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Psychology

Psychology Student Resources

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Undergraduate Research Support Awards

Do you need financial support for your psychology research? Thanks to generous donations from psychology alumni Keith May and others, the psychology department is now offering Research Support Awards to enhance the research activities of our undergraduate majors.

If you are a psychology major in need of financial help to purchase experimental materials, cover travel expenses related to present research at professional conferences or any other research-related expense, please submit a one-page description of your request to the Psychology Department Chair Patrick Raymark, praymar@clemson.edu.

Honors Program

Information about the honors program in psychology is available in the Psychology Undergraduate Handbook. Information about the honors program at Clemson University is available on the Clemson University Honors College web page.

Creative Inquiry Teams (PSYC 4980)

Students interested in joining a team should first identify their preferred choices of faculty mentored teams. A list of current psychology teams can be found by clicking here and on the CI page here. Psychology CI teams can also be identified in iROAR course listings as PSYC 4980.

Before signing up for any section of PSYC 4980, students must first obtain permission to enroll in the CI team from the faculty mentor.

Graduate

 

Psych Club & Psi Chi

The Psychology Club is open to anyone interested in the field of psychology. The purpose of this club is to encourage professional activity and involvement through its monthly meetings. Each year several members of the Psychology Club attend the annual meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) and often present papers on work completed at Clemson in directed studies research with faculty members. Additionally, the Psychology Club discusses a variety of topics at its monthly meetings. These topics include but are not limited to careers, graduate school, and the various fields of psychology. If you would like further information regarding Clemson’s Psychology Club, please contact Dr. Heidi Zinzow, the club’s advisor.

Psi Chi is the International Honor Society for psychology students. Membership in Psi Chi is by invitation only. Clemson’s chapter usually conducts one induction ceremony per semester during the regular school year. Early each semester, invitations for applications will be available from the chapter’s advisor, Dr. Kaileigh Byrne. Interested students are encouraged to apply. In addition to the induction ceremony, there are varied meetings and service projects throughout the year, usually conducted jointly with the Psychology Club.

For additional information about activities for students interested in psychology, please see the Psychology Undergraduate Handbook.

Undergraduate FAQ

Graduate School and Job Advice

Jobs in Psychology

Before we discuss jobs in psychology, let me tell you why I am qualified to talk about the topic. I'm not affiliated with any career center, but I did work for five years before I went to graduate school (not that graduate school isn’t work, but you get the idea).

First, the good news: you have a marketable degree. But much more important than that, you have marketable skills. What skills? All kinds of job-critical skills (trust me, I’m an industrial-organizational psychologist). Where did you get these skills? Largely in your psychology classes. To give just a few examples:

  • Analytical skills (Psych 3090 & 3100)
  • People skills (all of your 3000/4000 classes)
  • Written and oral communication skills (Psych 3100, et al.)
  • Teamwork skills (CI groups, Psych 4970, et al.)

In fact, you should do a little self-audit. Think back (or better yet, look at your notes) for every class you’ve taken at Clemson - then write yourself a list of the skills that you had to use in those classes and the knowledge (and new skills and abilities) that you learned in those classes. See - you have a LOT to offer a potential employer!

Here’s the bad news: you’re going to have to work much harder to find a job than engineering or accounting graduates (but not as hard as philosophy or English majors). Unfortunately, you are rarely going to visit a find-a-job site or look in the job ads and find see "wanted: B.S. or B.A. in Psychology."

So what do you do?

  • Rule #1 – Don’t be functionally fixated on the word “psychology” either in your job search or when you talk to employers.

    Most people think that actually means clinical psychology. Employers almost all think this, but you should know better. Our career center  is very good at helping you analyze and list your skills (Hint: ask them to help you develop a “functional” resume). 

  • Rule #2 – Treat your job hunt as a Psych 3100 project (because that’s pretty much what it is).

    In other words, you are going to have to do lots of library and online research about your research question (in this case, "what jobs are out there?"). You’re going to have to come up with a methods section ("how am I going to find these jobs and how am I going to get my résumé to those employers?"). You’re going to have to “run” your study - actually get out and implement your job search. You’re going to have to present your results, i.e. present your skills to potential employers (both visually, in your resume, and in person, in job interviews). So those skills you practiced in Psych 3100 will serve you well here too.

  • Rule # 3 - Be creative and wide-ranging when looking for places that might have a job for you.

    Often a good start is to research businesses and industries in which you’re interested in their product or service. {And by the way, don’t forget non-profit organizations like charities, government agencies, etc.} Here's an interesting link to a list of the top 10 areas in which folks with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology have gotten jobs: http://www.learnpsychology.org/psychology-major-job-guide/

    A couple of notes about that list...you'll notice that most of those require SOME technical knowledge besides psychology (business, human resources, health, social work, education, etc.)  So it might be a good idea to shop for a minor (since you have to get one anyway) that bolsters your chances of getting a job in an industry or career you're interested in - or at least take a course or two in an area you might end up in. For example, I parlayed a couple of accounting courses I'd taken into a pretty sweet job in the finance sector (not nearly as sweet as my current job, but not bad).  Another point about the list is how many of the categories are management and administration jobs. It is VERY likely that, as a Psych major, you'll end up being somebody's boss. Psych majors, for obvious reasons, are generally very good at that.

    One important point: Do NOT let that list "functionally fixate" you on any of those job categories. If your passion is music (and you don't think you have a good shot at being a "star") then research jobs in the music industry. As a musician myself, I think I can confidently say that the music industry could really use some Psych majors! {just kidding. But you get my point...}

  • Rule #4 - Don’t sell your Introductory psychology book.

    {I know, you probably did already but you can find cheap ones online and in used book stores.} Your Intro book is a great source/reference for (a) reminding you what kinds of knowledge you acquired as a Psych major; (b) it’s a great list of all the different domains (and therefore JOBS) that Psychology applies to (e.g., Developmental chapter for seniors, teen drivers; Sensation & Perception chapter for art, history, marketing; Cognitive chapter for business decision-making; Motivation chapter for sales, etc.)

  • Rule #5 - Be prepared for a long, tough project (especially in this economy).

    But don’t give up hope - if I could do it, so can you!

  • Places to start looking

    Clinical jobs (in case clinical psychology IS your primary interest) – ask our clinicians, i.e. the Psychology Department faculty who specialize in clinical psychology.

    Non-clinical but directly psychology-related jobs:

    • Any business – personnel, human resources, training departments
    • Consulting firms: I/O and HF Psychology

    Non-clinical and not directly psychology-related jobs:

    • Do your homework – the jobs are out there but they’re hidden.

    It’s often easiest to start with something you love…for example:

    • Music – A&R person; radio sales
    • Politics – law office (psych testing, client/investigative interviews), politician’s aid
    • Gov’t – lots of jobs – e.g. Census Bureau, Dept of Labor, etc.
    • Art/History – museum display, design, architectural firm, marketing for museums, public art programs, etc.
    • Gerontology – senior rec centers, retirement communities, etc.
    • Cars – racing marketing, teen driver training.

    Here’s a classic place to start looking for these kinds of jobs: http://www.onetonline.org/

Graduate Study in Psychology

While some students will choose to directly enter the workforce upon graduation, others will opt instead to go to graduate school. Although the large majority of information below applies most specifically to students intending to continue in the field of psychology, it is important to note that many of our psychology majors choose to go to a graduate program in another field, such as medicine, dentistry, occupational/physical therapy, law, marketing, and marketing research. For more information about what you can do in the field of psychology, visit here.

Is Graduate School for You?

For many careers in psychology, a graduate degree is needed. Graduate programs offer a number of different degrees including the Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), and Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) degrees. Gaining entry into graduate school in some areas of psychology, such as clinical, is extremely competitive. Undergraduate success, research experience, and strong letters of recommendation can all help improve your chances of admission into a graduate program.

What are Master's Degree Programs?

There are two types of master's degree programs in psychology. The terminal master's program is designed to provide training for immediate employment in applied settings, such a community mental health centers, business and industry, and school systems. The second type of master's program prepares students to enter a doctoral program. Some of these programs are located in institutions that do not award a doctoral degree, which means that their graduates must apply to doctoral programs in other institutions after completing the master's degree. Although successful completion of such a program may help you get into the doctoral program of your choice, be aware that if you are accepted as a transfer student into a doctoral program after completing a master's degree, you may have to repeat some coursework.

What are Doctoral Degree Programs?

The doctoral degree in psychology opens up many career opportunities. In addition to coursework, a graduate student conducts research, takes comprehensive exams, and completes a dissertation. Students can apply to a PhD program in various areas of psychology such as Experimental, Industrial-Organizational, Human Factors, Social, and Clinical. A degree in Clinical Psychology also requires a yearlong internship. You should note that all graduate programs differ in their admission requirements. Thus, it is important to research individual programs for clarifying information. Additionally, you may wish to contact your advisor to discuss your plans for graduate study and ensure you are properly prepared.

What Kinds of Programs and Degrees are Available in the Field of Mental Health?

There are many different master’s programs that can lead to a career in the field of mental health, including a Master of Education in Counseling (MEd); Master of Social Work (MSW); or Master in Counseling or Clinical Psychology (MA or MS). Programs may be offered, for example, through a university’s School of Education, School of Social Work, or Department of Psychology. Whatever route you take most master’s programs in the field of mental health call for 50 to 60 credits of coursework at a graduate level. In many cases, students can earn a doctorate in the above-mentioned fields. Students interested in Clinical Psychology typically earn a PhD or a PsyD. A PhD is more research-based, whereas a PsyD is more focused on clinical practice. Working in mental health counseling requires that the individual obtains a license. Each state now allows students to forgo the lengthy doctoral degree route while still enabling them to practice professional counseling. In South Carolina, the license required for professional counseling at the master’s degree level is Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Typically, to fulfill the requirements for an LPC, you will need to complete graduate coursework, the national exam, and an approved LPC internship. Depending on your interests and educational degree, students may work in a variety of settings, such as schools, private practices, clinics, hospitals, and universities. For more information on the various degrees and career options, you may visit the Psychology Department website at www.clemson.edu/psych.

Department of Psychology
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