Electives for Psychology Majors

Tips for Picking the Right Psychology Electives

Psychology Electives
Electives for Psychology Majors. Electives for Psychology Majors

If you're a psychology major, before you start signing up for courses, you should make an appointment with an academic advisor at your university to discuss your plans. Your advisor can help you sort through all the requirements you need to fulfill in order to earn your degree and provide a clearer picture of the courses you should take. While your plans may changes over time, starting out with a solid understanding of what you will need to do in order to graduate is always a good idea.

Focus on Required Courses First

Of course, you will need to take classes to fulfill your school's general education requirements as well as your major's departmental requirements. General education courses usually include a certain number of credits of math, physical and biological sciences, writing and composition and social sciences. Beyond the general education and departmental requirements, you can then take elective courses based on your interests.

During your first year or two of college, you should concentrate on taking the required general education and major classes. If you end up filling your schedule with elective courses during the early years of your college education, you may find yourself scrambling to play catch up during your junior and senior year. By saving most of your electives for the third and fourth year, you'll be able to enjoy some fun and interesting courses when many of your required program courses are starting to get tougher and more challenging.

Remember that not all schools and programs are the same. General education requirements may also vary depending on the type of degree you are earning. For example, a Bachelor of Science degreeĀ involves taking more science courses, while a Bachelor of Arts degree usually involves more liberal arts classes and often includes a certain number of foreign language credits.

Talk to your advisor to learn more about the differences between a B.A. and a B.S. in Psychology.

Commonly Required Core Psychology Classes

While the requirements vary from program to program, some of the most commonly required core psychology classes include:

Other classes that may or may not be required by your program include:

Most psychology programs also require a minimum number of psychology electives in order to graduate. One of the big advantages of taking electives is that these courses are often prerequisite classes for many psychology graduate programs.

Electives for Psychology Majors

Many students choose to take elective courses that are related to their future career goals. For example, a student with an interest in consumer psychology might focus on electives in areas like marketing, advertising, social psychology, experimental design, and statistics.

Other students might opt to take some elective courses in psychology along with classes in other interest areas. For example, a student interested in pursuing a career in art therapy might take fine arts classes as part of her undergraduate electives.

Some of the electives that might be of interest to psychology majors include courses in:

  • Sociology
  • Public affairs
  • Social work
  • Anthropology
  • Communications
  • Criminal justice
  • Biology
  • Health sciences
  • History
  • English composition
  • Statistics
  • Political science
  • Philosophy

As you choose electives, think about how these courses relate to your career goals. If you plan on being a research psychologist, classes in statistics, writing and research methods would prove particularly useful. On the other hand, if you are thinking of a career in mental health, courses in biology and health sciences might be the most beneficial.

Talk to Your Advisor

This is why it is so important to talk to your academic advisor. Your advisor can inform you about specific university requirements as well as make additional suggestions based on your major, interests and goals. A good idea is to make a four-year academic plan outlining the courses that you would like to take each semester. This not only ensures that you meet all of the requirements of your degree program, it also allows you to see where you can schedule in elective courses.

Final Thoughts

College is a time to prepare for your future and explore your academic interests. While you should certainly focus on your core courses first and foremost, you should plan on scheduling at least a few elective courses in order to get the minimum credits needed to graduate. Elective courses are an excellent way to learn more about new subjects and broaden your education, so spend some time browsing through your school's course catalog to familiarize yourself with what is available.

Continue Reading