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What should I major in? (student at UCLA)

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by FlyingFeatherz, Feb 15, 2012.

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  1. FlyingFeatherz

    FlyingFeatherz

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    Okay so I'm a freshman at UCLA, and I need help with choosing a major!! I know I don't have to declare until the end of my 2nd year, but the sooner I know the better.

    I'm currently a psychobiology major, but I'm hesitating on going for pre-med because I'm not that interested in the field. Right now I'm thinking of switching to either:
    1. "Linguistics and Psychology" major
    OR
    2. "Psychology" major + "Music History" minor

    I think option 1 would be better, since the two fields are interrelated to one another. I could probably get good job opportunities with those. On the other hand, I really like music and have a lot of experience with playing in marching/orchestra band. I don't think option 2 is a good combination though. What do you guys think? I'm in a tough spot and don't know what I want...
  2. Ollie123

    Ollie123

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    Are you planning on going to graduate school?

    If not, I'm doubtful any of those combinations will offer much in the way of job opportunities. Psychology is popular, but its one of the last things I'd recommend as an undergrad major unless someone has a very specific plan (that most commonly involves graduate school). The opportunities for someone with a BA or BS in Psych are simply far, far worse than most other majors.

    If so - what do you see yourself doing for graduate school? Its difficult to offer advice unless you know what you want your next step to be. Think 5-10 years down the road. What kind of job will you have? What kind of salary do you want?
  3. FlyingFeatherz

    FlyingFeatherz

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    Oh I forgot to mention that... I definitely want to do post-grad stuff, and I certainly want a high salary coming out of UCLA undergrad.

    As a psychology undergrad major, what can I do for graduate school? I really don't know where to look to see what I can do.. I know there's law school, but I don't want that and I also don't want to apply for med school. Thanks
  4. wigflip

    wigflip

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    UCLA is a big school with large lecture halls. Use this to your advantage. Try sitting in on some large upper division classes in your intended majors and see what the more advanced curriculum is actually like.

    By the way, the conventional wisdom when I was a psych undergrad was that psych had become a preferred major for future business folks, not sure why...

    Another thing to think about is that if you think that there is any possibility that you may want to teach college in the future, google minimum requirements for teaching community college subjects. Somewhere, eventually, you will find a list that show what degree combinations can teach what. I double majored, so even without pursuing a grad degree in major #2, I can teach it at the college level (if I can get anyone to hire me).

    Good luck!
  5. wigflip

    wigflip

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    Oops--depending how you define "high," you might wanna nix psych and "post-grad stuff" altogether (if you mean doctoral studies). Med school or an MBA are probably better choices.
  6. sacredrage

    sacredrage

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    You should stop bRuining your life and transfer to USC as soon as humanly possible. Everything after that is minor details.
  7. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    B.A. in Psychology = Under/Unemployed (and most certainly NOT a high salary). If you are stopping at the Bachelor's level, consider an engineering degree of some kind unless you like being poor.
  8. cara susanna

    cara susanna Predoctoral Intern

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    Or comp sci. My brother's making bank with a four year degree.
  9. 4410

    4410

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    I have a son that got a 5 year BS degree in computer engineering and he lives in Orange County making a six figure income and traveling all over the world as a consultant to hospitals. I agree you won't get rich with only a BA in psychology and most likely won't get rich even with a PhD in psychology.
  10. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    Pretty much this. There is, of course, the occasional exception, but at the four-year degree level, engineering and/or some form of comp sci is going to be your best bet for most-easily finding a well-paying job straight out of undergrad.

    Finance could also be an option, if you're aiming for a more business-y type job.
  11. Ollie123

    Ollie123

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    I'd always recommend double-majoring in something with good job prospects for anyone who is not absolutely CERTAIN about what they want to do. Psychology is a noble choice, but leaves you with very few options come graduation unless you go on in the field.

    I did Psych/Business and probably would have been a better candidate for IO than clinical, but it got me where I wanted to go. If I could do it again, I would do:
    1) Psychology-Neuroscience if I knew up front I was going to grad school for what I do now (a BA in neuroscience won't get you very far either)
    2) Psychology-Biomedical Engineering
    3) Psychology - Computer Engineering/Science.

    Business is fine too, but unless you set yourself up right its pretty easy to land in a perma-middle-management job, never earning that much and doing the most bland work imaginable (in my opinion). Of course, if you do it right you can intern with good companies and do amazing things, and earn many times the average salary of psychologists that are doing pretty well.

    I still keep biomedical engineering in the back of my mind in the event of a mid-life crisis, and/or fantasies on days I'm sick of grad school:laugh: I do actually kind of wish I'd double-majored in that instead of business - the job outlook is fantastic, the work is fascinating, and a lot of it would actually be hugely helpful to me in my current research. Highly doubt I would ever actually want/need to pursue it, but given the craziness of the current job market I like the idea of a backup plan.
  12. FlyingFeatherz

    FlyingFeatherz

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    Thanks everyone. As of now I'm sticking to my current major, Psychobiology. I don't think I will switch to Psychology from what I've been told now O.O haha. I'm glad I asked about this, so thank you all!
  13. Markp

    Markp Clinical Psychologist

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    I think these two double majors are good and fit naturally with psychology. So much of Computer Science is related to how people think and organize information that it's uncanny. When people hear that I left IT for Psychology they are often scratching their heads not realizing how much of the logic suits both disciplines well.
  14. Jegg

    Jegg *~*~*~*Dire~Wolf*~*~*~* Lifetime Donor

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    You should major in Film...
  15. sacredrage

    sacredrage

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    Because they couldn't get a job with their psychology degree so they wound up in a generic "business" job. Unfortunately psych is one of the least employable majors unless you do graduate work - which thankfully shouldn't be an issue for most of the people on these forums.
  16. wigflip

    wigflip

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    :laugh:
  17. chman

    chman

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    I understand that a psychology major doesn't lead directly to a job, but I don't see why that should stop someone from majoring in it. The fact is the vast majority of majors don't prepare one directly for a job. At my school, for instance, only approximately 13 of 74 majors (17.6%) actually lead directly to a career. Yet I don't see the other "non-career" majors attacked with the same fervor as psychology. I just find it a bit perplexing.
  18. sacredrage

    sacredrage

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    You can argue or you can let the facts speak for themselves:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505145_...e-majors-with-the-highest-unemployment-rates/

    Psychology doesn't just make the top of the the list - they break it up into various sub disciplines and it makes the list several times.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  19. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist Moderator

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    The thing about that article is that those specialties, I believe, are all at the undergraduate level. Personally, I don't know any program offering a clinical, social, or I/O psych degree after 4 years, which is probably leading to the rather large unemployment numbers.

    The report itself (http://www9.georgetown.edu/grad/gppi/hpi/cew/pdfs/Unemployment.Final.update1.pdf) shows that as a whole, recent psychology and social work grads combined have an unemployment rate of 7.6%, which drops to 3.4% for graduate degree holders in those fields.

    And while 7.6% isn't great, it's not much higher than most other degrees on the list, and is actually much lower than humanities and even some engineering majors.
  20. chman

    chman

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    Yea, I agree with the above poster in that I have never heard of specialty areas at the undergraduate level. I am a bit skeptical of such internet articles as they are the same ones saying nursing is a sure thing when new nursing grads are having a hell of a time finding work. I mean, this list puts a sociology BA 25 spots ahead of the first spot, a psychology degree. Do you really think a BA in psych vs a BA in sociology makes a huge difference? I really doubt it.

    At any rate, I am not arguing that a psychology BA/BS is the best bet for employment out of undergrad. Far from it. What I am saying, however, is that there are many undergraduate degrees that have nothing to do with a particular career. At a certain point it comes down to marketing yourself, connections, people skills, and just getting your foot in the door somewhere to get some work experience. Something like having a summer internship in undergrad could make a psych degree holder much more marketable than a BS biology major with no work experience IMO.
  21. sacredrage

    sacredrage

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    Correct.

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