Career and Graduate School Opportunities

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree at Presbyterian College will prepare you for a wide variety of employment opportunities and career advancements. Furthermore, our major will provide you with a broad understanding of human behavior, thought, growth, and social interaction that you can use in all areas of your life.

What can I do with a bachelor’s degree in psychology?

The majority of professions that are formally associated with psychology will require additional training beyond the bachelor’s degree. However, an undergraduate degree in psychology will prepare you for an array of rewarding careers.

The College Major’s Handbook (Fogg et al., 2004) identifies that the top ten occupations that employ people who have a bachelor’s degree in psychology include:

  • Top and mid-level managers
  • Sales occupations
  • Social workers
  • Other management-related occupations
  • Personnel, training, and labor relations specialists
  • Other administrative occupations
  • Insurance, securities, and business services
  • Marketing occupations
  • Medical (registered nurses, pharmacists, therapists, physician assistants)
  • Accountants, auditors, and other financial specialists

Although some of these specific occupations will require further training, a psychology degree can clearly provide a solid foundation for career success and enhancement. In recent years, our alumni have become educators (K-12 and college-level), court clerks, human resources assistants, consumer researchers, insurance agents, entrepreneurs, research assistants, occupational therapists, school psychologists, congressional aides, nursing home directors, public relations consultants administrators, military officers, child care workers, athletic coaches, and technology-related professionals.

As is evident from these lists, our psychology program can prepare you for many different career paths. Therefore, we encourage our students to complete an internship to gain insight into their individual interests and to develop applied skills that can help bridge psychology knowledge and skills with a particular occupation. One of our recent psychology graduates expresses how her internship experience helped her progress on a career path:

“Towards the middle of my senior year at PC, I embarked on a journey toward a very unique career path. I needed to complete an internship during the Spring semester and I chose to work at a local funeral home. The internship ended up being a transition time which allowed me to carefully weigh my decision to become a licensed funeral director and embalmer. I was able to observe many aspects of funeral service before I made a true commitment to this very demanding field. I am now working towards an A.A.S. degree in Funeral Services at Piedmont Technical College in Greenwood, SC and am serving as an apprentice funeral director and embalmer at Gray Funeral Home in Clinton, SC.”

— Caroline McGill (graduated 2012), Awarded Psychology Senior of the Year

To explore some career options for psychology majors, Psi Chi (the International Honor Society in Psychology) has developed an excellent website with a wealth of links. You can also explore a vast list of career options from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Of course, our faculty members are here to support and assist you in your career planning. If you’d like to discuss career options, planning, or internships with any of us, please free to contact us or visit our offices. You can find our full contact information on our faculty page.

Preparing for Graduate Studies in psychology

Many professions associated with psychology will require additional training beyond the undergraduate degree. Graduate level training is typically required for work in counseling, clinical psychology, school psychology and college/university education.

The level of graduate training varies depending on the specific career you are interested in. For example, recent changes in health care management make a master’s degree very attractive to both students and employers. Many counseling positions require students to have a master’s in counseling, therapy, or social work. Human resources, speech pathology, school psychology, and physical therapy are also popular master’s degree programs. A doctorate degree is beneficial if you want to work as a college or university educator, conduct your own psychology-related research, or work as a private-practice psychologist.

If you are interested in pursuing any graduate studies, it is beneficial if you discuss your plans with your faculty advisor by the start of your junior year. Your psychology major advisor can help you plan your coursework and take advantage of internship/research opportunities that will increase your chances at becoming accepted in a competitive graduate program.

Advanced preparation for graduate applications is essential. In addition to a strong GPA, graduate programs will also be evaluating your standardized test scores on the Graduate Records Exam (GRE), your letters of recommendation, resume, and overall portfolio.

Furthermore, most graduate admissions committees will want to see evidence that you were an involved psychology major during your undergraduate years. Participating in Psi Chi (the International Honors Society in Psychology) is one way to be involved in your psychology major. In addition, an internship and research experience can demonstrate your engagement in psychology. In fact, a 2005 study by Norcross, et al. (“Graduate Study in Psychology,” American Psychologist, 60) identified that psychology graduate admissions committees consider internship experience as one of the top nine factors influencing an acceptance decision and research experience as one of the top five. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please meet with our faculty. Additional information about research and internship experiences is available through our internships and research opportunities web page.