Why Psychology

What can I do with a psychology degree?

I want to be a Psychologist!

To become a Psychologist, more schooling will be needed after your Bachelor's degree. There are two kinds of Psychologist: Experimental/Applied Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists. Each province has different requirements for being a registered Psychologist. They all require some graduate school, but some require a Master’s degree and some require continuing on through a Doctoral degree. If you are planning on becoming a Psychologist, you should check with local regulation bodies where you want to work.

The provinces differ in their requirements and so do the graduate schools. Most require the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and some require a subject specific exam as well. If you are planning on continuing on to graduate school, advanced planning is critical. Investigate the websites of schools that interest you to find out what they expect of their applicants in terms of grades and experiences.  In any case, you will definitely need to get an Honours degree in psychology – find more details click here.

I don’t want to be a Psychologist, what else can I do?

There are many different careers that a degree in psychology will prepare you for and the versatility of this education is very useful. Whether your goal is to get an outstanding university education or to use your degree as a stepping stone to other opportunities, your education will lead to a competitive degree valued by employers in a variety of occupations. Career paths change and the work force is constantly evolving, but your degree is something you will always have.

Job Directions / Examples of Jobs people with Psychology degrees get

  • Family Counsellor
  • Public Relations
  • Special Education Worker
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Human Resources
  • Advertisement
  • Business Manager
  • Addictions Counsellor
  • Sales Representative
  • Case Management
  • Career Counsellor
  • Administration
  • Marketing
  • Insurance
  • Personnel
  • Trainer
  • Coach

Want to find out what career in Psychology would best suit you? Here’s a 10-question quiz: http://psychology.about.com/library/quiz/bl-psychologycareerquiz.htm. These questions may help you narrow down what you want to learn in this diverse field!

Bachelor’s of Science Or Bachelor’s of Arts?

A Psychology degree can be either a Bachelor of Arts degree or a Bachelor of Science degree. Different courses are required for an Arts degree and a Science degree, so it is important to decide what path what you taking early. This allows you to focus your courses in a direction that is interesting to you and plays off of your strengths. Tailor your degree to you!

I'm in school because I'm planning on going into an advanced program that requires any Bachelor's degree. Why should I choose a Psychology Bachelor’s degree?

Some advanced programs such as Law, Medicine, and Business often require a Bachelor's degree, but many different degrees are acceptable. Choosing which one will best equip you for the program you are going into can be difficult, but a Psychology degree may be the best choice for you.

  • Law school – understanding how people work and think can be very useful within the legal field. Focusing on forensic psychology might be a good way of getting even more out of your degree.
  • Medical school – many people that doctors see have psychological concerns, and a better understanding of principles of psychology will help doctors support their patients. Health psychology courses may give you invaluable insight into your future patients.
  • Business school – knowledge about how people think can be very useful in building and understanding businesses. Courses that give you an understanding of cognitive biases could be very useful in this field.

What transferable skills will I have with a Psychology degree?

Psychology is interdisciplinary in its scope and psychology students have excellent opportunities to develop an enviable skill set that serves as competitive preparation for entering the job market.  Employers are often looking for skill sets in their job applicants that can be thought of as transferable skills. Transferable skills are skills that are useful in a wide variety of contexts, and that you can transfer from one job or project to the next. These can be useful both in getting a job and developing a career.

A degree in Psychology will provide you with the opportunity to develop many transferable skills, which will be helpful when job hunting and career building. Some of these skills are below – feel free to use these for finding jobs and on your job applications after you receive your degree!

  • Analyzing information – taking information in and finding its meaning
  • Communication Skills – listening and speaking in effective ways
  • Creative Thinking – thinking outside the box to find new solutions
  • Critical Thinking – taking the information being provided, analyzing how trustworthy it is and what it really means
  • Editing – refining ideas down to their essence
  • Ethics – recognizing dilemmas and considering what is the right decision
  • Goal setting – deciding what you want to achieve and how to do so
  • Group work – learning to work in groups to achieve goals
  • Identifying options – finding the different choices and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each
  • Managing time – using time wisely to reach goals
  • Presentation Skills – communicating ideas and information orally and using multimedia
  • Research – how to find reliable, useful information, while answering complex questions with evidence-based methods
  • Statistics – what the data is telling you, how to find it, and how to apply the results
  • Writing Skills – expressing yourself clearly and effectively in the written word

Students may also have the opportunity to become involved in world-class research through "hands-on" experience.  Either by participating in research studies or volunteering to work on a research team. Undergraduate students can gain valuable experience that will help prepare them for pursuing post-graduate studies and look good on a CV.

Combining Degrees: Maximizing Your Future Success

Other degrees can be combined with a Psychology degree, meaning that when you finish school you will have not one, but two degrees! This combination can prove extremely useful, versatile, and competitive in any career market. Just think of how easily it sets you apart!  Here are just a few examples of potent combinations (other than pre-Law, pre-Med, or pre-MBA) that should be intuitive, but there are many more!

  • B. Administration with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B. Education with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B. Social Work with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.A. or B.Sc. Economics with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.A. Journalism with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.A. Justice Studies with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.A. Police Studies with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.A. Politics and International Studies with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.Sc. Engineering with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B.Sc. Nursing with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology
  • B. Sport & Recreation Studies with a B.A. or B.Sc. Psychology

Getting two degrees does not always require substantially more education, just some good advanced planning! Electives from one degree can be used to build the foundations of another degree. Instead of investing in 120 credit hours and completing one degree, you can invest 150 credit hours and complete two degrees.  By planning out your courses, you get even more out of your education with as little as 30 additional credit hours (i.e., 10 classes)!  Those classes can be added during the compressed spring/summer semesters while still leaving time during the summer for other activities (e.g., work, vacation).

What some Psychology undergraduates are saying and doing:

"The BA in psychology that I received prepared me very well and enabled me to attain my position as a child-care worker."

"I thoroughly value the time spend on my Psychology degree, the courses were fascinating, and the professors knowledgeable.  I could not have asked for better preparation for my graduate training."

"The secretarial staff at the Psychology Department is extremely helpful and went above and beyond their job descriptions to help me get papers in, deal with outside associations, etc."

"I enjoyed the diverse range of classes, especially neuroscience."