An Overview of Classes & Internships for Psychology Majors
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by two psychology majors, Elysia and Kristen, in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
Are you interested in studying psychology? The study of the human mind and behavior can intrigue a lot of people, but you might not be entirely sure what studying this subject involves. In this article, you’ll learn about different psychology course options as well as the types of internship and work opportunities available to psych majors.
Internships and Work Opportunities
Psychology is a very broad field, and majors often have different career goals. If you’re trying to do research, many universities provide internships to their students. They’ll often send these opportunities via email. Sometimes, you’ll be able to coordinate work with different colleges too.
Undergraduate research typically involves working with graduate students or professors as research assistants or helping out with whatever project needs more hands. These are the most common opportunities provided to psychology majors, although private companies will sometimes reach out to students with potential work.
Students interested in becoming clinical psychologists often commit to social work programs. These can take the form of paid positions or volunteer work, both of which prepare them for their later practice. Psych majors are also great candidates for work in education. They can work with children in a school. Because of their academic background, they’re able to navigate working with all types of young students.
The role you pursue will depend on your personal interests. Do you want to do research? Do you want to go the clinical route and train as a psychologist who works with other people? If you’re not quite sure, there are “shadow programs” open to psychology majors where you can shadow someone who pursued a career in psychology or majored in the subject and get direct insight into their career path.
Classes and Curriculum Requirements
Psychology majors often have required foundational classes. They vary depending on the college, but most schools require a course on research methods. After completing these mandatory classes, you’ll be free to focus on the subjects you find most interesting.
You can take a class on abnormal psychology, a topic that a lot of students find very compelling. Cognitive psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology are other options. Some schools provide a class that covers psychology and law, and an attorney might provide some of the education. If you’re interested in becoming a lawyer, this class might appeal to you—you would review different cases and how psychology intersects with each one, as well as how the law would function in these situations.
Psychology classes aren’t known for being very difficult, but they do require a lot of studying. You have to take in a lot of information, and breadth of knowledge is important.
Some colleges like Bates College allow students to gain real-world experience while enrolled in a class. At Bates, this program is called Purposeful Work; through it, you can attend guest lectures or do work off campus to see how the content you’re studying relates to the real world. For example, in a class like developmental psychology, you might visit a daycare and interact with young children. The material you’re studying will come to life in front of you!
Although many colleges don’t require one, you’ll probably have the option to do a senior thesis. This capstone project will let you do your own independent research. By completing this kind of work, you’ll be able to gain more advanced knowledge of what it means to conduct research and finish a large project. This will help prepare you for whatever you take on next.