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Major Elements of the Undergraduate Psychology Degree

If you have a thirst for knowledge, wonder what makes people tick, and plan for a lifelong learning experience, an undergraduate psychology degree can launch your career.

Psychologists are employed across the wide spectrum of American life. They may work in their own counseling practice, in clinics and government mental health agencies, or might be employed as substance abuse therapists, youth and school counselors, eligibility workers, community outreach professionals, social workers, rehabilitation or vocational counselors, and gerontologists.

A four-year online undergraduate psychology degree program should cover the fundamental building blocks of the profession. Once in the workplace you'll probably augment your learning with years of on-the-job experience, by pursuing advanced-degree studies, and attending professional workshops. Here are some indispensable career skills covered by most comprehensive undergraduate psychology programs:

Research and data-measurement skills
Undergrads are assigned a range of projects that require the use of online libraries, research publications, and statistical software to compile sophisticated data in the discipline. You'll learn how to conduct research and how to report your findings using professional documentation and writing styles. What you learn now applies to a lifetime of research, publishing, and clinical presentations that can advance your career.

Behavioral skills
You'll learn about the general field of psychology, how to examine human behavior, create family histories or personality profiles, to recognize and understand addiction, marriage and family issues, or the environmental, genetic, and biological causes of mental illness.

Psychology history
In the undergraduate program, you'll be exposed to the development of human psychology and psychoanalytic theory as expressed in a variety of genres including history, literature, and science.

Thinking and interpersonal skills
Undergraduate coursework introduces students to written and oral communication, assessments, or diagnostic skills critical to working with others. You may be introduced to ethical considerations in working with individuals, students, and families in a clinical setting.

Look through the online course catalog or speak with a school counselor at your prospective psychology degree program to see if your school offers the fundamental psychology training that's critical for success in the professions.

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