Why do people behave the way they do, and how does their thinking affect their worldview? Professionals in the psychology field grapple with these issues as they work with individuals, groups and organizations to observe human behavior and help people improve their lives.
Psychology is broadly defined as the study of the human mind, including the way people behave in various environments. It can be applied in many ways, such as human development, organizational development and sports psychology.
Many careers in psychology start with a bachelor’s degree. Students earning a psychology degree can enter the field after graduation, or continue on to earn a master’s degree, and possibly a doctorate.
Psychology Courses to Expect
A psychology degree program may cover the following:
- Introduction to Psychology – An overview of the fundamentals of psychology, including their application to real-world situations.
- Social Psychology – How psychology affects the way individuals interact with other people and groups. This should not be confused with sociology, which focuses on human social systems.
- Forensic Psychology – An examination of criminal activity through a psychology lens.
- Cognitive Psychology – A look at concepts such as learning, attention, perception and decision-making.
- Research Methods – A study of the ways psychologists conduct research.
- Issues in Professional Practice – A capstone course that examines the responsibilities of professional practice.
Additional courses may be required, based on the school’s curriculum and a student’s interest. Some students may opt to focus on a specific concentration within the overall degree program.
Thinking About Concentrations
It is helpful, but not required, for psychology students to have a good idea of what they want to do once they graduate. This can help students decide whether to pursue a general psychology degree or specialize in a concentration as part of the degree program.
Psychology graduates are needed in areas such family and marriage counseling, criminal justice and substance abuse. Psychology professionals may work in many different settings, such as individual practices, group sessions, medical offices, community centers, hospitals and research facilities.
Online vs. On-Campus Degree Programs
One of the first considerations for people looking into a psychology degree is whether to attend classes online or on campus. Both have advantages, although earning a degree online may be an attractive option for some students.
Earning a degree online can be important for people with family or military obligations, or those working and attending school at the same time. Students can opt to take courses whenever they want without having to travel to campus, so long as they meet deadlines set by the instructor.