Bachelor of Science (BS): Psychology Degree Overview

Oct 09, 2019

A B.S. in Psychology program teaches students about the brain, human behavior and social interactions. Learn about some of the entry-level career and continuing education options available to students who earn one of these degrees.

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Essential Information

In some Bachelor of Science in Psychology programs, students can focus their studies in a sub-field of psychology, such as mental health, forensic psychology or developmental psychology. Additionally, students may participate in research, practica 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.

Prerequisites for a B.S. in Psychology program include a high school diploma or GED. Applicants may also need to submit an activity resume or essay.

Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts 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. B.A. programs offer foundational knowledge in analytical reasoning, cognition and emotion. Both degrees require statistics. Students will receive an understanding of the ethics of psychology, especially in relation to clients and research participants. Many students 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. 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. In order to qualify for jobs as professional psychologists, however, graduates will need to obtain further education and degrees.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatric aides earned a median annual salary of $29,180 as of May 2018 ( The number of employed psychiatric aides was projected to rise by 11%, much faster than average, between 2018 to 2028. Psychiatric aides held 61,600 positions in 2018.

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.

A four-year Bachelor of Science in Psychology program can prepare you to earn advanced degrees in psychology or qualify you for a position as a psychiatric aide, among other entry-level options, through coursework and research on the brain, human behavior and developmental psychology.

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