Why Do I Have to Take a Psychology Class If I'm Not a Psychology Major?

Why is psychology a required class?
Lisa Howard / Getty Images


"I'm majoring in nursing, but my university requires me to take a psychology class as part of my general education core. Why do I need to take a psychology class if I'm not even majoring in psychology?"


Even though you are not a psychology major, you can definitely benefit from learning more about the human mind and behavior. Many universities require students to take at least one class in psychology or a related topic such as sociology or anthropology.

Why is psychology often included as part of a core general education requirement?

There are a few great reasons:

Taking a psychology class can help you better understand other people.

If you are majoring in a subject that will lead you to a career that involves working directly with lots of different people, such as teaching or nursing, understanding more about how people think and behave can be extremely helpful.

Sometimes you might be expected to take one introductory psychology class, which can be a great way to get a basic grounding in the topic. In an introductory class, you will learn about a range of topics including:

Sometimes you major might require you to take a class such as abnormal psychology or developmental psychology as part of your core requirements. Health majors in particular can benefit from taking such classes.

These topics can help prepare you to work with individuals who are experiencing some form of mental illness and teach you more about human behavior and development. By learning more about the symptoms and treatments of such disorders, you can experience greater empathy and understanding when working with people suffering from psychological problems.

Taking a psychology class can improve your critical thinking skills.

Psychology classes emphasize things like the scientific method, evaluating the sources of information, and thinking critically about the information you encounter on a daily basis. Such classes can help you hone these skills, which can prove useful in a variety of careers and different areas of life.

Of course, knowing why your university requires you to take a psychology class doesn't necessarily make it any easier. Even if you know little about the topic or if you are struggling in your class, there are a number of things you can do to find help. Many universities offer free tutoring centers or academic assistance labs, but you can also turn to online resources to help you make sense of the subject.

Start by checking out some of our basic primers on introductory psychology:

Continue Reading