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Should I major in psychology?

Should I major in psychology?

should you major in psychology is a
psychology degree worth it or is it useless what can you do with a
psychology degree and can you find a job with it I’m gonna answer all of these
questions in this video and help you decide if a psychology undergraduate
degree is the right fit for you hi I’m clinical psychologist Dr. Ali
Mattu I was a psychology major at UCLA then I got a PhD in clinical psychology
and eventually became an assistant professor at Columbia University I’ve
mentored a lot of undergraduate university students some into pursuing
psychology as a major and some out of pursuing psychologist major I’m gonna
help you figure out what path is right for you in this video but before I get
to that I need to share my origin story with you the year is 2001 I almost
flunked out of high school I got rejected from every college I applied to
so I came here to De Anza Community College and the very first class I have
on my very first day of my first semester is introductory psychology I
actually take it right over here in Forum 1 the classroom right here
professor Wendell Gosling taught this class and I remember I sat all the way
in the back because I thought this class would be total BS actually let me see
it’s actually open and oh my gosh this is it this was my classroom i sat I sat
in the back right over here and then as the semester went on I went closer and
closer all the way to the front of the class I was hooked and I wanted to take
every single psychology class I possibly could each class I took completely
changed the way I saw everything around me gave me felt like it gave me the
superpower like I saw relationships and my own thoughts and situations
completely differently and it was answering all these questions are I always had
about humanity and our species and why we do the things we do comment below if
this is anything like your story at all or why you discovered psychology and
love psychology this is why I think psychology is such a popular major it’s
because the more you study it the better you understand yourself the better you
understand the relationships in your life the situation’s you’re in and I had
no clue what I was going to do with this major but what I knew is for the I was
having a ton of fun taking his classes I was learning a lot for the first time in
my life I was a good student and I’d figure out the career opportunities job
prospects I’ll figure that all that stuff out later I need to interrupt
right here because that is a big problem in psychology a lot of psychology majors
make the decision to major in psychology based upon their early psychology
classes but early psychology classes are very seductive they’re like the best
hits of psychology and these classes are actually a lot easier than the classes
you would have later on in the major why is that? it’s because psychology is so
popular interest psych courses are huge moneymakers for universities they’re
filled with 50 80 100 sometimes 150 sometimes way more than that students
and as a professor when I have taught those classes all I can really do is
have big multiple choice exams and maybe a little bit of an essay you don’t
really go that in-depth I can’t do that thorough of assessment of my students
understanding of the material and the material is also very surface level in
those early classes again it’s like the best hits of psychology the real reality
of being a psychology major doesn’t hit you until much later that’s when you
have to take the harder classes you might have to take a bio psychological
class statistics in psychology and that’s also when you’ll probably get
real exposure to career opportunities in psychology’s so let me let’s go outside
I’m gonna I’m gonna give you the reality I want you to imagine that this bicycle
wheel is a psychology major and right at the core of it is psychology the
scientific study of thoughts feelings and behavior everything goes around
psychology but psychology is very diverse you actually are studying a
little bit of many subfields within psychology stuff like cognitive
psychology which is all about thoughts and memories and how we process
information biological psychology which connects biology and psychology together
understanding the nervous system and how it works developmental psychology which
is about how do we change as we get older social psychology which is all
about how social contexts influence what we think and how we act
then there’s clinical psychology which looks more at what happens when things
go wrong and people start to experience problems in their functioning and how do
we treat those problems I should have kind of put these around more but this
is basically psychology and when you’re majoring in psychology you get a little
bit of all of these there’s a lot more subfields I didn’t include them all but
what unites these things together what unites psychology is theory you learn
the biggest ideas in psychology you learn science how is the scientific method
applied in psychology along with that comes ethics you learn a lot about shady psychological
experiments that were done and how we now aspire to do these experiments in
an ethical way along with that comes critical thinking skills being
able to look at research and evaluate what part of it makes sense what part of
it doesn’t what’s correlation what’s causation it helps you to be able to
think through all these things and you also learn the critical skill of
communication learning how to communicate your thoughts in a written
form in a social form through teamwork and then also through a written
teamwork I guess orally into through presenting
and all this is psychology and a psych major will develop these these skills
and this is what makes psychology a liberal arts degree because you’re
learning basic skills that you can use to apply to a lot of different things
this is also what makes psychology good training for going into further study in
psychology a pre-professional psychology major because you can go into any of
these subfields after you’ve majored in psychology but psychology is also a hub
science what that means is psychology is connected to many other different
sciences and other fields so people in other fields often cite psychological
research in their work some of those fields include marketing and business
artificial oh no there goes science no science is a core we need science in
psychology artificial intelligence and sociology my model’s breaking apart
public health neuroscience maybe that science dropping is symbolic of the
replication crisis in psychology but that’s a whole nother video
psychiatry education nursing anthropology and now
we lost cognitive psychology psychology is a hub science it’s connected to many
other fields it’s one of seven hub sciences that have been identified and
so it’s like this is what makes psychology good for individuals who want
to go into other fields but here’s the problem with psychology it’s both
liberal arts and a science but there’s no clear direction to psychology
majoring in psychology is not a road that leads you to one destination
majoring in psychology it’s it’s a wheel that brings lots of different
information together but you will never become an expert in any one of these
things by majoring in psychology you will get exposure to lots of different
things and what will unite it is that understanding of science ethics theory
communication critical thinking those are the things that you are gonna gain
from majoring in psychology alright my models falling apart and it’s getting
pretty cold so let’s go back inside let’s get back to that original question
should you major in psychology well there’s a few different types of
students who major in psychology and let’s go through each of those different
categories the first category is someone who knows they need graduate training in
psychology to do the thing that they want to do these are usually scientists
people who want to become scientists or people who want to become some type of
mental health practitioner so if you’re in that category and you know you’re
gonna have to go to graduate school awesome major in psychology watch this
video right here for all my tips on how to major in psychology and make the most
of the time that you have in that major and as soon as possible start getting
experience in a lab where you’re getting hands-on research experience start
getting clinical experience by working in a hospital or volunteering
for some type of psychology clinic get training doing a suicide hotline those
kind of experiences and yeah major in psychology awesome do it the second
category is someone who knows that they’re gonna get more education after a
bachelor’s degree but it might not necessarily be in a psychology field so
these tend to be pre professional students people who want to go into
dentistry people who want to go into law people who want to become physicians go
to med school if you’re in this category psychology can be an awesome degree to
pursue number one if you love it and enjoy it you’re probably gonna get a
good GPA and that’s going to increase your chances of getting into one of
those professional schools number two you’re gonna have to do pre-law
pre-dentistry pre-med classes anyways and it kind of doesn’t matter what you
major in yeah in some situations certain majors might be easier for you if you
also have to do that pre pre-med pre-dentistry pre-law coursework but
pursue whatever it is that you’re interested in do those requirements and
move forward and take those exams that you have to take if you want to go into
one of those fields that’s connected to psychology in that hub diagram I showed
you earlier then psychology could be a good degree to pursue more likely it’s
probably gonna be a better double major to pursue it kind of depends on how much
training how much education you need it in those other fields so you want to
talk to advisors in those other fields and find out what you need how much
training what kind of experiences you need to get the type of jobs you want in
those fields and then think if psychology is a good primary major or
maybe a secondary major a double major to pursue for that career path but if
you’re watching this video you probably don’t fall into any of the categories
I’ve already outlined because psychology is a no brainer in these situations it’s
the clear major you should pursue if you’re watching this video you probably
want to be done with school when you graduate with your undergraduate degree you
are interested in psychology but you don’t know what the career opportunities
are if you graduate with that degree so let’s figure that out the first thing
you need to know is unemployment rates for psychology majors are about the same
as majors in other liberal arts degrees and also in other sciences so there’s
nothing unique about psychology that makes you more or less competitive in
the workforce what then separates people who are
successful psychology majors versus those who really struggle to find a job
here’s the secret getting real-world experience right now when you are in
college that gives you an opportunity to practice and apply and sell your
psychological knowledge some of my students have interned in journalism in
advertising artificial intelligence user interface and design and through these
different experiences they’re able to learn is this a career path I’m
interested in what does it take to succeed in this career path and how do I
apply psychology to this different environment if you don’t want to do that
if you don’t want to do a lot of trial and error while you’re in college and
get mentorship from different people to figure out is this a career path for me
then psychology is the wrong major for you because there’s no clear next step
after you graduate for a job in psychology it’s both a liberal arts
degree as well as a pre professional degree but there’s no clear path forward
it’s this weird hub that’s connected to lots of different things if you want
that don’t major in psychology or make psychology your second major
instead pursue something where there is a very clear-cut next path but if you’re
okay with that if you’re okay with pursuing psychology trying out different
things while you’re still in college then psychology can be awesome and we
need so many more people who have a firm foundation in psychological science
being ambassadors for psychology in a wide variety of fields I
want to encourage you to do that I also want you to be realistic and know what
it takes to succeed if you decided to major in psychology definitely pick up a
copy of the psychology major’s companion and watch my video on tips for majoring
in psychology got links to both of those in the description below and I want to
hear from you what questions do you have about majoring in psychology let me know
in the comments below if you want to join our mighty psyche community go
ahead and hit that subscribe button I make videos about psychology and mental
health you’re gonna find career stuff you’re gonna find reactions lots of
different fun stuff so definitely check out the channel and thank you to Pedro
for providing the comment of the week

35 thoughts on “Should I major in psychology?

  1. Timestamps:
    0:52 – Why I became a psychology major
    2:57 – The problem with majoring in psychology
    4:32 – What you get and donโ€™t get out of a psychology major
    10:09 – Advice for students who want to get advanced degrees in mental health or psychological science
    11:04 – Advice for students who want to go into professional schools (e.g. medical school, dentistry, law school)
    12:10 – Advice for people who want to go into a field related to psychology
    12:59 – Advice for people who want to start a career after graduating from undergraduate college
    15:28 – Book recommendation for psychology majors

  2. What are your thoughts on io psychology? Im graduating with my aa in psychology and im going to get my bachelors but im stuck between clinical and io

  3. I am trying to find a course where I can do psychology and music together. Psychology is the subject closest to what I ever actually could picture myself doing in a job setting. Except for music ofcourse. I'm Indian so my parents don't support me pursuing music directly. However I've been doing music on my own without exact classes for a long time now. I'm now 18 so I will try and take vocal classes while I already compose. I did psychology in my school for two years in my school and all the fields you have mentioned were studied by me while I was able to actually try psychological tests on different people and did vocational studies as well.

    The only thing Is I'm not flunking but I guess it took me a while of getting a grasp on the difficult marking and Hella lot to learn material.

  4. These videos help me so much while I'm majoring in psychology. Could you do one about your experience doing the PhD please

  5. Thanks for the reassurance! Iโ€™m in my undergrad and want to pursue graduate studies. These videos are always a good reminder that Iโ€™m heading in the right direction.๐Ÿ‘

  6. As someone who was not a psychology major but is now in an accredited doctoral program, Dr. Mattu provides me a lot of information I wish I knew about what the study of psychology is. As someone who is now essentially a clinical psych โ€œmajorโ€ Iโ€™ve done a reasonable amount of reading on psychology topics not strictly related to my curriculum which demonstrates the value of getting the โ€œbicycle wheel effectโ€ Dr. Ali describes.

  7. I'm an engineer, and the further I get into my career (35 years and counting), the more I wish I had taken more Liberal Arts and Psych classes. They would have greatly accelerated my learning the "soft skills" I so badly needed. I didn't fail to see the need: I knew that early on. It was fulfilling the need that was so difficult for me. The School of Hard Knocks is a cruel teacher.

    I did take a year sequence of Philosophy, which literally changed the way I thought, and the way I thought about thinking. But that used up my electives, and I was already on the 5-year plan due to holding a job through college (and I graduated debt-free with money in the bank). I was seriously considering the 6-year plan, to get a MS and to take more liberal arts, but the job market sung me a sweet song, and I went to that dance instead.

    About 1/4 of my reading list is psych-related, either directly through research papers (many ground-breaking papers are totally accessible to a lay audience, and some read like adventure stories that exude the joy of discovery) or less directly through niche application-oriented books targeting things like business culture or ethics or workplace dynamics. The other 3/4 of my reading list is SciFi, which is either psychology "What If?", or Space Opera, or both! (I'm a Trekkie: "Redshirts" and "Trekonomics" each rock.)

  8. Great video! I wish this video had existed back when I was juggling my college major choices. Alas, I am in that place you mentioned where I am enrolled in Psych major and confused as to what next step I should take because there is no clear career road.

    I have a question, can I still pursue Social Psychology as a graduate degree and career while being someone that doesn't necessarily like to interact with another human too often? I'm considering going to Health but the only Health Psych graduate course in my city is also accompanied with Social Psychology.

  9. you are such an amazing, thank very much you helped me a lot keep going bro, I can't explain how great are you. this what i need!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I am a Commerce Graduate but I want to pursue Psychology. Is it a good idea? Should I do some diploma like course in Psychology first or just jump into M.A(Psychology)? Or just talk to a Career Counsellor?

  11. Hello Dr. Ali, this is such a great video. Content like this needs to be created more and more.
    I am currently on a career change path to psychology. Have my undergrad in Law.
    Could you please make a video for people who are choosing to change their careers to Psychology and what are the opportunities open for them, difficulties they'll need to face, etc.
    This would be great help. I know so many who are on the same path as me and would want to know about this as well. Thank you for always creating good content. Big fan!

  12. i'm currently taking a gap year off of college, and this video is helping a lot on deciding if i do want to continue studying psych as my main course set. so i cannot thank you enough for this!

  13. Its so relaxing to watch your videos and at the same time it is also motivating (atleat for my current situation), so thank you to portray information in a not so formal but fun way!

  14. I'm completely sure about taking psych as a major and make a career out of it can you explain in detail what exactly you mean by trying many internships like internships in all fields or job options that a psychology major has or?

  15. Hi thank you so much for this video I've learned so much.. Btw I'm a 2nd year BS Psychology studentโค๏ธ

  16. 1:56 That's exactly how I felt when I stumbled upon cognitive biases on Wikipedia a few years ago. Every one of them was an "aha!" moment.
    They opened my eyes in so many ways. It was like acquiring X-ray vision for spotting manipulation techniques and bogus arguments in social or political conversations.

  17. That's the same reason I started to love psychology. I had to take a psychology class at the Art Institute of Charlotte in 2012. I wasnt happy about it. But after a few classes, I was HOOKED. Like you, I've always wondered why we do and think the way we do, why I have bad memory, why I'm an introvert, why I have anxiety/social anxiety, NLP, etc… and learning more about psychology exposed Alot of this (for personal, not career).

    I'm transitioning to become a Peer Support Specialist in the mental health field, & Alot of psychology is needed there.
    Anyways, thanks so much for taking the time to make & post this ๐Ÿ’›

  18. Can you please make a in depth video on forensic psychology and the whole road to being one. I'm currently a high school senior who currently has applied to schools with criminal justice major and other with psychology. I want to work for the FBI either as a special agent, forensics or counterterrorism division. However I've had this huge thought as the date gets closer and closer for commitment to a college. I've heard from other people on YouTube that a criminal justice degree won't guarantee a job with the FBI plus I heard it's a common major. However I'm taking AP psychology right now in high school and I'm fascinated with the subject. I know that with a psychology degree I will most likely have a better chance to find a job and not a CJ degree.

  19. Got my B.A. in psychology and am working in a skilled nursing facility as a Physical Therapist Aide until I can go back to grad school to get MFT. Psych 101 was my first class (9 a.m.) at a community college as well. Although at that point I didn't know I'd choose it as a life purpose and career path.

  20. Great video as always Dr Ali just a quick question Iโ€™m currently in my 2nd year of my psychology degree and sometimes I feel like I am memorising psychology facts rather than understanding them any tips on that?

  21. You know, I have been wondering where to say this…it seems right to say it here and now. I'm in my 50s, I am going to be dying soon. I wanted to give a farewell commentary about psychology, which I have loved all my life. I started reading Freud when I was just 14, completed a bachelor's degree and then life happened. I suffered from panic attacks and then as I was recovering, my father got a series of strokes. I gave up future study to become a carer for the next 30 years. I recently lost my mother to cancer. I'm three subjects away from completing a grad dip so I could go on to do a PhD in experimental psych. It is not meant to be I guess. I wanted to study so many things. I'm interested in comparative theories between cultures and how they see and treat mental issues. Dissociation, trances, etc, and brain connection. Spirituality and psychology. Comparing the different types of treatment modalities in psychology. Etc. Anyway, it's not going to happen, I am going to need to leave it to others to find the answers. My only piece of advice to upcoming students, question everything, including your teachers because they have their own personal biases…read what they suggest and then read those who disagree with them. The only other piece of advice, study because you love it. Yeah, it may get you jobs and money, but if you hate it, you won't survive it…always do what you love. Wish you all the best and more luck than I have had in life.

  22. I'm currently finishing up a computer science and psychology combined degree so I completely get the combine psych with something idea. Essentially I started with a compsci degree and later added on a psychology degree too it since I wanted to take a bunch of psych options that were restricted to psychology or neuroscience majors and of the 2 psychology seemed like the easier degree to both get into and do alongside computer science.

    As for what got me into psych, it was a combination of taking high school psych options, a general interest into neuroscience and my own behavior, and having taken a second year psych course titled brain and behavior and taught by one of the best profs I've had so far. Although to take that second year neuroscience course I had to take intro to psych at university which I didn't really care about too much so I'm not sure what you meant by earlier courses being the more interesting/enjoyable ones. As a consequence of that I also tend to do better in higher level courses than in intro ones since not only do I care more about the material but I also absolutely despise multiple guess exams and prefer written formats which are usually what higher level (and smaller) classes use.

  23. The undergrad degree is worthless. Its so easy, intro courses or not. I got a degree from ivy league, but i had a second major for getting a good job

  24. I am 25 yo from india i am trying to figure out where should i start my 2nd major for psychology from stay here in india or start my major in other country.

  25. Great video! I majored in psychology. But then "life" happened. I had to move out, and keep a roof over my head. I lost my sis, dad, and my mom went through heart surgery at all diff times. These life events gave me a big "break" from education. I really want to get my Masters. Now I'm older (29), working full time etc. Is that break in education ok to try to pursue my Masters degree ? I love so many topics and fields of psychology, I'm still trying to figure out how to narrow down a master's degree. Thank you for the info!

  26. The message seems to be that psychology studies may make you scientifically minded and well-rounded, but will not let you make you an authority on a subject. I think this is not so much an issue when you are 18, but as you get older, expertise is much more important. I would suggest exploring liberal arts and humanities to become a well-rounded person, but then actually find a marketable skill that scratches that โ€expertise itchโ€. Using it as a base for graduate studies in a professional field sounds swell.

  27. I think a lot of people fall in love with psych when in their first year of college. Which honestly makes a lot of sense. Most college students are 18-22, putting them in between Erikson's "Identity vs Confusion" and "Intimacy vs Isolation" stages. Which basically means your figuring out who you are as a person, and then taking that and trying to see how it relates with another person. Which can both be pretty weird and uncomfortable stages to go through, and a lot of it is not fully conscious. Psychology makes all that make at least a little bit of sense, because our minds, much like the rest of the world is constantly trying to find homeostasis.

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