Bachelor of Science (BS): Psychology Degree Overview
A Bachelor of Science in Psychology program provides students with general education in theoretical perspectives related to the field; it does not offer professional training. Students who obtain a B.S. degree in psychology may work in mental health facilities, government or business, but they will not be qualified for jobs as professional psychologists without further education.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Undergraduate psychology programs are generally designed to teach students about the brain, human behavior and social interactions through scientific approaches. Many schools offer both Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) programs in psychology; B.S. programs often include more coursework and labs related to math and science, such as neurobiological processes and the mechanics of the brain. Some B.S. in Psychology programs allow students to focus their studies in a subfield of psychology, such as mental health, forensic psychology or developmental psychology. Students can acquire an understanding about the ethics of psychology, especially in regard to interacting with clients.
Throughout this program, students may participate in research, practicum or clinical hours, as well as independent studies or capstone projects related to an area of interest, such as human behavior or development. Students may also have the opportunity to become members of Psi Chi (the National Honor Society in Psychology) or student chapters of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.
Students applying to a bachelor's degree program need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Some colleges may also ask applicants to submit an activity resume or an essay.
Bachelor of Science in Psychology programs offer students foundational knowledge in analytical reasoning, cognition, statistics and subfields of psychology. Furthermore, students can improve their skills in technical writing, critical thinking and research. Students may encounter course topics such as:
- Abnormal psychology
- Clinical psychology
- Aging and adulthood
- Social development and psychology
- Personality theories
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Students who complete a B.S. in Psychology may pursue entry-level positions in psychology-related careers. Individuals may find work in mental health facilities, halfway houses, crisis center hospitals, detention centers or psychiatric hospitals. Some graduates may find positions as psychiatric assistants, assistant directors or administrators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatric aides earned an average salary of $26,680 in May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The career outlook for these workers was projected to rise by 15% from 2010 to 2020, per the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Students who want to become professional psychologists must enter a graduate program in psychology, usually a Doctor of Psychology or a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology. At the graduate level, students can focus their studies on one specific area, such as clinical psychology, developmental psychology or health psychology. Some graduate programs offer a dual program that combine the Doctor of Philosophy program with a master's degree in a different field, such as public policy. Psychologists who plan to work with clients are also required to earn state licensure, according to the BLS.
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