Department of Psychological Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions about Psychology

What is psychology?

Psychology is the science of behavior and mental processes. The word “science” implies the use of research methods to study psychological phenomena. “Behavior” refers to the outwardly observable acts of an organism. “Mental processes” refer to the functions of the brain, which includes memory, language, perception, and other cognitive processes.

What kinds of specializations exist within psychology?

There are many sub-disciplines within psychology. Psychology is concerned with many areas of research and practice including Clinical Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Teaching of Psychology. See more information about each of the sub-fields mentioned here and a few others.

What is the difference between clinical psychology and counseling?

The differences between these two areas of psychology are largely a function of theoretical orientation to, and training for, therapy. Click here for a fact sheet about clinical psychology.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a master's degree versus and PhD?

A master's degree (MS) is awarded to individuals after completing a one- or a two-year program of study following receipt of a baccalaureate degree. A master's degree may or may not involve completing a thesis. A PhD is awarded to individuals after completing a five-year (or longer) program of study following receipt of a baccalaureate degree or a master's degree. The PhD is a research degree, which means that this degree is awarded only to those individuals who develop considerable empirical skills. Ultimately, the degree you seek depends on your career goals. The following link is a helpful article to read if you are considering graduate school in psychology.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a PhD versus and PsyD

A fundamental difference between these two degrees is the extent to which research is emphasized. This article will help you understand the distinction between these two degrees.

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

The article on APA's website is very helpful for answering this question.

How does advising work in the Department of Psychological Sciences?

Once you have decided to major in psychology, you are assigned to a psychology faculty member based on your last name. Please visit the Department of Psychological Sciences advising page for more information.

What are the requirements for majoring in psychology?

The requirements for a major in psychology are outlined on the psychology major web page. If you have questions regarding the major requirements please see your advisor.

Can I minor in Psychology?

View the psychology minor web page to learn more about the psychology minor curriculum.

Do I need a minor?

No, you do not need a minor in any field to major in psychology. However, depending on your academic or career goals, you may find that a minor may be very helpful in rounding out the knowledge and skills you acquire as an undergraduate.

What is independent study and how do I enroll in this course?

Independent study (PSYC 4930) is a course in which you work on a research project under the close supervision of, or in collaboration with, a faculty member. You will need to obtain approval of the instructor with whom you wish to work and should seek out a professor whose research or intellectual interests align with yours and inquiring whether he or she would be willing to work with you in this course.

What types of financial aid are available for psychology students at Auburn?

The financial aid available to psychology students is the same as the aid available to other Auburn University students. Please visit the Auburn Financial Aid office for more information.

Are there internships available in psychology at Auburn?

Internships in psychology are not typically available to undergraduate students. Internships are more readily available in graduate programs.

What kind of research is going on at Auburn right now?

The psychology faculty members at Auburn are varied in their interests and research programs. View current research and lab opportunities for undergraduate students.

Last Updated: May 25, 2015