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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in General Psychology

Majors Overview April 7, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in general psychology and their coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Information on General Psychology

Bachelor’s degree programs in general psychology are available through many schools, wherein knowledge of the fundamental principles of the field are imparted to graduates, in addition to information on conducting research and assessments.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma; completion of some college courses in psychology is mandatory at some schools before students are allowed to enter the program. Students usually need about four years of full-time study to complete a bachelor’s degree program. Program coursework may include courses in personality, behavioral psychology, and cognition. A background in research methodology is imparted to students via lab work, seminars, and classes. Undergraduate students enrolled in many programs are allowed to select a specialization area, such as social behavior or cognition.

While a bachelor’s degree in general psychology satisfies the entry-level career requirements, many students seek graduate studies whereby they can pursue a career in counseling; doctoral degrees are mandatory for those wishing to gain licensure as psychologists.

Bachelor’s Programs in General Psychology

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in general psychology, such as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), are imparted critical thinking skills while learning to read empirical tests and develop a strong grasp of a variety of psychological research methods.

Students enrolled in most undergraduate psychology degree programs are prepared for graduate studies, although a graduate program may be pursued even without earning a bachelor’s degree. While most schools offer undergraduate psychology degree programs, many also offer sub-disciplines or concentrations in areas such as development, social behavior, personality, and cognition.

Undergraduate studies may include a significant amount of research, as well as quantitative work and lab experiences, apart from lectures and seminars. Students enrolled in some psychology programs are required to have recorded at least a C+ in three or more psychology courses before they are allowed to enroll in the program.


Coursework in undergraduate psychology programs is usually introductory and addresses the primary concepts of psychology. Students often study modern and historical psychology concepts. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Behavioral psychology
•Research methods
•Social psychology
•Personality and development

Career Choices

A bachelor’s degree in psychology would not meet the needs of those who aspire to become psychologists, counselors, or therapists. However, armed with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a student can seek a job that calls for an understanding of people and the use of listening skills. Bachelor’s degree holders in this field can seek employment as:

•Survey researchers
•Business managers
•Social workers
•Research analysts

Continuing Education Choices

Bachelor’s degree program graduates from an accredited school who are interested in clinical or research work may seek continuing education through completion of a graduate school program in psychology. A graduate degree is also required for individuals interested in treating patients.

Aspiring licensed psychologists would need a doctoral degree, such as a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Those who wish to become school counselors would need only a master’s degree (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

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