our everyday life

Kinds of Undergraduate Degrees in Psychology

by John Huddle

According to the American Psychological Association, in 2008, psychology was the second most popular undergraduate field of study. Undergraduate training in psychology yields important skills in problem solving, enhances writing skills, and improves high level reasoning abilities. An undergraduate degree in psychology is unlikely to result in a job in the field. However, the skills learned while obtaining the degree are valuable and in demand.

Guidelines

An undergraduate degree in psychology has value if the coursework meets quality performance expectations. The APA established guidelines for undergraduate psychology majors to ensure quality. Not all undergraduate degrees in psychology originate from the psychology department, so it is important to have standards. These guidelines address knowledge, skills and values applicable to the science of psychology, such as research and critical thinking skills.

Coursework

Often, undergraduate psychology programs include courses in introductory psychology, statistics and basic research methods. There may be opportunities to take additional courses, such as in personality, learning, abnormality and developmental psychology. Pursuing an undergraduate degree might not require declaring a major in psychology. However, many graduate programs in psychology require at least 18 credits of basic psychology coursework. About 25 percent of all graduates continue to a graduate degree in psychology.

Degrees

Bachelor's degrees are either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. According to the APA, there is little difference between the degrees in respect to psychology. What is important is to take the courses that allow you to continue on to graduate school if that is your choice or to maximize other career expectations. Associate degrees are more limited. Some allow transfer of credit while others are a terminal degree.

Associate Programs

Associate degree programs are also limited. Coffeyville Community College offers a degree in psychology-counseling for transfer to a four year program. Itasca Community College provides a degree in applied psychology – human services. Most programs range from a degree in psychology, such as at the Community College of Philadelphia, or in applied psychology at Florida Tech University.

Bachelor's Programs

Programs at the bachelor's level vary. The University of Chicago provides a broad program allowing the student to pursue graduate work or a career in areas like social work or medicine. Stanford University allows the student to design curricula for a range of interests from business to clinical psychology. Duke University lists majors in psychology or neuroscience. The University of North Florida offers degrees in child psychology. The University of California, Santa Barbara provides a degree in biopsychology. Sacramento State University offers a psychology degree with wide emphasis, including industrial - organizational and applied behavioral analysis. Judson University provides a criminal justice concentration. The University of Detroit Mercy offers a developmental psychology major. Azusa Pacific University provides a degree with a concentration in one of eight areas, like sports psychology. Regent University offers the psychology degree with an emphasis on substance abuse treatment. Naropa University provides a degree in contemplative psychology. Select the program depending on your career choice.

About the Author

John Huddle is an Army veteran with enlisted service as general hospital staff and hospital chaplain's assistant. His career also included stints as a teacher, adjunct faculty, administrator and school psychologist. Twice, Dr. Huddle was a major party nominee for state office. He also served as a director on several nonprofit boards. Today he enjoys consulting and lobbying for underdog causes.

Photo Credits

  • Chad Baker/Photodisc/Getty Images