Hi, I’m Bryden, and I studied a Bachelor of Behavioural Science at the University of Queensland. I now work for Get My Grades as Head of SEN and Inclusion and in this latest edition of ‘What it was like to Study…’ I’m going to tell you a little more about what it was like to study Psychology at university.
At the University of Queensland, there were several options available to those of us wishing to study psychology: Bachelor of Science or Arts – majoring in Psychology, or a Bachelor of Psychological Science. I chose the latter. The course was different from many in that we had the option to graduate after three years or four years; the three-year course changed the name of the degree but studied all the same things. After meeting with senior department leads, I chose to graduate after three years with a Bachelor of Behavioural Science.
Psychology, by definition, is the study of the mind and the behaviours it affects. It is something I was interested in from a young age and had thoroughly enjoyed studying at A Level. In my first year, there was some crossover between my introductory courses and the content I had studied during my A Level. Not every school offers Psychology as an option, so universities teach first-year courses which provide the basics for those who haven’t studied it before and extra information for those who have.
The mind is a strange, wonderful and varied place; as such the study of it mirrors this. As with many degrees I had to study a number of compulsory courses, but then we were able to choose from a wide variety of elective courses. Depending on your interests and your future career plans you can build a Psychology course using electives which could be vastly different from your peers. Some options you can choose include: criminal psychology; childhood and adolescent developmental psychology; research methodology; sports psychology; industrial/occupational psychology; neuroscience; and health psychology. That’s just a small snapshot – you have so many options!
I have long been interested in working with young people with special needs and mental health concerns, so my chosen electives reflected this. I studied childhood disorders, family psychology, developmental psychology and more! Of my two favourite courses at university, one was compulsory and one was elective; both reflect what I love about Psychology:
- Psychopathology (third year, compulsory) is a course focused on the nature and history of disorders. At first, I was wary of the 3-hour lectures on a Monday evening, but after the first one, I was hooked! The first two hours of these lectures taught us the theory about a group of disorders (e.g. eating disorders). In the third hour, we had a guest speaker – a person who had experienced or was still experiencing one of the disorders in that group. They would tell us about their experiences; the treatments they’d had; what worked and what didn’t; and we could ask them questions. This gave me a unique insight into the fact that whilst we can learn out of books for hours and hours, ultimately psychology is about people and how it affects them.
- The Science of Everyday Thinking (second year, elective) was very different. We watched a lecture during the week on our own time, then spent the allotted lecture time discussing and debating what we had learnt. The course teaches the science of how we learn and form our beliefs, as well as how they change over time. It’s actually a course that anyone can study (free without certification) online through edX. I would recommend it to anyone interested in psychology and science in general. It does an excellent job of examining the science behind belief and behaviour and taught me so much that I still use today.
As you can build a Psychology degree around your interests and career plans, it is a highly valued degree by many employers. Peers from my cohort now work in many different sectors: research, retail, counselling, education, psychiatry, consulting…. The possibilities are almost endless!
So what are you waiting for? Learn more about where you can study a Psychology degree on the UCAS website here!