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What to Consider When Applying to a University Psychology Program?

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in psychology teaches students the fundamentals of psychology theories and practices in terms of human behavior, mental health, and cognitive processes. BA and BSc graduates can pursue careers in human resources, sales, business, and education to name just a few.

Both degrees provide students with promising opportunities, an exciting career path, and auspicious prospects for continued study.

Although the standard curriculum for each program varies, one option is not necessarily better than the other. It all comes down to what you would like to explore as a student and specialize in as a professional. In this article, we will explore aspects you should consider before you decide on which psychology pathway to go after.

What’s the Difference Between a BA and a BSc in Psychology?

Students enrolled in BA and BSc programs in psychology are both taught general theories and fundamental research methods. Bachelor of Arts undergraduates may learn cognitive, social, neural, and behavioral psychology. On the other hand, Bachelor of Science Undergraduates tend to have more advanced coursework in neuroscience and clinical psychology in addition to chemistry, biology, and math classes.

Many BA programs include options for students who seek to specialize in social work, business, counseling, education, law, media, political science, or even forensics. BSc programs offer opportunities focused in areas like industrial, organizational, and developmental psychology.

Generally speaking, if you opt for a BA, you can expect fewer courses in psychology compared to a BSc but more classes in subjects outside of your major. This is a great option for students who show interest in psychology as a discipline but who are also curious and want to explore other subject areas.

Contrastingly, students who have a strong interest in science and psychology can greatly benefit from this program’s extensive study in research methodology, applied psychology, and biological science. Accordingly, students with a BSc degree can pursue careers that involve data collection and research, like healthcare for instance.

Which Program is Best?

Consider a BA in psychology if you:

➢ Plan on joining the workforce as soon as you graduate.

➢ Intend on going to graduate school in a different field (law, counseling, social work, business, management, etc.)

➢Aim to extend into humanities courses.

Consider a BSc in psychology if you:

➢ Prefer a more science-oriented curriculum.

➢ Aspire to apply for a graduate degree in psychology.

➢Want to branch out to a broader spectrum of science-related courses.

A BSc is the ideal option for students who want to continue into a psychology graduate degree. That being said, a BA can also be suitable for admission to graduate psychology programs. So, the most important consideration here is whether you want to take classes that will prepare you for graduate school or for a direct transition into the workforce.

To reiterate, a BA in psychology is an opportunity to explore elective courses outside of general psychology with an emphasis on social sciences and humanities. On the other hand, a BSc in psychology has more science-related courses with an emphasis on research and analytics.

Choosing one over the other should be entirely based on your interests and what you aspire to do career-wise.

Top Universities in Canada for Psychology Discipline

According to Times Higher Education, as of 2022, psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate majors at University of British Columbia with students specializing in a BA or the behavioral neuroscience program. University of Toronto comes second with an impressive department of psychology that offers a broad BSc for students striving to acquire a strong foundation across the discipline.

McGill University offers both BA and BSc in psychology with courses that range from bilingualism and health psychology to hormones and behavior. University of Waterloo is fourth on the list with an undergraduate psychology degree that can be studied either as major or a minor.

University of Alberta comes fifth with its popular undergraduate internship program in psychology that helps students find placements with government and industry as well as training in professional psychology. Sixth place is a tie between University of Calgary, University of Regina, and University of Victoria.

Double Major in Psychology & English or Psychology & Biology

Pursuing a double major in psychology and English or psychology and biology can be a very good educational choice.

With that said, a dual degree is a quite important decision, one that requires a great deal of planning and even more hard work. Keep in mind that you would be focusing in two different fields of study instead of one, which means double the requirements before graduation.

However, it can be a great way to bolster your psychology knowledge with the intricacies of the body’s biological processes and how they affect behavior or with the wide range of communication and analytical skills an English major provides. Not only that but a double major will boost your appeal as a candidate for a wide range of jobs. This means greater opportunities for future growth and career development.

A psychology and English double major is incredibly valuable in the workplace because it entails understanding what motivates others and knowing how to articulate other people’s wants and needs. Career options include journalism, public relations, counseling, and copywriting and editing, whereas a BSc opens career opportunities in biomedical research, data analysis, and consultancy.

Since you will be gaining knowledge and expertise in two different fields, you will be able to pursue careers that combine both disciplines in addition to careers with a focus on one or the other. Keep in mind that double majoring requires thorough research and planning. So, speak to an advisor or mentor, or reach out to us, if you are interested in pursuing a dual degree to make an informed decision.

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