaching and research .

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Experimental Versus Clinical Psychology

International students should be aware that there are two different approaches to the study of psychology in the U.S. These two approaches are not wholly distinct but there are important differences. The first approach, experimental psychology, puts an emphasis on research and experimentation to discover facts about the human mind and behavior. Students who choose this track will be expected to understand the basic scientific method in order to carry out controlled experiments and the use of statistics to interpret data. The second approach, clinical psychology, also attempts to understand human psychology but also aims to help people with their psychological well-being. Students who choose this track will still be expected to understand the mind but will also learn to interact with individuals in a way similar to how a doctor interacts with a patient. Professionals in this area of psychology sometimes administer counseling, therapy, and sometimes even prescription drugs. It is important for students to keep these two separate approaches in mind when they are deciding what their interests in psychology are.

Requirements For The Psychology Major

Requirements for a major in Psychology are 41 semester hours of courses in the major including Psychology 222, 232, 260, 267, 330, 368 , 369, 461, 463 and 480 three psychology electives chosen from additional psychology offerings Mathematics 212 and eight semester hours of science are required . No more than nine hours may be earned through practicum courses. Psychology 222 is a prerequisite to all other psychology courses.

Students considering graduate study for work in clinical or counseling psychology should take additional work in biology. Anyone planning work in experimental psychology should elect additional courses in mathematics, statistics, and chemistry. Those considering the personnel and industrial fields of psychology should elect Business Administration 331 and Economics 454 .

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Master’s Degree In Psychology

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A master’s degree in psychology is a graduate-level degree that usually takes between two and three years beyond the bachelor’s degree to complete. Like the bachelor’s degree, students can usually choose between a Master of Arts or Master of Science in psychology.

Jobs at the master’s level are far more plentiful than those at the bachelor’s level, which is why this is one of the most popular degree options. While some master’s programs offer what is known as a terminal degree, or an end-level degree designed to prepare students for the workforce, other master’s programs focus on preparing students for doctoral-level study.

Graduates with a master’s degree can find jobs in a variety of areas, including mental health services, government agencies, and business fields. While there are some opportunities for teaching at colleges and universities, these positions tend to be limited and highly competitive. A few job titles that a master’s degree holder might find include marriage and family therapist, rehabilitative counselor, school counselor, and human resources manager.

What Are The Benefits Of Studying Psychology

5 Things I WISH I Knew Before Studying Psychology at University!

Studying psychology presents many benefits. The specific benefits often depend on the specialty and how you apply it. Here are some of the benefits of studying psychology:

  • Understanding and predicting the behavior of an individual or a group

  • Interpreting data and understanding how to use it

  • Legitimizing claims about behavior

  • Gaining insight into problematic behavior

  • Managing stressful environments and difficult situations

  • Understanding how learning and memory function

  • Understanding an organization’s operations and channels

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Can You Take Psychology In High School

Of course, one of the best high school courses for psychology majors is, well, psychology. Psychology is the scientific study of the mind, thinking and behavior.

A high school class in psychology typically serves as an introduction to the field of psychology. Students in high school psychology classes may learn the history of psychology as well as the foundational concepts and theories of psychology. Often, students study an overview of the different approaches used in psychology, such as behavioral psychology, cognitive psychology, humanistic psychology, psychodynamic psychology and biological psychology.

Most high school psychology courses are general in nature. At the college level once they complete their foundational introduction to psychology courses students can expect to take more focused courses in psychology, such as social psychology, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, health psychology, cognitive psychology and industrial and organizational psychology. As an example, an advanced placement psychology course offered to high school students is typically considered equivalent to an introductory general psychology course at the college level.

What Grade Do You Take Psychology in High School?

However, its not until high school that students typically have a chance to learn about psychology specifically. Even then, high school psychology courses are usually offered as electives, not required classes.

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Where Can Psychology Take Me Share This Page:

Psychology majors develop a broad understanding of human behavior as well as the skills to understand and interpret research findings concerning human behavior. The psychology curriculum includes courses in cognitive, developmental, behavioral and neural studies, learning, personality, social and clinical psychology. The coursework emphasizes the fundamental concepts and scientific methods of this basic behavioral science discipline. Psychology students are encouraged to expand their learning experience outside the classroom by conducting and analyzing laboratory and field research as well as participating in internships.

Psychological Skills

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Less Typical Careers With A Psychology Degree

As a psychology graduate at bachelor level, there are thousands of opportunities for you outside healthcare and educational roles if you know where to look. This is due to the varied transferable skills you gain from your degree, as well as widespread recognition of the advantages of having psychological and analytical expertise. In broad terms, psychology graduates can be found working in all sectors of society, including media, criminal justice and rehabilitation, advertising, business and management, sports, public agencies and the legal sector. Some less typical careers with a psychology degree are outlined below

Media and advertising careers

It might not be an obvious choice for psychology graduates, but media careers are varied, with ample opportunities to apply the skills a psychology degree will hone. Psychology graduates can impart valuable insights into human behavior, as well as offering the ability to analyze problems, listen attentively, give considered responses and act with empathy and reason. Because of this, media roles within all departments including management, production, scheduling and writing are well within reach for psychology graduates.

Human resources and communications careers

Business and management careers

A psychology degree may also provide a good basis for careers in IT, finance, the legal sector, government administration and market research.

What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree? is part of our What Can You Do With series.

What Might You Find On A Psychology Degree


Most psychology courses at university award a BSc, but some will award a BA.

There are many schools of thought in psychology and students will be introduced to most of them in their first year. For instance, learning about the differences between biological and social psychology.

Biological psychology looks at behaviour genetics and hormonal influence, while social psychology looks at humans through conditioning and environmental factors, observing how their behaviour is influenced by others. One historic debate is the nature v nurture question: whether someone acts in certain ways because of inherited or learned characteristics.

Examples of modules regularly studied include cognitive neuroscience, neurobiology, developmental psychology, social psychology, cognitive and experimental psychology, learning and memory, perception and the development of attachment behaviour.

Research methods and different types of data collection are normally seen as a key part of psychology, and courses are sometimes more statistics-based than expected.

The subject is mainly lecture and seminar-based and placements are common. Some universities give students the opportunity to do a term or a year abroad on a placement alongside professional psychologists so that they can learn from them and put into practice the skills and knowledge they acquired in year one or two of their degree.

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