Psychology Degrees: What Are You Going to Do With THAT?

Is pursuing a psychology degree worth a student’s time and money? Especially in a workforce that is essentially driven by technology? The answer, surprisingly enough to some, is yes. In fact, psychology degree programs are extremely popular at both online schools and ground schools.

Many students find themselves asking, “what am I going to do with this degree?” Social science degrees like liberal arts degrees, though focused, also require a broader, interdisciplinary background than many other degree programs such as IT. What this means, is that students in a psychology degree program won’t be learning strictly about the science of a human brain, they also learn how to analyze, connect and interact with people This fundamental understanding of both art and science for liberal arts students and culture, people and human science for social science students helps create a breadth of knowledge that is actually attractive to prospective employers.

Having said this, psychology is a unique field because its connotations are so expansive; students who don’t necessarily want to become a therapist or psychologist have a number of other options. Graduating with a psychology degree will give a student the option of working in a number of different fields, not just psychology.

So, to pinpoint your interests as a psychology major and figure out exactly what you can do with your degree, ask yourself a few questions:

Why did I first choose to study psychology? What really interested me, initially?
After beginning my psychology courses did my interests change? Did I become interested in an area of psychology that I wasn’t before?
What components of psychology are most interesting to me? Biological or medical? Cognitive? Research?
What are the most prominent skills that I’ve developed through my psychology education? Teaching skills? Computer skills? Writing skills?
What other courses besides my psychology courses interested me? For example, you may be interested in art- is there any way to combine your areas of interest? (For this example, you could pursue a career as an art teacher or participate in art therapy sessions.)
What is the area of psychology in which I have truly excelled?
Academically, how far would I like to go? Do I want to stop at an associates or bachelor’s degree or go further?
What do I really dislike about my psychology courses or degree program?
If I had the opportunity to teach my own psychology class, what areas would I focus on the most (this may relate to question #6 or it may not)? Would I teach one specific area of psychology or would I draw upon my interest in other things, like art, for my class?
If I choose to pursue a different career, other than one psychology related, how will I effectively communicate the importance of my psychology degree and what it taught me to future employers?
Instead of asking yourself, “what am I supposed to do with my degree ?” ask “w

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The Psychology of Education

On the need for an individualistic educational psychology emphasizing on the central role of the learner

Education and psychology are related in more than just one way and the psychology of education could be related to educational principles in psychology or how education as a discipline is taught within psychology as a subject and how these two disciplines merge. This is primarily the focus of educational psychology which studies how human learning occurs, what ways of teaching are most effective, what different methods should be used to teach gifted or disabled children and how principles of psychology could help in the study of schools as social systems.

Psychological education would be completely focused on learning methods as structured or imparted according to psychological and individual needs of the students. Education would differ according to culture, values, attitudes, social systems, mindset and all these factors are important in the study of education in psychology.

Educational psychology is the application of psychological objectives within educational systems and psychological education as I distinguish here is application of educational objectives in psychological processes. The first focus of using psychology in education is more general and the second approach of using education in psychology is more individualistic. However as far as present study of educational approach to psychology is concerned, there is no difference between individualistic educational psychology and general educational psychology and all interrelationships between psychology and education are considered within the broad discipline of educational psychology.

However a distinction between the more general educational psychology and more specific psychological or individualistic education could help in understanding the nuances of individualistic study and give a subjective dimension to the study of psychology in education. This could also help in making learning systems more student based and according to the needs of culture, society, individual or personal factors. This sort of study with a focus on personal/psychological aspects of learning is not just about social objectives and objectives within educational systems but also about personal goals and objectives and the psychological processes involved in learning. There has to be a clearer demarcation between education in psychology as a general study and individualistic education in psychology as a more specific and subjective discipline.

As of now educational psychology encompasses a wide range of issues and topics including the use of technology and its relation to psychology, learning techniques and instructional design. It also considers the social, cognitive, behavioural dimensions of learning but it would be necessary to make education more personal and individualistic through a special branch with a psychological focus on education so that individual needs are considered. There could be two ways in which this branch of knowledge could evolve – either by strengthening psychological education or individualistic approach to the psychology of education or by having two distinct branches of general educational psychology and individualistic educational psychology.

As in client centered approach to psychology, a psychology of education should also include further research that would highlight the need for individualistic dimensions in learning. Learning psychology is the use of psychological theories for example that of Jean Piaget and Kohler in the study of learning techniques, especially among children. I have already discussed Piaget but briefly Piaget’s theory higlights different stages of learning in children and Kohler suggested that learning occurs by sudden comprehension or understanding, however I will not go further into learning theories here. Whereas the focus of educational psychology is on learning techniques per se and the role of the learner is considered only secondary, a branch of individualistic psychology in education could help in emphasizing the role of the learner considering not just their disabilities or giftedness but also their personality patterns. This focus on personality patterns brings out the central role of understanding psychology in educational systems.

Educational psychology studies both the personal approaches to education as in giftedness, disability, learning theories applied to children and adults, and the more general objective approaches to learning as the role of schools as social or cultural systems.

The psychology of education could include the following branches:

General Educational Psychology

1. Learning Systems – As studied from individualistic learning perspectives and generalized learning perspectives, a discussion of the different theories, practices and systems or techniques of learning is an integral part of educational psychology and especially central to general educational psychology.

2. Social Systems – The use of education in social, cultural and economic systems could be considered within the psychological context and this relates to the role of education in society.

Individualistic Educational Psychology

1. Learning Systems – Learning techniques and systems or methods will have to be in accordance with the needs of the children or adult participants and according to skills of the teachers. Needs vary according to personal traits and abilities and individual needs will have to be considered during the learning process.

2. Social Systems – Individual learning psychology will have to be studied according to specific social and cultural backgrounds of the learners and thus a more subjective study of learning approaches and centralized role of the individual in the learning process considering their social, cultural or intellectual background will have to be considered.

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