What Are Some Alternatives to a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology?

A bachelor’s degree in psychology can lead to many different career paths. However, with the increase of students seeking a psychology major, most psychology programs have become difficult to gain admission to, even for a student with excellent credentials. There are plenty of other majors and options that provide opportunities to those interested in pursuing a career in human services. The following is a list of alternative degrees to explore.

Human Services

A major in human services can lead to a career as a social worker, marriage and family counselor or as a school guidance counselor. A human services degree veers away from the science side of psychology and focus more on the applied skills of a trained practitioner. You might work in tandem with a psychiatric or private practice facility providing intellectual, vocational or educational assessments. Maybe your role will be to provide therapy to individuals, groups, couples or families. Alternatively, perhaps you will function as a drug and alcohol counselor in a rehabilitation setting. Social workers are trained to work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to schools to nursing homes. The top areas of practice for a social worker are in mental health, physical rehabilitation, and child welfare.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists provide assistance and evaluation of patients who are working to learn, or relearn, basic skills. An occupational therapist may work in a hospital or psychiatric facility to help patients learn how to be independent and self-sufficient. As an occupational therapist, you might assist stroke patients to recover perceptual-motor tasks. Alternatively, you could work with developmentally disabled children to strengthen their mental and physical abilities. Occupational therapists can also be employed by human resources departments to provide assessments and evaluations of employees in a corporate setting. They often administer employee assistance programs and employee education opportunities.


A degree in sociology is very similar to a psychology degree. The main difference between the two is that psychology focuses on the individual or small group, and sociology is focused on communities and larger groups of persons. Psychology studies the human mind, while sociology studies human behavior. A degree in sociology can lead to jobs in counseling and social services. Sociology majors often work in the public sector, providing services for families or individuals in need of food stamps, Medicaid, or other social services. They can provide disaster assistance. In the private sector, sociologists often work in human resources in recruiting, staffing and training employees. Some sociologist continue in the fields of anthropology and social science research, studying human behavior.

Psychology majors continue to be one of the most sought-after programs at colleges and universities. However, that popularity is limiting the number of students admitted into psychology program. Even though there are limited openings, there are a variety of other majors and other career choices available in related fields.