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Study abroad : Subject Guides

Studying Psychology abroad

We break down everything European students need to know about studying Psychology abroad

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What is psychology?


Psychology, or "the study of the mind", is a scientific study of the human mind and how it functions.  It seeks to gain a deeper understanding about how we act, think and feel. Setting a diagnosis and providing treatment of mental health issues is just part of what psychology is. As a science it offers in-depth research on the human mind, which includes many sub-fields such as social behaviour, sport, human development, clinical and cognitive processes.


Compared to other sciences, psychology is regarded as quite "young". Most advances within the field happened over the last 150 years or so. However, the study of the mind is not a new thing, and its origins can be traced back to Socrates and Aristotle in Ancient Greece. The most notable psychologist in modern time is perhaps Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) who is regarded as the "father of psychoanalysis".


Studying psychology


Psychology is a popular field of study around the world, which entails a certain amount of competition to get admitted to the course. Some reputable schools might have harder entry requirements than other schools, and it may also vary in different countries. If you want to embark on a degree in psychology, the smartest thing to do is research different schools and requirements - as well as making sure your school of choice provides the fields within psychology you would like to explore.


Often, a psychology degree is based around a certain amount of lectures and a lot of self-studying. If you are a person that is comfortable with a lot of reading and writing as well as researching, this should not be a problem. Additionally, if you are curious about the human mind and why we behave as we do, psychology could be extremely rewarding. It is a common saying that many study psychology to better understand themselves, and there is definitely a lot of things to learn about the weird and wonderful species that we are.


Note, a psychology programme touches other subjects such as statistics and maths when it comes to research methods. You do not have to be extremely good at statistics to embark on a psychology course, but bear in mind that this is a vital part of the degree.


Your psychology degree


Many choose to study psychology because they are curious, but also because they want to help people. Mental illness is becoming more and more commonly talked about, in line with decreasing stigma, and is affected a lot of people. To be able to help someone improving their quality of life is a rewarding prospect.


As mentioned earlier, a degree in psychology does not necessarily mean that you will work as a psychologist in the traditional sense. There are many different directions within this field, and most psychology students actually end up as researchers. This is an important area for improving our knowledge of how humans work, and might further help sufferers of mental health issues. Additionally, it could also help people in different settings, with disciplines such as sports psychology and business psychology.


Check out this extensive list over psychology careers.


Universities for psychology


While there are hundreds of universities that offer psychology programmes, some are more notable than other. Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015, these are the top 10 Top 10 Universities for Psychology in the World:


1. Harvard University (US)

2. Cambridge University (UK)

3. Stanford University (US)

4. University of Oxford (UK)

5= UCLA - University of California, Los Angeles (US)

5= Yale University (US)

7= UCB - University of California, Berkeley (US)

7= University of Michigan (US)

9. UCL - University College London (UK)

10. Princeton University (UK)

Want to study in Europe? Germany is home to 13 of the world's best ranked universities for psychology, while the Netherlands have nine. 


Start searching for your dream Psychology course today!

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