Psychology is a fascinating and wide-ranging discipline that examines the way people think, feel, perceive and act.
The study of psychology is relevant to many other areas of study and provides a wealth of different career opportunities. In this issue we speak to Rochelle Jones, a psychology graduate from UWA.
Psychology can be studied as a major within either a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. Students wishing to combine the study of other humanities subjects, such as history, with their study of psychology should undertake the BA whereas those who prefer science subjects such as human biology, should undertake the BSc. The psychology units to be studied are the same in either degree.
To become a registered psychologist you must complete a full third level of psychology (double major) and go on to a fourth level of study in the form of an Honours course in the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Entry into Honours is competitive.
Psychology may also be studied as a single major within either the BA or the BSc (this does not lead on to the Honours in Psychology). The study of psychology is a useful preparation for any occupation in which a knowledge of human social behaviour and development is valuable including teaching, social work and politics. Students who have completed a psychology degree will enjoy considerable flexibility in employment. Their knowledge about behaviour, combined with their analytical, research and computer skills will allow them to enter confidently into the labour market in areas not specifically tied to psychology such as market research, government and the media.
Prospects spoke to psychology graduate Rochelle Jones about her career and studying at UWA and also asked her if she has any advice for students thinking of studying psychology in the future.
I completed a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology, as well as a single major in Linguistics. When I began my university studies I knew I wanted to study psychology but wasn't sure about which other units to enrol in. Linguistics was something that I initially didn't know much about; it turned out to be a really good choice though as we learnt lots of interesting stuff about language that complemented really well with my psychology studies. I had decided early on that I wanted to go on to fourth year to complete an Honours degree in Psychology, provided that I achieved the marks needed- which I did.
I wanted to study at UWA as I felt it would give me the skills I needed in order to get the type of job I wanted afterwards. I was also impressed with the fact that UWA is a well-respected institution with a longstanding reputation of being one of the best universities in the country. I really enjoyed the psychology course for its scientific approach; just learning about the brain and how our minds work continually fascinates me. In addition to the knowledge learnt I developed skills in critical thinking, problem solving and reasoning and find them invaluable in many areas of my life today- including in my present role as a Graduate Research Assistant, where I am currently working on a schizophrenia project within the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences at UWA. This role gives me the opportunity to put into practise many of the practical skills I gained during my Psychology degree such as administering neurocognitive tests of memory, attention and concentration. It also gives me the opportunity to work with patients affected by mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
I found that a lot of students who enrolled in first-year Psychology discovered that it wasn't what they thought it would be. It wasn't what I thought it would be either; in fact, it was much more comprehensive and covered things I hadn't really thought about. Learning about the brain and how our minds work is such a fascinating topic and there are so many areas that you can specialise in, depending on your interests. The psychology course at UWA is incredibly diverse; you have the opportunity to explore so many different fields within it, so the course is always interesting. My advice for someone planning to study psychology at UWA would be to talk to current psychology students about the course and even volunteer to participate in some of the student projects being run within the Department - it will give you a taste of the sorts of research topics that psychology students are investigating, and the opportunity to find out first hand how interesting a psychology degree from UWA can be!