Choosing a psychology concentration is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a psychology major. Your concentration will determine the types of classes you take, the knowledge and skills you develop, and the career paths open to you after graduation. Here are some tips for selecting the psychology concentration that best fits your interests and professional goals.

Consider Your Interests

Your psychology concentration should align with the topics and issues you find most compelling. Make a list of your interests within psychology. What do you enjoy learning about? Which psychology concepts fascinate you? If you love studying how the human mind develops, developmental psychology could be a good fit. If understanding mental illness intrigues you, clinical or abnormal psychology may be ideal concentrations. Think about the psychological subjects that get you excited and use those as a guide.

Identify Your Ideal Career Paths

Once you have a general sense of your interests, identify some of your ideal careers. Look for occupations that combine your interests with the types of jobs you can envision yourself enjoying. For example, if you’re interested in memory and learning, becoming an education researcher could be a fulfilling career pathway. Or, if you enjoy studying personality and relationships, couples counseling may be a great option. Many psychology concentrations are geared towards preparing students for particular career fields, so find concentrations that feed into the jobs you hope to pursue.

Research Different Concentrations

With your interests and potential career paths in mind, start researching psychology concentrations available at your university or the schools you’re considering attending. Some common concentrations include clinical, counseling, developmental, forensic, social, cognitive, and neuroscience. Look into the details of each program – the specific coursework involved, opportunities like internships or research, and paths alumni have taken after graduation. Also, consider unique concentrations like media psychology, which explores the intersection of psychology and mass media, and even answers questions such as, does social media cause depression?

Think About Your Ideal Work Environment

Make sure to think about the types of work environments you want to be in. For example, school psychologists work primarily in educational settings like elementary, middle, and high schools. Industrial-organizational psychologists often work for businesses and organizations. Counseling psychologists may have private practices or work in group clinics. Consider whether you want to work more on your own or as part of a team, with children or adults, in an office, or in a more active setting. This can help steer you towards concentrations that fit your preferences.

Talk To Professors & Academic Advisors

Set up meetings with psychology professors and academic advisors at your university. They can explain the specifics of each concentration and what it offers students. Advisors can also discuss what careers each concentration can lead to. Describing your interests to professors can help them suggest concentrations you may not have considered yet. Their expertise and inside knowledge of the psychology department can offer tremendous insight.

Final Tips For Deciding

Choosing a psychology concentration is an exciting step towards investing in your education and career. Keep these final tips in mind as you weigh your options: get hands-on experience in concentrations that interest you, determine which concentrations have the most career opportunities in your region, and don’t be afraid to change your mind – you can modify your concentration at any time as you progress through your studies. Selecting your psychology concentration thoughtfully will empower you to maximize your college experience and build skills to fuel your future success.