6 Things to Know Before Declaring a Psychological Sciences Major

Choosing a major can be really exciting. You’re ready to learn about your passion and begin preparing for your future education and career goals. For those interested in how people interact with the environment, one another, and their own minds, psychology may be the field for you. Choosing a psychological science major is more prevalent now than ever. Whether you have already declared or are thinking about declaring a psychological sciences major, here are six things that you should know.  

The field of psychology is extremely broad. You can do many things with a psychological sciences degree – nearly every industry has positions available. Common fields that utilize psychological sciences majors include human resources, education, hospitality, and mental and physical healthcare. This wide range can be both a pro and a con. The pro is that you can explore many diverse fields and get lots of different experiences. However, the con is that there are so many different things that it can be hard to narrow down what you want to do. Take many different psychology courses to get a better sense of all the possibilities and think about the ones that may be best for you.  

Don’t self-diagnose or diagnose others. Learning about all the different psychological terms is interesting, and you may feel like you relate to or have experienced the content you’re learning in class. However, that does not mean that you know enough (yet!) to start labeling yourself and others. 

Psychology is a soft science. Psychology studies humans and human behavior; other soft sciences include sociology and anthropology. Psychology requires data collection and analysis, but there are no formulas or equations like you would find in hard science, such as chemistry. However, you will still have to take Q courses to fulfill the math component and be prepared to collect and analyze data. Many psychological sciences majors will conduct or be a part of research at some point in their careers, so it may be helpful to think about some topics of interest to you.  

Self-doubt is normal. It is normal to feel like your major is not as difficult or demanding as others. If you are a psychological sciences major, you must work hard to learn in-depth about and memorize all the different terms, conditions, and disorders, the parts of the brain, different aspects of behavior, stages of development, etc. The list goes on and on! Nevertheless, be confident and proud of your major, and do not let others dissuade you. Your field is just as important and necessary as others (McClary).  

The field is growing steadily. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologist jobs predict to increase by 20%, and I/O psychology positions expect to increase by 19% (Clay). This is great news for psychological sciences majors. So keep an eye out for research and internship opportunities that may pop up, and get as much experience as you can! 

You will learn about yourself. Psychology is a unique and diverse field. You will learn about human behavior in general while also discovering things specifically about you: traits and characteristics unique to you, what you are interested in and passionate about, and how you can use your psychological sciences degree to help others.  

The resources referenced in this article have useful information that is great for psychological sciences majors. “5 Things Every Psychology Major Should Know,” by Mason McClary, provides tips that students can use to help them navigate their major. The second article, “Trends report: Psychology is more popular than ever,” by Rebecca A. Clay, provides insight into the job market for students with psychological sciences degrees. 

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

By Maggie Cummings
Maggie Cummings Career Consulting and Services Intern