The field of psychology can be split into two major areas of study. One is counseling or clinical psychology, which focuses on helping individuals who are experiencing problems, and the other is research or experimental psychology, which focuses on learning more about human behavior in general by conducting psychological research studies. As in most universities, the Psychology major at Sacred Heart focuses on research psychology rather than counseling psychology. The required courses include Statistics, Research Design and Analysis, Experimental Psychology, and Physiological Psychology. Courses that focus on counseling psychology such as Counseling I, Counseling II, Personality, Abnormal Psychology, Introduction to Clinical Psychology, etc. may be taken as electives, but are not a required part of the major. Students who are more interested in counseling than in research might want to consider a Social Work major, which focuses more on clinical training.
If you are interested in doing research on brain development and function, animal behavior, child development, interpersonal communication, marketing, or any other Psychology-related field, the Psychology degree at Sacred Heart will give you excellent preparation for the future. As you can see from the description below, our program gives students a solid foundation in research design and experimental psychology, focusing on how to study behavior using scientific methods. If you want to do research in a hospital or university setting, you will most likely have to go on and get an advanced degree (Master's or doctorate) in order to do so. However, if you are more interested in working in a corporate setting, our degree prepares you well to work for a career in marketing research or other applied settings.
Career Opportunities in Psychology
Most careers in psychology require graduate preparation at the master's or doctoral level. In order to be a "psychologist" who can treat patients or clients, you must obtain a doctoral degree (a Ph.D., a PsyD, or perhaps an EdD) in psychology. In most states, even individuals with a master's degree in clinical psychology are not eligible for licensure by the state. Furthermore, admission to doctoral programs in clinical psychology is extremely competitive (in many cases, it can be more difficult than gaining admission to medical school). Fortunately, there are many other types of graduate programs in psychology and in other related fields, including both master's and doctoral programs, that prepare students for a wide range of careers in the helping professions, including, for example, school psychology, social work, occupational therapy, guidance counseling, and behavioral science research.
A bachelor's degree in Psychology provides students with broad preparation for lifelong learning. The Psychology major helps to develop students' skills in oral and written communication, critical thinking, information gathering and synthesis, and interpersonal communication. It is excellent preparation for a wide range of careers, including marketing research, human resources, child care, substance abuse counseling, employment counseling, and public relations.