What Can I Do with My Psychology Major?
Put simply, psychology is the study of human behavior through the use of scientific techniques within both social and natural science. Students who decide to major in psychology will develop skills in research, statistical analysis, theory, critical thinking, human relations, and communication.
Graduates from the psychology department tend to engage in employment opportunities in academic settings, as well as clinical settings such as hospitals, private, research, and community mental health. In addition to pursuing jobs in the helping professions (such as counseling, social work, and education), psych majors find opportunities in management, consulting, advertising, business, and marketing. Generally, students majoring in psychology are competitive in a wide array of industries that require critical thinking, human relations and connection, as well as creative problem solving.
A background in psychology is a valuable preparation for a variety of graduate programs such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, cognitive neuroscience, educational psychology, school psychology, and health psychology. Graduates can also apply their skills and knowledge to attend graduate and professional school programs in areas such as law, medicine, business, and social work.
The study of psychology facilitates the development of a core set of skills sought after by employers in a wide range of occupational settings. Throughout your experience in the program, you will obtain the following skills:
Critical Thinking Skills
- Approaching problems from multiple perspectives
- Perceiving patterns and trends
- Understanding components of complex problems
- Integrating empirical and observational data
- Seeking novel explanations to problems
Effective Communication Skills
- Writing effectively
- Reading critically
- Conveying complex information
- Listening emphatically
- Presenting research findings
- Understanding human relationships
- Appreciating diversity
- Identifying cultural/social determinants of behavior
- Applying theoretical approaches to research problems
- Reviewing research literature
- Developing hypotheses
- Collecting data
- Conducting statistical analysis
- Evaluating evidence
- Working with research participants
Social and Cultural Relations Skills
- Understanding and appreciating human relationships between groups and individuals
- Identifying cultural/social forces
You can use the examples above, and experiences from classes or research projects to enhance your resume. Try plugging in some of your experiences or skills gained into this formula: Accomplished (X) as measured by (Y) by doing (Z).
Sample Resume Class 1, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Member of Class, taught by Prof. ____
- Explored a range of topics on human social life including social influence, social roles and public behavior, inferences about others, and interpersonal relations and groups in PSYC 140 Social Psychology course.
- Investigated emotional processes, contemporary theories of emotions, methodological issues associated with the study of emotion in diverse populations, and the role of emotions in mental disorders through discussions, watching and discussing video case studies, and other class exercises in PSYC 341 Emotions & Psychopathology course.
- Designed a research study centered on (insert topic), analyzed and interpreted data, and reported on results in PSYC 002 Research Methods course and found that (insert research results).
Georgetown Alumni have taken their psychology degree across multiple different industries and have applied the skills they learned in psychology across multiple disciplines.
Additional information about these outcomes can be found in Cawley’s Post Graduation Outcome Report
“The Psychology Department is tight-knit and has plenty of opportunities to do research, including semester-long research opportunities for class credit. At many schools, Psychology is one of the most popular majors, but at Georgetown there are not as many students who major in it. I found that the benefits of this were small class size and ability to get to know the professors well.” – 2019 Georgetown College Graduate, Psychology
“A huge factor in learning how to think critically about myself and the type of life I want to live came from first learning how, why, and what I think/feel. By majoring in Psychology, I was able to explore a few different realms of psychology through coursework before deciding on a particular concentration. Also, because psychology is so multifaceted, there are a lot of opportunities to apply the curriculum to many real-world contexts beyond research and teaching.” – 2020 Georgetown College Graduate, Psychology
“What I enjoyed most about psychology was how applicable the course content was to my life — in that many concepts I learned were things that went on in my own head and life, so I learned a lot about myself while learning the discipline. I also engaged with some amazing professors along the way and, despite it being a decently-sized major, I was able to develop close, supportive relationships with them.” – 2020 Georgetown College Graduate, Psychology
“My major has impacted how I interact with patients and other people. I have a solid foundation of knowledge about social and cognitive psychology and better understand how and why people act and think the way they do. I also have knowledge about child development, psychological disorders, and neuroscience that I will no doubt use in my future career as a physician. Psychology is relevant in medicine, as well as just about any career you could choose.” – 2019 Georgetown College Graduate, Psychology
“Being a Psychology major opened up doors for me to assist with research in the department. I loved the research opportunity I had in Vaidya Lab for 2 years. I learned so much about the scientific process of conducting a study, as well as what the day-to-day of doing research looked like. I was introduced to the field of cognitive neuroscience, something I had never been exposed to before, and was taught by one of the best in the field.” – 2019 Georgetown College Graduate, Psychology
Helpful Keywords to Improve Searches
There are lots of ways to find good keywords to help your job or internship search process, or even just to learn more about the types of jobs you can do within a specific major. One way to explore this is by checking out the job search tool on Google.
Once you are in, type in something generic like your major and the world internship afterward. Once you hit enter, it will give you lots of options to explore, but if you want to explore titles, possible career paths, or keywords, hover your mouse over the ‘Title’ tab on the top of the page. This will give you a ton of ideas and options to explore possible keywords. You can then utilize Vault Career Insider, a resource offered to you for free with your NETID and password, to explore what some of these titles or career paths are all about.
Sample Internship Opportunities
- Advocacy groups (e.g., Children’s Defense Fund)
- Child/youth/family services Providers (e.g., Catholic Charities, Metro Teen Aids, The Covenant House, Big Brothers/Big Sisters)
- Communications/marketing/public relations (e.g., Graduate Media & Marketing, Olgivy and Mather, The Harbour Group
- Government agencies (e.g., National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health)
- Nonprofit organizations (e.g., The Whitman Walker Clinic, National Institute for People with Disabilities)
- Psychological associations (e.g., American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association)
- Publications (e.g., National Geographic, Conde Nast Publishers)
- Research (e.g., Strategy and Consulting/Corporate EQ, Editorial Assistant/U.S. Association for Body Psychotherapy Journal)
- Social service agencies (e.g., Friendship Ventures, Northwest Center, homeless shelters, substance abuse treatment organizations)
The Georgetown Psychology Department Website is rich with additional information on studying Psychology.
Professional Associations are a great place to go to dive deeper into the field of psychology and learn more about what post grad life might look like.
- American Psychological Association
- Association for Psychological Science
- National Alliance of Professional Psychology Providers
- Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Vault is a fantastic resource to learn more about specific career fields in psychology. Vault has information such as salary information, work environment, education and training requirements, outlooks, and specific tips for entering into the field.
Professors & Academic Deans
Georgetown professors and faculty members can be a wonderful resource for Georgetown students. If you are still curious to learn more about the disciplines of a specific major, we’d encourage you to connect with your professors! Outside of office hours, Georgetown has an online interface called GU360 where students can explore and connect with faculty members that are eager to mentor and support students. You can use this interface to learn more about specific department research, specialties, and areas of study within a major.
You can also connect with your academic dean or counselor to further discuss opportunities within a given major.
Lastly, each department has a dedicated Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS). This is the individual in charge of coordinating the major program or department as a whole. You can find the Director of Undergraduate Studies by exploring the faculty and staff pages of individual departments websites.
Connecting with alumni is a fantastic way to explore a day in the life of any given major student. There are several different ways to connect with Georgetown Alums. Hoya Gateway is Georgetown’s premier networking platform which connects alumni and students to have meaningful conversations and build a strong network of support. This is a platform alumni opt into with the sole purpose of supporting current students, which means there is an extremely high response rate.
You can also utilize LinkedIn to connect with Georgetown Alum. A simple alumni search on Georgetown’s LinkedIn profile will help you get connected to approximately 130 thousand alumni, which you can then filter to meet the location, major, industry, or skills that you are interested in exploring.
You can also check out our Post Graduation Outcomes to learn more about what Georgetown alumni in specific majors are up to after graduation. We survey our seniors at the end of each year and into the following year to learn about jobs they secured, service opportunities they committed to, or graduate schools they decided to attend. You can filter by first major to get an idea of what life after Georgetown looks like. You’ll see in many cases that alums are using majors in a wide variety of ways, and your major doesn’t always equal your career path.
Career Center Staff
You can also connect with career center staff to talk through the possible outcomes of one major over another. In short, there are endless opportunities no matter what major you choose. However, connecting with someone might help you navigate your decision making process a little bit easier.
At the career center, you have the opportunity to meet with either a Career Exploration Counselor or an Industry Advisor. Career Exploration Counselors can help you talk through concerns, goals, the big picture, and strategies to move forward. You can think of them as generalists and a great place to get started. Industry Advisors can help you think through specific questions about a given career path and provide specific industry information and trends. You can think of them as specialists for once you start to narrow down your possible path. If you think an appointment with one of these individuals would benefit you, you can make an appointment on Handshake.