As Medical New Today describes it, psychology is the “science concerned with the behavior of humans and related mental and physiologic processes.” Psychology is very eminent in the fields of medicine, health research and behavioural studies because of its importance in human development and society. By understanding the underlying processes behind human behaviour and cognition, psychological research is able to improve health conditions such as strokes, depression, epilepsy, brain injury and alzheimer’s.
Degree programs in psychology can result into a bachelor of science or a bachelor of arts. Depending on the type of degree program you apply for, you may be focusing on more scientific coursework or a curriculum based on more humanities-focused courses.
Students of psychology degree programs generally take a mixture of courses in applied sciences, social studies in addition to introductory courses for the various fields of psychology.
Students are also likely to be able to take a specialisation during their degree program, since there are many aspects of psychology that can be focused on. This may be in the form of electives or additional units. Specialisations will be discussed later in the article.
Entrance into a psychology degree program varies from institution to institution. Some universities require you to take an entrance exam, while some will take into consideration national or standard exams. Since psychology is a mostly science-based degree, some schools may require you to have a good background in the different branches of sciences.
For international applicants, proof of education and language proficiency is often required. For a complete list of requirements, you are advised to check out or contact the institution you are interested in applying to.
As mentioned earlier in the article, specialisations are available in most institutions. This may be a required part of the degree program for psychology or it may be optional, depending on the institution. Below is a short list of common specialisations offered by universities for their psychology degree programs:
These specialisations are also offered at the graduate level.
The accreditation of a degree usually depends on the country where the degree is awarded. In most cases, countries have their own accrediting systems for universities, students and graduates. For example, in the United States, the American Psychological Association accredits programs. Please check with the institution you are interested in for their accreditation details.
After graduating from an accredited degree program in psychology, you may need a license or certification to directly practice in the field.
A degree in psychology can take anywhere from three to four years. The exact period of time would depend on the university of your choice and the country wherein it is located. It may also depend on what type of degree is being awarded. Typically, double degrees are expected to take longer, while associate degrees take shorter than bachelor degrees.
Graduate studies are also available for those who want to take their knowledge and specialisation in the field further. Much of these graduate programs require research and experience in the specific branch of psychology to be studied.
For those who have completed a degree program in psychology, there are many career prospects to choose from. If you want to pursue a profession directly related to psychology such as counsellor, clinical psychologist and occupational psychologist, you may need a graduate degree and a license to practice in the country or state.
Some professions that does not necessarily require you to have a license and further studies may include:
Graduates of psychology that choose to not go directly into the field also have good chances of finding other careers. This is because of the all-around skills that can be gained through the program. Graduates often have good oral and written communication skills, research skills, adaptability and evaluation of information and ideas. These make them suitable for jobs in the fields of marketing, business, government, administration and media.
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