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Should you study psychology abroad?

Everything Nigerian students need to know about studying psychology abroad

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With the history of Nigerian education in psychology dating back to 1964 when its first department was established at the University of Nigeria, it is still a relatively young science for the country. Studying psychology abroad could give you a great career advantage back in Nigeria, or anywhere in the world for that matter.


What is psychology?


According to the Oxford Dictionaries, psychology (Latin psychologia, late 17th century) is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context. It is also ‘the mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group’ and ‘the mental factors governing a situation or activity’. In simple terms, this is the science which goes deep into another person’s minds and behavioral patterns often with a purpose of helping to re-govern the situation.


Why study psychology?


Psychology is closely connected with biology, medicine, linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and even artificial intelligence. You get to learn about intangible qualities and things which help you do tangible stuff. Sounds exciting and almost magic! There is hardly a school or a large organisation today that does not have a professional educated in psychology. These people regularly analyse and direct positive relationships and processes for the benefit of the team. With this popular degree many graduates become psychiatrists and psychologists, get to advise politicians or help tackle crime and rehabilitation. This is why you have to first weigh how strong your own mental readiness is for such task.


Why study abroad?


Although the origins of psychology started in Ancient Greece, the discipline was further developed in Europe, the US and Russia. Nigerian student Amanda, studied Psychology at University of Essex and is a Human Resource Assistant in Nigeria today. She believes that there are three main advantages of studying psychology abroad:

  1. Access to current and modern research facilities
  2. Being able to learn in an environment where the discipline and practice of psychology are highly developed and appreciated
  3. Diverse specialisation in various fields of psychology some of which might not be currently available in Nigeria


Would you be a good psychology student?


Research methods for psychology develop critical thinking which can be applied in business, law and practically any field. Since you intend to work in the field of psychology, look at it as if you were to become a doctor: do it only if it is the call of your heart. Psychology students can end up in any profession, but all successful graduates will be united by their passion for the subject of psychology itself and understanding the inner psyche.


What can you do with a psychology qualification?


Health Care and Social Assistance, Education and Training, Public Administration and Safety are just a few sectors which need qualified psychologists. With a Bachelor’s in psychology it is not rare to opt for a Masters or MBA, degree in law, or a specialisation in human resources. With coaching and personal training on the rise, many find a well-paid modern application of psychology. Beyond a therapist, you can become a barrister, an artist and a CEO. As a discipline, psychology is still quite new for Nigeria, and it may play a big role in the nation’s development which you can become part of. And if your path leads another way, a degree in psychology will improve your employability and be a constant asset for any job application.


Notable universities for psychology


Many universities offer scholarships and grants which can make going abroad a lot easier on your family’s budget. According to the Guardian, the leading universities for studying psychology in the UK are Cambridge, Bath and Oxford.


Nigerian student Amanda has two favourite UK-based institutions. “My top choice is Regent’s University London and University of Essex,” notes Amanda, “here you will meet the lecturers who are also researchers and they constantly engage their students in a lot of practical work which I feel is very helpful in the learning process.”


In the US, Behavioral Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Development psychology at the University of Minnesota are particularly acclaimed courses.


Whichever programme you choose, one thing we know for sure - psychology will open your mind and many unique opportunities. Start searching for a Psychology course today!

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