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Exploring Minors for Psychology Majors
If you’ve already decided to pursue a psychology degree and found a great program, a natural next step might be identifying a subject to minor in. Students typically must complete around 18 credits, or six to seven courses, in order to earn a minor. Most schools don’t require it, but many students take the opportunity to develop skills in an additional discipline.
Keep reading to learn about why declaring a minor can benefit you and discover some of the best minors for psychology majors to consider.
The advantage of adding a minor to your psychology degree
One benefit of studying psychology is that the science of human behavior is useful in almost every industry. In fact, psychology majors hold jobs in 88 of 129 U.S. occupational categories, according to the American Psychological Association (APA).
However, because the field is so broad, adding a minor can help set you stand out in the crowd and focus in on a particular area of interest. No matter if your post-graduation plans include applying for jobs or pursuing a master’s degree, adding a minor can help prepare you for your career of choice.
7 of the best minors for psychology majors
On the surface, a biology minor might seem like an odd choice for a psychology major, but it’s actually quite common. This combination is especially advantageous for anyone considering a career in psychological research, medicine, nursing and other health sciences. Completing a biology minor could signal to future employers and admissions teams that in addition to your knowledge of the mind, you possess a foundational understanding of the human body and its many systems and processes.
Dr. Meier-Marquis has worked with many students who majored in psychology and went on to become successful doctors, dentists, physical therapists and physician assistants. “Psych majors make great doctors because they have an understanding of people that goes beyond biology.” She goes on to say, “Knowing the psychological, cognitive and relational aspects of human development creates a new perspective for approaching medical problems.”
Biology minors can expect to take courses like:
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Intro to Evolution
- Laboratory I and II
2. Political Science
Psychology and political science are a natural pairing; both disciplines seek to analyze and understand human behavior, interpersonal influence and decision-making. A political science minor would be an excellent choice for anyone considering a career in public service, international relations, advocacy or law.
With awareness about the importance of social justice and ongoing struggles for equality at the forefront of national conversations, this degree is immensely relevant for any civic-minded student. Studying political science can help you develop a deeper understanding of how the government operates and the skills to influence it for the better.
Political science minors can expect to take courses like:
- American Constitutional Law and Theory
- Law and Society
- Politics and the Media
- Public Opinion and Voting Behavior
As you might expect, the fields of psychology and criminology have significant overlap. After all, the goal of criminology is to understand what motivates people to commit crimes and deviant behavior. This area of study has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years, in part thanks to skyrocketing popularity of true crime stories.
A psychology major and criminology minor will prepare students for a variety of potential careers in corrections, juvenile justice, forensic psychology and law enforcement. You’ll learn about the intricacies of the U.S. court system, human trafficking, homeland security and more.
Criminology minors can expect to take courses like:
- Intro to Criminal Justice
- Race, Ethnicity and Criminal Justice
- Court Systems and Practices
4. Applied Statistics
A mathematics minor might seem like a stretch, but don’t forget that psychology is founded on the same principles and methods as every other science. Earning a minor in applied statistics in combination with a psychology major is an excellent choice for students who plan on pursuing advanced degrees. This is especially true for those aspiring to work in academia and/or research, which are very competitive fields with many talented applicants.
“A lot of our students go on to grad programs in clinical counseling or take the Ph.D. route,” Dr. Meier-Marquis says. “Heading into those programs with advanced skills in statistics can really help you stand out when it comes time to design experiments and interpret results.”
Applied statistics minors can expect to take courses like:
- Foundations of Statistical Analysis
- Marketing Measurement and Analytics Mathematics
- Data Analytics and Visualization
For those interested in working with school-age children, an education minor can add valuable perspective to your psychology degree. Whether your plan is to become a social worker, school psychologist, counselor or therapist, understanding pedagogy and different learning styes will help you connect with the kids you serve.
Education minors can expect to take courses like:
- Investigating Critical Issues in Education
- Introduction to Curriculum and Instruction
- Foundations of Reading
- Theories and Behaviors of Students With Emotional Disorders
6. Human Services Management
Many psychology majors are attracted to nonprofit careers and helping professions — they want their work to serve the greater good. A minor in human services management is a great option for mission-oriented students. This degree helps students develop the leadership, strategic management and communication skills needed to succeed in the nonprofit sector.
Human services management minors can expect to take courses like:
- Financial and Managerial Accounting
- Program Design, Assessment and Evaluation
- Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Communications and Public Relations
7. International Studies
Whether it’s a minor in International Studies or a specific region (i.e., Latin American Studies or East Asia Studies), students benefit enormously from exposure to foreign languages, cultures, experiences and politics. A psychology major with an international studies minor would be well suited for careers in advocacy, marketing, diplomacy, law and government, to name a few.
This degree is an especially useful addition for students who want to work in diverse communities or teams and/or international settings. A minor in international studies can equip you with better understanding and the ability to systematically analyze global politics, cultures and economics.
International studies minors can expect to take courses like:
- International Politics
- Intercultural Issues
- Regional History
- A foreign language of their choosing
Cater your psychology career
Now that you’re familiar with a few of the best minors for psychology majors, you’re better equipped to tailor your education to fit your career goals. If you’re still not sure about your professional plans after graduation, that’s okay too.
Explore some of your options in our article “What Can I Do With a Psychology Degree?”
Ready to take the next step?
The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the religious, ethical and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. For more than 70 years, we’ve been graduating students like you into successful careers in medicine, education, business, public administration and more – throughout Houston and across the globe.