Undergraduate psychology programs are largely introductory, especially during the first two years, and focus on foundational psychological theories and concepts. Through lab work, traditional classes, seminars and research experience, students explore subjects such as personality and emotion, social behavior and cognition. They also learn to perform psychological assessments. Some programs require students to complete an internship prior to graduation.
In order to apply to one of these four-year programs, prospective students must have a high school diploma, GED or associate's degree. In some programs, students are required to have a C+ or better in three or more psychology courses to be allowed to declare a psychology major.
Bachelor's Degree in General Psychology
Psychology programs at this level may be offered as a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS). In these programs, students develop the critical thinking skills necessary to solve problems, the ability to assess empirical tests, and an understanding of psychological research procedures. Common courses include the following:
- Social psychology
- Research methods
- Behavioral psychology
Popular Career Options
To become a psychologist, therapist or counselor, an individual must hold a graduate degree. However, some career options are available with a bachelor's degree including the following:
- Social worker
- Survey researcher
- Research analyst
- Business manager
Continuing Education Information
If students are interested in research or clinical work, they should consider earning an advanced degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a doctoral degree--either a Ph.D. or a Psy.D.--is required for licensure. Some jobs, such as school counselor, only demand a master's degree.
Over the course of a BA or BS program in general psychology, students receive a comprehensive introduction to the theories and methods of the field. They can choose to pursue entry-level employment or enroll in graduate-level programs that prepare them for advanced research or clinical practice.