Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience. Psychologists traditionally treat patients with mental and emotional problems, but they also serve as scientists researching the phenomenon of human (and non-human) behavior. They study how human beings relate not only to each other but also to their surroundings, and they work to improve these relationships. In particular, they concentrate on behaviors that affect the mental and emotional health and mental functioning of healthy human beings. These health professionals can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, schools, large companies, and community health organizations.
(source: Explore Health Careers - Psychologist)
The field of applied psychology includes several sub-specialties such as clinical and counseling, marriage and family, substance abuse, development and behavioral, education and career, forensics, financial, and research.
One of fastest growing professions is Sport & Performance Psychology. Performance psychologists help athletes, artists, and business leaders overcome psychological problems to enhance their performance and achieve their goals. Individuals and groups might consult performance psychologists if they become anxious or lose focus during competition, have trouble communicating with teammates or colleagues, controlling their temper, or simply motivating themselves. Performance psychologists also teach individuals to use various mental strategies, such as visualization, self-talk and relaxation techniques. These professionals can help individuals at all levels deal with pressure from parents, coaches, supervisors, or even their own expectations. Youth organizations may hire performance psychologists to educate coaches and teachers about promoting healthy self-esteem in participants.
Regardless of your desired specialty, advanced degrees in counseling or psychology are often required to gain competitive employment in this field.
(source: American Psychological Association)
Consider the U of I B.A. or B.S. in Psychology or one of the graduate degrees with the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Students in the Pre-Applied Psychology cohort of the Pre-Health Professions Program will work with their primary academic advisors and faculty members to complete the requirements of their degrees, while also working with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor to explore career and postgraduate opportunities related to this field and become successful applicants.
- Join the Pre-Health Professions Program and request to be added to the Pre-Applied Psychology Email List
- Meet with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor each semester to make a professional development plan and review your progress
- Choose a degree major that you enjoy and that provides a good “back-up plan” and career path in case you change your mind about applied psychology; common majors include Psychology, Sociology, Education, and Human Development & Family Studies, but all majors will be considered if a student completes the prerequisite courses and other admissions standards established by individual postgraduate programs
- Attend Pre-Health Professions Program workshops and networking events
- Take PSYC 347 Survey of Helping Professions, which exposes students to the many professional opportunities related to applied psychology
- Carefully check admission requirements at graduate schools of most interest and take the required coursework; common prerequisites courses include abnormal and developmental psychology, neuroscience, counseling theories, sociology, anthropology, ethics, and statistics
- Develop strong writing skills - most postgraduate programs require an academic writing sample as part of the application process
- Consider taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a common requirement to be considered for acceptance to postgraduate programs, near the end of your junior year
- Develop strong relationships with faculty, counseling professionals, and others who will be writing letters of reference
- Get involved in extracurricular, leadership, and volunteer activities
Due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), it can be difficult for students to get shadowing experience in this field without proper credentials; for this reason, students should work with their faculty to find enriching leadership and undergraduate research opportunities on campus. Schedule an appointment with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor to learn more.
- Center for Volunteerism & Social Action
- Volunteering Guide for Healthcare Students
- Education Abroad Program
- Lending Library pdf
- Professional Development Activities Log docx
- Self Assessment and Planning Worksheet docx
- U of I Course Catalog
- U of I Research Opportunities
- U of I Scholarships
- Virtual Pre-Health Shadowing