Home Opinion ACT Column Is Psychology a Liberal Arts Major? Maybe Not!

Is Psychology a Liberal Arts Major? Maybe Not!

As soon as they hear psychology, many students will automatically classify it as a liberal arts major. However, many psychology majors would state that psychology is more of a science than liberal arts.

Professional Overview

Psychology is the science that studies the phenomena, consciousness, and behavior of humans. It is both a theoretical and applied subject.

Theoretical psychology is the theoretical and philosophical research of psychology. Neuropsychology, biological psychology and critical psychology are all related to theoretical psychology. Theoretical psychology has its origins in philosophy, and each new branch is based on logic and reason. It was born before empirical or experimental psychology. The American Association for Theoretical Psychology and Philosophical Psychology specializes in the study of theoretical and philosophical topics in psychology, and often holds seminars, lectures, roundtable discussions and other activities at the annual American Psychological Association Congress. Laszlo Garai in Europe also developed theoretical psychology based on the methodology proposed by Kurt Lewin and the theory of Lev Vygowski.

The basic premise of applied psychology is to apply principles and theories to overcome practical problems in fields such as management, product design, human factors, nutrition, law and clinical medicine. Applied psychology includes many fields such as industrial and organizational psychology, forensic psychology, human factors and ergonomics, educational psychology, sports psychology, and community awareness. In addition, some specialized fields of psychology also have branches of applied psychology (eg: applied social psychology, applied cognitive psychology).

The opening of psychology majors in the United States

The psychology major is generally set up in the Department of Psychology under the College of Arts and Sciences. Many educational colleges also offer psychology-related majors.

Some education colleges also have psychology-related majors. These schools include the Teachers College of Columbia University, Cornell University School of Human Ecology, and  Northeastern University School of Health Sciences.

Master’s Degree

The most common types of master’s degrees in psychology are MA, M.S.Ed., M.Ed. (EdM), and MS, and the schooling system is typically 1-2 years.

The psychology departments of the top 50 U.S. universities hardly recruit Masters, only PhDs. Although only PhD degrees are set up, some schools have taken humanistic considerations and can grant MA degrees in the process of obtaining a PhD. Alternatively, most Chinese students apply for a master’s degree in psychology-related branches offered by the Institute of Education.

Employment in the US

Obtaining a master’s degree opens up the job pool vastly in comparison to only obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Although, to become a clinical psychologist, an individual must go on to get a doctoral degree. Graduates with a master’s degree in psychology can work in a variety of fields, including research, clinical therapy, business school systems, law enforcement, and public health agencies.

Songzi Li/Managing Editor


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