Department of Psychology

Making a Successful Career in Psychology

Tips for Undergraduates

  • During your freshman and sophomore year take a variety of courses in different areas to be sure that psychology is right for you.
  • If you find your interests cross disciplines (e.g., LEJA and PSY), consider a double major.


  • Don't wait until your senior year to take the Research Methods sequence (i.e., PSY 223 & PSY 323).
  • Learn about career opportunities in Psychology for individuals who have a Bachelor's, Master's and Ph.D. degree.
  • Define your career goals. What do you want to do with your degree in psychology? Do you need additional training to accomplish your career goals?
  • Consider a field placement or independent research/readings to help you become more marketable as an employee or as a graduate student.
  • Talk with your advisor and the faculty in the psychology department about your career aspirations.
  • Speak with friends and family members who are employed in a position you think you might like as a career.
  • Check out the Internet for information about the career you might want. Begin with this web site as a resource.
  • Visit WIU's career counseling center.

How Parents Can Help

  • Encourage your student to pursue what he/she is good at, what interests him/her, or matches his/her values.
  • Encourage your student to get to know themselves by trying new things and exploring courses they didn't take in high school.
  • When encouraging career exploration, emphasize to your student that he/she is not making one decision that impacts the rest of his/her life. Most students (80%) will change their major at least once.
  • Emphasize that life is full of options and career choices are no exception.Emphasize to your student that curiosity is important in maintaining an interest in any career. If your student has a natural curiosity about human behavior and mental processes, perhaps a career in psychology will be perfect.
  • Finally, encourage your student to make him/herself more marketable by finding an internship or field placement opportunity during his/her junior or senior year. Dr. Dana Lindemann is in charge of the field placement program for psychology. Also, emphasize that opportunities often come to those best prepared, so encourage your student to start early in learning about career opportunities in the field of psychology.