Leslie V.

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Can social work be combined with psychology ?

I'm looking into social work but also into psychology but psychology is to broad and i want to narrow down my decisions.

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Hi Leslie,

Social work is a great place to start. Psychology is the most popular major for undergraduate students because psychology is so interesting but a lot of undergrads don't necessarily know what to do with their degree when they graduate unless they pursue a higher level degree, so a counseling psych degree at the masters level or a PHD in psychology if you are interested in psych testing. However, you can also be licensed a licensed therapist with a master of social work degree, as well. So, if you are interested in counseling, the social work track might be for you.

Social work programs prepare people to counsel disadvantaged groups and individuals. Students learn about counseling methods and how to manage casework. They also learn when to make referrals to other services.Social work is often called the "helping profession." As a social worker, you help people meet their basic needs. This includes finding work and forming healthy and stable family relationships. In addition, social workers may help clients avoid drugs and alcohol or cope with physical or mental disabilities. As a social worker, you use your organizational and research skills to help people have the best life they can, even with obstacles in their way.

With a degree in social work, you can work as a case manager, counselor, advocate, or policy analyst. You can work for private groups, government agencies, or substance abuse centers. You can also work for prisons, juvenile correctional homes, schools, or mental health clinics. Depending on your interests, you can focus your work on children, adults, older people, or families. You can also concentrate on helping people with drug or alcohol abuse problems or people with mental illnesses. In social work programs, you take courses in counseling, public policy, social work practice, and social work history. You also take courses in ethics and cultural diversity. Usually you are required to take statistics and social research methods. You also take courses from different areas of study, such as psychology, sociology, and economics. Often you are required to take courses in biology and human behavior.

But there's a lot of different tracks if you are interested in psychology as well. Here are some quick tracks you might want to explore...

Clinical Psychology

Clinical psychology programs prepare people to help patients with mental problems. Students learn to diagnose and treat disorders of the mind or emotions, or of social adjustment. You need a doctoral degree to practice in this field. This requires an average of five years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree (which itself usually takes four years beyond high school). Over 100 graduate programs offer degrees in clinical psychology. Some of these are at psychological institutes rather than at universities.

Cognitive Science

Cognitive science programs focus on the study of the mind. Students in these programs study the ways that people see, think, learn, and remember. These programs are highly interdisciplinary. Students take courses from many areas, including psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. You can study this subject as an undergraduate. About 10 colleges offer a bachelor's degree in cognitive science. The program usually takes four years of full-time study beyond high school. With this degree you are unlikely to find work in this field, however; even research assistants often have graduate degrees. But the program may prepare you for graduate school or (with the addition of some courses) medical or veterinary school. You may also prepare for grad school in this field by studying another branch of psychology as an undergraduate. It is significant that there are more doctoral programs than master's programs available in this field. If you want to do research or teach in college, the doctorate is your best preparation. It typically takes about five years beyond high school. Some of that time may be divided between study and other duties, such as assisting in research or in teaching. A master's degree takes about two years beyond the bachelor's.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is the study of how various factors affect the educational process. Students learn how behavior and school setting affect learning. They learn how to measure when a school is producing good results.To work in this field, you need a graduate degree. This means you first must earn a bachelor's degree, which usually takes four years of full-time study beyond high school. A bachelor's in psychology is the ideal starting place, but with the right course work you may be able to start from a bachelor's in education or a social science. You can usually earn a master's degree with one or two years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's. About 100 universities offer a master's in this field, often within the graduate school of education. This is the minimum degree you need to work in educational psychology.

School Psychology

School psychology programs teach people how to treat behavior and social growth problems in schools. School psychologists learn how to identify students who are at risk or discouraged. They learn to counsel, guide, and encourage students.To do this job, you must be certified or licensed by your state. Requirements vary, but the most common requirement is a specialist's degree (such as "educational specialist," Ed.S.). This is a graduate degree, so before you enter the degree program you need a bachelor's degree. That usually takes four years of full-time study beyond high school. Your undergraduate major should include courses in psychology and statistics.

I know that was a lot of information but I hope that helps a little bit to help narrow down some of your interests. Good luck!

Last updated Apr 09 '14 at 09:29

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