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Q & A

Career in psychology



Way to success: At the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) Campus at Bangalore .

My son is a Plus Two student and he wants to take up psychology for higher study. Please let us know the higher education opportunities in the discipline and the related career prospects.

BALACHANDRAN, EMAIL

To become a psychologist or counsellor, one should preferably do a Ph.D. in psychology. At the Masters-level, students can specialise in subjects such as clinical psychology, counselling psychology, educational psychology and development psychology.

After completing Plus Two, you should choose psychology for the degree course. Several universities and colleges offer three-year degree courses in psychology. Some universities have introduced five-year integrated M.Sc. programmes in clinical psychology. Masters degree courses in psychology are offered both in arts and science streams. Eligibility for admission to the Masters degree programme is a bachelor’s degree with psychology as one of the subjects.

Degree courses

In Kerala, the following colleges offer psychology at the degree level. Plus Two students with any combination of subjects can apply. Admission will be made on the basis of merit in the qualifying examinations.

Under the Kerala University, the Government College for Women, Vazhuthacaud, Thiruvananthapuram-695014; Mahatma Gandhi College, Kesavadasapuram, Thiruvananthapuram- 695004; Sree Narayana College, Chempazhanthi, Thiruvananthapuram- 695587; Fathima Matha National College, Kollam -691001 offer BA (psychology).

Under the MG University, Union Christian College, Alwaye and Kuriacose Elias College, Mannanam, offer BA (psychology).

Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Tamil Nadu, offers a five-year integrated M.Sc. course in clinical psychology. Those who have passed the Plus Two examination are eligible for admission. Details of other universities and colleges that offer degree, postgraduate, M.Phil., Ph.D. courses in psychology can be had from the University Handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi. The handbook is available for reference at the University Employment Information and Guidance Bureaux.

Counselling psychology

Counselling is one of the specialisations offered at the Masters degree, M.Phil. and Ph.D. levels. It equips individuals to deal with personal problems that do not involve mental disorders.

The school of Behavioural Sciences under the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, offers a regular Masters Diploma in counselling psychology. Those who have Masters degree in psychology/education/social work with 50 per cent marks or a postgraduate degree in other subjects with 50 per cent marks and a B.Ed. degree are eligible for admission. Selection is through an entrance test. The university also provides study facilities for M.Phil. in rehabilitation psychology for postgraduates in psychology with 55 per cent marks.

The Department of Psychology under the University of Kerala offers M.Phil. in counselling psychology. Guidance and counselling are important areas of practical applications in psychology.

Some institutions conduct regular courses in this field. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi, offers a Postgraduate diploma in guidance and counselling. Eligibility for admission to this course is a Masters degree in psychology with 55 per cent marks.

The Regional Institutes of Education in Mysore and Bhopal functioning under the NCERT also conduct a one-year (two semesters) postgraduate diploma course in guidance and counselling. Admission is open to those who have completed MA/M.Sc. in psychology, educational psychology, social work or child development.

The Madras School of Social Work affiliated to the University of Madras offers an M.Sc. counselling and guidance course. Graduates in psychology or any graduate who has studied at least one paper in psychology are eligible for admission.

Clinical psychology

It is one of the specialisations in psychology. Clinical psychologists study the diagnosis, causes and treatment of mental disorders.

Clinical psychology courses are available in a few colleges and university departments, either as a specialisation or as a subject at postgraduate level. Other specialised subjects include applied psychology, cognitive psychology, educational psychology and social psychology.

Many of the universities, which have Masters degree courses, also offer M.Phi.l and doctoral degree programmes. At present doctoral degree significantly improve one’s career prospects.

The MA/M.Sc. courses in psychology cover area such as developmental psychology, biological psychology, cognitive neuro psychology, advanced experimental design, discourse analysis and psychometrics.

Some of the universities and colleges offering psychology and clinical psychology courses as different levels are:

•Department of Psychology, University of Kerala, Kariavattam, Thiruvananthapuram: MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D.in psychology

•Government College for Women, Vazhuthacad, Thiruvananthapuram: MA Psychology

•School of Behavioural Sciences, Mahatma Gandhi University, Priyadarshini Hills, Kottayam: M.Sc. Psychology, M.Phil.

•Union Christian (UC) College, Alwaye: MA Psychology

•Department of Psychology, University of Calicut, Thenhipalam: M.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in psychology

•Mother Arts and Science College, Peruvallur (affiliated to University of Calicut), Thrissur: M.Sc. psychology

•Prajyothi Niketan College, Pudukkad (affiliated to University of Calicut): M.Sc. Clinical psychology

•MJP Rohilkhand University, Baraeli–243001: MA Clinical psychology

•Department of psychology, Barkatullah University, Bhopal: MA Clinical psychology, M.Phil.

•Manipal University, Manipal: M.phil. Clinical Psychology

•The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore– 560029 ( www.nimhanskar.nic.in) offers M.Phil. and Ph.D. courses in mental health and social psychology.

MA/M.Sc. degree holders in psychology with not less than 55 per cent marks are eligible for admission.

•The Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi-834006 offers an M.Phil. programme in medical and social psychology of two-year duration. Entry qualification is MA/M.Sc. in psychology with 50 per cent marks in aggregate. Ph.D. in clinical psychology of three-year duration is also offered here. Meritorious MA/M.Sc. psychology degree holders are eligible for admission.

Those who desire to go for Ph.D. should clear the Junior Research Fellowship/lectureship examination (National Eligibility Test-NET) conducted by the University Grants Commission or the University-level examination.

Industrial psychology

It is a branch of psychology that applies the principles of psychology to the work place or industry. This branch of psychology is mainly concerned with individual behaviour in work situations and the major areas of industrial psychology covers personnel psychology—selection and testing, performance evaluation, organisational psychology, conflict management and so on.

Industrial psychology is generally offered as a specialisation in applied psychology at the Masters degree level. The University of Madras, Chennai; Bharathiar University, Coimbatore; Annamalai University, Annamali Nagar; University of Delhi, Delhi and Shivaji University, Kolhapur are some of the universities that offer industrial psychology at the postgraduate Level.

Career prospects

To pursue the career of a psychologist, one should have a genuine desire to help other people resolve their mental or emotional problems. Clinical psychologists can find jobs in mental health hospitals and clinics and do private practice as consultant psychologists or counsellors. Teaching and research are two avenues of employment for qualified psychologists.

GOPAKUMAR KARAKONAM

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