Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

What is Psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior, emotions, and mental processes.  Using scientific investigations, psychologists try to understand one of the most complex phenomena - human behavior. Some psychologists study how people think, remember, process information, acquire language, interact with other people, change from birth through aging, and much more.

What do psychologists do?

The work that psychologists do can vary. Those who have a master's degree or doctorate in psychology may work as researchers, therapists in private practice, or consultants in various institutions and organizations. Depending on their training, they may teach in universities and colleges, conduct research, or work in businesses and industries.  Other psychologists may work in schools, government agencies, counseling centers and social service agencies, or in mental health clinics and hospitals.

What degree should I earn if I want to work in the field?

Most people working within the field have a master's or doctoral degree in psychology. Earning a master’s degree requires about two years of study after you complete your bachelor's degree. For a doctoral degree, you will need to commit to about six years of study after completing your bachelor’s degree.

Does PCC offer a degree in Psychology?

PCC does not offer a degree in psychology. However, most psychology classes at PCC meet lower-division requirements for a major in psychology at many universities and colleges in Oregon and across the nation. Students who want to major in psychology should make a plan to transfer and continue their studies at a four-year college or university.  Keep in mind that all colleges and universities have specific requirements for accepting courses and credits from other schools. You would need to consult an admissions counselor at your campus for details on what classes are required and which ones will transfer.

Are there jobs for those with an Associate or Bachelor's degree?

Associate and bachelor’s degrees are most helpful for entry-level positions in community mental health agencies, crisis or rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, human resources, government agencies, or centers for senior citizens. In order to have an accountable career in the field of psychology where you make the decisions that guide psychological assessment and treatment, teach, or conduct research, you should earn a master’s or doctorate degree.

Why should non-Psychology majors take classes?

Psychology classes can be used to satisfy the Social Science requirements that all students must complete as part of an associate degree. Courses in psychology will give you an excellent foundation for working in many fields, including health care, business, sales and marketing, social service, and education. Psychology classes are designed to help students gain a better understanding of themselves and others and gain insight into how people think, feel, and interact with one another. This kind of information can be useful for almost any job, and can help you in your daily life.

Careers in Psychology

 If you are interested in a career in psychology, a great place to get more information is the APA (American Psychological Association) careers in psychology page.

Transferable Credits

Although PCC does not offer a degree in psychology, psychology courses are lower division collegiate courses that transfer to a four-year college or university. Psychology courses may transfer as:

  • elective credits
  • program requirement credits
  • and/or graduation requirements for the receiving institution

Students are always encouraged to check with the receiving institution, your PCC academic advisor and the University Transfer website for the most accurate and timely transfer requirement information.

What's Next?

psychology program flag
  1. Apply for admission to PCC.
  2. Talk with an academic advisor.
  3. Register for classes.