Options, options

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Did you read the last post where I talked about a few options related to career switches? Read it here: Options, options (Part 1)

Do you know how I said in the last post that if I choose to go with distance education via open university, work will get in the way? Well, guess what? Work did get in the way last week. It got in the way of completing this small, little article. Isn’t that just grand?

Now that I had chosen Psychology as my next goal, now it was time to select the field in the vast array of choices. I don’t want to create a big listicle of all the different streams in Psychology and what they mean. Instead, I’ll list the options that were viable to me, and if you’re interested in others or need more details for the ones that I’ll mention, Google away!

As I plan to study psychology in Bengaluru where I currently live, I have 4 options: Christ University, Saint Johns, IISC and Bangalore University. Mind you, there are others, but I’m listing the ones that I find the best in Bengaluru. Even here, I didn’t have to worry a lot about choosing the right one for me because Saint Johns, IISC and Bangalore University all expect me to have either an undergraduate in Psychology (B.A or B.Sc) or have psychology as one of the subjects in my UG.

I have neither.

But Christ came to my rescue. I am eligible to study psychology here without any prior education in it. But again, there’s a catch. And that is the limitation of the field of psychology.

Which field of psychology should I choose?

The ones that interested me were Counselling and Clinical. Now, I am interested in becoming a counselor, so I looked into the programs offered in this category. Thankfully, I don’t need a psych degree to be eligible for this, but if I want to pursue clinical psychology, then tough luck, I’m not allowed.

But this was not a dealbreaker for me as Counselling was my first choice. So I’m planning to work on this goal and not worry about not being a clinical psychologist. There are many other options: Education, Industrial Organization (IO), Behavioral Science, Health, Developmental psychology, and so on.

If you’re a Clinical psychologist, then you can work in hospitals and other medical centers dealing with patients with mental illnesses including abnormal psychology (for example, schizophrenic patients). You’re allowed to prescribe medicines, and do counselling. But for counselling, you’ll need an M.Phil degree.

IO psychology is great if you want to get into IT because it’s about working on how to increase productivity in the company, how to keep employees happy, effective workplace practices and so on.

With Counselling, you can be an individual therapist, work with a company that provides therapy sessions, be a social worker, work with children, in educational institutions, and so on. I’m particularly interested in individual and marital/couple counselling. You deal with clients, not patients, and you’ll help people come to terms with their issues and lend a hand in working on themselves. Unlike Clinical psychologists, Counselling psychology Master’s graduates can start counseling right away without an M.Phil degree.

If I choose Christ with a Bachelor’s in Engineering, I’m eligible for all the branches of psychology except for clinical. So I’m planning to pursue a Master of Science degree in Counselling psychology.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been looking for opportunities abroad for Master’s. It looks like the UK, USA and Europe have the best universities to study psychology, but I’m not eligible for most of the courses, including counselling. These courses require an undergraduate in psychology and the branches that don’t have this criterion are the ones that I’m not interested in. I read that it’s better to study or practice psychology where you live because you know the culture and the people. Although I don’t completely agree, I think language does play a major role. If I try to study and practice counselling in some country in Europe where English is not one of the primary languages, then I might be at a disadvantage.

Doctorate programs are great in the UK, maybe I’ll revisit the ‘studying abroad’ option if I want to go for Ph.D. after my M.Sc.

That’s my story of ‘How I chose my college and Masters’ even though I haven’t enrolled yet. I’m planning to start next year or the year after that. I’m hoping this happens according to plan.

In the next post (hopefully in the next 2 weeks), I’ll tell you all about my experience with the Christ University Entrance exam. Spoiler alert: It was fun!

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