Psychology though it is a very old knowledge discipline, it is also a young science. Study of psychology has been evolved continuously in India. Earlier psychology was study of soul or mind and now the study involves processes, reactions, emotions, motives, feelings and nature of mind.
Being it a ‘knowledge’ discipline, it studies the range of phenomena so it cannot be captured by any one definition. Psychology is defined both in terms of what it studies and how it studies.
Keeping this point in mind psychology is defined formally as a science which studies mental processes, experiences and behaviour in different context. It seeks to understand and explain how the mind works and how different mental processes result in different behaviour.
Study of psychology field includes study of memory, emotion, reaction, learning, behaviour, environment, observations, habit interference and practical.
Psychology subject is generally categorized as a social science but in many countries including India, it is also a subject of study offered in faculty of science both at undergraduate and post graduate levels.
Psychology acknowledges the relevance of other disciplines in understanding human behavior so it is also termed as interdisciplinary field involving other discipline such as philosophy, medicine, economics, political science, sociology, music and fine arts, mass communication, law and criminology.
Various fields of specialization in psychology courses have emerged over the years. Those who are interested in psychology courses here is list of branches covered in psychology. After knowing the detail about each branch one can choose the most suitable one as per own interest.
Branches of Psychology Courses
1. Clinical and Counselling Psychology
This branch deals with causes, treatment and prevention of different type of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders and chronic substance abuse.
A related area is counselling, which aims to improve everyday functioning by helping people solve the problems in daily living and cope more effectively with challenging situations.
In many instances a counselling psychologist deals with students, advising them about personal problems and career planning. Clinical psychologists also study the cause, treatment and prevention of psychological disorders.
A clinical psychologist has a degree in psychology, which includes intensive training in treating people with psychological disorders.
2. Educational Psychology
This branch studies how people of all ages learn. Educational psychologists primarily help in developing instructional methods and materials used to train people in both educational and work settings.
They are also concerned with research on issues of education, counselling and learning problems.
3. School psychology
School psychology focuses on designing psychology courses that promote intellectual, social and emotional development of children, including those with special needs. They try to apply knowledge of psychology in school settings.
4. Industrial/ Organisational Psychology
This branch deals with workplace behaviour, focusing on both the workers and the organizations that employ them. Industrial psychologists are concerned with training employees, improving work conditions and developing criteria for selecting employees.
It also suggests organization that how to increase communication between managers and staff. The background of industrial and organizational psychologists often includes training in cognitive and social psychology.
5. Health Psychology
This branch focuses on the role of psychological factors for example stress, anxiety in the development, prevention and treatment of illness.
Areas of interest for a health psychologist are stress and coping, the relationship between psychological factors and health, patient-doctor relationship and ways of promoting health enhancing factors.
6. Social Psychology
This branch explores how people are affected by their social environments, how people think about and influence others.
Social psychologists are interested in such topics as attitudes, conformity and obedience to authority, interpersonal attraction, helpful behaviour, prejudice, aggression, social motivation, inter group relations and so on.
7. Cultural Psychology
Cross cultural or cultural psychology examines the role of culture in understanding behaviour, thought and emotion.
It assumes that human behaviour is not only a reflection of human biological potential but also a product of culture. Culture influences human behaviour in many ways and in varying degrees. Therefore behaviour should be studied in its socio cultural context.
8. Environmental Psychology
In this psychology course, you study the interaction of physical factors such as temperature, humidity, pollution and natural disasters on human behaviour. The influence of physical arrangement of the workplace on health, the emotional state and interpersonal relations are also studied.
Current topics such as population explosion, conservation of energy, disposal of waste, efficient use of community, all are linked with the functions of human behaviour.
9. Cognitive Psychology
This branch investigates mental processes involved in acquisition, storage, manipulation and transformation of information received from the environment along with its use and communication.
The major cognitive processes are attention, perception, memory, reasoning, problems solving, decision making and language.
10. Biological Psychology
Biological Psychology courses focuses on the relationship between behaviour and the physical system, including the brain and the rest of the nervous system, the immune system and genetics.
Biological psychologists often collaborate with neuroscientists and anthropologists.
Neuropsychology has emerged as a field of research where psychologists and neuroscientists are working together. Researchers study the role of chemical substances which are responsible for neural communication in different areas of brain and therefore in associated mental functions.
They do their research on people with normal brain as well as on people with damaged brain by following advanced technologies such as ECG, MRI etc.
12. Developmental Psychology
This branch deals with the study of physical, social and psychological changes that occur at different ages and stages over a life span.
The primary concern of developmental psychologist is how we become what we are. For many years the major focus was on child and adolescent development. It is also showing interest in adult development and ageing.
In this they focus on the biological, socio cultural and environmental factors that influence psychological characteristics such as intelligence, cognition, emotion, temperament, morality and social relationship.
13. Community Psychology
This Psychology course focuses on problems related to community mental health. It helps the community and its institutions in addressing physical and mental health problems.
Community Psychologist work for mental health agencies, private organizations and state governments. They also work with special populations such as elderly or the physically and mentally challenged. Community based rehabilitation (CBR) is the major interest to community psychologists.
14. Sports Psychology
This branch applies psychological principles to improve sports performance by enhancing their motivation. Sports psychology is a relatively new field but is gaining acceptance worldwide.
15. Other emerging branches of psychology courses
The research and application of psychology has led to the emergence of varied areas like aviation psychology, space psychology, military psychology, rural psychology, engineering psychology, psychology of women and political psychology.
Basic Educational Qualification required for Psychology Courses
One can pursue psychology after completing class 10. Its basic studies starts at plus two level and then specialization on specific subjects can be done in graduate, post graduate and doctorate level.
Psychology Courses in India
- Bachelor degree psychology courses (Course duration 3 years)
- Bachelor degree (Honours) in applied psychology
- Bachelor degree (Honours) in Psychology
- Bachelor degree in Psychology
- Bachelor degree in Journalism, Psychology and English
- Master Degree Courses (Course duration 2 years)
- Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology
- Master of Arts in Psychology
- Master of Arts in philosophy and applied psychology
- Master of Philosophy (M.Phill) in Child and Adolescent Psychology
- Master of Philosophy (M.Phill) in applied Psychology
- Doctorate Degree (PhD) Courses ( Course duration 2 years)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
- Doctor of Philosophy in Counselling Psychology
- Doctor of Philosophy in Stress analysis
- Diploma Courses in Psychology
- Advanced Diploma in Child Psychology
- Advanced Diploma in Counselling
- Diploma in Applied Psychology
- Diploma in Child Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma Courses in Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Application of Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Family and Child Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Counselling
- Post Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Psychology
- Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Psychology
- Certificate Courses in Psychology
- Certificate course in Child Psychology
It takes years of experience and studying to become a Psychologist. You can opt for any stream in your 12th grade and can choose Psychology as a fifth subject. After Bachelors degree one can do masters course for two years in any one specialized field.
To apply for the doctorate degree you need at least two years of experience in research and counselling. Then only one can apply for the PhD courses. The PhD courses are highly competitive but once it is done it can give you a better future scope.
Difference between Basic and Applied Psychology Courses
Difference between basic and applied courses is identified only on the basis of their emphasis on the study of certain subject matters and broader concerns.
Basic psychology provides us with theories and principles that form the basis of application of psychology.
Applied Psychology provides us with different contexts in which the theories and principles derived from research can be meaningfully applied. Research has become the integral part of both basic and applied Psychology.
Colleges & Universities offering Psychology Courses
Most state and central universities do offer courses in Psychology. Some of the top colleges for Psychology are listed below.
- Delhi University, New Delhi
- Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
- Ambedkar University, New Delhi
- Punjab University, Chandigarh
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
- Christ University, Bangalore
- Fergusson College, Pune
- Gautam Budh University, Noida
- Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Mumbai
M.Phill in Clinical Psychology can be done from RCI (Rehabilitation Council of India). RCI provides license to practice as a Clinical Psychology.
Scope of Psychology in India
Psychology has become a good career choice in India. Gradually the demand of a trained psychologist is increasing in India.
Psychologists today work in variety of settings where they can apply psychological principles for teaching and training people to cope effectively with the problems of their lives.
Clinical Psychology is one of the established fields of Psychology in India. Clinical Psychologists are recognized by Rehabilitation Council of India and can do private practice as well.
A Psychologists’ work involves couselling people, treating their emotional problems and advising people on interpersonal issues. The salary in this profession is good and the cost of education is very low.
To conclude I would say the potential of Psychology in solving the problems of life is being realized more and more. Psychology is not only a subject that satisfies some of the curiosities of our mind about human nature, but it is also a subject that can offer solutions to a variety of problems.
These may range from purely personal to those rooted within the family set up or in a larger group of community setting or to the problems related to education, health, environment, social justice, women development etc.
These problems result from our unhealthy thinking, negative attitude towards people and undesirable pattern of behaviour.
A psychological analysis of these problems helps both in having a deeper understanding of these problems and also in finding their effective solutions. Thus, the knowledge of psychology is quite useful in our everyday life and is rewarding from personal as well as social points of view.
There is a great demand for psychology courses and you can find lots of career opportunities in this field.