Universiti Malaya – Wales

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by Laxhme Paramanadan

Psychology is not a difficult subject to study or to do well in. If you have an interest in it you’ll find it the easiest subject to study, but if you don’t, it could be one of the most difficult subjects to even pass!

This comes from my personal experience attempting an arts degree first, before switching to a science degree in psychology. It’s important to have an interest in the degree you’re pursuing – even if it may not be your path, at least make sure it’s where your interest lies. My advice to those who aren’t sure of what they want to pursue is to take general pre-university studies first, for example, foundation studies. You’ll be exposed to a variety of subjects from all fields of study, which will provide an opportunity to discover where your interests lie.

So what’s the difference between an arts degree and a science degree? The most notable difference is that a Bachelor of Arts (BA) tends to incorporate a broader sweep of academia, whereas a science degree is more focused. While many students who choose an arts degree may choose the programme based on their career aspirations, a BA also gives you more wiggle room if you don’t have something specific in mind. One is neither better than the other – it depends on your own goals!

A Bachelor of Science may better prepare you for jobs that require scientific research. In psychology, you will learn the science behind how the human mind works, sometimes animals as well. You will read a lot of research papers, learn various research methods, and eventually conduct one important project in your final year. Pursuing a science degree in psychology at IUMW is exactly what you should do if you know this is an area you’re interested in – especially clinical psychology.

IUMW’s amazing team of academics in the psychology department are just what you need to undergo a fulfilling and rewarding academic journey. I can assure you they are the reason I’ve managed to reach the end of my final year successfully, having completed my final research project with flying colours. Bearing in mind, I had no previous exposure to any psychology-related subjects before signing up at IUMW for this course, it was a pure leap of faith!

Each one of my lecturers has a different area of expertise, and they are well equipped professionally to guide students through their academic journey. They are so passionate about their subject, and they pass this on to the students.

So how would I describe psychology in one sentence? Well, you are NOT studying how to read people’s minds. You will not have psychic skills. You will not cure “crazy” people. These are very common stereotypes people have towards anyone in the psychology field. As a psychology student, you will learn how to observe and study a person’s behaviour and their personality to explain why they behave a certain way or why they react in a specific manner. You learn about the scientific aspects of the human mind. This is certainly different from being able to read someone’s mind!

As a psychology student, be prepared to read and research a lot. Psychology leans more towards theoretical based study compared to other hands-on or technical fields of study. The more you read, the more exposed you will be to the vast field of psychology.

What’s special about studying psychology is that in your final year, you get to research any psychology-related topic that you want. Your research is important because you can be directly or indirectly contributing to individuals and societies. Each psychology student’s research project subject is taken into careful consideration, and guided by the supervisor with close attention. I have no regrets about studying psychology at IUMW and can’t wait to graduate and begin my career!