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Is Psychology an "academic subject"? Watch

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    You always see Universities asking for a bunch of grades in specific subjects but then also in an "academic subject".
    Example:-
    AAB in Biology, Chemistry, and another academic subject

    What is an academic subject, and is Psychology one?
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    Sorry, but Psychology isn't a 'facilitating'(more common term for academic) subject.
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    Depends on the course and the university. If it's medicine at a Russel Group/other respected uni then no way; if it's biochem at an old poly (or some Russels), then probably.

    Mayhem is right that it's not considered a "facilitating subject", but that doesn't mean it's not acceptable in addition to the specific subject requirements.

    If in doubt, ask the uni directly, they're generally quite happy to advise.
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    Depends on which university you're looking at, but most of the more prestigious ones won't regard it as being a facilitating subject.

    Universities will often have a list which specifies what subjects they regard as facilitating (facilitating = academic subject)
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    What about IT? Is that?
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    (Original post by JorahMormont)
    What about IT? Is that?
    Unlikely, unless it's specifically related to the course in question.
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    Bear in mind, whether we consider it "academic" or not, and though it's not considered "facilitating", plenty of students get into very good universities with one non-academic/facilitating subject. So long as you have 2 out of 3 facilitating and meet any specific requirements for your course, you should be absolutely fine.
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    (Original post by Mayhem™)
    Sorry, but Psychology isn't a 'facilitating'(more common term for academic) subject.
    'Facilitating' does not equal 'academic'. A level Psychology is widely regarded as an academically rigorous subject, and is perfectly acceptable to many leading Universities for admissions to a wide range of subjects.

    To the OP - if the term 'academic' isn't explained elsewhere on the course page or in any attached 'admissions statement' document etc, then email the Uni and ask what they mean.
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    (Original post by returnmigrant)
    'Facilitating' does not equal 'academic'. A level Psychology is widely regarded as an academically rigorous subject, and is perfectly acceptable to many leading Universities for admissions to a wide range of subjects.

    To the OP - if the term 'academic' isn't explained elsewhere on the course page or in any attached 'admissions statement' document etc, then email the Uni and ask what they mean.
    ^ this

    I actually think psychology is at least as academically demanding as my other subjects (bio/maths/FM), and it certainly demands a much wider range of skills than the others. Maths is a very specific skillset, while bio is just memory - psychology needs essay writing skills, analysing original research, and lateral thinking as well as a heck of a good memory too (80+ studies as well as a bunch of theories and treatments for just one of my modules this year...)

    The reasons for the facilitating subjects being designated as they are is fairly arbitrary; while nobody would argue against maths or english being considered facilitating and media not being, there are more contentious cases (geography? over psychology? come on...)

    So yeah, facilitating =/= academic =/= useful.
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    I went to a grammar school that told us only take Psych as a fourth or fifth subject. It's not seen as being academically strenuous, it's sometimes not even classified as a science. I took it as a fifth AS level and I didn't find it academic in the same way as other 'proper' subjects were tbh. Found it very easy to get good marks in, it's kind of a weird mix of essay writing with some basic biology stuff. Obviously that's just AS level though but I don't think much of it from my experience tbh. Probably ok as an extra subject.
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    (Original post by infairverona)
    I went to a grammar school that told us only take Psych as a fourth or fifth subject. It's not seen as being academically strenuous, it's sometimes not even classified as a science. I took it as a fifth AS level and I didn't find it academic in the same way as other 'proper' subjects were tbh. Found it very easy to get good marks in, it's kind of a weird mix of essay writing with some basic biology stuff. Obviously that's just AS level though but I don't think much of it from my experience tbh. Probably ok as an extra subject.
    What exam board did you do? My teacher said they vary a lot, more than other subjects...

    To be fair the main academic difficulty I (and most of us at my school) are having with it is timing - we have to answer 8 fairly substantial questions in 2 hours, 4 of which are evaluation questions, so thinking about everything and getting it written down in the time is seriously difficult... I've got very high marks in mocks, but only with quite a lot of practice.
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    (Original post by Mostly_Crazy)
    What exam board did you do? My teacher said they vary a lot, more than other subjects...

    To be fair the main academic difficulty I (and most of us at my school) are having with it is timing - we have to answer 8 fairly substantial questions in 2 hours, 4 of which are evaluation questions, so thinking about everything and getting it written down in the time is seriously difficult... I've got very high marks in mocks, but only with quite a lot of practice.
    I did AQA which was meant to be a good one - my school was very snobby about exam boards. They always picked the hardest ones so they could say 'x % of our students got A*-A in strenuous courses' etc.

    I guess it depends what other subjects you're doing. I can see why someone doing all sciences or maths might say it's hard, because you're not used to writing essays. I did other essays subjects and also science for a short while and I found psychology the easiest by far. The essays are nothing compared to english lit or philosophy. And the science is nothing compared to actual science A levels. I imagine if you did an essay subject, a science subject and psychology, you would do very well in psychology as it combines both the skills. But most people who do maths/chem/bio seem to take psych as their fourth one then moan about how 'hard' it is because they don't write essays in the other subjects. Just my view/experience anyway.
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    (Original post by infairverona)
    I did AQA which was meant to be a good one - my school was very snobby about exam boards. They always picked the hardest ones so they could say 'x % of our students got A*-A in strenuous courses' etc.

    I guess it depends what other subjects you're doing. I can see why someone doing all sciences or maths might say it's hard, because you're not used to writing essays. I did other essays subjects and also science for a short while and I found psychology the easiest by far. The essays are nothing compared to english lit or philosophy. And the science is nothing compared to actual science A levels. I imagine if you did an essay subject, a science subject and psychology, you would do very well in psychology as it combines both the skills. But most people who do maths/chem/bio seem to take psych as their fourth one then moan about how 'hard' it is because they don't write essays in the other subjects. Just my view/experience anyway.
    Yeah, you have a point - I can write essays pretty well now, but it doesn't come naturally!

    Psychology itself is highly scientific - unfortunately the A level specification doesn't reflect that, focusing far too much on research and nowhere near enough on actual ideas/theories (in my opinion). Of course understanding that not much in psychology is known with certainty and that it's driven by research is important, but to an extent ALL science is like that, so I do wonder why we spend such a disproportionate amount of time on it. Especially when the studies that we learn seem so disjointed - on the occasion that we do actually learn about an important theory, we cover maybe one or two bits of research relating to it before moving on to the next thing!
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    (Original post by Mostly_Crazy)
    Yeah, you have a point - I can write essays pretty well now, but it doesn't come naturally!

    Psychology itself is highly scientific - unfortunately the A level specification doesn't reflect that, focusing far too much on research and nowhere near enough on actual ideas/theories (in my opinion). Of course understanding that not much in psychology is known with certainty and that it's driven by research is important, but to an extent ALL science is like that, so I do wonder why we spend such a disproportionate amount of time on it. Especially when the studies that we learn seem so disjointed - on the occasion that we do actually learn about an important theory, we cover maybe one or two bits of research relating to it before moving on to the next thing!
    I think psychology is too much of a mish mash of other subjects to really stand alone in its own right - its a bit like sociology, a bit biology, in some ways a bit like philosophy also. I work in medical research regulation at the moment and whenever I get psychological studies come in I'm a bit dubious, I know this sounds very harsh as well but they're always SO poorly put together that it does make me wonder what training these researchers are given in unis. Compared to like clinical trials for example - I know they're very different, and CTs are often done by massive companies with expertise that a PhD researcher won't have, but in terms of actual knowledge of their subject and how to run a study, the difference is overwhelming. We often reject psychology studies because the methodology is just not designed to answer the research question, it gets a bit tedious. And it's never really scientific, it's just questionnaires (not that I want to turn this thread into a debate about qual vs quant research).

    But yes I agree about the disjointedness, psych A level could really do with an overhaul. Less topics, more depth on the topics it does offer. Came away feeling like I knew a little bit about a lot and nothing much about anything at all
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    (Original post by infairverona)
    I think psychology is too much of a mish mash of other subjects to really stand alone in its own right - its a bit like sociology, a bit biology, in some ways a bit like philosophy also. I work in medical research regulation at the moment and whenever I get psychological studies come in I'm a bit dubious, I know this sounds very harsh as well but they're always SO poorly put together that it does make me wonder what training these researchers are given in unis. Compared to like clinical trials for example - I know they're very different, and CTs are often done by massive companies with expertise that a PhD researcher won't have, but in terms of actual knowledge of their subject and how to run a study, the difference is overwhelming. We often reject psychology studies because the methodology is just not designed to answer the research question, it gets a bit tedious. And it's never really scientific, it's just questionnaires (not that I want to turn this thread into a debate about qual vs quant research).

    But yes I agree about the disjointedness, psych A level could really do with an overhaul. Less topics, more depth on the topics it does offer. Came away feeling like I knew a little bit about a lot and nothing much about anything at all
    The last bit sums up my feelings perfectly!

    I'm hoping to go into clinical psychology, which from what I can tell is at least at the more scientific end of psychology, and generally seems to be based on sound research... Though if you have a different opinion I'd love to hear it!

    In any case that's a long way off, I'm just choosing a uni for my undergraduate degree now so clinical doctorates are a good 6-7 years away
 
 
 
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