General Question

desiree333's avatar

What is the Difference Between Science Based Psychology and Arts Psychology?

Asked by desiree333 (3206points) May 20th, 2009

For the university in my city there are 2 different courses for psychology: one in the science field and one in the arts field.  I would like to go to university to get my masters in psychology in the arts field because you don’t need your university level maths and sciences (which I am not so great with both, with the exception of biology)but what is the difference with salary, and length of school?  Also any information you guys may know would be great.

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15 Answers

Apsaras's avatar

If I had to guess, I’d assume that science-based psychology is referring to neuropsych or something similar – studying the brain, testing, research, etc..

Arts-based psychology might be psychotherapy – the “softer side” of psych. Less objective science, more “tell me about your feelings”. A science-based psych major might work in a lab, for example, where an art-based psych major might counsel children in a school, or run their own psychotherapy practice.

Again, I emphasize that this is speculation. It would be a bit easier to determine if you gave the course descriptions or even said where you were attending. ;)

RedPowerLady's avatar

At the college I graduated from (in 2006, degree psychology) there was no difference. A B.S. and a B.A. just had different general requirements and did not affect the psychology degree in the least.

Are there actually two different psychology tracks??
OR do you simply mean you could get either a B.A. or B.S. with a degree in psychology?

I think that might help clarify.
Also what University?

casheroo's avatar

I have the same questions as @RedPowerLady, it’ll be much easier to answer.
Also, what do you plan on doing with your degree? If you want to get into the medical field, having a B.S. is the smarter move, if you want to get a masters in clinical psychology, then a B.A. is just fine.

desiree333's avatar

@RedPowerLady @casheroo the university is Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. And yes there are 2 different tracks. For the one in the science field you need acedemic (U for University) chemistry, biology,physics, U english, advanced functions, calculus and vectors, and math and data management. For the arts one you only need U english and the five additional U or M credits (university, and college/university credits). For the Arts one it says Bachelor of arts and Honours bachelor of arts. For the science based one its the bachelor of science and the honours bachelor of science. I want to get my honours bachelor of arts in pshycology. I just don’t know what the average salaries are for each.

janbb's avatar

I would suggest talking to someone in the counseling or advising department of the university. They’re the ones who should be able to tell you the best what kinds of careers each would prepare you for.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@desiree333 As I understand it Bachelor level salaries are quite similar across the field (and it is difficult to find a job with a Bachelor’s in anything right now) I have yet had someone comment on my having a B.S. and working on the Social Side. It doesn’t matter much when getting into a Master’s Program either, well I should say it did not matter much for me. They like well rounded individuals. What I would suggest is pick your top three Master’s programs and see what their requirements are. Now the Master’s program you choose will make a big difference so that is where to worry. Likewise think of three jobs you would love to have with your degree and find their job descriptions to see what they require.

I also second the opinion of @janbb. Talk to an Academic Advisor or your personal psych. advisor. Or even go to the peer counselors.

PS All this comes from the US standpoint. I cannot say that everything is the same in Canada. I have a BS in Psychology but work in the Social Service Field. I was accepted into a Masters (of arts I think) program in Mental Health Counseling.

This website may also be of some use to you:'s_Degree/Salary

desiree333's avatar

@RedPowerLady thanks so much thats very helpful. I’m also not sure if it is the same in Canada but who knows. If someone was a psychologist but is on the science side would they make more money than someone on a social side (I know it can vary but for the average salary) I just need to know because I’m not sure if I should work my ass off and take all sciences and maths so I’m in the science based side. Would it be worth it? I read that a psychologist’s average salary in their mid-career is $39, but would I earn the same average if I had my masters degree in psychology on the arts side? I’m not sure which path is the right one for me.

Ivan's avatar

In general, a BS is geared towards research and a BA is geared towards teaching and the the like.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@desiree333 It really depends on what type of job you are going for. Jobs in the medical field or even psychiatry (which requires med school) typically do pay more. But honestly it’ll all depend on your Master’s degree. I don’t see a big difference in pay at the Bachelor’s level or even at the Master’s level. Moreso at the Ph.D. or MD level.

@Ivan is correct as well. And those who are researchers are pretty much on the same pay scale as social work. Unless you hit it big ;)

Ivan's avatar


That depends on the field. For Psychology, I imagine that’s probably true.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Ivan Oh ya. We get paid crap.
What type of researchers don’t get paid crap?
I know the ones at the local University are always complaining about their crap pay, haha.

susanc's avatar

@desiree333, you’re asking people who are struggling to guess. Why don’t you ask your university?

desiree333's avatar

@susanc I woul’d but I’m not in University yet, I’m still in high school. Oh and I hope know one says “oh your a little bit young to worry about this” because I’m not, I am in the process of choosing my courses for grade eleven. I need to know if Ishould go with the sciences and maths or not. @RedPowerLady @Ivan do your guys know what the AVERAGE salary is for a mid-career person with their masters of Arts in clinical psychology? I want to be the person working in a psychologist’s office or whatever where they sit in a room with someone laying on those leather chaise chairs and say “how do you feel about that”?

astrocom's avatar

Make sure you at least go for a master’s in psychology, I’d recommend a PhD if you’re considering something more along the lines of psychology (either therapy or research) as opposed to working for a company that doesn’t use psychology as a science. In case you hadn’t heard psychology is one of those majors that lots of people tend to sign up for because they think it will be interesting, and then they don’t go anywhere with it. Differences in price and courses will of course depend on your university. Being in university currently, I can tell you your courses in psychology are most likely going to be the same whether your basic requirements feature more science or humanities, that said, it’s possible your school will have different courses for the majors (I personally wouldn’t expect it though). Based on that possibility, along with your likely options for employment or further education afterward, I’d definitely recommend the B.S. if you intend to get a graduate degree in psychology, particularly if you intend to go into practice or research. My feeling is that institutions will take you far more seriously, and you’ll have a better base for understanding psychology with a science, if you have the background (as small as it may seem currently) in basic science courses.
The point in basic curriculum isn’t actually the subject matter of the courses, it’s giving you the method and process of understanding the field. The specifics of calculus, chemistry and physics may not stay with you, but you’ll develop subconscious analytical skills that will affect how you view your studies and work later in life.
This said, I’m also partial to the sciences, because of the whole analytical world view thing.

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