A psychology major covers a lot of ground, so it is useful for many different fields. You learn about topics as diverse as neuroscience and social psychology, statistics and art therapy. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is also a great base for graduate-level studies in psychology, law, life sciences and even business.
Here are some of the reasons you should consider a psychology major.
1. You want to make a difference
Are you someone who enjoys helping people? Is empathy important to you? Understanding psychology helps you to better understand human behavior. Psychologists, therapists, counselors, coaches and social workers all help those who are facing mental health issues, or struggling to improve their lives and well-being. While this career path can be emotionally demanding and even stressful, it can also be very fulfilling.
2. The job prospects are excellent
Psychologists can find work in a wide range of fields. This includes jobs in schools, hospitals, substance abuse treatment, social services, and applied psychologists for businesses. Also, a psychology degree is highly valued in the job market because of the range of skills psychology majors acquire. Psychology majors learn important skills for fields such as business administration, marketing and sales, advertising and even sports.
3. You’re interested in science
Psychology is a science. It relies on the scientific method; making hypotheses, carefully testing those hypotheses, and presenting results in order to add knowledge – and create more questions.
Research in psychology can be tricky, because researchers on people have to deal with problems that other scientists don’t have to worry about. You don’t have to get informed consent from molecules, bacteria, or even mice. Ecosystems are complex, but they can’t be affected by what you say about them. Study data can be ambiguous, because human behavior is not always clear-cut. Figuring out why people act the way they do takes time and patience, but the results are fascinating.
4. You like a good challenge
A large part of psychology is problem solving. Psychology covers a wide range of subjects, using concepts from philosophy to statistics. Psychology is also all about people, who we all know can be complicated. You might be a student working to understand new ideas in a journal article. You might be a therapist trying to help a client with overwhelming emotional issues or addiction. Or you might be a researcher trying to build an experiment to answer a new question about human behavior. Whatever area of psychology you’re interested in, you’ll face unique challenges that can also be very rewarding.
5. It’s a data-driven world
Psychologists rely on statistics to find the meaning in behaviors they study. As a psychology major, you will learn how to gather, organize, analyze and interpret data. You will also learn how to tell the difference between valid and deceptive data analysis. These aren’t just important skills for psychologists. They’re also critical for scientists, journalists, marketers, educators, business managers and advertisers. That is, for anyone who needs to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Data is the best tool we have to tell the difference between what truly works and what seems to work, or we think should work, or feels helpful in the moment but doesn’t really change anything. It’s also the best tool to fight bias, stereotypes and misinformation.
6. You want to learn more about yourself – and others
Studying psychology helps you learn a lot about your thought patterns, emotions, and motivations. As you gain a better understanding of human nature, you’ll also gain a better understanding of yourself. Self knowledge is a powerful life skill. It helps you guard against magical thinking and unrealistic expectations. Understanding of what makes people do certain things is also a very marketable skill for many jobs. Those include social services, advertising, marketing, education, health care, management, law and politics.
7. It’s a great foundation for graduate school
Psychology majors often go on to graduate school to get a master’s or even a doctoral degree. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is also a good foundation for graduate level studies in law, medicine, other social sciences and even business.
8. A variety of careers for a variety of interests
Do you love kids? Early child development can be your specialty. Are you intrigued by the details of how the brain works? There’s neuropsychology. Do you want to understand the effects of people’s different ways of interacting and the social structures they’re in? That might be social psychology, on a broad scale, or marriage and family counseling, on a personal level. Are you interested in how humans perceive, think about, and remember their feelings and experiences? Cognitive psychology is for you. Love sports? Be a sports psychologist. Do you want to work with people who badly need help for mental illness or behavioral disorders? Clinical psychology includes a wide variety of methods and sub-specialties all focused on the same goal – helping their clients overcome their problems. Fascinated by scientific research? Experimental discoveries in psychology are giving us new insights into what makes humans tick every day.
9. Psychology is so interesting!
One of the best reasons to major in psychology is that you truly enjoy the subject, plain and simple. Human behavior is always fascinating, and we’re discovering new things about it every day. If you love learning about why we do what we do, then a psychology major is a great path for you. It’s a practical path, too. Many of the skills you acquire apply to all sorts of jobs. This is especially important now that social changes happen very fast and most people can expect to change careers several times in their lives. Those skills are also just as useful in your personal journey and relationships.