Bachelor of Science (BS): Psychology Degree Overview

Bachelor's degree programs in psychology are generally designed to teach secondary school graduates about the brain, human behavior and social interactions through scientific approaches. Some Bachelor of Science in Psychology programs allow students to focus their studies in a sub-field of psychology, such as mental health, forensic psychology or developmental psychology.

Essential Information

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.

  • Program Level in Psychology: Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent; activity resume or essay may be required
  • Program Specializations: Options may include mental health, forensic psychology, or developmental psychology

Bachelor's Degree in Psychology

Many schools feature 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 neuro-biological processes and the mechanics of the brain. The latter program offers foundational knowledge in analytical reasoning, cognition and statistics. Students could acquire an understanding of the ethics of psychology, especially with regard to interacting with clients. Furthermore, they might 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 obtain a B.S. degree in psychology may pursue entry-level positions in mental health facilities, government or business, but they will not be qualified for jobs as professional psychologists without further education. Some graduates may seek positions as psychiatric assistants, assistant directors or administrators. Opportunities might exist in mental health facilities, halfway houses, crisis center hospitals, detention centers or psychiatric hospitals.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatric aides earned median annual salary of $26,220 in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The number of employed psychiatric aides was projected to rise by 6% from 2012 to 2022, 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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