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Why Study Psychology at University?

Psychology is one of the fastest-growing degree courses, and the rate of enrolment is showing no signs of slowing down. Better mental health awareness has caused people to care more about brains, and vouch to dedicate their lives to better understanding and helping them.

To read our feature article about mental health, click here.

Psychology is fascinating

The mind is a puzzle waiting to be solved, and psychology holds the key. Psychology is a relatively young discipline, and so the field is constantly changing and shifting, with new theories and methods being implemented regularly. Humans are innately fascinated by the mind, especially ones that do not function properly. Perhaps this is why True Crime documentaries and podcasts are so popular.

Understand yourself

Have you ever wondered why you think, feel, or act the way you do? Why do you have weird phobias, complex family dynamics, or perhaps you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Studying Psychology can help you to better understand your mind. Sarah Baker, a Psychology student at the University of Miami, says that “studying Psychology has really helped me to better understand my own mental health disorder (bipolar disorder), and get a grasp on all the different techniques to help it; all of their pros and cons.”

Understand others

Do you ever find other people’s actions so unfathomable? Studying Psychology can help you to understand why people think differently from how you do, which in turn can make your relationship better with them. Perhaps they are only needy as they did not get enough attention as a child, perhaps they only say inappropriate things because they are Autistic. Understanding people better, learning empathy, and realising why everyone thinks differently is the key to a happy social life.

Learn a vast range of topics

Psychology covers so much ground, and so there is bound to be at least one topic that really takes your interest. The most typical topics that Universities cover are food/eating disorders, child development, sports psychology, experiment methods, Freud, anxiety and depression, forensic/investigative, and criminal/deviant.

Good career opportunities

Companies are starting to better comprehend the power of Psychology and so the employment rate of Psychology graduates tends to be quite high. Marketing teams need Psychology to help effectively advertise their products, more counsellors are being brought into companies to better the quality of work-life for their staff, and the biggest market for Psychology graduates is sports Psychology. The Sports industry makes big bucks, and bringing in Psychology experts to help their athletes to win is invaluable.

The best universities to study Psychology

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for Psychology 2022, these are the top universities to study Psychology.

  1. University of Oxford (UK)
  2. Harvard University (USA)
  3. Stanford University (USA)
  4. University of Cambridge (UK)
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT (USA)
  6. Princeton University (USA)
  7. University of California, Berkeley (USA)
  8. Yale University (USA)
  9. The University of Chicago (USA)
  10. Columbia University (USA)

Why Study Psychology in Australia?

There are a number of good reasons why you should study Psychology in Australia. The first is that there is a uniformly high standard of research being done across most departments of Psychology in Australia.

High-quality research

In the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) rankings, 22 of the 27 assessed departments had research at or above world standard. Good quality research is highly correlated with good quality teaching – those academics who are doing cutting-edge research are passionate about the areas that they research and this passion and enthusiasm transfers into their teaching. Also, students get hands-on experience of research, right from their first year, first as participants in research projects, and then in working with academics and postgraduates to conduct research.

Accreditations and constant reviews

Secondly, the content of teaching for many departments of Psychology in Australia is regulated by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC), and so you can be sure that in those departments the course content will cover the essential building blocks you need to ensure that you get a broad and comprehensive education in Psychology. Accreditation has to be achieved every five years, which involves extensive review and evaluation of what is taught in order for a department to achieve accreditation. This process ensures that every department is maintaining high-quality teaching.

Fantastic support from universities

Thirdly, Australian universities tend to offer a lot of support for students, and this includes peer support through Psychology Students’ Associations. For example, at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, our Psychology Students’ Association works with academics and professional staff in the department to offer statistics workshops and career information days. They also have an activities team that create events that add fun to the university year, allowing students from all year levels to interact with undergraduate, postgraduate and faculty, so students feel a sense of belonging to the School of Psychology. The committee also has an important role in participating in reviews of the school and ensuring that the student voice and opinion are represented.

Finally, Australia is a great place to live! For example, Adelaide was ranked as the third most liveable city in the world in the EIU 2021 Global Liveability Index. Throughout Australia, the climate is great, we have safe communities, wonderful food, and unique and entrancing animals.

Article contributed by Professor Tracey Wade, Dean of the School of Psychology at Flinders University in Australia.