Psychology Major at USMA

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by meerkatmob, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. meerkatmob

    meerkatmob New Member

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    I am a candidate for USMA 2022 and I am curious if anyone is familiar with the Psychology degree program at USMA. I have a passion for psychology and my goal right now is to pursue Clinical Psychology, or if not that, research in the field or a similar one (i.e. Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, etc). I am also applying for an AROTC scholarship at a civilian university in my state.

    I am really serious about being an Army officer, and attending USMA would be an honor. But I am unsure if they can offer me the same things that the civilian university I'm applying to can. For example, in terms of classes, USMA seems limited, because they have you take so many other things that it *seems like* you can't really delve into a primary area of interest. My other concern is the lack of variety of psychology classes. The university has classes ranging from Psychological Assessment to Schizophrenia. Looking at the curriculum and Red Book, I don't see a large variety of psychology classes at USMA. Additionally, I'm not sure if USMA has many (or any) research opportunities.

    Overall, I'm wondering if someone can answer these questions, tell me what the Psychology major is really like, and if anyone who studied it at USMA felt "fulfilled" by the classes they took. And especially if said person went on to Clinical Psychology or research in psychology: did they feel prepared, did they feel like they had missed out on something, etc. Hopefully all of this makes sense...

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jl123

    jl123 Member

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    You will always be able to find a civilian university with a strength in a particular field that can offer more depth in that field. USMA's academic strength is a superior liberal arts education. USMA engineering majors get more rigor in humanities and social sciences than similar majors at a civilian school. USMA philosophy majors get a full dose of math, science and engineering that they would not get at a civilian school. At most civilian universities General Education requirements are watered down GPA boosters. Not so at USMA.

    Try these links to the USMA website. They may give a more clear description of the Psychology program than the Redbook.

    http://www.usma.edu/bsl/SitePages/Psychology.aspx

    http://www.usma.edu/bsl/Shared Documents/Psych Brochure AY17_v1 1.pdf
     
  3. Artillery

    Artillery Member

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    I'm in the same boat - want to go to West Point, want to major in psych. First off, USMA is pretty engineering heavy but they are considered a liberal arts school (the confusion is mainly due to the fact that it is a military academy and not a normal college). So automatically, you get a B.S. no matter the major, even if its something like psych or even English.

    Now, if you want to be a clinical psychologist, you need to go to med school. You probably understand that West Point's main goal is to commission an officer in the US Army, not send people to med school. You may not be able to delve deep into your academic major if it doesn't have anything to directly contribute to the Army. They make you take the engineering courses because they find it more useful. As far as research, it all depends on the professor. If the professor is a lower ranking officer (o-3 maybe), chances are this is their second or third deployment and they probably won't be offering research opportunities; civilian professors probably are the way to go as far as research (the military doesn't really do research like that; you also have to go to the civilian professors that are older, not the ones fresh outta grad school).

    If they end up sending you to med school or you go to graduate school after your required service, I really don't think you'd have a problem getting into places just because your diploma will say USMA on it. It may not be the best college in the sense that places like Princeton or MIT are better schools, but as far as academics, West Point is one of the best. If you want to be a pure academic, you'd be better off at a civilian institution, but it seems like you want the Army, so West Point fits.

    Ultimately, its your choice though. Again, I'm just like you, class of 2022 hopeful; this is just what I figure from the way West Point works.
     
  4. meerkatmob

    meerkatmob New Member

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    Thanks jl123! I've seen the Department web page, but I haven't seen that brochure. Thanks again.

    Artillery: Thanks for your help! Good to hear from someone in the same position as me. What do you think you want to do in the Army and with your psychology major? Just a minor correction, Clinical Psychologists are not MDs, they are PhDs or PsyDs.
     
  5. skismuggs

    skismuggs 5-Year Member

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    Just an FYI. You don't go to medical school to be a clinical psychologist. You become a psychiatrist, if that's your area of interest.
     
  6. Artillery

    Artillery Member

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    Hah yea I guess I confused the two; I was debating which one I'd do so I probably switched them. I wanted to do psychiatry, but I'm really looking for career military. I'm keeping an open mind though because it may change based on what I experience at West Point.