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    if you have an ology you are a scientist. :yep:
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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    I've seen quite a few people in the forums saying that psychology degrees are useless and are a waste of time and I really don't understand why someone would think that.

    Say if someone wishes to be an assistant psychologist which requires a masters degree in psychology, is the degree a waste of time even though it has allowed them to get a job that they find interesting and enjoy?

    Say if someone does a psychology degree and then progresses onto postgraduate study and becomes a chartered psychologist or a clinical psychologist and is earning up to £80,000 a year and helping people who are suffering with mental health issues, is their psychology degree useless?
    Should we just abolish all psychologists and let the mentally ill suffer with no help if psychology degrees are so useless?

    And what about forensic psychologists who do so much valuable work alongside the police to help catch criminals?

    And now for those who do not become psychologists at the end of their degree...
    So what if not everybody who does a psychology degree becomes a psychologist at the end of it? This is the beauty of a psychology degree- it does not narrow down your career path- it opens doors. If a student does not do well after having graduated with a psychology degree, then perhaps this is down to them as a person and not the degree. There are many, many, many degrees that are more 'useless' than psychology in the sense that they offer nothing to the students or society yet they do not even get mentioned or looked down upon like psychology does. I will not mention the subjects I have in mind as I do not wish to offend anyone.

    I'm not saying that psychology should be the new way of life, but it most certainly is NOT useless or a waste of time.

    I will be interested to see any opinions that people have on this topic in the comments. Pls no STEM fanatics who think that anyone who isn't a mathematician is a pleb.
    *Hisses* Freeeuuud... >

    Basically many people think modern psychology is all the psychodynamic approach, and that all psychologists are like Freud. The biological, cognitive, and behaviourist approaches are largely unknown to the public despite probably being the three main approaches these days. The idols of psychology community like Kahneman and Pinker are not acknowledged by the general public. People just don't know about how scientific psychology is these days- psychology has a MASSIVE publicity problem. This may partially be due to the mainstream media often featuring stories about more "out there" studies with more exciting but less trustworthy results. The more valid and reliable studies are usually deemed not extreme enough to be interesting news. Hence the public tend to hear the worst psychology had to offer and not the best. It may also be due to the fact psychology is incredibly young compared to other sciences, and hasn't had time to earn as good a reputation as other sciences.
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    (Original post by grl9096)
    My uni offers a four year programme in which you can spend a year studying abroad or a year on placement and I would much prefer the yr abroad, so would this out me a disadvantage?
    it's hard to get a job actually in the psychology field so a placement year will help you get a paid grad level job faster, however you can just do a year in a less well paid job (e.g. support work) after graduating and be in basically the same position, if you would like to do the year abroad I'd get that experience while you have the chance and work on getting psychology related experience in other ways (you can always volunteer during uni)

    OP I studied psychology and for people who stay in the field and gain proper graduate level employment it's definitely useful and I don't think anyone would deny it's a skill set we need to have in the country. However, the vast majority of people leave the field and those people are at a disadvantage compared to people who have done more academic subjects with a reputation for being more rigorous. An employer is going to favour someone who studied STEM over psychology as they are likely to be smarter, more hard working and potentially better at things like problem solving, you can be all those things with a psychology degree you just haven't proved it like someone with a STEM degree has. This is compounded by the fact psychology has become a catch all for people who don't know what to do at uni and that is wrong in my opinion, people who aren't committed to a career within psychology should be doing degrees which have greater use in society (i.e. STEM).
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    I don't think it's a useless subject but tbh I think it's become a bit of a default option for a lot of students who don't have much of a plan... and probably has a lot more undergraduate places at UK universities than needed to match the real world demand for psych graduates.

    if you're good and have a realistic plan then go for it.

    (all IMO)
    I agree as I know quite a few people in my year who have applied for psychology degrees yet last year had no idea what they wanted to do so I fear they've just picked it as the easy default option given pretty much every uni offers it and is open to everyone with alright grades so it's achievable for many
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    Well, I don't claim to be an expert on biology, but I haven't been studying it all of my life. Psychology? I've been learning that since an infant, some are better than others, some things are very interesting, but as a degree it seems to build on things many of us already know and require no specific skills for.
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    Forensic psychologists don't really help the police catch criminals, they provide therapy to those in prison or secure mental health services and do risk assessments for their violence/self-harm and expert witness testimony in court etc.

    Other than that I see your point.
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    Psychology is considered a STEM degree. In fact, it's one of the many facets of modern neuroscience. I certainly have a great respect for psychologists, and the discipline is very fascinating.
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    I think one of the biggest things is that Psychology is seen as such a 'general' degree. There are of course people who go into it with realistic career plans and knowledge, but I think it's often seen as a subject that people choose if they don't know what they want to do. It's a generalisation, but it can be that generalisation for a reason.

    I think it's also got a bit of a reputation for people going into it thinking 'Clinical Psychology/Forensic Psychology' - all the 'popular' options. Obviously there are people who again go into it, do what they need to do to make that a reality, but I think it's one where it all sounds quite 'exciting' and then people sort of realise the reality and are put off.

    Having said that, I am biased but I absolutely love it as a subject. I went into Psychology thinking I wanted to do my MSc in Forensic Psychology - I have wanted to be a police officer since I was very very little, so had the attitude that Forensic Psychology would be the next best thing since policing isn't a possibility for me. As it turned out, I then turned down my offer for MSc Forensic Psych to do my MSc in Sport & Exercise Psychology instead, which is again a course which is often seen as quite 'mickey mouse', not a 'real' subject. And honestly, I absolutely loved it. There is nothing more amazing than going into uni absolutely loving your course, studying the thing that makes you happiest, and I just knew I wanted to do research forever.

    And although it's not specifically 'psychology', I was employed for my current (and first) job (Social Researcher in a Civil Service department) specifically because of my background in psychology, because they wanted somebody who could lead on the behavioural analysis side of things in my department, so it was a definite positive for me!
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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    Fair do's but this doesn't mean that psychology degrees are useless or a waste of time.
    Saying that though, if you compare the entry requirements for psychology courses compared to the entry requirements for other courses, you'll see that the requirements are level with or sometimes higher than the STEM subjects which suggests that you do in fact need 'special abilities'.
    I'll give you a few examples:

    University of Bath:
    Psychology: A*AA, Maths: A*AA, Natural Sciences: A*AA, Chemistry: AAA

    University of Loughborough:
    Psychology: AAB, Physics: AAB, Chemistry: ABB

    University of Lincoln:
    Psychology: AAB/ABB, Biology: ABB/BBB, Maths: BBC/BBB, Chemistry: BBC/BBB
    nope
    it suggests more people apply to do psychology instead of stem
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    I think in general it's because for any career other than becoming a psychologist, there is probably another degree out there that's more useful. And because it's a pseudo-science; a lot of it is theorising and hard to definitely prove when compared with the traditional sciences.
    I suggest you actually bother to read some research articles before you so boldly denounce many important fields as "pseudo science".

    If you like I can send you some links from Trends in Cognitive Sciences-

    http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/home

    Or perhaps APA's Neuropsychology?

    Of course all of the research studies that dedicate themselves to disorders such as Alzheimer's (one from researchers at my department- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...579?via%3Dihub) and other neurodegenerative disorders which with our aging population are becoming more and more common are the result of simply pseudo-science and therefore not worthy of their funding?


    You do realise I can go on, and on, and on, right?


    Shall I say more? Shall I provide you with journal articles which have successfully produced actuarial/ SPJ risk assessments for recidivism and sexual offending which are used in prisons all across our country?


    Or shall I provide you with brain imaging papers concerning areas such as neuropathic pain? http://mobile.journals.lww.com/pain/...icle=00011#ath

    But what a waste of time all of that is, for psychology is simply a pseudo-science! Do us all a favour and perhaps educate yourself before you so pompously spout your opinions.

    A psychology degree may be a waste of time in some ways. Largely because undergraduates think it entitles them to a professional career in mental health, which it does not, but if I were you I would think twice before using research quality as a means to discredit the degree. One thing that psychology is thriving on, is its research quality.

    (Original post by JabaDaba12)
    Well, I don't claim to be an expert on biology, but I haven't been studying it all of my life. Psychology? I've been learning that since an infant, some are better than others, some things are very interesting, but as a degree it seems to build on things many of us already know and require no specific skills for.
    You have been learning all the above since infancy? Well I am impressed!
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    Maybe it's when you tell them that you can't read minds nor can you analyse their dreams (so then there's a confirmation bias where they dismiss psychology because their perceptions of it differ from what psychologists actually do).

    I'm close to finishing a Health Psychology MSc and I think people may also dismiss it because when I was choosing which area of psychology to do a Masters (sport, forensic etc.) each one says they're a growing area of psychology, so when you think of it being the third most applied course after Law and Medicine it's hard to believe that with so many people doing it that none of the areas aren't oversaturated.
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    The thing about psychology degrees is that there is only a specific economic need for maybe a couple of thousand, maybe even less than a thousand every year. There are very few jobs that specifically require a degree in psychology. That figure might not be taking into account things like psychology teachers in schools I'll grant you, but I doubt that there are that many.*

    The same can be said of many academic subjects.*

    University psychology need undergraduates like a car needs fuel in order to sustain them in terms of fees. It takes a huge amount of money to keep a psychology department running and the fees sustain those departments, in addition to various grants etc. Now it's a good subject to study and it equips you with all kinds of skills and knowledge and it definitely produces good citizens. But when tens of thousands of psychology graduates are being churned out every year for only a maximum two thousand jobs (generous estimate, like I said) that are specifically related to their subject area, you can't really claim that you're an asset to the economy.

    Same with law degrees really. There are a somewhere in the region of 5000 training positions for law graduates every year in solicitors' and barristers' firms and perhaps an additional couple of thousand in ancillary roles. Many multiples of that are churned out of the law degree system every year. We just don't need that many.*

    So it's not that they're useless. It's just that there's a limited demand for them. Obviously there is an economic demand for graduates in all disciplines for jobs where only a degree is specified.*

    If you want to study that subject, you need to go into it with no illusions. You're on that degree primarily because you're fuel for the department you support.

    When I'm advising people on careers etc. and I meet people who say they want to be clinical psychologists I ask them what they're doing in preparation for that. They often say they're planning on studying it at university but they don't think about much else. The CPs I know (I know two personally and am acquainted with several others through work) tend to view their psychology undergraduate degrees as the equivalent to getting their GCSE in Maths or English: it's only an academic requirement. Their career development started long before their undergraduate degrees did.
    If you feel you have a vocation for helping people with mental health problems, become a psychiatric nurse. They do the majority of the therapeutic work in mental health care anyway and it's a great primer career for becoming a CP anyway as you'll have clinical skills. It's also an excellent platform for becoming a counsellor.

    If you don't fancy psychiatric nursing, do something like SLT or OT. You'll often be working with people with complex psychological and physiological problems and you can earn almost as much doing that at the top level as a CP can, if not the same, and again, if you want to do CP you've got a good platform from which to get started. You'll have clinical skills and you'll have had the opportunity to be published in psychological journals as well, possibly. You'll be a good investment, essentially.

    Anyway, that's just my tuppence worth. Other people will have different opinions, I'm sure.*
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    (Original post by Twinpeaks)
    I suggest you actually bother to read some research articles before you so boldly denounce many important fields as "pseudo science".

    If you like I can send you some links from Trends in Cognitive Sciences-

    http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/home

    Or perhaps APA's Neuropsychology?

    Of course all of the research studies that dedicate themselves to disorders such as Alzheimer's (one from researchers at my department- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...579?via%3Dihub) and other neurodegenerative disorders which with our aging population are becoming more and more common are the result of simply pseudo-science and therefore not worthy of their funding?


    You do realise I can go on, and on, and on, right?


    Shall I say more? Shall I provide you with journal articles which have successfully produced actuarial/ SPJ risk assessments for recidivism and sexual offending which are used in prisons all across our country?


    Or shall I provide you with brain imaging papers concerning areas such as neuropathic pain? http://mobile.journals.lww.com/pain/...icle=00011#ath

    But what a waste of time all of that is, for psychology is simply a pseudo-science! Do us all a favour and perhaps educate yourself before you so pompously spout your opinions.

    A psychology degree may be a waste of time in some ways. Largely because undergraduates think it entitles them to a professional career in mental health, which it does not, but if I were you I would think twice before using research quality as a means to discredit the degree. One thing that psychology is thriving on, is its research quality.



    You have been learning all the above since infancy? Well I am impressed!
    For god's sake calm down, I was only pointing out that psychological theories, by their very nature, are much harder to definitively prove than those of the 'hard' sciences (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology). I never said it wasn't important, the OP just asked why it was often dismissed and I stated why. I never said it wasn't worthy of funding so stop putting words into my mouth, I think it is important to understand neurodegenerative diseases because - as you say - with an aging population they are becoming more common. The part of psychology that I was implying was a pseudo-science were parts like criminal psychology, where at best they can only really record things such as early life experiences that may have caused them to commit criminal behaviour. It's speculative, not properly scientific with hard evidence. Those parts of psychology that are more related to biology, like said neurological conditions, are much more respectable. But in short, science relies on empiricism and some areas of psychology simply don't merit the subject the title of 'science' in the same way that the traditional sciences do, that's all I mean when I said pseudo-science.
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    (Original post by giella)
    Their career development started long before their undergraduate degrees did.
    What kind of things did they do before their degree? I'm struggling to find any related work experience/volunteering because everywhere I've looked says you have to be 18 or over. Once I'm at uni though, i'm hoping to do a placement year so that should help.
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    (Original post by jessyjellytot14)
    What kind of things did they do before their degree? I'm struggling to find any related work experience/volunteering because everywhere I've looked says you have to be 18 or over. Once I'm at uni though, i'm hoping to do a placement year so that should help.
    You are limited at 18 yes. No one expects you to exceed those limitations. Just lay the groundwork for volunteering experiences later on. Even just getting a Saturday job in a public facing role is fine. Or do fundraising to raise awareness of things that you're interested in or charities like Mind. That's stuff that you can do at 18.

    But once you hit 18, go for jobs in care homes and with support teams. Good money and it's very flexible. Push through that red tape that exists to getting voluntary roles in related areas and commit to them long term. That needs to become as important as your degree. Don't do it just for the experience. Do it because you want to achieve something in the role.*
 
 
 
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