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Is Psychology A Good Major

by Dan Hughes
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Is Psychology A Good Major

Is Psychology A Good Major

Psychology has been called the “science of science” because it uses scientific methods to study how we think, feel, behave and relate to others. The field includes many different areas of research, including brain chemistry, physiology, social psychology, abnormal psychology, etc., all of which focus on aspects of our lives that affect us both positively and negatively. As such, there is no single area of psychology that’s too narrow or restrictive. Many fields within psychology can be quite helpful in their own right — for example, some psychologists specialize in working with children while others may have more experience helping older adults. In addition, the various subfields of psychology often overlap one another, so you’ll find that your education will help you learn about multiple areas of interest. For instance, if you’re studying child development, you’ll also gain valuable insight into other areas like sociology and anthropology.
Because psychology deals with humans from birth through death, it touches upon almost every aspect of life. It therefore appeals to those who enjoy learning about themselves, as well as those who are curious about others. Psychologists typically use empirical (or quantifiable) evidence when gathering information, which makes this discipline particularly useful for scientists and researchers.
As with any major, choosing a career path after college depends largely on what interests you most. If you’ve already decided on a specific field of study, then you may need only to choose an internship program, but if you haven’t yet narrowed down your options, you should consider taking courses at the undergraduate level that might lead you toward a particular profession. One way to do this is to take introductory psychology classes. These usually involve short lectures by faculty members and hands-on activities designed to teach basic concepts related to each subject matter covered.
The following pages contain some tips for selecting a psychology major based on personal preferences. Click here for additional links regarding psychology degrees and internships.
People who are naturally drawn to people tend to become psychologists. This means that they would probably make excellent counselors, psychiatrists, sociologists and teachers. You should decide whether you’d rather work directly with clients or observe them first before deciding on a specialty. Some people prefer not to work with individuals, however; instead, they choose careers focusing on groups. Group dynamics experts are particularly popular among psychology majors. They analyze group behaviors and interpersonal relationships and provide feedback for better decision making. Other specialists include forensic psychologists, who assist law enforcement agencies in identifying criminals, and health professionals, such as physical therapists, nurses and occupational therapists.
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Major Field Of Study
Psychology Majors Consider
Internship/Cooperative Education Program
Specialized Training Programs
Career Options
Specialization
Salaries And Job Outlook
Tips On Choosing A Major
1. People who are naturally drawn to people tend to become psychologists. This means that they would probably make excellent counselors, psychiatrists, sociologists and teachers. You should decide whether you’d rather work directly with clients or observe them first before deciding on a specialization. Some people prefer not to work with individual, however; instead, they choose careers focusing on groups. Group dynamics experts are particularly popular among psychology majors. They analyze group behaviors and interpersonal relationships and provide feedback for better decision making. Other specialists include forensic psychologists, who assist law enforcement agencies in identifying criminals, and health professionals, such as physical therapists, nurses and occupational therapists.
2. Because of its emphasis on using quantitative data, psychology has become very important to business leaders, government officials and even politicians. Psychologists help businesses plan marketing strategies, design employee training programs and develop new products or services. Government officials rely heavily on psychometric testing to determine policies and procedures for welfare reform, crime prevention, educational issues and environmental concerns. Political candidates also hire psychologists to survey public opinion and tailor their campaigns accordingly.
3. Working With Abnormal Psychology – Abnormality involves the unusual patterns of thought, emotion, perception, motivation and behavior found in mentally ill patients. Psychiatrists diagnose these conditions, prescribe medication and treat patients. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners also deal with aberrant psychological states.
4. Social Psychology – Social psychology investigates the ways in which people interact with each other. Topics studied include conformity, aggression, prejudice, leadership, personality traits, cognitive functioning, motivation and group dynamics.
5. Health Psychology – This branch of psychology focuses on health and medicine. Examples of topics studied include nutrition, medical diagnosis, drug effects, stress management and rehabilitation. Physical therapist, nurse practitioner and physician assistant are examples of health care providers who rely on this type of expertise.
6. Cognitive Psychology – Cognitive psychology studies the complex relationship between the mind and the environment. Areas of investigation include perception, memory, attention, language and intelligence. Cognitive tests are used to identify mental impairments brought on by dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.
7. Human Behavior – This branch of psychology examines normal changes in human behavior over time and across cultures. Research projects investigate everything from childhood development to cultural differences. Behavioral geneticists examine factors affecting inherited behavioral characteristics, such as alcoholism and criminal tendencies. Biobehavioral scientists try to understand how biological functions contribute to daily decisions and emotional responses.
8. Developmental Psychology – This branch of psychology explores the unique features of childhood growth and change. Researchers look at things such as motor control, emotions and self-concept. Infant and toddler development are explored by developmental psychologists. Child psychologist investigators study early childhood disorders and developmental delays.
9. Clinical Psychology – This branch of psychology concentrates on clinical applications. Clinical psychologists apply knowledge of human behavior, cognition, personality and psychopathology to diagnose and treat mental illness. Occupational therapy technicians, speech-language pathologists and neuropsychologists are examples of clinicians who practice clinical psychology.
10. Forensic Psychology – This branch of psychology helps law enforcement agencies gather evidence and identify suspects. Forensic psychologists assess eyewitnesses, interview witnesses, conduct autopsies and review documents pertaining to ongoing cases. Police officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys depend on forensic psychologists’ testimony.
11. Counseling Psychology – This branch of psychology provides assistance to individuals dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse and eating disorders. Licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, social workers and school psychologists provide this service.
12. Industrial-Organizational Psychology – This branch of psychology focuses on workplace environments. Industrial-organizational psychologists help companies create efficient workplaces and improve productivity. Human resource managers, safety engineers and personnel administrators rely on industrial-organizational psychologists’ advice.
13. Learning Disabilities – This branch of psychology focuses on cognitive disabilities. Children with learning problems are evaluated by psychologists specializing in reading and mathematics. Speech therapists, special educators and tutors also rely on learning disability evaluation.
14. Personality Disorders – This branch of psychology focuses on character defects. Individuals suffering from antisocial personality disorder exhibit aggressive, violent or disruptive behavior. Those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder display egocentric attitudes and lack empathy. Psychotic personality types differ from sociopathic personalities in terms of their inability to recognize guilt or remorse.
15. Aging – This branch of psychology focuses on the elderly. Gerontologists evaluate the aging process and recommend treatments for seniors. Physical therapists, occupational therapists and physicians also help senior citizens maintain independence.
16. Epidemiology – This branch of psychology studies causes and risk factors for diseases. Epidemiological techniques are used to track the prevalence of certain diseases in a population. Public health experts, biostatisticians and epidemiologists use these techniques to detect outbreaks, evaluate treatment outcomes and prevent future illnesses.
17. Economics – This branch of psychology focuses on economic systems and markets. Economists explore the interactions between supply and demand, production costs, profit margins and international trade. Corporate executives, economists and financial analysts rely on economics expert analysis.
18. Statistics – This branch of psychology focuses on statistical analyses. Statisticians collect, organize and analyze large amounts of data. Mathematician statisticians and applied mathematicians use statistics to solve real world problems.
19. Criminal Justice – This branch of psychology focuses on criminological sciences. Criminologists investigate crimes, devises solutions to reduce recidivism rates and rehabilitate offenders. Law enforcement agencies, probation officers and corrections employees rely on criminologist services.
20. Management – This branch of psychology addresses organizational structures, performance evaluations and leadership styles. Organizational theorists, consultants and managers use this expertise to guide organizations and maximize profits. Business owners, corporate executives and entrepreneurs employ this service.
21. Nursing – This branch of psychology focuses on nursing practices. Nurses provide patient care and advise doctors on therapeutic regimens. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants also utilize this expertise.
22. Marriage & Family Therapy – This branch of psychology focuses on counseling couples and families. Marriage and family therapists counsel spouses and parents concerning marital conflicts, parenting difficulties and family adjustment issues. Social workers also use this expertise.
23. Pediatric Psychology – This branch of psychology focuses on the psychological needs of infants and young children. Paediatric psychologists treat infants, toddlers, preschoolers and adolescents. Special educators, speech therapists and occupational therapists also rely on pediatric psychologists’ services.
24. Veterinary Medicine – This branch of psychology focuses on animal behavior. Veterinarians perform psychological evaluations and administer medications.

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