A Decade of Degrees-Psychology

Students at Northwestern are like Jay-Z: We’ve got 99 problems. That’s where the comparison ends. Whether it’s bombing a stats midterm, getting a hangover the morning after Boomshaka or seeing your high school friends tweet about how happy they are to be out of school, way before you are, we’ve all got something to complain about.

So what should you do with your problems? Talk to your friends. Seriously. Not only can they be great moral support by themselves, but chances are at least one of them is a psychology major.

Over the past decade, the psychology major at Northwestern rose from fifth-most popular major to second, with 74 more students graduating with psychology degrees in 2013’s undergraduate class than in 2003’s.

Lan Nguyen, a Medill freshman, decided to pursue a second major in psychology due to her interest in helping others, as well as the added versatility to her career.

“I’ve always considered a career in therapy or counseling,” Nguyen said. “If journalism doesn’t work out, I’d be more than happy to pursue a career in social work or something. There’s so many different opportunities in psychology.”

According to Mark Presnell, the executive director of University Career Services at Northwestern, psychology majors have many options for their careers. Being able to read, analyze information and think critically can apply to many fields.

“We’ll have people who come here who’ll be psychology majors and go off and do something completely different,” Presnell said. “Outside a couple of fields like [engineering], you’re going to see them across the spectrum looking at opportunities in education, non-profit, marketing, advertising, consulting, etc.”

So if you’re having real problems, I feel for you son. Go talk to a psych major, you’re bound to know one.

Originally published June 17, 2014 as part of a compilation for North by Northwestern.