Psychology has been a long-standing degree at Southern. Graduates with a BA or BS in psychology can pursue study in fields such as neuropsychology, marriage and family counseling, community and school counseling, clinical, educational, industrial, organizational, and experimental psychology, as well as business, law, dentistry, medicine, and other professional careers.
There are more than 30 areas of specialization within the field of psychology. At Southern your undergraduate major in psychology serves as preparation for later study at the master's and doctoral levels. To improve chances for admission to graduate programs, you will want to:
- Achieve good grades in your psychology and general education courses
- Take as many psychology electives as possible, along with statistics and computing
- Apply to 10 or more schools for graduate study
- Obtain a competitive score on your graduate admission tests (usually the GRE) taken during the fall of your senior year
Making it as a Psychologist
As a psychologist, your specialty and place of employment will determine working conditions. Clinical psychologists in private practice usually select their own office setting and hours, but they would probably need evenings to accommodate their clients. If employed at a hospital or other health care facility, they often work evenings and weekends. Most psychologists employed by academic institutions divide their time among teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. Some also maintain a part-time practice. Psychologists in government and industrial settings tend to have more structured schedules.
Psychologists serve in a variety of ways. For example, consumer psychologists study psychological factors influencing a person's behavior as a consumer. Health psychologists focus on health maintenance to help people avoid serious emotional or physical illness. Industrial psychologists work with business and industry dealing with administrative and employee-related problems. Sports psychologists help athletes with the competition, motivation, and anxiety that come with those fields.
Can I Get a Job?
Jobs for a BA or BS graduate in psychology are limited. You will need to get at least a master's degree for the professional job you desire. Jobs for psychologists are expected to increase in the coming years. Because of the substantial investment in training required for this field, psychologists usually have a strong attachment to their career. Though only a small number leave the profession each year, most job openings are expected to result from replacement needs. Possible factors helping maintain the demand for psychologists are: increased emphasis on health maintenance rather than treatment of illness, public concern for the development of human resources, including the growing elderly population and population in general, increased child testing and counseling, and the growing need for consultants in business, nonprofit organizations, or research and computer firms.
With a Ph.D. in psychology, you will qualify for a wide range of responsible research, clinical, and counseling positions in universities, private industry, and government. At least three years of graduate work is usually required for a Ph.D. Courses in quantitative research methods are an integral part of graduate study and usually necessary to complete the dissertation.
The Psy.D. is based on clinical experience and examinations rather than a dissertation. Students with this degree are prepared for clinical and other applied positions. In clinical or counseling psychology, the requirements for the doctoral degree include an additional year or more of internship or supervised experience.