The mind is amazing. As an engine for all consciousness and thought, it can solve some of the most complicated problems we face and yet, from time to time, it can feel like our brains are actively working against us. We have a need to make sense of things, so it’s only natural we seek to understand the most powerful tool we have at our disposal. Below, we explore what psychology is, why it’s important, and how it can help us become better versions of ourselves.
By Grant Longstaff. Published 30 May 2023.
What is psychology?
Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human behaviour. It’s a discipline based on research and experimentation, and psychologists draw on a long history of psychological theory to inform modern approaches and practices.
Why is psychology important?
When we asked Dr Julie Prescott, our head of Psychology, why the discipline is important she said: “Psychology is everywhere and covers all aspects of life. It’s about humans and the human mind. Studying psychology is so varied and as a student, you get to learn a range of theories and topics and how they can be applied to real situations and settings.”
Psychology is such a vast field the benefits are wide ranging, it could include researching mental health to help enhance wellbeing, better understanding the relationships we form, self-improvement, or battling addiction. There can also be benefits to our communication with, and understanding of, other people.
It goes beyond the individual and can help improve society too, by helping shape and inform areas including education, justice, employment, medicine, and business to name just a few. It can even improve technology, for instance, our BSc (Hons) Computer Science includes optional psychology modules so students can explore the interaction between human behaviour and technological advancement.
What are the different types of psychology?
There are many different types of psychology. Below we’ve offered a brief overview of some of the most common types of psychology around today.
Clinical psychology involves the evaluation and treatment of psychological challenges, including mental illnesses, psychological disorders, learning disabilities, and relationships.
Sports psychology is focused on supporting athletes, either individually or as a team, with various aspects of their personal development and professional performance.
Educational psychology uses the principles of psychology to develop and improve learning for children, schools, and their wider communities.
Counselling psychology can help with complex emotional challenges and the work involves clinical research and study.
Occupational psychology is focused on improving business through employee care and development.
Forensic psychology examines the impact of criminality on both the individual and society.
This list barely scratches the surface of the types of psychology in which people could study and work. For more information on the scope of psychology in the world today, explore the British Psychological Society (BPS) website. It offers information and advice on education and careers and hosts the latest news in psychology.
Why study psychology?
Studying psychology goes beyond helping you understand yourself and others. There are many psychology careers where a qualification is either necessary or, at the very least, desirable and the transferrable skills gained can benefit you in any workplace. If you’re interested in learning more about how the mind works, then our BSc (Hons) Psychology is an excellent starting point. Moreover, if you already hold an undergraduate degree and you’re looking for a career in psychology, our MSc Psychology (Conversion) course is for you. You can read our guide - what to know before you study psychology – for more information.
There are many reasons why a student might choose to study psychology, and it’s impossible to say exactly why with any certainty, but we can perhaps look for answers in the fundamentals of the subject for clues. At its core, psychology is about further understanding human nature and behaviour. Maybe those who choose to study psychology are ultimately seeking to better comprehend themselves and those around them.
Are you interested in a career in psychology but unable to commit to full-time study? Explore our online MSc Psychology (Conversion) and take your first steps toward a new career today.