Psychology

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Articles on Psychology:
   Major in Psychology
   A future in Psychology
   Psychology Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Major in Psychology
   Help and Healing; Careers in Mental Health

Major in Psychology

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“God’s glory is at stake in the therapy of our day… Soul care, properly conceived, has a significant role to play in the end for which God created the world.”  ~Eric Johnson

Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. It is an interdisciplinary field where the goal is to describe, explain, predict and control human behavior. It is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of behavioral disorders. As a psychology major you will learn about psychological perspectives and study the history of psychology including famous theorists such as Freud, Pavlov, Piaget and Skinner. You’ll be introduced to diverse methods of research and methods of assessment and testing. Most importantly, you will begin to understand human temperament and how psychology interfaces with complex issues like eating disorders, mental illness, addiction and learning. You will understand yourself better, as well as the people around you, and will learn to better handle stress management, decision-making, conflict-resolution and complicated relational dynamics.

Psychology majors are generally people-oriented. Typically, these are the individuals inquisitive about the personalities of those around them, who notice patterns in behavior and crave knowledge about how the mind works. But it takes more than an interest in social interaction to succeed in this popular major. In a field where application of knowledge and the ability to make accurate assessments is crucial, critical thinking is a must. It is also helpful to be administrative and organized since psychologists must keep accurate records and juggle full schedules. If your ultimate goal is to become a counselor or therapist, it is imperative to possess traits of compassion, helpfulness and patience in order to empathetically walk clients through a process of self-discovery and gradual behavioral change. This one-on-one teaching of life skills sometimes requires time and persistent dedication. Finally, it is important to be emotionally healthy and to have strong coping skills in a career where stress and high burn out are expected.

So, what are some of the classes you can expect to take as a psychology major? Once your general credits are complete, you will take a huge array of psychology courses like Abnormal, Social, Cognitive, Developmental and Physiological Psychology. You may spend time doing lab work and may have an opportunity to present or even publish your own research findings. You will also likely be required to complete a psychology-related internship. Other classes you may encounter are:

  • Methods of Inquiry
  • Life Span of Human Development
  • Perception and Sensation
  • Research Methods
  • Psychology Statistics
  • Neuroscience

Psychology is a diverse major with career outcomes to fit all sorts of giftings and interests. Some specializations you might consider include developmental psychology (concerned with child and adolescent growth and learning), forensic psychology (a merger of law and psychology), or industrial-organizational psychology (dealing with work place satisfaction, safety and efficiency). In order to become a licensed therapist or counselor, an advanced degree is required and about 25% of psychology majors achieve this goal. Another 40% springboard off their psyche degree to attain a master’s in law or business. Students graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology find employment in a number of fulfilling roles:

  • Social worker/case manager
  • Career counselor
  • Probation/parole officer
  • Lab/research assistant
  • Rehab specialist
  • Addictions coach
  • High school psychology teacher

Whether you envision yourself working with psychiatric patients in a hospital neurology ward, in private practice as a marriage and family therapist or conducting research at a university, if your dream is to understand and help people, then a psychology major might be the perfect major for you!