Declaring a Bachelor's and its effect on future practice?

Discussion in 'Mental Health and Social Welfare' started by SarahNoella, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. SarahNoella

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    I'm in my Bachelor's, currently undeclared. I'm looking to attach myself to one of three: Psychology, Social Work, or Human Development/Family Relations. I have the understanding that Psychology has more pathology involvement, but is also heavily research-based.

    I know research is an important piece of any role in being a therapist. I want to work with people, couples, families, and possibly in mental health. I know I want to be a therapist of sorts.

    How do I decide which Bachelor's to declare and how to get to where I want to be?
     
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  3. Harry3990

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    Hi there,

    As someone who went with psychology in undergrad and again for grad school, I'm partial to that path. However, at the undergraduate level, it really doesn't lock you into a particular path typically. In my graduate program, they admitted people who had undergraduate majors in biology, psychology, social sciences, human development. In my experience, the undergrad major doesn't matter as much for getting into grad school as other factors (GPA, GRE scores, research experience, having required pre-req classes). I would recommend connecting with advisors or professors (or even grad students) in those programs at your school. Talk to people and hear about their paths, what they liked about it, what they might recommend for you based on your interests.

    I would suggest not getting too hung up on which major you pick at this point. If you graduate with a Bachelor's in social work, you likely can still apply to many psych grad programs (and vice versa). If you really don't care which you pick, I'd say psychology is usually seen as the most versatile (in my experience) in that you could easily apply to grad school in counseling (towards LPC licensure), social work, or psychology at most places.
     
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  4. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
    Psychologist

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    Psychology grad programs tend to favor foundational courses taken in a psych department (research methods, stats, abnormal psych), but the degree itself is probably less important. As Harry3990 suggested, the key factors are things like research experience, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, etc. But on balance, I agree that psychology is the more versatile degree. It's common for students in counseling, MFT, and social work master's programs to have an undergraduate degree in psychology.
     
  5. SarahNoella

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    This is my gut feeling, but I figured I'd throw it out there.

    Given this information, do you know what the differences are between a BS of Psychology versus a BS in Applied Psychology? Schools seem to have both.
     
  6. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    I've never seen that particular distinction. Most psychology departments offer an undergraduate degree in Psychology. I have seen BA and BS tracks, though, and my sense is that it really doesn't matter as long as you take the appropriate prerequisite courses and get research experience.
     
  7. aliceinlosangeles

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    I think it's a good idea to think about what graduate program you want to end up applying to. Some graduate programs have prerequisite courses that you MUST take before applying, and if they aren't part of your undergraduate courses then you have to take them at a community college etc. If you already know what kind of program you're interested in, see what classes they require, then see which Bachelor's degree will give you those classes. Here's a blog post about what grad schools require:"Do I need to take the GRE??" MFT Grad School Requirements
     

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