Beginning a Career in Social Psychology

Introduction to Social Psychology


Social psychology research focus on how individuals are affected by others and they way that they perceive themselves. Some of the areas of research include stereotyping, prejudice, persuasion, group interactions, and relationships. The goal of social psychology research is to gain a deeper understanding of behaviors and to improve the world in which we live.

Educational Background for a Social Psychology Career

An education from a quality university is essential to pursue a career in social psychology. As an undergraduate you can begin with bachelor of science degree either directly in psychology or in related fields such as sociology, neuroscience, statistics, or biology. After obtaining your bachelor degree you will need to enroll in a doctoral program for social psychology. An alternative would be to first get a masters in social psychology but eventually a doctorate will be necessary.

As a graduate student, your responsibility will include the design and implementation of independent research. An academic adviser will be assigned to you who is a professor with like research interests as you. Concurrent with your research you will also have a heavy course load in classes related to and beneficial to your research. towards the end of your program you will most likely have a comprehensive exam and evaluation looking both your work as a student and as a researcher.

Types of Social Psychology Careers 

The two main career paths available to you once you complete your PhD are as a university professor and as a research in the private sector. Individuals who enjoy teaching find it being a professor a great opportunity pursue their own topics of research while also teaching. Those who do not like to teach may prefer to do private or government research but will be more limited in how they apply their research.

Other career paths may include less of a research focus and more of an applied focus. These jobs are usually with industrial companies who would like to enhance the way their companies are perceived. Marketing firms and advertisers also have a great interest in the skills that social psychologists posses.

Beginning Your Social Psychology Career

To get started in a social psychology career you are going to need to start by taking the required classes. Current students and prospective students should begin by taking the required classes. If you already have your degree looking into filling the holes in your background now. Community colleges often offer the classes you will need at convenient hours or even online in some circumstances.

Next you are going to need research experience. You can contact the lab manager at your closest school and see if they have any openings for volunteers.

The next step is to apply to graduate schools once you have the academic and research background needed. Becoming a social psychologist is a very intense experience but may prove worthwhile if your research can have a positive effect on the world in which we live in
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