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What major is better for psychiatry?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MdPach, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. MdPach


    Feb 6, 2007
    I am thinking of majoring in Neuroscience, but I was thinking of Psychology. Nevertheless, I realize that I have to go to medical school for Psychiatry.
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  3. Towelie

    Towelie Resident Towel 5+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2006
    I would say psychology is much more relevant to psychiatry than neuroscience is.
  4. 91Bravo

    91Bravo Frank Netter's Love Child 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    Both are good choices. Psychiatric conditions fall on a continuum ranging from psychological to neuropsychiatric. But only choose a major in which you're truly interested. The level of stuff you'll learn as an undergrad isn't going to help you all that much if you decide to go into psychiatry. You'll get all of what you'll need in medical school and a psych residency.
  5. eekonomics

    eekonomics 2+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    You should consider cognitive science, which is essentially a mixture between neuroscience and psychology.
  6. Hurricane95

    Hurricane95 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2005
    Miami, FL
    Common question on SDN...what's the best major for X specialty?

    The answer is... drumroll....... it doesn't matter.
    Major in economics if you want. The truth is that your undergrad major has no bearing on your aptitude or ability to succeed in any given field.

    What year in undergrad are you, or are you still in HS but applying to college currently? The first thing you need to worry about before you even start considering specialties is getting into medical school to begin with. That is the first major hurdle. Once you are there, you can start worrying about what type of doctor you will be.

    For now, do well in your college classes and choose a major that interests you. Anything you like...preferably something you wouldn't mind doing for a living if for whatever reason you don't end up attending medical school. All that matters is that in addition to your required classes for your major you do the prerequisite premed courses like biology, chem, organic, etc. Additionally, start volunteer activities in the medical field to get a taste of what the environment is like and if you can start shadowing physicians so you can see what they do. If you really think you like psychiatry, you can try shadowing one (although I warn you this specialty is a bit more difficult than others to shadow because of the type of patient interaction involved). There are threads on all of these topics all over SDN. Use the search function and do some research.

    Key point: don't get too ahead of yourself, and choose a major that you enjoy. You will be going through college for four years, you might as well enjoy it and do well.
  7. spicedmanna

    spicedmanna Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Precisely. :thumbup:
  8. MdPach


    Feb 6, 2007
  9. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

    Jun 13, 2004
    It doesn't really matter, but chances are that it would be much easier to get good grades if you majored in psychology, so I would do that. If you screw up your GPA, you'll be in a sticky situation.
  10. pretenda

    pretenda ASA Member 5+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    pig latin
  11. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    Agree as well. Waste of time to try to major in something that you perceive as "better". No college courses are going to help or hurt you in terms of psychiatry. Get into med school and then line yourself up a mentor in the psych department, and take the applicable elective rotations in 4th year. Psych is not particularly competitive, so if you have decent grades and have shown an interest, you will do fine. As for college, you are far better off taking courses in something you will never have the opportunity to take again, rather than something you hope will be somehow "useful", IMHO.
  12. Droopy Snoopy

    Droopy Snoopy 7+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2006
    The Alamo
    Deciding your major based on the type of residency you're interested in is like a kindergartener deciding to spend more time with the blocks because fingerpainting won't help get him into Georgia Tech.
  13. gary5

    gary5 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2003
    Major in whichever if more interesting to you. If you major in psychology, get a minor in bio.
  14. Waiting4Drexel

    Waiting4Drexel Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2006
    I am planning to go into psychiatry myself. At most schools it is MUCH easier to get better grades in psychology, and I think it will be more helpful for those who want to do psychiatry, especially if you do a concentration in psychopathology. Psychology courses stress more theoretical approaches and environmental components of mental illness. During med school and residency, you are mostly learning psychopharmacology and the biological component of mental health. Obviously, it's good to learn about both approaches.

    If I were you, I would recommend doing psychology, but also taking a bunch of neuroscience courses. If you do well in neuroscience, it can be a GPA booster for your science GPA as well. Hope this helps.
  15. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    You needn't bother with a minor in bio. The days of bio majors/minors being coveted by med schools are long over. Just take the prereqs and major in whatever you like.
  16. greenmarker

    greenmarker New Member 2+ Year Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    I'm not 100% set on psychiatry, but I'm pretty sure thats what I want to do. I picked my major before I even thought about med school just based on what I was interested in and what my parents would put up with (ie not an art major as I originally wanted). So I majored in neuroscience and took some psychology courses. I did better in the NSC classes and was much much MUCH more interested in them. Perhaps my school is an exception because I know people that even get C's/D's in psych classes and they have a reputation for not being so well taught. So, don't rule neuro out because its "harder" or you think you will have a worse GPA. Do what interests you. BTW you can have a social science type learning experience through volunteering and seeing things for yourself. This should help balance the science out a bit.

    My only regret was that I didnt take as many humanities classes as I would have liked. I was too busy taking bio classes outside of what was required for me becuase of random rumors that such and such class is good for the MCATS. Perhaps summer classes would have been good for me.
  17. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

    Feb 23, 2007
    Ding ding! Psych is easy to match.
  18. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2003
    I was a psych major and it made rocking the psychiatry rotation really easy.

    Nevertheless it is not that hard to dominate a psych rotation with zero psychology background.
  19. I agree with those who say it won't have a big impact on how you'll do in med school or on your ability to get into a psychiatry residency, but I do want to say that I absolutely loved the neuro courses I took as an undergrad. Some of the most interesting classes I had. I only took intro psych which I enjoyed, but neuro was really amazing.

    So I'd suggest looking through the course requirements for each of the majors. Get your hands on a few syllabi if you can, and seriously think about which things you'd rather be spending your time learning for now (don't worry about med school or your residency, just what will interest you now). Also, remember that you can always take a few elective courses in whichever track you decide not to major in, so it's not like you'll be denying yourself exposure to either.

    I'm not sure how far through school you are, but if you have time, take at least the intro neuro course and the intro psych course before you decide.
  20. vmc303

    vmc303 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 5, 2003
    Major in philosophy.
  21. vtucci

    vtucci Attending in Emergency Medicine Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2003
    As has been said before, do something that you will enjoy and can excel at.

    Also, pick activities that will hone your ability to communicate. Regardless of specialty, communication in medicine is essential.

    Neuroscience and psychology are both excellent choices if you are certain you will go into psychiatry. For those of you premeds who do not see the innate value in neuroscience here, please let me educate you-- a lot of psychiatry involves pharmacotherapy and having a very solid foundation in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology is extremely useful.

    To OP, keep in mind that most med students change their minds about specialties in third year.

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