There’s more to psychology than a career in therapy

When people think of studying psychology, the most common image that comes to mind is of a one-to-one therapy session involving a psychologist and an individual seeking some guidance or help.

In the UK, professionals in those types of role are usually clinical and counselling psychologists. These are professions one can enter after completing an undergraduate degree in psychology, followed by a doctorate in counselling or clinical psychology.

Importantly, the undergraduate degree must be approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS) if you wish to continue on to postgraduate study and/or register with the BPS. 

Both clinical and counselling psychology are important and significant destinations for students who successfully complete undergraduate and postgraduate training in psychology. But there are many more careers open to those with a bachelor degree in psychology.

For example, those who graduated from City University London with a psychology degree in 2010 are now either employed (55%), working while pursuing further study (11%), or have elected to continue with graduate training (20%) or other activities (14%). Graduates work in a wide variety of organisations, including the communications industry, banking, health and education (including the NHS), and various charities. Roles include Trainee Counselling Psychologist, Teaching Assistant, Student Learning Advisor, Mental Health Worker, Psychology Research Assistant, and Human Resource Administrator.  

Like clinical and counselling psychology, other careers in psychology require some graduate training. Among the avenues selected by our graduates we find: organisational and occupational psychology, health psychology, neuropsychology, neuroscience and research... and that list is not in any way complete in terms of the possibilities. For instance, forensic psychology and sports psychology are other careers one can consider.

One thing to bear in mind when considering a BPS-approved degree in psychology is that it is a demanding course, requiring a good capacity for analysis as well as a strong taste for the scientific bases of human behaviour, including the biological, cognitive, affective, social and individual dimensions. Research methods and a scientific outlook are at the heart of BPS-approved degrees in psychology.

Students that succeed are well organised, hard working, work independently and can handle the conceptual as well as the more practical challenges involved in the course in a positive manner. In return, they are very well regarded as graduates.

Successful students are viewed as having very good people skills, can work well on their own or as part of a team, can organise and analyse data and produce meaningful interpretations, and find solutions to problems that are both creative and supported by evidence and prior research.  

Dr Marie Poirier
Director of the BSc in Psychology
City University London