- Saturday, August 20, 2016
India has seen a huge rise in Indian students studying abroad in 2016, a striking figure of 3,60,000 students. The surge is also visible with Indian students opting to study Psychology, in both India and abroad.
While traditional subjects like law, engineering, and medicine are still among the most sought after course, a lot of students are exploring new horizons.Students seemed to have rolled up their sleeves to contribute to the society keeping in mind the need of their country; in this case, the need for more psychologists and counsellors.
Even though the study of Psychology in India dates back to 1915 (History of psychology in India), it gained recognition only much later. This can be attributed to the misconception in the mid-80s, that psychology is a science for treating mental disorders. However, with the population becoming more aware of its multiple uses, psychology has stretched its roots in the field of education, defence, health, sports, and organisational behaviour, etc.
The Different Branches Students Are Choosing
Students from both the backgrounds, science and arts, can opt for the study of psychology since the subject is an amalgam of philosophy, social studies, and applied sciences. Still, in the first year of the course, most universities have an introductory syllabus.
Beyond that, there is no dearth in the areas that one can specialise in, each varying on its applications. Here are some of the options:
Clinical Psychology, Industrial Organization (I/O) Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Sports Psychology, Health Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Child Psychology, Educational Psychology, School Psychology, Community/ Agency Counselling.
Where to Apply: Country & University
When it comes to a course in psychology the US houses the highest number of top colleges followed by United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Germany. For students looking to study under a scholarship, US, Germany and Australia are an ideal choice.
Those planning to study abroad and earn a work VISA, Canada, and Australia are the best options. These two countries also boast of the top psychology universities with the likes of the University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Toronto, University of Melbourne, and the University of Queensland, to name a few.
Duration of the Degree
The length of the degree depends on nature of the programmes as well as the country one is studying in which falls mostly between 1 to 5 years.
While an undergraduate course usually takes three years, a Master’s program requires two years. To obtain a Doctorate, the duration of study can exceed up to 4 years. On the other hand, short certificate courses range between 3 to 12 months. However, some universities require additional months or years for placements within the course curriculum.
Career Prospects:The Need for More Psychologists in India
Students planning to return to India after course completion, the industry is ripe with job opportunities in all areas. The requirements for psychologists’ pans from health centres to the defence sector.
According to WHO’s Mental Health Atlas (2011), India had one psychiatrist per 3,32,226 people, one psychiatric nurse per 6,02,410, and one psychologist for 21,27,660 people. Such skewed ratios clearly depict the demand for psychology professionals in the market.
With counsellors for schools and colleges deemed mandatory, there are multiple opportunities in the education sector as well. To get an idea, there are 14,25,564 schools, 36,671 colleges, 712 universities and 11,445 stand-alone institutions in India (Educational Statistics 2014).
Industrial/Organizational (I/O) psychologists are not far behind regarding job prospects considering more than 4,000 MNCs in India alone. (This is not mentioning the 254 Public Sector Undertakings in India that require an I/O psychologist as a mandate.)
The positions of a Clinical Psychologist and an I/O Psychologist are considered the most lucrative ones among the rest.
The fact that the field of psychology is in a toddler stage in India is a sign that the growth in the coming years is going to be unprecedented. With more and more students showing greater interest in inter-disciplinary courses and the society becoming less judgmental towards the presence of mental issues and stress of modern life, the ecosystem of psychology is going to sprout and flourish like never before.