Why Do I Have to Take a Psychology Class?

Studying psychology has several benefits

They're being inspired to do great things... Rearview shot of a teacher talking to his university students
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Even though you're not a psychology major, you can definitely benefit from learning more about the human mind and behavior by taking a psychology course. Many universities require students to take at least one class in psychology or a related topic such as sociology or anthropology. Why is psychology often included as part of a core general education requirement?

There are a few great reasons.

It Can Help You Better Understand Other People

If you are majoring in a subject that will lead you to a career that involves working directly with lots of different people, such as teaching or nursing, understanding more about how people think and behave will be extremely helpful in your career. Even if you don't plan to work with people, psychology is still beneficial in helping you understand how and why the people in your life think and behave the way they do. Understanding others can be extremely fulfilling and lead to better, stronger relationships with your family, friends, and co-workers.

It Can Help You Better Understand Yourself

Just like it helps you better understand others, taking a psychology class can help you understand yourself too, including areas like what motivates you, what sort of personality you have, and how your personality contributes to the way you think and behave.

Understanding yourself better can help you improve your relationships with others, your communication skills, your motivation, and how you relate to the world around you.

It Can Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Psychology classes emphasize things like the scientific method, evaluating your sources of information, and thinking critically about the information you encounter on a daily basis.

Such classes can help you hone these skills, which may prove useful in a variety of careers and different areas of life.

What Your Psych Class May Include

You might be expected to take one introductory psychology class, which can be a great way to get a basic grounding in the topic. In an introductory class, you will learn about a range of topics including:

  • The history of psychology
  • Personality
  • Human development
  • Social behavior
  • Cognitive psychology

Sometimes your major might require you to take a class such as abnormal psychology or developmental psychology as part of your core requirements. Health majors, in particular, can benefit from taking such classes. These topics can help prepare you to work with individuals who are experiencing some form of mental illness and teach you more about human behavior and development. By learning more about the symptoms and treatments of such disorders, you can experience greater empathy and understanding when working with people suffering from psychological problems.

Of course, knowing why your university requires you to take a psychology class doesn't necessarily make it any easier. Even if you know little about the topic or if you're struggling in your class, there are a number of things you can do to find help.

Many universities offer free tutoring centers or academic assistance labs, but you can also turn to online resources to help you make sense of the subject.