Bachelor's Degree in Applied Psychology: Program Summary

Applied psychology bachelor's degree programs teach students psychology ideologies and research tactics. Students learn about applied subfields like health psychology and developmental psychology. They are trained to observe and assess a variety of everyday problems and offer solutions to them. Graduates could work for businesses, medical centers or social institutions.

Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs in applied psychology give students a foundational knowledge of psychology theory and research methods and how they are utilized in real world situations. Some programs focus on social or organizational psychology, while others look at health psychology. It usually takes four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor's degree, and applicants must have high school diplomas or the equivalent. Some programs are only available to students who have previous college experience.

In addition to general education courses required of all bachelor's degree students, students in an applied psychology program take courses in the history of psychology, research methods and statistics. They learn about abnormal and developmental psychology and see how psychology can be used in business, schools and sports. A practicum may be required.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in applied psychology can often work in entry-level positions such as rehabilitation assistants, market research analysts or administrative assistants. Those seeking employment in the field of psychology will probably need a graduate degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Applied Psychology

Applied psychology programs culminate in either a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree. The curricula are similar, but they typically concentrate on different psychology specialties. B.A. programs may emphasize organizational or social psychology while B.S. programs may concentrate more on health psychology. Students applying to a bachelor's degree program must have already earned a high school diploma or equivalent credential.

Students can study topics including thoughts, personalities, emotions, behaviors, beliefs, cognition and spirituality and will be introduced to applied disciplines like positive psychology and school psychology. Some programs offer students the option to specialize in a subfield of psychology, in which case they might take five or six classes related to their concentration.

Students may be trained in designing, carrying out, analyzing and interpreting research on various human relationships, such as those with friends, family, co-workers, organizations, the environment and cultures. They learn through readings, lectures and case studies as well as through hands-on approaches like laboratory experiments, research projects and internships. Students can acquire practical and professional skills such as leadership, organization, effective oral and written communication, presentation, critical thinking, decision-making and creative thinking. Graduates can integrate their research findings and their knowledge of psychological principles to enact social and vocational improvements.

Course Topics

General education courses are a necessary part of the undergraduate coursework. Students will typically need to take courses like psychology theory, research and ethics classes. They may choose other courses that are most relevant to their interests within applied psychology, such as:

  • Social psychology
  • Organizational psychology
  • Psychology of personality
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Child and adolescent psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Gender psychology
  • Psychology of trauma
  • Psychology of addiction

Popular Career Options

Although most psychology careers require advanced education, applied psychology degree holders can find a job that demands skills in organization, clear communication and understanding human behavior. Graduates may be able to find entry-level work in administration, business or social services as:

  • Administrative assistants
  • Rehabilitation assistants
  • Social service workers
  • Consultants
  • Market research analysts

Continuing Education Information

Most career opportunities in psychology are only available to individuals with advanced degrees. Graduates of a bachelor's degree program can apply to post-baccalaureate certificate, master's and doctoral programs in psychology. At the graduate level, students will typically choose a subfield such as community psychology, school psychology or health psychology. Students who earn a doctoral degree can take specialty certification tests, seek diverse careers and set up private practices.

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