Psychology is the study of human mind and behavior. It is an interdisciplinary subject, spanning topics from biological science, medical science, neuroscience, to social science. The broad-based undergraduate programme offers students a comprehensive education in psychology, with basic knowledge of the main fields of psychology, as well as opportunities for focused study in more specialised areas such as clinical psychology, cognitive neuroscience, psychological study of culture and social cognition. Students develop strong research and writing skills, and become good problem solvers, with a well-developed critical thinking ability when it comes to analysing, synthesising, and evaluating information. In Singapore and abroad, opportunities for graduates in psychology are increasing in both government agencies as well as in the private sector.
Psychologists use the scientific method to conduct both basic and applied research. They serve as consultants to communities and organisations; diagnose and treat people's mental states; and assess intelligence and personality. They study how human beings relate to each other and also to machines, and they work to improve these relationships. In a globalised world characterised by human interaction across borders and continents, psychologists bring important knowledge and skills to understanding other cultures, as well as facilitating inter-cultural communication.
Psychologists traditionally study both normal and abnormal functioning, and they concentrate on behaviours that affect mental functioning and emotional health. For example, they work with business executives, actors, and athletes to reduce stress and improve performance. They advise police on the personality profiles of criminals and they collaborate with educators on school reform. Immediately following a calamity, such as a highway collapse or natural disaster, psychologists help victims and bystanders recover from the trauma of the event.
Most psychologists surveyed say they thoroughly enjoy their work. They cite the variety of daily tasks and the flexibility of their schedules. They are attracted by the exciting changes taking place in the field, from adapting technology to humans, to working as part of primary health care teams.
While the study of psychology is ideal for students intending to work in this field, it is also excellent preparation for many other professions in areas such as business (advertising, service sectors, human resources, management, marketing, and organisational behaviour), education, the military, the police, the media, in public affairs, the health sciences, social work, and psychology related professions.