The Footnotes

PSYCHOLOGY

What do you actually learn studying psychology?

Contrary to popular opinion, a degree in Psychology does not teach you to be a therapist of any kind.

We hate to be the ones to break the bad news but contrary to popular opinion, a degree in Psychology does not teach you to be a therapist of any kind. In fact, undergrad psych students have no clinical placements.

So what do you need to really need to be a fully-fledged psychologist?

Well, a Masters degree will give you the qualifications necessary to teach psychology at a secondary or tertiary level and you’ll have the option to follow a career in one of the allied fields, like social work or counselling, but it won’t enable you to have a career as a psychologist. No, that one’ll require a PhD.

So, what does an undergraduate degree in psychology teach me?

What psychology students do study is how people learn, think, perceive and interact with the world around them – through reading up on psychological research and experiments.

During your degree you will spend a lot of time analysing, comparing and contrasting studies and their hypotheses, and later on, you get to devise and evaluate your own studies. You’ll also study Freud more times that you thought possible. But he was important, so we’ll let that slide.

Psychology is essentially a foundation, reading-and-research-based degree, and as such, it gives you solid research, writing and analytical skills – along with a great understanding of human thought processes and behaviour.

What it doesn’t do.

Make you directly job-ready (if you want to be a practising psychologist, that is).

A psychology-focused career not on the cards? The skills and knowledge you gain can translate into lots of other areas, particularly those with a people-focus.

If you’re looking to hit the workforce fresh out of a psychology degree, you could move into research roles, graduate programs, marketing positions or (often) social service agencies, working with at-risk youth, children in care, or the homeless.

Sound like you? Find the course you need. 

What do you actually learn studying psychology?
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