Psychology is a Social Science, not a STEM Major
As you may already know, psychology is defined as the science of mind and behavior. In a general sense, it’s the study of how people think, feel, and behave. But more specifically, there are three aspects: research-oriented psychological scientists, practice-oriented psychological professionals, and human service workers. So whether you want to conduct research in psychology or help others through their personal problems as a therapist, you can be sure that there is a career path for you within this field.
With that said, psychology is NOT classified as any of the four STEM (science, technology , engineering and math) disciplines. Although it’s true that psychologists do conduct scientific experiments to test theories about human behavior (which makes them seem like they belong in the science domain), they don’t fit into STEM because they focus on studying people rather than natural world phenomena—like weather patterns or physical reactions between compounds. Instead of being a STEM major then what exactly IS psychology classified as? It falls under social sciences along with majors like sociology or political science…
A bachelor’s degree in psychology qualifies you for tons of jobs
There’s a lot you can do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. In the field of psychology, we call it “applied” psychology, but it is simply the use of psychological knowledge and skills to solve problems in diverse real-world settings. As a psychology major, you’re going to learn about how people think and how they behave, which are important for different jobs in different fields:
- Healthcare: Clinical psychologists work at hospitals with patients to help them overcome challenges that affect their mental health.
- Business: Industrial organizational psychologists assess the effectiveness of workplaces and employees. They improve the quality of life for employees by addressing issues like employee stress or working conditions.
- Education : School psychologists counsel students on behavioral issues that might be affecting their school performance. School counsellors also provide support to parents and teachers who might need additional resources while working with students.
- Research: If you have an aptitude for science and conducting research, social science researchers work closely with scientists to design experiments that test hypotheses related to human behavior and cognition.
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There are dozens of psychology specializations to choose from
As with STEM majors, there are many different specializations under the psychology umbrella.
- Cognitive psychology. This specialization deals with how humans think and process information. If you like learning about the mind, this may be for you.
- Counseling psychology. As you might have guessed, this is about supporting people through their personal problems as a licensed therapist (think Sara Gilbert in Roseanne). You will usually see counseling psychologists working in hospitals or private practice settings.
- Developmental psychology. This focuses on understanding cognitive and emotional development at different life stages (including infancy and late adulthood).
- Forensic psychology is concerned with applying psychological knowledge to criminal justice systems, including law enforcement and corrections agencies (think Dr. Lightman on Lie To Me).
- Health psychologists work in public health settings to promote healthy behaviors and reduce risky ones (such as smoking or driving while drunk). They may also help individuals manage chronic medical conditions that can be difficult to cope with alone (like cancer or diabetes), but they don’t provide clinical treatment for these diseases themselves! In addition, mental health issues like depression may require intervention from an additional specialist known as “counseling psychologists.” These professionals work within hospitals or clinics for patients who need help managing their stressors more effectively than just talking about them does on its own – your doctor might refer you here if they feel like it would benefit your mental wellbeing overall!
The majority of psychology majors have to take calculus and at least one other mathematics course.
In fact, the majority of psychology majors have to take calculus and at least one other mathematics course. Just as chemistry requires you to understand physics and biology requires you to understand basic chemistry, psychology requires some knowledge of math. The two main branches that need mathematics are quantitative psychology and cognitive science. Quantitative psychologists use math in their research methods and analysis. Cognitive scientists take the data from mathematical models and use it to make predictions about human behavior.
You don’t need a math degree or even a minor in order to study psychology, but it’s important for you to have a decent understanding of numbers before you commit four years of your life to earning a bachelor’s degree in this field.
Psychology majors need to take a lot of science classes.
Also, psychology majors will have to take several science courses. This is not because the psychology major requires a vast amount of science background to be successful after graduation, but rather because psychologists need to develop a strong understanding of how the brain and body function in order to understand why humans behave the way they do.
For example, a course in biology with an emphasis on anatomy and physiology would help students learn what is actually happening inside their bodies when they feel happy, angry or scared. If a student doesn’t understand these processes, it’s difficult for them to explain what happens when people experience emotions.
Similarly, chemistry can help students understand how different substances interact with one another and therefore how they may affect people when they are exposed or come into contact with them (e.g., drugs or poison). Other classes that may help you understand psychological concepts include physics, earth science and history of science (because it’s important to know the background information behind scientific discoveries).
The majority of psychology majors have to take at least one computer programming or coding course.
Computer programming or coding courses are generally required in many STEM programs. That is also true for psychology majors. In most cases, there is at least one computer course requirement, while some programs may require even more. The reason why these courses are so important for the psychology major is because they play a significant role in the majority of research conducted within this field.
Computer programming is used to help design experiments and analyze data that has been collected. It can help answer basic questions such as what the overall goal of an experiment will be, as well as more complex ones such as identifying sources of error and how they can be corrected.
Coding and programming skills provide opportunities to develop new methods of research that otherwise wouldn’t exist without them. They also provide access to fields like artificial intelligence which could benefit greatly from having skilled programmers working on their teams!
Most psychology majors have to take a statistics course.
If you’re a psychology major, it’s likely that you’ve already taken, or will be taking, a statistics course. At least one statistics class is common for most psychology majors. In fact, many psychology departments require students to have earned at least a C in this type of class for them to graduate.
This is because statistics is a central part of psychology research and the data analysis that follows. Statistics provide researchers with an objective method of measuring their results so they can make strong claims about their studies’ outcomes. That’s why when people talk about “significance” in psychological literature, they’re typically using the statistical definition of the word: whether or not there’s a significant difference between two things (like how much caffeine study participants drink vs. how well they did on an exam).
There are different types of statistics courses offered at many universities, but if you’re looking for one specifically geared toward psychology majors, it might be called “Introductory Statistics for Psychology” or “Statistics for Social Sciences.” There are also courses that apply more generally across math and science fields like “Calculus,” “Multivariable Calculus,” and “Linear Algebra.” The latter three will cover similar topics as those found in introductory stats classes but are usually more advanced versions that involve proofs rather than calculations. However, some schools may have individualized curricula based on their own requirements as well as professors’ preferences.
Psychology is a STEM major, even though most people don’t think of it this way.
- It requires the same basic STEM skills that other sciences do.
- It’s important in other STEM fields.
- Jobs are available for psychology graduates who want to work in STEM fields.
- It’s a science, and it applies scientific principles to its problems.
Learn more about this rewarding major.
Psychology is an incredibly broad field and covers everything from understanding the human mind to counseling people in difficult circumstances. The field of psychology is quite varied and there are many different types of psychology degrees, such as child psychology, clinical psychology or counseling psychology. Both undergraduates who complete a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and graduates who complete a master’s or Ph.D. find that their training in the subject offers a strong foundation for many different careers.
People who graduate with degrees in Psychology go on to work as counselors, social workers, educators, managers, healthcare professionals (such as nurses), police officers and more. In fact, according to MarketWatch, people with degrees in Psychology are “one of the highest paying majors for any college grad[uate], at almost $80K per year!”
Universities in the US offering psychology
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is located in the city of Berkeley in Northern California. It is a public university that was founded in 1868 and has a large student population. It is well known for its research and has many famous alumni. The motto of the university is “Fiat Lux” which means “Let there be light” in Latin.
University of Pennsylvania
You may have heard of the University of Pennsylvania—it’s an Ivy League school in the heart of Philadelphia, PA. The university was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and is one of the nation’s most prestigious institutions. Penn alumni include some big names, including Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
If you are interested in studying psychology at Penn, you can find relevant programs under both their Psychology Department as well as their Positive Psychology Center.
When you choose Stanford University, you’ll be studying in one of the best schools in the country. You’ll have access to world-class professors and a wide variety of classes. Founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, two years after their son’s death from typhoid fever, Stanford University was founded as a memorial for their son. The school opened its doors in 1891 with 15 faculty members and 559 students. The university is located on 8,200 acres near Palo Alto, California. Students are challenged to think critically about everything they do within an environment that fosters collaboration between students across many different disciplines.
The psychology department at Stanford is ranked #1 among all other universities offering psychology programs by U.S News & World Report (2020). In addition to this distinction, the overall university is ranked #2 among national universities according to U.S News & World Report (2020). The overall graduation rate at Stanford University is 95%, which is higher than the national average of 59%.
If you’re thinking about studying psychology in Los Angeles, California, then look no further than the University of California at Los Angeles. This public university is one of the largest and most well-known in the country, and also ranks highly for its programs in business, education, engineering and law. For more information on UCLA’s psychology program, please see our overview below.
Princeton University was founded in 1746 and is one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The university is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton has the fifth-largest endowment per student in the United States. The school’s main campus covers about 1.5 square miles (3.8 km2) and includes many noted structures, such as East Pyne Hall, Nassau Hall, Blair Hall and Dillon Gymnasium, an all-grader dormitory system and residential college system
Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is one of the oldest universities in the United States. It was founded in 1701 and is one of eight Ivy League schools. Yale offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology and many graduate degrees related to psychology. Students who want to combine science with their humanistic interest in people can earn a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in psychology through Yale’s Cognitive Science Program.
Columbia University is a private university based in Upper Manhattan, New York City. It was founded back in 1754 as King’s College. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States. The school was renamed Columbia University when it became associated with Columbia College, a women’s liberal arts institute that had merged with it in 1889.
- Location: 2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
- History: Founded by royal charter as King’s College by George II of Great Britain; became private institution; changed name to Columbia University
- Reputation: Considered to be one of most prestigious universities worldwide and consistently ranks among top 20 universities worldwide
- Duke University is a private research university in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, before it moved to its current location in Durham in 1892. Duke is the seventh-wealthiest private university in America with $11.4 billion in cash and investments in fiscal year 2014.
- Duke University has produced the highest number of Rhodes Scholars among American universities, with 34 recipients as of 2016.
- Renowned for its medical programs, it has one of the largest clinical and hospital systems affiliated with an academic center (“Duke Health”) with more than 50,000 outpatient visits and nearly 1 million hospitalizations annually along with training programs for physicians, nurses and allied health professionals affiliated with numerous hospitals throughout North Carolina.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (U-M) is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Founded in 1817 by the University of Michigan Act, U-M was one of the first universities chartered in the territory of Michigan. The state itself would not be admitted to the Union until more than 20 years later. Today, the university is considered to be one of the founding members of the Association for American Universities (an organization composed of North America’s most prestigious research universities), and it ranks consistently among the top 30 universities worldwide by major educational publications.
In addition to its status as a renowned research institution, U-M is also known for its strong sports programs and its dedication to academic excellence within psychology as well.
Johns Hopkins University
If you’re looking for schools in Maryland, Johns Hopkins University offers psychology programs.
- Where is it located?
- Baltimore, MD
- How many students attend?
- 5,430 undergraduate students attend this school. Of these students 1,073 are psychology majors.
- What are the average GPA and SAT scores of accepted applicants?
- the average GPA of enrolled students is 3.96 and the average SAT score is 1478.
- What is the average class size?
- The university has 17:1 student to faculty ratio.
- What is their retention rate? Graduation rate?
- They have 90% retention rate and 92% graduation rate.
These are the top ten universities for psychology in the US.
So, you’re all set to be a psychologist. Congratulations! Before you crack the psychology books (which can be pretty thick), you’ll want to select a school that best suits your needs and goals.
To get started on this process, we’ve compiled some of the most important information about each university: their ranking, how many psychology degrees they offer, what type of degree is offered, and any additional notes that may help you in your college search.
Note: Rankings are based on statistics and reviews from students and alumni.
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