Is a double major in psychology and neuroscience worth it to get an edge on graduate school applications?
I am currently a freshman psychology major and I'm about to add a neuroscience double major because I think it might help me get into a better grad school. The problem is that I'm afraid that this double major might take time away that I could be using for internships/research, etc. It's possible graduate schools might have higher regards for these activities than for a double major, and I don't want to end up hindering myself.
Do you recommend I keep the double major, or am I better off just focusing on gaining as much internship/research experience as possible? #psychology #internships #graduate-school #research #neuroscience #double-major #academic-advising #scheduling
Linda Ann’s Answer
graduate school admissions to PhD programs is highly competitive. (I operate under the assumption that a terminal degree is indeed your goal). Thus, research experience in a laboratory of one of the psychology faculty members is really important for your c.v. IF you Can find a suitable internship or two which supports the psychology specialty in which you are interested in a doctoral level program, that too will bolster your chances of admission to grad school.
If you have a keen interest in the biological basis of behavior, then persue the double major. I strongly recommend conversations with your psychology faculty advisor on such matters.
Because the competition for admission has become so keen in the past decade, your scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be quite high. Many students are thus perusing a master's degree, focusing on developing their research skills as a stepping stone into PhD programs.
So, Perdue research/internship experiences. Work diligently with whomever is mentoring you...so that they will be in a position to write you strong letters of recommendation to grad school.
Marjorie A.’s Answer
In both situations, you are concentrating on human behavior and the brain; the correlation between psychology and neuroscience is very strong. However, neuroscience is the younger of the two disciplines and is very popular among high school students who are introduced to it via career exploration and/or life and social science classes.
Some students pursue the neuroscience path in college to gain more insight about medicine and to determine whether it's a viable career opportunity. You have to admit that the knowledge gained will be an asset when studying neurology and related fields in your undergrad and professional studies.
If a student decides not to pursue medicine for clinical reasons, neuroscience offers many opportunities for students interested in research. As you try to understand "what makes the brain tick" and how stimulation can induce certain behaviors, neuroscience and its co-hart, psychology, will help you find the answer.
As to whether this can impact a graduate school admissions committee decision should be presented to a member at an Open House or visit. Also, the preference could vary among colleges. The priority should be your interest in NS/PSYCH, since you have more control in the outcome. Many uncontrollable variables determine an admission decision.
Hope this helps!
Danni Gomes, RDH
I don't think it's necessary to get into grad school. Just get excellent grades and do well on the MCAT