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Psychology - Overview
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What is psychology?

Psychology, the study of mind, brain, and behaviour, is one of today's most exciting and rapidly advancing scientific frontiers. Psychology majors develop an understanding of human action and experience that takes into account both individual and social perspectives. A broad range of topics are covered, including:

  • neural mechanisms of the mind and behaviour
  • memory, attention, and decision-making
  • development of cognitive and social skills in infancy and childhood
  • motivation, personality, and emotion-regulation
  • diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety)
  • close relationships and intergroup processes
  • communication and persuasion
  • cultural psychology
  • leadership and workplace satisfaction

Distinctive skills

Psychology students learn the latest information about human thought, emotion, and behaviour and acquire distinctive skills in observation, critical thinking, quantitative analysis, computation, and oral and written communication. This background is not only helpful in everyday life but also valuable in many workplaces where employees are expected to offer insight into human thought and behaviour, clarify problems, and collect and analyze data. Students can choose to what extent they develop these core skills and knowledge by choosing the appropriate academic plan or specialization.

Career options with graduate-level training in psychology

For those who pursue graduate level training (i.e., Masters or Doctoral level) in psychology, career options include (but are not limited to):

  • professors/researchers at universities
  • research scientists working for the government or private industries
  • product designers and marketing researchers
  • clinicians providing services for individuals, groups, or families
  • psychometricians who design and administer psychological tests
  • health psychologists who develop health promotion and illness prevention programs
  • industrial/organizational psychologists employed as researchers, consultants, and/or human resources managers
  • senior administrators

Recommended coursework to prepare for graduate/professional studies

Students following the Honours Psychology Bachelor of Arts (BA) plan requirements have the option of completing a Research Intensive Specialization. This specialization is designed for students who intend to pursue graduate studies in psychology or related fields and careers that require advanced research skills. Students are advised that if they follow the Honours Psychology BA plan requirements they will also need to complete the Research Intensive Specialization to have the coursework necessary for admission to most graduate psychology programs. Completion of an Honours Thesis is also strongly recommended for anyone intending to pursue graduate/professional studies. Refer to the Applying to graduate studies in psychology section on the Psychology undergraduate website for more information.


Those whose only or first major is Honours Psychology Bachelor of Science (BSc) cannot enrol in the Research Intensive Specialization because all of the relevant courses are already built into the requirements for that plan.

Training in applied fields

Many students build on their undergraduate psychology degree by furthering their education in applied areas other than psychology before entering the work force. These areas include disciplines such as:

  • education
  • social work
  • marriage and family therapy
  • speech language pathology and audiology
  • medicine
  • occupational therapy
  • law
  • business
  • human resources management
  • criminology

Refer to the Other programs of interest to future psychology alumni section on the Psychology undergraduate website for more information about career training opportunities that might be pursued after obtaining a Bachelor's degree in psychology.

Psychology departmental co-op

Honours Psychology Co-op students (BA or BSc) gain beneficial work experience, perform a wide variety of tasks in numerous sectors, and are valued by their co-op employers and mentors. Students enrolled in co-op will have opportunities to practice skills learned in psychology courses and develop new marketable skills. Refer to the Psychology Co-op section on the Psychology undergraduate website for information regarding Psychology departmental co-op.

Please refer to the Psychology undergraduate website for further details.


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