What comes to your mind when you hear about psychology? Reading minds? Fortune telling? While it may be one of the most popular majors in the US, it’s not seen as a science discipline.
Therefore the question is, is psychology a stem major? Join us as we explain all you need to know about the said topic in this article.
Now, let’s get started.
Meaning of STEM Majors
The full meaning of STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Majors under these 4 different fields of study are called STEM degrees.
The STEM approach to education has a lot more pros than cons and it helps students to be more creative and apply their variety of skills to solve problems. Contrary to the public opinion that those with STEM degrees are superior, it’s not different except for the critical thinking aspect.
Examples of those working in STEM are physicists, engineers (whether mechanical, chemical, electrical, etc), software developers, mathematicians, scientists, and so on.
Is Psychology a stem major?
If you asked 10 people if psychology is a STEM discipline, 7 out of them will tell you it’s not and some while will even go on to explain how worthless the field is.
According to the report on the future of psychology as a STEM discipline by the American Psychological Association, psychology is a core STEM discipline due to its direct scientific and technical innovations as well as its indirect contributions to education and learning in science & technology.
While Psychology is technically a STEM major, it’s not consistently recognized as one and this has led to it becoming one of the underserved fields of study with less funding. If you are still not convinced let’s define psychology.
As defined by Google, psychology is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given situation. Remember that science is a part of STEM.
Why Psychology is not recognized as a STEM discipline?
First of all, the problem lies in the scientific method used by psychologists. It’s hard for psychologists to accurately get and measure data in this field without having it skewed.
There are quite a few exceptions to this where psychologists conduct experiments and carry out scientific research that is not only quantitative but also based on statistical modeling.
It is also important to know that even psychologists themselves don’t see the future of their field being recognized as a STEM discipline.
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Why Psychology is a STEM major?
Psychology is using science to understand why humans do what they do (behavior). Psychologists use scientific methods to conduct both field and lab experiments to test hypotheses that lead to more knowledge about human behavior.
Furthermore, psychology makes use of various methodologies like behavioral analysis, electromyographs, fMRI, psychophysical techniques, virtual reality, etc, to get unique behavioral knowledge.
All science requires mathematics and psychology is no exception. Also, fields like neuropsychology need to understand how the brain works (anatomy) which is part of science.
Is Psychology STEM or liberal arts?
I would say it depends on the type of degree earned. If it’s a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, you can say it is a liberal arts field because you are only taught pure psychology as well as some humanities and social science courses.
On the flip side, a Bachelor of Science in this field not only covers the basics of psychology but also focuses more on the scientific and research side of it. A BS degree in psychology can be technically classified as a STEM discipline.
Both degrees can be completed in 4 years or less at any undergraduate academic institution. A B.A. in psychology allows you to work as a social worker, teacher, etc, while a B.S. in psychology has more career paths.
Most people generally see Psychology as a non-STEM major and I guess we cleared that up in this article. Whether it’s a STEM discipline or not doesn’t stop students from studying it.
Probably in the next decade or 2 with the help of public awareness and more advancements in the field, society will recognize psychology as not only a STEM but a reputable discipline. Hopefully, we have not only cleared your doubts but you learned some new stuff.
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