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Why Study Psychology?

What makes people tick? Why do some people behave the way they do?  Why do different things affect your mood and confidence?

If you've ever spent time thinking about these puzzles, psychology might be for you. Psychologists could hold the answers. And if they don’t yet, you can be sure they are looking for them.

What is psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. Psychologists observe and conduct experiments to find out more about the way people act and interact. They try to understand what motivates, challenges or changes us and use this understanding to help us tackle personal and social problems.

Psychologists can work in social care, mental health, education, business, research and sports.

What skills will I get from studying psychology?

If you study psychology you’ll be able to hone your analytical and organisational skills and learn about scientific research methods, including collecting and working with data.

Learning about human behaviour can also help to build your communication skills and improve your teamwork and leadership skills.

What careers can I do with psychology?

Psychology is useful for any job that requires lots of interaction or an understanding of human behaviour and development.

People with skills in psychology are sought after in business, management, teaching, research, social work and careers in medicine and healthcare.

We've interviewed a mental health nurse and a digital marketing apprentice who both chose psychology A-levels.

If you are interested in studying the subject at degree and post-graduate level in order to become a psychologist, you can work in a huge range of areas including:

Psychologists have excellent communication and active listening skills
  • Sports – helping athletes to build mental strategies to improve their performance and handle pressure.
  • Education – studying child development and helping children experiencing difficulties with their education.
  • Clinical and counselling – treating people with mental health needs.
  • Forensic - assessing and treating criminal behaviour, which can involve working with offenders and victims of crime.
  • Occupational – aiming to increase the effectiveness of an organisation and improve job satisfaction.
  • Neuropsychology – studying how the physical function of the brain affects the way we behave and helping to treat people suffering from brain injuries.

Learn more about jobs in psychology

What subjects does psychology go with?

Psychology is one of the most popular subject choices at A-level. It gives you experience of scientific theory, maths & research skills, history and essay writing, so it can compliment a range of subjects.

Some universities recommend that, if you study psychology at A-level, you should take it alongside at least one ‘facilitating subject’, like English, history or maths.

Facilitating subjects are the ones that universities most commonly require students to take for a range of degrees and they help students keep their options open when choosing courses.

For example, if you think you would like to study for a science degree at university, you should consider taking maths, chemistry, physics or biology alongside psychology.

What degrees and other qualifications do I need psychology for?

You do not need to study psychology at A-level for any particular degree, even for psychology (though it obviously helps!)

However, psychology is useful for a range of social science, arts and healthcare related degrees including: childhood studies, Media Studies, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Sports Science, Psychology, Sociology, Speech Therapy and Social Work.

Check out this video to see what life as a psychology student is like:

Important: You may need a 6 in maths at GCSE or a 6 in science to take a degree in psychology. A few courses may ask for one A-level from biology, maths or physics or chemistry.

Other subjects in our Why Study? series:

Image credits

Psychologist via Freepik.