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Career Outcomes

Your Success Story is Waiting. Psychology majors are prepared to succeed in a wide variety of careers. Many continue their research training in psychology or neuroscience at leading graduate schools. Others pursue professional training in law, medicine, and business. Still others gain employment in areas such as teaching, consulting, and social work.

Psychology Careers

There are a wide variety of career options that start with a psychology major. The direction you take depends on your interests. The discipline of psychology spans the hard sciences, including neuroscience, perception, and cognition, to the soft sciences, including social, abnormal, and clinical psychology.

The hard sciences often lead to jobs involving medical research, engineering, and teaching. The soft sciences often lead to jobs involving public policy, human welfare, and disease treatment. Within any of these areas, students may work in academia (e.g. a university), a care center (e.g. a hospital), industry (e.g. business), or government/military. This work can be research, either at the basic level where new discoveries are made, or at the applied level, in which real-world problems are solved.

Some students pursue consulting, either at the personal level such as a private practice or counseling, or, at a broader level, such as human-factors engineering, workplace design, usability analysis, or community psychologists. Being a psychology major means being an expert in what makes people who they are, so there are many career possibilities.

Career Outlook

Demand for psychology professionals has increased over the last 10 years, with even greater increases projected in the next 10 years. Demand is highest for health practitioners, including clinicians and school and hospital psychologists.

Most students study psychology because they are interested in pursuing clinical work. They either dream of starting their own private practice or working at a medical facility, such as a hospital or out-patient clinic. The general public has equated psychology with treatment, and this is likely why so many students do, too. However, psychology majors have many other career options available to them.

Many students who graduate with a psychology major plan to pursue graduate school, while others seek employment directly after graduation. Employment opportunities abound in schools, businesses, government, and many other industries. Popular subfields that students pursue include clinical psychology, counseling, family psychology, geropsychology, school psychology, and health.

Alumni Stories

Advancing Forensic Psychiatry - Lindsey Gilling McIntosh BA'14

Advancing Forensic Psychiatry - Lindsey Gilling McIntosh BA'14

Lindsey Gilling McIntosh focused on clinical psychology during her undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt. Lindsey worked with Sohee Park, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Psychology, and then went on to earn a Ph.D. in forensic psychiatry from the University of Edinburgh where she is currently a postdoctoral research fellow. In 2023,…

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Developing AI-Assisted Patient Treatment - Zachary Cohen BA'09

Developing AI-Assisted Patient Treatment - Zachary Cohen BA'09

Zachary Cohen completed his undergraduate studies in the Department of Psychology in 2009, taking neuroscience and clinical psychology classes, and went on to complete a doctorate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. After a postdoc period, he accepted an assistant professor position at the University of Arizona in the clinical…

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