Psychology class meeting in small group shaking hands

10 Classes You Will Take as a Psychology Major

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 115,000 students majored in psychology in the graduating class of 2018. That made it the sixth most popular major in the country.

With so many people picking psychology as their major these days, psychology classes in college are absolutely packed. But a lot of those bright-eyed freshmen don’t even really know what the classes required for a psychology major even are.

What courses are required for a psychology major aren’t set in stone, of course. Psychology course requirements will vary from college to college and from concentration to concentration. The psychology courses required for a specialization in forensics will be pretty different from those you find in an industrial-organizational track, for example.

And, you might be wondering, what are all those track options; what are the majors in psychology? Well, the fact is there are so many possible specializations within the field of psychology, that you almost can’t list them all. Some of the most popular include:

  • Forensic psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Industrial-organizational psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Child psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • School psychology
  • Sports psychology

Still, you will find some psychology courses in common everywhere, whether through campus-based programs in clinical psychology or online schools for psychology offering programs in forensic psychology. That’s exactly what we’ll be covering here in this guide.

And psychology classes aren’t the only subjects you will study as a psychology major. You will have to take the required general education courses for your university as well. Many of those will be in subjects that are also relevant to psychological practice, including everything from math and biology to communications.

Your psychology major classes are where you will spend most of your junior and senior years, however. In the best undergraduate psychology schools , you’ll have plenty of choices for those upper division classes.

So, you arrived here because you’re wondering what courses to take to become a psychologist, or what courses are required for a psychology major? The classes we list here are some of the most common that are required for psychology majors. But you’ll find that each school, concentration, and even type (bachelor of science versus bachelor of arts) of psychology degree has its own unique requirements. You’ll need to consult your department advisor for specifics.

This about the point where you’re wondering, is psychology a hard major? Any serious student of psychology will tell you that they are challenged in their studies, but with so much fascinating stuff to explore, even the hard parts are fun. At the college level, there’s a big difference from that basic psychology class you took in high school. But 115,000 students can’t be wrong! Psychology is a challenging major, but it is challenging in a fun way. As long as you enjoy studying mental processes and people, you’ll be fine.

So, should you major in psychology? A quick review of these 10 courses can help you decide.

1. Introductory Psychology

This is the venerable Psych 101, packed with thousands of freshmen, both those majoring in the field and those filling their general education requirements. This is a broad overview of the topic, which will touch on all the other types of courses and subjects.

2. Fundamentals of Research

Psychology is a science, and science is fueled through research. Even if your ultimate goal isn’t to become an academic, psychology major classes include at least one course that exposes you to the kind of observational and statistical analysis that forms the foundation of the theories that you will put into practice as a psychologist.

3. Social Psychology

It’s tough enough to figure out the knots and snarls of the average human being’s mental processes. Throw that person into a crowd, influenced by and influencing the knots and snarls of everyone around them, and it’s a whole new ballgame. Social psychology courses bring you into this world of crowd psychology, matters of perception and reputation, and how communities are shaped.

4. Behavioral Psychology

Behaviorism is a prominent school of psychology that is important enough to make it onto the core curriculum of psychology major classes. It puts all psychological processes into the context of measurable behaviors, and teaches students how to identify and manipulate the environmental antecedents and consequences of those behaviors in order to change them.

5. Abnormal Psychology

Woman hiding behind brim of hat

6. Developmental Psychology

These survey-style courses give you an overview of mental development at every stage of the human lifespan, from prenatal to child to teen to adult to elderly. You’ll learn both theories of intellectual development and study some of the research that has been done into aging and cognition, in both individual and social contexts.

7. History of Psychology

Understanding psychology today involves understanding how it got that way. You’re still working off of theories laid down by heavyweights like Freud and Jung, so it’s a good idea to learn who Freud and Jung were and what they really thought. This psychology class lays out the development of the field and the establishment of different theories and schools of thought and how they relate to one another.

8. Biopsychology/Neuropsychology

Everything that you study in psychology rests on the expressions and calculations processed on the incomparable software of the human brain. To become a good psychologist, you have to understand at least a bit of the fascinating physical processes that underlie the mental issues that you will diagnose and treat. Neuropsych is the course that connects the synapse firing to the depression, anger management, or worse issues that you will confront as a psychologist.

9. Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior

The cognition and affect of humans is wrapped up in how we learn. This class is a little bit meta, since you’re going to spend your time learning about how you learn. The introductory level coursework will hit all the major learning theories and study how we learn to regulate our behaviors and organize our emotional experiences for reference.

At least one lab course will be on your agenda of psychology classes as an undergrad. These could include animal behavior, human performance studies, social psychology, or experimental studies. What they have in common is a hands-on approach to research and learning the science of measuring and evaluating mental processes.

So, if you’re wondering, how do you know what courses to take to become a psychologist, you’ll find the answer isn’t that complicated: You talk to your department advisor! Consulting school catalogs is also a great way to see what the course requirements are at your school.But if your syllabus includes a good dose of social, behavioral, abnormal, neuro, cognitive and developmental psychology, along with lab work and a research component, then you can be sure you’re in a solid program.

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Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

  • Author: Audrey Stoffle
  • Expert Reviewer: William Deric Wilson
  • Editorial Process

A bachelor’s degree in psychology is a four-year degree offered at most four-year colleges and universities. Some students may complete foundational coursework at a community or two-year college and later transfer to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s degree. If your goal is to practice psychology at the clinical level, you will have to eventually earn a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a PhD in Psychology to qualify for licensure. A bachelor’s degree in psychology, however, is an excellent first step in securing a fruitful career in the field. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reports that over 1,430 not-for-profit colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in psychology. 1

Table of Contents

Reasons to Pursue a Bachelor’s in Psychology Degree

  • Program Options

Admission Requirements

  • Core Concepts
  • Top-Rated Programs
  • Select Program Profiles
  • Jobs With a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

1. To get a job. While a doctoral degree is required for clinical work, there are many jobs that require a baccalaureate degree in psychology. Jobs in the psychology field that may require a bachelor’s-level education include community service managers, management analysts, social and human service assistants, and mental health specialists.

2. To explore the field of psychology. A four-year degree in psychology provides students with a foundation in psychological principles and concepts. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree is a good way to learn more about the field before committing to the time commitment and cost of a graduate degree.

3. To prepare for a higher degree in the field. A bachelor’s in psychology can also be a gateway into pursuing a higher degree, such as a master’s degree in psychology . Individuals who want to practice clinical psychology must complete a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) . Graduate students who enter these programs with an undergraduate degree in psychology may be able to secure “advanced standing” status at some schools and skip some foundational coursework.

Bachelor’s in Psychology Program Options

Bachelor’s degrees in psychology can be either Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees. They are offered as traditional on-campus programs or as online or hybrid programs to accommodate those who need more flexibility in their schedules. Since licensure in psychology requires a doctoral degree, the American Psychology Association (APA) does not accredit programs at the undergraduate level. You can read more about how to become a psychologist on our licensure page .

Online Degree Formats

Some bachelor’s degrees in psychology are offered fully or partially online. Online programs can be helpful for self-motivated students who require more flexibility in their coursework and assignments. If you opt to get your bachelor’s in psychology degree online, you should make sure the coursework and faculty are comparable to the on-campus program and that online students have the same support and services as on-campus students. For more information about getting your psychology degree online, check out our Guide to Earning an Online Psychology Degree .

Admission requirements for a bachelor’s program in psychology include a high school diploma or GED equivalent, an average GPA of 3.0 (varies by school), official transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, and a statement of purpose. Most schools do not require you to declare a major until your sophomore or junior year, but it’s best if you have an idea of your major before that so that you can begin the required coursework earlier.

Core Concepts and Coursework

A bachelor of psychology program gives students a broad overview of the field, an introduction to scientific methodology and core concepts, and specialization areas. Graduates can pursue graduate studies in psychology or work at the undergraduate level in support or non-clinical roles. The APA lays out five distinct fundamental learning goals for the undergraduate in psychology major. These are:

  • Knowledge Base in Psychology – Baccalaureate students should understand and be able to describe key components of psychology, its applications, and its principles.
  • Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking – Students should be able to engage in scientific reasoning to solve problems and interpret behavior.
  • Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World – Bachelor’s students should have a sense of ethical and social responsibility and be able to apply it to science and relationships.
  • Communication – Students should be able to write, present information, and communicate with others effectively.
  • Professional Development – Baccalaureate students should be able to define their career goals and view their newly-developed skills in relation to their own career paths in order to succeed.

Coursework for bachelor’s degrees in psychology may include:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
  • Introduction to Drugs and Behavior
  • Introduction to General Psychology
  • Introduction to Statistics
  • Perspectives on Psychological Issues
  • Psychological Statistics
  • Psychology of Aging
  • Psychology of Education
  • Sex, Evolution, & Human Behavior
  • Social Psychology

Top-Rated Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs

Niche’s best colleges for psychology in america 2023.

  • Stanford University (#1)
  • Yale University (#2)
  • Harvard University (#3)
  • Varderbilt University (#4)
  • Rice University (#5)
  • Northwestern University (#6)
  • Duke University (#7)
  • Washington University in St. Louis (#8)
  • Dartmouth College (#9)
  • Princeton University (#10) 2

Select Bachelor’s in Psychology Programs

Traditional programs.

Duke University logo

Duke University

Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences offers two undergraduate degrees in psychology: a Bachelor of Arts (AB) and a Bachelor of Science (BS), along with interdepartmental and minor degrees. Duke’s psychology program provides students with an in-depth study of the field, an understanding of human behavior, and the ability to research and understand data. The undergraduate degree in psychology examines the field from a scientific and a societal view, giving students a well-rounded foundation. The AB degree requires students to complete 11 psychology courses and courses are laid out by “depth area.” Depth areas of coursework include General, Abnormal/Heath, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social. One upper-level seminar course is required to graduate as well as one course in methods and statistics. The BS degree requires completion of all AB degree requirements as well as a course in quantitative studies and five electives. The psychology minor comprises five courses in psychology.

Rice University logo

Rice University

Rice University in Houston offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology that prepares graduates for graduate, medical, or law school, or for other bachelor’s-level occupations. Rice’s program requires a total of 120 hours to graduate. Students must complete 47 credit hours in Psychological Sciences, including 17 core courses and 30 substance courses, and 27 credit hours must consist of upper-level courses (300 level and above). Over half of the upper-level course requirement (24 hours) must be completed at Rice and a GPA of 2.0 must be maintained in all psychology courses. Courses include Introduction to Social Psychology; Psychology of Language; Abnormal Behavior; Research Methods – Psychology; Psychology of Emotion and Motivation; Election Systems; Organizational Psychology; Medical Human Factors; Stereotyping and Prejudice; and Decision Making/Problem Solving.

University of Pennsylvania logo

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania’s (Penn or UPenn) School of Arts and Sciences offers a bachelor’s degree in psychology that provides a scientific overview of the field’s principal areas, focusing on the study of “how organisms perceive, learn, think, and interact with one another, how they develop, how they are motivated, and how, as individuals and as members of species, they may be compared with one another.” Graduates are prepared to enter graduate school or enter the field of psychology or a related field at the baccalaureate level. The coursework at Penn is divided into three parts: Biological Science, covering courses like Psychology of Motivated Behavior and Drugs, Brain, & Mind; Cognitive Science, covering courses such as Language and Thought and Evolutionary Psychology; and Social Science, including courses like Social Psychology, Positive Psychology, and Social-Emotional Development. To graduate, students must complete one semester of empirical research through a 4000-level mentored research or research experience course, take a semester of Statistics, and maintain a GPA of 2.0 in the psychology classes.

Hybrid and Online Programs

Utah State University logo

Utah State University

Utah State University (USU) Online offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology that can be completed entirely online. The program at USU is known for its cutting-edge research, high-caliber instructors, and excellent scholarship programs. The psychology program at Utah State focuses on adequately preparing students to enter graduate school and research. The BS is granted to students who complete all required courses in the major and the BA degree is granted to students who, in addition to completing all required courses, can prove proficiency in a foreign language. Courses in the bachelor’s program at Utah State include Lifespan Development; Health Psychology; Research Methods in Psychology; and Depth Life and Physical Sciences (DSC).

Arizona State University logo

Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s (ASU) Online school offers two undergraduate options in psychology: a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology. The BS in Psychology is part of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and explores the relationships between psychology and other sciences, like social science and behavioral science. A total of 39 courses, or 120 credit hours, are required to complete the BS degree, and courses include Personality Theory and Research and Developmental Psychology. The online BA degree requires 40 classes and is “fast track eligible,” meaning eligible students may be able to complete the degree faster than normal. The BA degree includes courses like Memory & Cognition; Learning and Motivation; and Sensation and Perception. Faculty for both programs include successful psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, and political scientists.

Jobs with a Bachelor’s in Psychology

A bachelor’s degree in psychology qualifies graduates for a broad range of jobs. People with a bachelor’s in psychology may hold job titles including, but not limited to:

  • Career Advisor
  • Clinical Data Manager
  • Health Educator
  • Human Resources Generalist
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Mental Health Worker
  • Outpatient Assessment Counselor
  • Psychiatric Technician
  • Research Specialist
  • Sales Representative
  • User Experience Specialist

Can I be a psychologist with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?

No. To be licensed at the clinical level, a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or PhD in Psychology is typically required. At the baccalaureate level, you do not qualify for licensure. For more information about becoming licensed in psychology, read our How to Become a Psychologist page.

What are some bachelor’s in psychology jobs?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology provides a solid foundation for a variety of jobs including career advisors, health educators, or psychiatric technicians. Many BA or BS in psychology grads work in fields other than psychology. You can read more about psychology jobs that require a bachelor’s degree on our careers page .

How do I choose a bachelor’s in psychology degree?

There are many considerations for choosing a psychology degree at the bachelor’s level. Generally, you should look for a school that fits your overall needs, a program with a learning style that suits you, and degree emphases or concentrations in your areas of interest. If cost is a consideration for you, check out our list of Best Value Psychology Schools offering traditional programs.

What can I do with a psychology degree?

Psychology degrees are useful in a wide range of fields including criminal justice, human resources, counseling, research, information technology, and law enforcement. Many bachelor’s grads go on to pursue a graduate degree, not only in psychology but in a wide range of other subjects–even law or medical school. Others may choose to work in support roles in the field or in other fields where psychology degrees are relevant.

How much does a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2022, substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earn an average of $56,230 per year, social and community service managers earn an average salary of $79,310, management analysts earn an average of $104,660 per year, and social and human service assistants earn an average salary of $41,600. 3-6

Should I get my bachelor’s in psychology degree online?

Many psychology programs, especially at the bachelor’s level, are offered fully or partially online. Consider an online psychology bachelor’s degree if you require flexible scheduling and are self-motivated and do not rely on traditional face-to-face teaching methods. If you decide to pursue your bachelor’s degree online, you should ensure that the program is reputable and offers the same faculty, resources, and support to both on-campus and online students.

References: 1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ 2. Niche’s 2023 Best Colleges: 2023 Best Colleges for Psychology in America: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-psychology/ 3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022 Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211018.htm 4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022 Social and Community Service Managers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes119151.htm 5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022 Management Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131111.htm 6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2022 Social and Human Service Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211093.htm

relevant coursework for psychology

Core Courses.  The Psychology Department has only four department-wide core courses:

1) Psych 205, Data Analysis .  See Statistics and Methodology, below

2) Psych 292, Introduction to the Profession of Psychology, which gives an overview of ethical issues and a series of faculty speakers, introducing students to faculty research programs and the history of the field (fall semester, first year);

3) Psych 293,Second-Year Seminar on Professional Development, a seminar on various issues in professional development (spring semester, second or third year);

4) Psych 375, Teaching Psychology, which is required prior to or concurrent with the first semester of teaching as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) (offered only in the fall semester and is usually taken by students in their first year).

Statistics and Methodology. The Department requires each student to take two semesters of graduate level statistics. The psychology department offers a broad course in multivariate statistics (currently Psych 205). Statistics and Data Analysis classes are also offered in many departments across campus. Students might find that some of these classes are better at satisfying their specialized needs and second semester requirement.  In addition, the campus offers short courses both in programming and in statistical analyses (e.g. dlab.berkeley.edu).   Most students are thus encouraged to take 205 in the department during their first year and in consultation with their advisor to choose a second statistics course that best fits their need. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the workshops such as those offered by D-Lab and to take a self-pace programming course. 

All students should discuss their plans with their faculty advisor when considering substitution course to satisfy a specific requirement.  We maintain a list of pre-approved course substitutions for the Statistics requirement here . If you choose to take a class from this list to satisfy a requirement,  you must notify the Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) at the time of course completion. If the GSAO is not notified, the course cannot be updated in the system to reflect counting towards the degree requirement.  If you and your advisor would like to substitute a course that is NOT on this list, please submit the department’s Department & Area Requirement Exception Request Form to the Graduate Student Services Advisor for consideration.  

The form is in bCourses > Psychology Graduate Students > Files > Enrollment & Registration

Research and Directed Study.  Each area requires continu­ous involvement in research through the time in residence. Formal credit is obtained through enrollment in Psychology 299, Research. Also available is Psychology 298, Directed Study. These courses are taken normally as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U), but may be taken for letter grades when there is mutual consent between the student and mentor. The number of units will vary from semester to semester, but when combined with the units from other courses, a full course load should total 12 or more units per semester.  A unique Course Number (CN) for each research lab is required for correct Psychology 299 registration.  CNs are posted each semester in Psychology Graduate Student Resources/Registration & Enrollment.

Colloquia. Each area has a colloquium series in which researchers lead discussions on selected topics in the area of specialization. Each student is required to register for and attend the colloquia in the student’s area each semester in residence. The colloquia course numbers are:

  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience (BSN): (See Note)
  • Cognition (Cog): Psych 229A
  • Cognitive Neuroscience (CN): Psych 229B
  • Clinical Science (CS): Psych 239
  • Developmental (Dev): Psych 249
  • Social-Personality (S/P ) : Psych 259 and 269

Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience students may fulfill their requirement by attending colloquia in Cog, Cognitive Neuroscience, or Developmental Areas. See the Graduate Student Services Advisor for instructions.

Proseminars.  Proseminars are offered either yearly or every other year. They include broad coverage in the specialty area and provide the core content necessary for a student to become an effective scholar and researcher in that area of specialization. Each area has different requirements for the number of proseminars that students are expected to complete; see Summary of Area Requirements below. 

Topical Courses and Seminars.  Each student with appropriate training is expected to enroll in relevant advanced courses and seminars (e.g., 290B, 290H, 290I, 290J, etc...) in the area of specialization.

Summary of Department and Area Requirements. Below are the departmental requirements followed by each area’s additional requirements for the doctoral program. The bolded entries are requirements for the optional M.A. degree. Clinical Science students should also refer to their area-specific documentation.  

All students should discuss their plans with their advisor when considering a course not listed as a specific seminar or proseminar requirement.  We maintain a list of pre-approved seminar and proseminar substitutions here . If you choose to take a class from this list to satisfy a requirement,  you must notify the Graduate Student Affairs Officer (GSAO) at the time of course completion. If the GSAO is not notified, the course cannot be updated in the system to reflect counting towards the degree requirement.  If you and your advisor would like to substitute a course that is NOT on this list, please submit the department’s Department & Area Requirement Exception Request Form to the Graduate Student Services Advisor for consideration. 

Exceptions to Department and Area Requirements. On occasion exceptions are made to the above course or project requirements. We maintain two lists of approved substitutions; one for the statistics requirements and one for seminar and proseminar requirements.  These are linked in the relevant sections above.  In seeking exceptions outside these previously considered and approved, a student and their faculty advisor may make requests for exceptions to department and area-specific requirements to the Head Graduate Advisor. To request an exception to a department or area requirement, complete the Department and Area Exception Request Form and submit it to the Graduate Student Services Advisor.

The Department and Area Exception Request Form is in bCourses > Psychology Graduate Students > Files > Enrollment & Registration

Attending Talks Outside Area of Specialization.  Although each area program is designed to train students in a particular area of specialization, it is expected that students will also become familiar with work in other areas of psychology (as well as areas outside of psychology, as needed). Each student is encouraged to enroll in proseminars, courses, colloquia, and seminars offered by other area programs and by other departments. This exposure not only broadens a student’s scope of training but also assists the student in selecting outside faculty members for the Qualifying Examination and dissertation committees. Moreover, the acquisition of additional secondary research emphases greatly increases the student’s chances of finding a rewarding and challenging position at the end of the graduate training.

Additional Area Requirements.  Areas may have other requirements such as an oral presentation at a department or inter-campus event.

Academic Progress Report. Students are advised to periodically verify their completed courses and which requirements remain unfulfilled (degree audit) using CalCentral’s > Advising Resources > Academic Progress Report tool. 

Graduate Student Services

Office hours.

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Psychology Resume: Skills, Summary & Objective Examples

relevant coursework for psychology

As a psychology professional, having a well-crafted resume is essential to showcasing your skills, qualifications, and experience. In this article, we will explore how to create an effective psychology resume, including tips for crafting a standout document that highlights your expertise.

A psychology resume is a professional document that highlights your education, work experience, and other relevant qualifications specific to the field of psychology. It is a key tool for job seekers looking to secure positions in various psychology-related fields, such as counseling, therapy, research, and academia.

Importance of a Psychology Resume

Your psychology resume is often the first impression you make on potential employers or graduate school admissions committees. It is therefore crucial to make it effective, well-structured, and tailored to the specific position or program you are applying for. A strong psychology resume can help you stand out from other applicants and increase your chances of securing an interview or acceptance letter.

How to create an effective Psychology Resume

To create an effective psychology resume, you should begin by researching the specific job or program requirements and tailoring your document to meet those needs. This includes highlighting relevant skills and experiences, using clear and concise language, and structuring your document in a way that is easy to read and understand.

Tips for crafting a stellar Psychology Resume

There are several key tips to keep in mind when crafting a psychology resume, such as using a clear and professional font, including relevant keywords, quantifying your accomplishments, and showcasing your specific skills and experiences. We will delve into these tips and more throughout the rest of the article to help you create a standout psychology resume.

Skills Section

A. Importance of the Skills section in a Psychology Resume

The Skills section in a Psychology Resume is crucial because it highlights the candidate’s abilities that make them stand out from other applicants. It is a section where you can showcase your knowledge, talents, and expertise that are relevant to the field of psychology. It also provides a quick snapshot of your qualifications for hiring managers to review quickly.

B. Top skills to include in a Psychology Resume

When crafting your Psychology Resume, it is essential to include some key skills that are highly sought-after in the industry. These top skills may include:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Empathy and active listening
  • Ability to work with diverse groups of people and backgrounds
  • Experience administering assessments and evaluations
  • Knowledge of research methods and statistics
  • Effective time management and organizational skills
  • Familiarity with relevant software and technology
  • Commitment to ethical principles and practices

C. How to showcase your skills effectively in a Psychology Resume

To showcase your skills effectively, you must emphasize your most relevant skills and experiences. Your Skills section should be concise and relevant to the job posting. Only include skills that align with the employer’s requirements, and highlight the ones that set you apart from others.

When describing your skills, use strong action verbs and specific examples to illustrate your capabilities. For example, instead of stating that you have “excellent communication skills,” mention that you “collaborated with a team of five to create a successful program that increased client satisfaction by 20%.”

Lastly, consider including your experience working with specific populations or groups, as well as any specialized training or certifications you have received. This added information will help employers gain a better understanding of how your skills can be applied to their specific needs.

Your Skills section is an opportunity to demonstrate your value and stand out in a competitive job market. By showcasing your relevant skills and experience, you can increase your chances of getting hired in the field of psychology.

Summary Section

The Summary section in a psychology resume is a concise and impactful paragraph that summarizes your experience, qualifications, and traits as a professional psychologist. Its purpose is to quickly grab the employer’s attention and showcase your ability to meet the needs of the position in a unique way.

A. Purpose of a Summary section in a Psychology Resume

The Summary section is strategically placed at the top of the psychology resume, right after the contact information. It gives the hiring manager a quick preview of your suitability for the role and encourages them to read the rest of your application. A well-crafted Summary section can differentiate you from other applicants and increase the likelihood of getting an interview.

B. Examples of effective Summary sections in Psychology Resumes

Examples of good Summary sections include:

“Dedicated and compassionate psychologist with more than five years of experience providing individual and group therapy to children and adults. Skilled in using cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques to address emotional and behavioral issues.”

“Goal-driven and empathic psychologist with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and expertise in treating patients with depression, anxiety, and trauma-related disorders. Experience working in private practice, community health centers, and hospital settings.”

“Innovative and collaborative psychologist with a strong research background in social psychology and mental health. Skilled in designing and implementing research projects, measuring outcomes, and presenting findings at national conferences.”

C. Tips for crafting a powerful and attention-grabbing Summary section

To create a compelling Summary section, consider these tips:

Keep it concise: Aim to write a Summary section that is no longer than five sentences.

Highlight your unique selling proposition: Use engaging language to communicate your strengths, accomplishments, and value as a psychologist.

Avoid cliches: Don’t use overused phrases like “hard-working,” “team player,” or “results-driven.” Instead, use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and experiences.

Tailor it to the job description: Customize your Summary section to align with the role’s requirements and responsibilities.

By following these tips, you can impress potential employers with a powerful and attention-grabbing Summary section that highlights your expertise as a psychologist.

Objective section

The Objective section is an essential part of a Psychology Resume as it sets the tone for your candidacy. This part of the resume should highlight your career goals and what you can bring to the table as a professional in the psychology field.

A. Purpose of an Objective section in a Psychology Resume

The Objective section serves as a brief summary of your career aspirations and how you plan to achieve them. This section also allows you to highlight the skills and experience you bring to the position. Hiring managers and recruiters often use this section to quickly determine whether or not you are a good fit for the role they are hiring for.

B. Examples of effective Objective sections in Psychology Resumes

An effective Objective section in a Psychology Resume is concise, targeted, and customized to the position you are applying for. Here are a few examples:

Seeking an entry-level position in a clinical psychology setting that will allow me to apply my education and experience to help patients achieve their mental health goals.

To obtain a position in a research-focused organization that will leverage my strong analytical and statistical skills to contribute to groundbreaking intellectual pursuits in the psychology field.

Looking for a challenging role in a community mental health setting where I can utilize my counseling and communication skills to positively impact the lives of individuals and families.

C. Tips for crafting a focused and compelling Objective section

Crafting a compelling Objective section requires a bit of finesse. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Customize the language and focus of your Objective section to the position you are applying for. Avoid generic statements that could apply to any job.

Highlight your unique skills and experience in the psychology field that set you apart from other candidates.

Be concise and clear. The Objective section should be no more than a few sentences, so focus on the most important information about your career goals and skills.

Avoid cliches and buzzwords. Instead, focus on specific skills and experience that you bring to the position.

By following these tips, you can craft a focused and compelling Objective section that sets you apart from other candidates and grabs the attention of hiring managers in the psychology field.

Work Experience Section

The work experience section is one of the most crucial parts of a psychology resume. This section not only provides a detailed timeline of your professional journey but also demonstrates your practical skills and achievements. The work experience section highlights your relevant experience and showcases your ability to solve problems, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively.

A. Importance of the Work Experience Section in a Psychology Resume

Recruiters and hiring managers who review psychology resumes typically prioritize the work experience section. This section allows them to assess a candidate’s level of experience, evaluate their ability to work well in a team, and understand their specific contributions to their previous workplaces. Therefore, having a well-written work experience section is imperative if you want to stand out in a competitive job market.

B. How to Write about Your Work Experience in a Psychology Resume

When writing your work experience section, it’s crucial to focus on the skills and experiences that align with the job you’re applying for. Start with your most recent work experience and work backward to your earlier career experiences. Make sure you include the company name, job title, employment dates, and a brief description of the position’s responsibilities. List any relevant coursework, supervised experiences, and clinical experiences in separate sections.

Use bullet points to highlight specific achievements and accomplishments while describing each role you held. Consider including the clinical populations or specialties you worked with, your therapeutic approach, and any modalities used (e.g., CBT, DBT, etc.). To showcase your leadership skills, describe any team management or training, supervisory experience, or program development or management experience.

C. Examples of Effective Work Experience Sections in Psychology Resumes

Below are some examples of effective work experience sections from psychology resumes:

Clinical Psychologist (2018-Present)

ABC Healthcare Organization

  • Conducted clinical assessments and provided evidence-based treatments for children and families with a range of mental health disorders
  • Developed and implemented treatment plans, including psychotherapy, parent training, and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Facilitated group therapy sessions and provided individual consultation for clinical staff on complex cases
  • Supervised pre-doctoral interns and postdoctoral fellows, overseeing their caseloads and providing feedback on clinical progress

Behavioral Analyst (2016-2020)

XYZ School District

  • Developed and implemented behavior intervention plans for students with emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Conducted functional behavioral assessments to identify the root causes of challenging behavior
  • Co-facilitated social skills groups and provided classroom-based behavioral support for students
  • Collaborated with school staff, parents, and community providers to coordinate services and ensure continuity of care.

D. Tips for Showcasing Your Achievements and Impact in a Work Experience Section

When describing your accomplishments, focus on outcomes that demonstrate your value to the organization.

Education section

The Education section is an essential part of your psychology resume because it showcases your academic qualifications and relevant coursework. Your educational background provides potential employers with valuable insights into your knowledge and expertise in psychology.

A. Importance of the Education section in a Psychology Resume

The Education section in your psychology resume should present your academic achievements and demonstrated ability in your field of study. It emphasizes your willingness to learn and develop your skills, which is highly valued in the psychology industry. Hiring managers will look for this section in a candidate’s psychology resume to evaluate if their education matches the requirements of the job.

B. How to display your education credentials in a Psychology Resume

You can display your education credentials clearly on your psychology resume by listing your degree, institution, major, and graduation date. Start with your most recent degree and work your way backward, including any relevant coursework and research work. You can also include any academic honors, scholarships, or awards that you received.

C. Examples of effective Education sections in Psychology Resumes

Take a look at these examples of effective Education sections in Psychology Resumes:

Master of Science in Psychology – University of California, Los Angeles | Graduated 2021

-Relevant Coursework: Statistics for Psychologists, Research Methods in Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Neuroscience.

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – University of Michigan | Graduated 2018

-Honors: Dean’s List, Cum Laude

D. Tips for highlighting your academic achievements and relevant coursework

To showcase your academic achievements and relevant coursework, you can add a coursework section. This section should highlight the most relevant courses and research work you completed. You can also incorporate your research work into your psychology resume in the experience or skills section. Additionally, emphasizing academic honors, conferences, or any additional academic activities shows your dedication to your field.

Your Education section in your psychology resume should highlight your academic qualifications, relevant coursework, and any academic honors to show the hiring manager that you have the required expertise to carry out the job’s duties.

Certifications and Licenses section

As a psychology professional, including a Certifications and Licenses section in your resume is crucial. This section provides the hiring manager with evidence of your qualifications and expertise, and offers a quick and easy way to distinguish yourself from other applicants.

A. Purpose of the Certifications and Licenses section in a Psychology Resume

The primary purpose of the Certifications and Licenses section is to highlight your professional credentials that are relevant to the psychology industry. This section emphasizes your commitment to your field and your level of knowledge and expertise. Additionally, employers may require certain certifications or licenses for certain roles, so including these in your resume allows them to quickly determine if you meet those requirements.

B. Which certifications and licenses should you include in your Psychology Resume

When selecting what certifications and licenses to include in your psychology resume, you should consider those that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a position as a School Psychologist, then including your National School Psychology Certification would be vital.

Here are some common examples of certifications and licenses that you might include in your psychology resume:

  • American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)
  • National School Psychology Certification (NSPC)
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist (LCP)
  • Certified Mental Health Counselor (CMHC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Certified School Psychologist (CSP)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

C. Examples of effective Certifications and Licenses sections in Psychology Resumes

Certifications and Licenses:

  • American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in Clinical Psychology

This psychology resume showcases the candidate’s highest level of certification and licensure in their field, which is the ABPP in Clinical Psychology. Additionally, they include their LCP and CMHC licenses, highlighting their broad range of mental health expertise.

This psychology resume is tailored towards school psychology positions. Including the NSPC and CSP demonstrates their expertise in the field and their commitment to meeting the rigorous certification standards required for school psychology professionals.

  • American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in Counseling Psychology

This psychology resume emphasizes the candidate’s multiple areas of expertise, including counseling psychology and behavior analysis. Including their ABPP in Counseling Psychology and LPC license highlights their counseling skills, while their BCBA certification emphasizes their ability to work with individuals exhibiting complex behaviors.

Training and Professional Development section

In a competitive job market, showcasing your training and professional development can make all the difference in your psychology resume.

A. Importance of the Training and Professional Development section in a Psychology Resume

Hiring managers want to know that you are serious about your career in psychology and that you are dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest research, techniques, and best practices. Inclusion of a comprehensive Training and Professional Development section in your psychology resume can demonstrate your commitment to ongoing learning and growth.

B. How to showcase your training and continuing education in a Psychology Resume

When creating your Training and Professional Development section, prioritize relevant information such as your degree, certification, or licensing information. Mentioning any relevant continuing education courses or workshops can also help set you apart from other applicants. Be sure to only include information that is relevant to your psychology career goals.

C. Examples of effective Training and Professional Development sections in Psychology Resumes

  • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, XYZ University
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology, ABC University
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the State of California
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D)
  • Certified Autism Specialist (CAS)
  • Completed 40-hour RBT training course

D. Tips for highlighting your commitment to professional growth and development

  • List out all relevant education and training experiences in reverse chronological order
  • Include any relevant professional association memberships
  • Mention any volunteer or community service work that relates to your psychology career goals
  • Emphasize your passion for learning and growing as a professional in the psychology field
  • Customize your Training and Professional Development section for each job application to highlight the most relevant information for that particular role.

By following these tips and including a comprehensive Training and Professional Development section in your psychology resume, you can demonstrate your commitment to professional growth and development to potential employers.

Awards and Honors Section

As a psychology professional, it’s essential to highlight not only your educational background and experience but also any recognition you’ve received throughout your career. The awards and honors section in your psychology resume is an excellent opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and distinguish yourself from other candidates.

A. Purpose of the Awards and Honors section in a Psychology Resume

The purpose of including an awards and honors section in your psychology resume is to demonstrate your level of professional achievement and recognize your expertise in the field. This section also shows that you have a track record of success, which can catch the attention of hiring managers and potentially increase your chances of landing a job.

B. What Awards and Honors Should You Include in Your Psychology Resume

The awards and honors you should include in your psychology resume should directly relate to the field and emphasize your expertise. Some examples could include academic honors, research awards, publications, grants, scholarships, and professional affiliations. It’s best to select the most noteworthy and relevant accomplishments that showcase your abilities and stand out to potential employers.

C. Examples of Effective Awards and Honors Sections in Psychology Resumes

  • Academic Honors: Summa Cum Laude, Dean’s List, Honor Society
  • Research Awards: Best Presentation Award, Outstanding Abstract Award, Research Grant Award
  • Publications: Published in APA Journal, Co-Author on Book Chapter, Featured in Popular Psychology Magazine
  • Grants and Scholarships: Funded by NIH Grant, Recipient of Graduate Fellowship, Awarded Psi Chi Scholarship
  • Professional Affiliations: Active Member of APA, Chair of State Psychology Association, Invited Speaker at Regional Conference

D. Tips for showcasing your accomplishments and recognition in an Awards

To effectively showcase your achievements and recognition in the awards and honors section of your psychology resume, consider the following tips:

  • Keep it brief: Only include the most significant awards and honors that relate to your field.
  • Be specific: Include any relevant details such as the award name, date, and the reason for receiving it.
  • Use action verbs: Describe your accomplishments in a concise and engaging manner by utilizing action verbs such as “awarded,” “recognized,” and “selected.”
  • Prioritize: Organize the awards and honors section in order of relevance and importance to the position you are applying for.
  • Quantify: Whenever possible, include specific numbers or percentages to demonstrate the impact of your accomplishments.

Including an awards and honors section in your psychology resume can significantly enhance your chances of standing out to hiring managers. By selecting the most relevant and impressive achievements, you can highlight your expertise and demonstrate your commitment to the field of psychology.

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How to Include Relevant Coursework on a Resume

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Should you include relevant coursework on your resume?

How to include relevant coursework on your resume, tips for mentioning relevant coursework on a resume, relevant coursework on a resume template, example of relevant coursework on a resume.

Highlighting relevant coursework on your resume as a student or recent graduate can offer some advantages. Students must often have to take a different approach when they don’t have much work experience to put on their resume. This article explains how to include relevant coursework on your resume so you can enhance your image when applying for a job.

Here are some situations in which it’s appropriate to include relevant coursework on your resume:

You don’t yet have much work experience

Work experience is a necessity for a resume. However, if you are inexperienced, submitting a resume with relevant coursework details can improve your chances of recruitment.

Coursework is relevant to the position

You should consider the type of job you are applying for before including any coursework. Different jobs have varying levels of educational requirements. Usually, relevant coursework details are important to add to a resume for an entry-level position that’s relevant to your desired career.

The coursework would benefit you in the position

Make sure that any coursework you add shows the employer your qualifications for the position. For example, if you are applying to be a professor or a researcher at an academic organization, it’s a good idea to add coursework that highlights your academic achievements.

The coursework positioning improves the look and style of your resume

Your coursework details should improve the appearance and content of your resume. In addition, make sure your coursework details only add as much to your resume as is necessary. You can add the most relevant classes to help save room and keep.

Consider the following steps while including relevant coursework on your resume:

1. Firstly, make sure your placement is accurate

The placement of your coursework information can create a big difference in the effectiveness of your resume. If your resume is meant to highlight your educational achievements, you may place it near the top of your document. However, coursework showing your experience or skills could be placed in the skills section. If your coursework is related to a specific type of job, you may include it in the education section.

2. Secondly, include only the most relevant details

You may mention the relevant coursework alone instead of adding other classes to your resume. This is also a good place to highlight any volunteer opportunities you’ve undertaken if you don’t have any prior work experience.

3. Thirdly, highlight the coursework with academic achievements

You can make your coursework more credible to the recruiter if it is supported by high grades that you have achieved in your classes. You may also add related educational awards to help create a positive impression on your potential employer. You can mention your academic honors, awards and other test scores that are relevant to your resume’s purpose.

4. Next, mention relevant personality factors or experience

If you have a skill that complements your coursework, you may include it on your resume. For example, if you are applying for a position as a content writer and mention coursework in which you were required to create an online magazine, you could discuss your ability to create search engine optimized content. Another method is to add relevant projects that you’ve completed. For example, you may mention any research papers you wrote that are pertinent to the job.

5. Fifthly, include online courses

Many people take online courses in their free time to enhance their professional skills. You can add these courses to your resume if they are relevant to your job application. If you have taken an optional course designed to improve your performance at work, include any relevant experience you gained from it.

6.  Next, make sure to include the job post’s keywords

You may include keywords from the job post when discussing your coursework. The employer may find it relevant and thoughtful, and it can also help your resume make it through any applicant tracking systems the employer may be using. For example, if the employer talks about the importance of programming skills in their job posting, you can discuss a project in which you used JavaScript to help create a website. 

7. After that, create an additional section if needed

You may create a subsection in the education section of your resume to make your coursework look more relevant to the job. You may use detailed bullet points mentioning crucial information about the coursework. 

For example, if you include writing coursework, you may mention any specific writing formats or referencing styles you learned. You may create another section if you are creating an online resume that anyone can access. In some cases, it may be better to list your coursework details on a subsection on your webpage dedicated to your educational achievements.

8. Finally, always stay relevant

Any coursework you put on your resume must always be related to the job. It should be direct enough to convince the employer that you have the required skill set for the position. You may also include your most recent coursework if it applies to the position you’re seeking. 

Below are some additional tips that can help you effectively add relevant coursework to your resume:

  • Proofread and edit. Make sure to thoroughly edit your resume to remove out any redundancies from the coursework section. 
  • Consider the employer’s perspective. Ask yourself how your potential employer would view the courses and projects you’ve mentioned in your resume. Include them only if you believe it would impress the hiring manager.
  • Use consistent formatting. Follow the same format when referring to all coursework material to create a more formal and professional look to your resume.
  • Include the necessary details. Add details about the coursework you mention, such as the projects you completed or the professional skills you learned.

It’s a good idea to prioritize your most relevant courses and projects when adding these details to your resume as a student or recent graduate.

Here’s a template you can use if you’re considering adding coursework to your resume:

[Name and location of school]

[Years attended]

[Details about the coursework that explain the professional skills you gained from it] 

Below is an example of relevant coursework that has been added to a resume:

Resume example for a market research analyst position

Paramount University, Providence, RI

2014 to 2018

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with courses related to institutional and educational sociology, psychology and sociological culture.

Relevant coursework

  • Institutional sociology: Explored the influence of various social institutions on the process of socialization.
  • Educational sociology: Learned how education plays a crucial role in defining the social structure of society, which can guide the direction of a marketing campaign
  • Psychology and sociology:  Gained a thorough understanding of the link between sociology and psychology as social sciences that interact in the real world.
  • Sociological culture:  Explored the various ways in which culture is defined by sociology, which could influence different markets and their preferences

Resume example for an HR position

Inston  College, Nashville, TN 2015 to 2019 Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management, with courses focusing on project management, leadership, recruitment and staffing

  • Motivation theories: Learned different practices for improving employee morale, studying real-life examples as guides
  • Recruitment processing: Practiced creating recruitment forms and job descriptions. Studied the process involved in interviewing applicants and choosing the correct candidate for the job.

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Clinical Coursework

Psychopathology proseminar (psyc 6000).

This course covers fundamental topics in psychopathology, with an emphasis on presenting features and etiological factors, and with attention to strengths and limitations of the current nosological system (the DSM ). Theoretical models of psychopathological phenomena and major syndromes (e.g., emotional disorders, psychotic disorders, personality disorders) are discussed, with reference to relevant empirical findings. Implications for treatment are also considered.

Clinical Seminars (PSYC 7090)

These courses cover a wide array of specialized topics in the area of clinical psychology. Courses in other departments with highly relevant content, a rigorous syllabus, and a clear evaluation component can often be counted toward this requirement. Some recent courses include:

  • Developmental Psychopathology
  • Transdiagnostic Processes in Psychpathology
  • Treatment of Anxiety and Depression
  • Violence: Clinical Neuroscience Approaches
  • Approaches to Psychotherapy
  • Positive Psychology

Psychological Assessment (PSYC 8100)

This course provides a basic introduction to the theories and tools of psychological assessment. Students learn how to administer and interpret a number of cognitive, learning, neuropsychological, and personality tests including the WAIS, WMS, WIAT, MMPI-3, Delis-Kaplan Executive Function Tests, and so on. Attention is given to serving as a consultant, differential diagnosis, case conceptualization, and integrating test results into formal but accessible reports.

Psychodiagnostic Interviewing (PSYC 8110)

This course, usually taken simultaneously with PSYC 8100, provides a basic introduction to psychodiagnostic interviewing and differential diagnosis. Students learn to take clinical histories and to administer a number of standardized diagnostic interviews, including the mental status exam, DIAMOND, SCID II, ADIS, and various clinician rating scales such as the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. Attention is also given to self-report symptom inventories such as the Beck Depression Inventory and the Autism Questionnaire, as well as to computerized diagnostic tools.

Empirically Supported Treatments (PSYC 7090)

This course, which is required for all clinical students, covers a wide range of approaches to the treatment of psychopathology that have a strong evidence base supporting their efficacy. Students will learn the criteria that must be applied to determine whether a treatment can be considered an EST, and will review various research methods and approaches that can be applied to that end.

Ethics and Professional Standards (PSYC 7090)

This course covers issues in professional ethics and the laws governing the practice of clinical psychology. Students learn to understand and apply the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, as well as the Pennsylvania Ethics Code for Psychologists. The course also covers relevant statutes, case law, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the state and federal level. Woven into the course at every level is competent clinicial practice, especially multicultural competence and humility.  

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Major Branches of Psychology

18 Psychological Areas You Can Study

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

relevant coursework for psychology

Verywell / Ran Zheng

Abnormal Psychology

Behavioral psychology, biopsychology, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, comparative psychology, counseling psychology, cross-cultural psychology, developmental psychology, educational psychology, experimental psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, personality psychology, school psychology, social psychology, sports psychology.

Psychology is such a broad field that conveying its depth and breadth can be difficult. As a result, a number of unique and distinctive branches of psychology have emerged, each one dealing with specific psychological areas within the study of the mind, brain, and behavior.

The major areas of psychology include:

  • Abnormal psychology
  • Behavioral psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Comparative psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Cross-cultural psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Industrial-organizational psychology
  • Personality psychology
  • School psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Sports psychology

Understanding what these subtopics represent can help you decide where your interests may lie. Here is more information about these 18 major types of psychology if you are interested in studying, earning your degree, or creating a career in this expansive field.

Overview of the Branches of Psychology

Each of these psychological areas looks at questions and problems from a different  perspective . While they all have their own focus, they still share a common goal of studying and explaining human thought and behavior.

Because human behavior is so varied, the number of subfields in psychology is constantly growing and evolving. Some of these subfields have been firmly established as areas of interest, and many colleges and universities offer courses and degree programs in these topics. 

Each type of psychology represents a specific area of study focused on a particular topic. Oftentimes, psychologists specialize in one of these as a career. The following are just some of the major branches of psychology. For many of these, working in that specific area requires graduate study in that particular field.

2 Main Areas of Psychology

Psychology can be roughly divided into two major areas:

  • Research,  which seeks to increase our knowledge base
  • Practice , through which our knowledge is applied to solving problems in the real world

Abnormal psychology looks at psychopathology and abnormal behavior. It involves the study of people's emotional, thought, and behavior patterns to identify, understand, and potentially resolve any issues that may be negatively affecting a person's life.

Mental health professionals in this branch of psychology assess, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of psychological disorders , including anxiety and depression. Counselors, clinical psychologists, and psychotherapists often work directly in this field.

Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism , is a theory of learning based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Behavioral strategies such as classical conditioning and operant conditioning are often utilized to teach or modify behaviors.

For example, a teacher might use a rewards system to teach students to behave during class. When students are good, they receive gold stars, which can then be turned in for some sort of special privilege.

While this type of psychology dominated the field during the first part of the twentieth century, it became less prominent during the 1950s. However, behavioral techniques remain a mainstay in therapy, education, and many other areas.

Biopsychology is a psychological area focused on how the brain, neurons, and nervous system influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This field draws upon many different disciplines, including basic psychology, cognitive psychology, experimental psychology, biology, physiology, and neuroscience.

People who work in this type of psychology often study how brain injuries and brain diseases impact human behavior.

Biopsychology is also sometimes referred to as physiological psychology, behavioral neuroscience, or psychobiology. So, if you are interested in studying or earning a degree in this psychology branch, you may want to look for courses or programs with these names.

Clinical psychology  is the branch of psychology concerned with the assessment and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior, and psychiatric disorders. Clinicians often work in private practices, but many also work in community centers or at universities and colleges.

You can even find clinical psychology professionals in hospital settings and mental health clinics. In these organizations, they often work as part of a collaborative team that may include physicians, psychiatrists , and other mental health professionals.

Cognitive psychology is a psychological area that focuses on internal mental states. This area has continued to grow since it emerged in the 1960s and is centered on the science of how people think, learn, and remember.

Professionals who work in this type of psychology typically study cognitive functions such as perception, motivation , emotion, language, learning, memory, attention , decision-making , and problem-solving .

Cognitive psychologists often use an information-processing model to describe how the mind works, suggesting that the brain stores and processes information much like a computer.

Comparative psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the study of animal behavior. This is important because the study of how animals behave can lead to a deeper and broader understanding of human psychology.

This psychology subtype has its roots in the work of researchers such as Charles Darwin and George Romanes and has grown into a highly multidisciplinary subject. In addition to psychologists contributing to this field, so do biologists, anthropologists, ecologists, geneticists, and several others.

Counseling psychology is one of the largest areas of psychology. It is centered on treating clients in mental distress who may be experiencing a wide variety of psychological symptoms.

The Society of Counseling Psychology explains that professionals working in this type of psychology can improve their clients' interpersonal functioning throughout life. They do this by improving the client's social and emotional health, as well as addressing concerns about health, work , family , marriage , and more.

Cross-cultural psychology is a branch of psychology that looks at how cultural factors influence human behavior. This may involve looking at differences between collective and individualist cultures , for instance. Cross-cultural psychologists might also look at how cultures vary in terms of emotion, personality, or child development.

The International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) was established in 1972. This type of psychology has continued to grow and develop since that time, with increasing numbers of psychologists investigating how behavior differs among cultures throughout the world.

Developmental psychology focuses on how people change and grow throughout life. This area of psychology seeks to understand and explain how and why people change. Developmental psychologists study physical growth, intellectual development, emotional changes, social growth, and perceptual changes that occur over the course of the lifespan.

These types of psychologists may specialize in infant, child, adolescent, or geriatric development, while others might primarily study the effects of developmental delays. This psychology branch covers a huge range of topics, ranging from  prenatal development  to Alzheimer's disease .

Educational psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with schools, teaching psychology, educational issues, and student concerns. Educational psychologists often study how students learn. They may also work directly with students, parents, teachers, and administrators to improve student outcomes.

Professionals in this type of psychology sometimes study how different variables influence individual students. They may also study learning disabilities, giftedness, and the instructional process.

8 Things to Know About Educational Psychology

Experimental psychology is the psychological area that utilizes scientific methods to research the brain and behavior. Many of these techniques are also used in other psychology areas to study everything from childhood development to social issues.

This type of psychology is often viewed as a distinct subfield, but experimental techniques and methods are used extensively throughout every branch. Some of the methods used include experiments, correlational studies , case studies , and naturalistic observation .

Experimental psychologists work in a wide variety of settings, including colleges, universities, research centers, government, and private businesses. They utilize the scientific method to study a range of human behaviors and psychological phenomena.

Forensic psychology deals with issues related to psychology and the law. Those who work in this branch apply psychological principles to legal issues. This may involve studying criminal behavior and treatment or working directly in the court system.

Forensic psychologists perform a wide variety of duties, including providing testimony in court cases, assessing children in suspected child abuse cases, preparing children to give testimony, and evaluating the mental competence of criminal suspects.

In many cases, people working in forensic psychology aren't necessarily "forensic psychologists." These individuals might be clinical psychologists, school psychologists, neurologists, or counselors who lend their psychological expertise to provide testimony, analysis, or recommendations in legal or criminal cases.

Health psychology (also sometimes called medical psychology or behavioral medicine) focuses on how biology, psychology, behavior, and social factors influence health and illness. This area of psychology involves the promotion of health across a wide variety of domains, as well as the prevention and treatment of disease and illness.

Health psychologists often deal with health-related issues such as weight management, smoking cessation , stress management , and nutrition . They might also research how people cope with illnesses, helping patients learn more effective coping strategies .

Some professionals in this type of psychology assist with the design of disease prevention and public awareness programs, while others work within the government to improve health care policies.

Industrial-organizational psychology applies psychological principles to workplace issues. This psychological area, often referred to as I/O psychology, seeks to improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace while maximizing the well-being of employees. It includes areas such as human factors.

Human factors psychology focuses on human error, product design, ergonomics, human capability, and human-computer interaction. Its goal is to improve how people interact with products and machines. This might involve helping to design products intended to minimize injury or creating workplaces that promote greater accuracy and safety.

Research in I/O psychology is known as  applied research  because it seeks to solve real-world problems. These types of psychologists study topics such as worker attitudes, employee behaviors, organizational processes, and leadership.

Personality psychology is the branch of psychology that focuses on the study of thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors that make each individual unique. Classic theories of personality include Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality and Erikson's theory of psychosocial development.

Personality psychologists might look at how different factors (such as genetics, parenting, and social experiences) influence personality development and change. They may also be involved in the creation or administration of personality tests .

School psychology is a type of psychology that involves working in schools to help kids deal with academic, emotional, and social issues. School psychologists also collaborate with teachers, students, and parents to help create a healthy learning environment.

Most school psychologists work in elementary and secondary schools, but others can be found in private clinics, hospitals, state agencies, and universities. Some go into private practice and serve as consultants—especially those with a doctoral degree in school psychology.

Social psychology seeks to understand and explain social behavior. It looks at diverse topics including group behavior, social interactions and perceptions, leadership , nonverbal communication , and social influences on decision-making.

Social influences on behavior are a major interest in social psychology, but these types of psychologists are also focused on how people perceive and interact with others. This branch of psychology also includes topics such as conformity , aggression, and prejudice .

Sports psychology is the study of how psychology influences sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity. Individuals may work with a sports psychologist to improve their focus, develop mental toughness, increase motivation, or reduce sports-related anxiety.

Some sports psychologists work with professional athletes such as pro sports players and top Olympians. Others utilize exercise and sports to enhance the health and well-being of non-athletes throughout their lifespan.

A Word From Verywell

Psychology is always evolving and new fields and branches continue to emerge. It is important to remember that no single branch of psychology is more important or better than any other. Each area contributes to our understanding of the many different psychological factors that influence who we are, how we behave, and how we think.

By conducting research and developing new applications for psychological knowledge, professionals working in all psychological areas are able to help people better understand themselves, confront the problems they may face, and live better lives.

Miller GA. Mistreating Psychology in the Decades of the Brain . Perspect Psychol Sci. 2010;5(6):716-43. doi:10.1177/1745691610388774

Gray PO, Bjorklund, D. Psychology .

Hockenbury SE, Nolan SA. Psychology .

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

University of Florida

Behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.

Psychology is the science of human and animal behavior. Psychology majors receive a broad science-based liberal arts education. As a result, those with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology are widely sought in business, education, and mental health fields. For a professional career in Psychology, a graduate degree is needed.

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  • College: Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
  •      Specializations:  General Psychology | Behavior Analysis | Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Credits for Degree: 120
  • Contact: Email

To graduate with this major, students must complete all university, college, and major requirements.

Department Information

The Department of Psychology is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in the generation of psychological science and to its application and dissemination. The department is committed to creating and sustaining a diverse, inclusive, and nondiscriminatory environment. Website

Email | 352.392.0601 (tel) | 352.392.7985 (fax)

P.O. Box 112250 114 PSYCHOLOGY BUILDING GAINESVILLE FL 32611-2250 Map

 Curriculum

  • Psychology UF Online

The Psychology curriculum provides a strong background to pursue careers in Psychology or to prepare students for entry into advanced professional schools such as law or medicine. The curriculum emphasizes the principles and applications of psychological knowledge, both as a natural science and as a social science.

Specializations

Students in the Psychology major can specialize in General Psychology, Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, or Behavior Analysis. All specializations require coursework in psychology, statistics, mathematics, and biology, and all offer the option to conduct a senior honors thesis if desired. The specializations vary in the specific courses necessary to complete the degree requirements.

General Psychology 

Requires courses in four core areas within the discipline as well as elective psychology courses.

Focuses more specifically on natural science-oriented psychology courses and allows students to take limited approved non-psychology courses relevant to contemporary neuroscience. This specialization also requires more math and biology courses than General Psychology. 

Behavior Analysis

Also focuses more specifically on natural science-oriented psychology courses and how the environment around an organism can be modified to change behavior.

Coursework for the Major

A psychology major consists of a minimum of 36 credits with related coursework in biological science, mathematics, and statistics. At least 18 of the 36 credits must be taken at the University of Florida. Courses used toward the major must be earned with minimum grades of C.

Required Coursework

Required coursework will depend on the program the student chooses. Coursework for each specialization can be found below.

Recommended Coursework

In addition to regularly scheduled courses, the department offers six individual work courses:

In each case, a psychology faculty member or other approved professional serves as supervisor. A maximum of nine credits of individual work courses from the following can count toward the major:

Research in Psychology means asking questions about behavior, designing and running experiments and collecting data regarding those questions, analyzing and interpreting the results, and communicating these results to colleagues. Developing research skills is encouraged, especially if students anticipate graduate school in Psychology or in other professional areas.

Students in the behavioral and cognitive neuroscience specialization are required to complete 36 credits of coursework with minimum grades of C. At least 22 credits must be taken in psychology.

  • 3 credits may be at the 2000 level or higher
  • The remaining 11 or more credits must be at the 3000/4000 level
  • Any neuroscience-relevant courses outside psychology must be approved by a psychology advisor before enrollment Students may not take both PSB 3002  and PSB 3340 under any circumstances.

Students who wish to transfer courses in psychology toward the major must see an advisor in the department for approval.

Related Coursework

STA 2023 and STA 3024 are also required. STA 2023 is a prerequisite for some 4000-level psychology and laboratory courses. STA 3024 must be taken before or concurrently with any specialized psychology laboratory, and it counts as a 3000+ level elective not in the major.

Mathematics

Proficiency is required. MAC 2311 meets this requirement.

Biological Science

BSC 2010 and BSC 2011 are required.

All majors are encouraged to see a psychology advisor in 135 Psychology Building. No appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.

Most of the foundation-level courses and the laboratory methods course are offered each semester. Special topic and other advanced courses are offered less frequently. Fewer courses are offered in Summer.

Critical Tracking records each student’s progress in courses that are required for progress toward each major. Please note the critical-tracking requirements below on a per-semester basis.

For degree requirements outside of the major, refer to CLAS Degree Requirements: Structure of a CLAS Degree .

Equivalent critical-tracking courses as determined by the State of Florida Common Course Prerequisites may be used for transfer students.

These critical-tracking courses are required: BSC 2010 , MAC 2311 , PSY 2012 , PSY 3213L , PSB 3340 , and STA 2023 .

Although not required in the first five semesters, additional psychology courses taken in semesters 1-5 count toward the critical-tracking GPA for the major.

  • Complete MAC 1147 or MAC 2311
  • 2.4 UF GPA required
  • Complete MAC 2311
  • Complete PSY 2012
  • 2.6 UF GPA required
  • Complete 2 of the following critical-tracking courses with a 2.6 critical-tracking GPA: BSC 2010 , PSB 3340 , or PSY 3213L Students should take PSY 3213L in semester 3 or 4 before taking any additional 3000-level or above psychology courses.
  • 2.7 UF GPA required
  • Complete 1 tracking course from BSC 2010 , PSB 3340 , PSY 3213L or STA 2023 with a 2.75 critical-tracking GPA
  • 2.8 UF GPA required
  • Complete the final tracking course ( BSC 2010 , PSB 3340 , PSY 3213L or STA 2023 ) with a 2.75 critical-tracking GPA. Additional psychology courses taken in semesters 1-5 are included in the critical-tracking GPA.
  • Complete 2 of the remaining PSY 3XXX/4XXX required courses
  • Complete STA 3024
  • Complete neuroscience lab: PSB 4343C , EAB 4714C , EXP 4174C
  • Complete all remaining PSY 3XXX/4XXX required courses and/or neuroscience relevant courses.

Students are expected to complete the Writing Requirement while in the process of taking the courses below. Students are also expected to complete the General Education International (GE-N) and Diversity (GE-D) requirements concurrently with another General Education requirement (typically, GE-C, H, or S).

STA 3024 and approved 3000 level or above neuroscience-relevant courses outside the psychology department may count towards the 3000 level or above electives outside of the major.

To remain on track, students must complete the appropriate critical-tracking courses, which appear in bold. These courses must be completed by the terms as listed above in the Critical Tracking criteria.

This semester plan represents an example progression through the major. Actual courses and course order may be different depending on the student's academic record and scheduling availability of courses. Prerequisites still apply.

Take MAC 1147 , if needed.

Must be Quest 2 if not taken Semester 2 or 3.

Counts as a 3000-level or above elective, not in the major.

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology enables students to achieve a high level of proficiency in the science of psychology, including the core natural and social science areas of psychology. Laboratory courses emphasize students' understanding of the design, analysis, and critical interpretation of psychological research. Students will also refine their core knowledge and understanding of psychological research with advanced coursework in statistics, biology, and mathematics.

Before Graduating Students Must

  • Demonstrate satisfactory (minimum grade of C) performance on exams, papers, and other coursework for six credits in core psychology natural sciences (course prefixes CBH, EAB, EXP and PSB), six credits of core psychology social sciences (course prefixes CLP, DEP, SOP and PPE) and three or four credits of psychological research methodology, design, and analysis, as graded by department rubric.
  • Complete requirements for the baccalaureate degree, as determined by faculty.

Students in the Major Will Learn to

Student learning outcomes | slos.

  • Critical knowledge of basic and applied aspects of core natural science areas within psychology as well as core social science areas within psychology.
  • Knowledge of the design, analysis, and interpretation of psychological research.

Critical Thinking

  • Review, interpret, and analyze the literature in psychological science.

Communication

  • Clearly and effectively present ideas in speech and in writing that contribute to the dissemination of advances in research in psychological science.

Curriculum Map

All courses available to students are listed in the table; however, students select six credits in core psychology natural sciences, six credits of core psychology social sciences and three to four credits in psychological research methodology, design, and analysis.

I = Introduced; R = Reinforced; A = Assessed

Assessment Types

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Course Outline: Applied Personnel Psychology (PSY414)

Course information.

  • Department: Psychology
  • Prepared By: Psychology Department
  • Prepared Date: Fall 2017
  • Course Title: Applied Personnel Psychology
  • Course Code: PSY 414
  • Contact Hours: 45

Course Description

This upper level offering is designed to provide students with the tools for understanding the underlying theory, research and techniques of personnel psychology. It will provide the background for understanding the practical application of the concepts and techniques studied. This will be accomplished through a combination of lectures, group projects involving application of the principles of personnel psychology, group presentations of the projects and classroom exercise.  Prerequisite(s): PSY 331. Credits: 3 (3,0)

  • Prerequisites: PSY 331 Industrial/Organizational Psychology or permission of Department chair.
  • Required For: None
  • Elective For: All curricula with upper level social science elective.
  • Required Text: Cascio, W.F. (1991).  Applied Psychology in Personnel Management.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ., Prentice Hall. (Psy 331 textbook is recommended.  I/O Psychology Textbook, Levy.)

Course Outline

The following represents an overview of the topics to be covered in this course.  Each unit will include relevant theory and current research, and applications.

Unit 1:  The History of Industrial Psychology.  

This unit will provide a general orientation to the course and the field of Industrial Psychology.  The historical progression of the field will be presented beginning with the APA Presidential Address by Bryan in 1904 urging psychologists to research the practical application of psychology in the work world, through psychologists involvement in WWI and WWII, the impact of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and conclude with Industrial Psychology today.

Unit 2:  Industrial Psychology and the Law.  

This unit will provide a general understanding of the rights and obligations of personnel specialists under the law, and in accordance with federal regulatory agencies regarding Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Affirmative Action, the 1991 Civil Rights Act and other relevant Acts and Amendments.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be discussed as well as particular court cases that have had a significant impact on legal issues in employment today.

Unit 3:  Human Resources Planning.  

This unit will present a systems view of Human Resources planning that suggests the integration of Human Resources issues with organizational strategic planning activities.  Human resource planning activities will be presented and include Personnel Inventories, Human Resources Forecasting, Action Planning for recruitment, selection, career management, etc., and Control and Evaluation procedures.   

Unit 4:  Job Analysis.  

This unit will discuss job analysis as a blueprint and basic building block for all subsequent personnel functions related to a particular job.  Job analysis will be approached from both worker and task-oriented orientations.  Different techniques for conducting job analyses will be presented and include:  interviews and focus groups, questionnaires, log book or diary method, critical incident method, direct observation, and subject matter expert panels.  The validity and reliability of these techniques will be presented along with alternative sources for soliciting information.  

Unit 5:  Criteria:  Definition, Design and Measurement.  

This unit will discuss the concept of criteria and explore the importance of criteria in personnel design and evaluation.  Problems of criteria development and measurement will be addressed including contamination, irrelevance, confounding and reliability.  

Unit 6:  Reliability and Validity:  Measuring and Interpreting Individual Differences.  

Test and measurement theory related to psychological traits will be presented as it applies to personnel selection.  The concepts of reliability and validity will be discussed.  Each of the different types of reliability and validity will be presented as asking different questions of the same measurement technique and each being applicable in different situations.  

Unit 7:  Recruitment and Selection.  

This unit will focus on attracting, selecting, and placing personnel in the organization.  The stages of recruitment and selection will be delineated along with relevant research on different methods of initial screening and selection mechanisms.  The focus will be on both rank and file and managerial staff.  Examples of techniques will include:  realistic job previews, interviews, drug testing, honesty testing, recommendations, and assessment centers.  

Unit 8:  Performance Appraisal:  Development and Use.  

This unit will discuss objective and subjective performance appraisals from an historical perspective.  Research and theory related to scale development, rater training, feedback, measurement, judgmental errors, and performance appraisal as a management development tool will be discussed and conclude with the present status of the field.  Different appraisal techniques will be presented along with the strengths and weaknesses of each.  

Unit 9:  Training Design, Implementation and Evaluation.  

This unit will present research and theory on employee training and suggest the growing importance of training to American corporations and society at large.  A seven-stage training development model will be presented and discussed.  Learning theory, motivation, individual issues, and program evaluation related to training will be highlighted as important for successful training.  Different training techniques will be discussed and include both on and off-site programs.  

Unit 10:  Ethical Issues in Human Resources and Industrial Psychology.  

This unit will conclude the course and focus on the ethics and responsibility of Industrial Psychologists and those in the field of Human Resources Management.  Three major issues will be explored and include employee privacy, testing and evaluation, and organizational research.

Behavioral Objectives

1. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the theory, research, and techniques of Personnel Psychology;

2. The student will demonstrate an understanding of how jobs are developed in organizations and the related personnel functions;

3. The student will demonstrate an understanding of how organizations interact with the law as related to EEO concerns, the 1992 Civil Rights Amendment, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

4. The student will design, develop and validate:

  • a job analysis
  • a performance appraisal
  • a selection procedure, and
  • a training program for an individual job

NOTE:  This will be assessed through oral classroom participation, simulations and/or written examinations.

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US News & World Report – EDU

MCAT Prep: 5 Reasons Psychology and Sociology Courses Can Help

I n a landmark remake of the MCAT exam in 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges added psychology and sociology content for the first time. Doctors had appealed for the MCAT to be updated for many years in an effort to keep up with a shifting health care landscape.

Though the changes were lauded by many professionals, particularly in the field of psychology , many undergraduate students now feel elevated pressure to take formal coursework in these fields, even when not required to do so for graduation or matriculation to medical school. For these students, it can be difficult to decide to take college coursework in psychology and sociology, or to rely solely on allocated MCAT study time to learn this content.

Psychology and sociology comprise 25% of the MCAT exam – the entire Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior section – so this decision must not be taken lightly.

When deciding whether formal coursework in psychology or sociology should be taken, the forward-thinking undergraduate should consider these five reasons why these classes might lead to success on the MCAT.

A balanced premed course schedule will enhance productivity, efficiency and long-term information retention .

Courses in psychology, sociology, anthropology and human behavior are not classically as demanding as core STEM courses such as biology, chemistry, physics and math. Therefore, they can be ideal classes to pair with such "BCPM" courses, particularly for freshmen and sophomores as they adjust to the rigors of college-level premed academics.

Taking more than two BCPM courses at once is a recipe for failure and/or burnout, but taking an additional social science course such as psychology or sociology can help instill the mental stamina and rigor of study that will be necessary throughout undergrad and medical school . Early adoption of effective study habits is critical for long-term success, and taking a busy but balanced course schedule early in undergrad will go a long way in that regard.

Scheduling psychology and sociology courses close to your test date may cut MCAT study time .

Taking psychology or sociology within a year of your anticipated test date can do wonders for your MCAT study period. In this case, it would be prudent to study for your course by using MCAT test-prep materials, at least in part, killing two birds with one stone.

Formal coursework in psychology and sociology will be more in-depth than the knowledge required for the corresponding MCAT section, allowing you to be most efficient with your time if you double down and combine MCAT studying with course studying. These courses classically rely on a great deal of knowledge retention, and that is largely how they are tested, so studying for both using a strategy including Anki cards and UWorld test questions is highly recommended.

Increasing MCAT study period flexibility allows added time to focus on BCPM content .

If you do decide to take coursework in psychology and sociology, an indirect advantage is the added flexibility this gives to the MCAT study period. With a solid background in psychology and sociology , less time can be spent on developing an understanding of MCAT-relevant topics in those subjects and human behavior, leaving more time for learning, reviewing and practicing for BCPM content.

This value cannot be overstated. If students struggle on the MCAT, it is commonly due to the time constraints on difficult BCPM questions, and more practice time can be decisive in attaining a high score. The decision to take psychology and sociology coursework will thus depend heavily on your unique MCAT study calendar.

If you’re attempting to prep during the semester, it will be very helpful to have background in these topics so that you don’t have to spend as much time cramming them into a packed study schedule. However, if you plan to use a full summer to study, this will be less of a concern, and balancing your time during the semester may become more of a priority over adding psychology and sociology classes to your course load.

Relying on AP or IB courses as background for psychology and sociology on the MCAT is risky .

Students may be tempted to presume that high school sociology and psychology coursework, especially Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate classes, may be sufficient background for MCAT prep.

While it is true that taking such coursework is not absolutely necessary for MCAT prep, it is unlikely that the average student will remember meaningful MCAT-relevant content from three or more years prior. Success on the MCAT will require more significant academic effort.

Increasing your familiarity with relevant language and topics for all MCAT sections has multiple benefits .

Taking coursework relevant to medicine has ancillary benefits, including an increased familiarity with the language and scope of the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology and human behavior. This background will not only make you more well-versed in behavioral health as a doctor – which is important for all, but essential for those wishing to specialize in psychiatry and related fields – but it will also help you understand question stems in CARS , biology, chemistry and physics sections of the MCAT.

Many psychology and sociology concepts are tested with passage reading, so critical thinking skills are imperative and can be practiced with both psychology and sociology MCAT prep materials and CARS materials.

Psychology and sociology courses, while not required by all medical schools, are at least recommended by most. A quarter of the MCAT score is now dedicated to these topics, underscoring their importance not only for success on the exam but also for a career as a physician . It is unwise, then, to neglect these topics in lieu of the more traditionally feared BCPM content.

As you plan your courses, study period and anticipated test date, keep your eye on the most important goal: a great MCAT score, achieved in time to allow you to apply to medical school when you feel most prepared. If taking formal coursework in psychology or sociology allows you to do this, it would be an advantage for your MCAT preparation and your career in medicine.

Copyright 2023 U.S. News & World Report

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