Should I Major in Psychology?

Is Psychology the Right Choice for You?

Should you major in psychology?
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Psychology can be a great choice for many students, but there are a number of questions you should ask yourself before committing to earning a psychology degree. Not sure if psychology is the right choice for you? Take this quick quiz to help determine if you should major in psychology.

1. Do You Enjoy Taking Psychology Classes?

  • Yes
  • No

This first one seems fairly obvious, but the first thing you need to consider is whether or not psychology is something you really love.

As a psychology major, you will be taking a wide range of classes covering many different subjects including personality, development, research methods, and cognition.

If the answer is a resounding yes, then majoring in psychology is definitely something you should consider. If you cannot answer yes to this question, then it might be time to start exploring some alternative subjects that might spark your interest more.

2. Do You Enjoy Helping People?

  • Yes
  • No

Part of the reason that many people are drawn to psychology is the helping nature of the profession. While there are many different fields of psychology and not all of them deal directly with mental health, one of the major goals of psychology is to solve real-word problems and help people lead better lives.

There are a number of growing psychology fields such as industrial-organizational psychology and engineering psychology that do not center directly on helping individuals, but clinical psychology remains the single largest subfield within psychology.

If you do enjoy helping other people and assisting those who are dealing with psychology and emotional difficulties sounds like a rewarding career, then psychology might be right up your alley. If you really dislike the idea of working directly with people, you should certainly consider some other options before committing to a psychology major program.

3. Are You Planning to Go to Graduate School?

  • Yes
  • No

While there are opportunities for those with a bachelor's degree in psychology, they are far more limited. Those who go on to graduate school enjoy more career options, increased job demand, and higher pay.

If you think that graduate school is something that you would like to pursue, then earning a psychology degree might be a great option for you. If you know for a fact that you do not want to earn a graduate degree, then you might be better off looking at degree options that provide more work opportunities at the bachelor's-level.

4. Are You Good At Coping With Stress?

  • Yes
  • No 

Psychology professions, particularly those in the mental health field, can be challenging, stressful, and emotionally draining at times.

5. Do You Enjoy Working With Other People

  • Yes
  • No 

Psychologists work with a range of people. This might include clients suffering from mental illness, family members of clients, and other people who make up the mental health treatment team including physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, and other psychologists.

6. Have You Considered Different Career Options Within Psychology?

  • Yes
  • No

There are tons of career options within psychology. While students often spend a lot of time learning about psychology, they sometimes neglect to research the many different career paths that are available. Mental health professions such as clinical psychologists, counselors, and social workers are some of the more obvious choices, but there are also a lot of alternatives to think about ranging from forensic psychology to health psychology. Spend some time researching some of the many different psychology careers out there in order to determine what might interest you the most.

7. Do You Enjoy Research, Experiments, and Statistics?

  • Yes
  • No

Psychology majors don't just study how people think and behave – they also take a lot of classes in experimental methods and statistics. Even if you do not plan on working in a research-oriented career, it is important to gain a solid understanding of how statistics are used in psychology, how to conduct psychology research, and how to interpret the results of research studies.

Your undergraduate psychology coursework will likely include several different classes focusing on statistics and research design. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, then psychology is probably a great choice for you. If, on the other hand, you really do not want to learn more about these topics, then it might be best to consider some other degree options.

8. Do You Enjoy Solving challenging Problems?

  • Yes
  • No

Psychology professions can be rewarding and challenging. For example, those who work in mental health often have to deal with difficult situations involving clients, while those who work in other applied fields have to use their knowledge of psychology to develop real-world solutions to problems.

Scoring Your Results

Mostly Yes's:

Congratulations, majoring in psychology is probably an excellent choice for you! You most likely have a passion for the subject, you are thinking about graduate school, and are already exploring some of the many different career options that are out there.

Just remember, you might have decided on a major but that doesn't mean that the research and decision-making process is over. As you progress further in school, you still need to figure out what your plans are after graduation, what kinds of psychology classes you need to take now, and how to gain further experience in your desired specialty area.

Mostly No's:

Unfortunately, it looks like psychology might not be the best major for you. This doesn't mean that you should rule it out completely, but you might want to visit and academic advisor and spend some time considering other academic options. Related fields that might appeal to you include the science-oriented careers such as biology or chemistry, health professions such as nursing or public health, and social science fields such as sociology and political science.

Further Reading and Resources

Still not sure if psychology is the best choice for you? Be sure to explore our wide range of resources below. You will find even more information on some of the questions you should ask yourself before you decide on a psychology major as well as a few of the great reasons to earn a psychology degree.

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