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Thread: Calling psychologists and psychology grads

  1. #1

    Default Calling psychologists and psychology grads

    Hallo! Just wondering... What's the prospects of a psychologist here, in terms of job availability, scope, and pay?

    I'm asking on behalf of a good friend who wishes to take up a private course in psychology. From what I understand, most grads here after they graduate do surveys, collect data, social work, counselling etc.. is that right?

  2. #2

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    Why do they want to take Psychology? Think through properly and make sure its not because it sounds good on your namecard. To practice in SG (to be a Professional Psychologist), IMH requires a Masters. Its not as glamourous as it sounds and it does not pay that well either. You will also need a strong maths background. The quality of the program is also very important. Look up the rankings for Universities offering it. Its not a subject thats easy to teach so make sure the people teaching it are not some fly-by-nite monkeys. If you are not up to the mark and the school lets you in, the school is probably not up to the mark either. Good Psychology programs typically accept only the creme de la creme. NUS has an IQ and maths test thingy for applicants to read the major, typically 1/6 will be be accepted. So its safe to assume that you need to be the top 1/6 of the distribution to be accepted.

  3. #3

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    I don't think anyone is considered wise if he or she wants to study psychology to have a good name! Not as if it's some medical specialist or whatever that society stereotypes as a 'glamorous' career. My friend is interested in the course.

    Yes, that's what I'm afraid... In Singapore, psychologists are not seen as 'professional' as those in the West. Seems to me many end up being counsellors instead, which in my opinion, you don't need a degree to begin with! (Though I may be mistaken that's why I hope to have opinions here.)

    Over here, some are called psychologists as long as they have a degree in psychology. I know in the US, usually you need a Ph.D or at least a Masters and they are well-respected.

    As for NUS psych program... I think that's just trash. They restrict the intake because they don't have enuff resources and staff to teach, not bcos they want to get the creme de la creme. How much of a math expert do you need to be anyway? The NUS requiremnt is a good 'O' level Math pass. In singapore, many of our kids are A scorers at A levels anyway.

    I think as with other courses, the criteria for admission into a pscyhology degree is based on the standing of the university, not on the psychology subject itself, unlike say medicine or law where your results have to be usually very good, if not excellent.

    The issue is that these days, there are many private schools teaching psychology, with affiliation from Australian unis... so that's why my friend would like to have some advice. What are the prospects here? Don't seem to be able to find many career adverts.

    Ok ok... I hope to really hear from actual psychologists or psyche grads for opinions! No one in Clubsnap???

  4. #4
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    Taking a psy degree at SIM (under Open University UK degree programme) now.

    Funny that this question is being brought up again. On my first lesson, there are some chaps who asked our tutor abt the job prospects of practising psychology in Singapore. My tutor advised us if we're really serious about going into psychology as a career, its really tough in Singapore as the 'market' is simply 'not there'.

    He did told us to try our luck overseas for a Masters and work our way up slowly from there. But I guess my tutor din have much luck as well in Australia thus he came back to teach. hehehe...

    This is really an interesting subject to go into IMHO. But den again, if one wants to eek out a living from it simply because 'it sounds cool', den sorry to say that in order to practice Psychology, one has to hold at least a Masters.

    Most ppl take up Psychology to complement their skillset nowadays. For example, medical doctors would usually take up Psychology (although I believe its in one of their modules) to complement their skills. Teachers take up Psychology to understand the basis of understanding humans (specifically students). Counsellors take up Psychology to increase their perception and skills.

    Eventually it all depends on what u wanna use it for. I'm taking it up nw to complement whatever skills I have now in case I'll need it in the future. Ultimately it all depends on what do you want to use the basic degree for. But take considerable care before dropping moola ($20K for me) into this 'investment'.

    Some of the subjects that one will generally study are:
    - Humanities (includes, literature, history, etc)
    - General Psychology Theories and Cognitive Psychology

    Depending on your major, u'll either take Biology, Child Psychology and Business Modules.

    Its a tough subject, but once u'd gained insight and enlightenment on the profound theories mentioned, u'll be able to understand a subject from a broader point of view.

    Taking a psy degree nw, I basically fall asleep hearing those 'motivation talks' by those 'motivation speakers'. What they are toking abt are usually really basic theories which they had probably read. Some (or most) of those motivation speakers u guys see, prolly dun have a background in psychology. What they say sounds impressive and stuff like dat, but if one have a background in it, u'll generally yawn and fall asleep at what they say as u can prolly churn it out better than them.

  5. #5

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    Hi jsbn,

    Hey same boat here! Which yr are u in at SIM? I'm in my third, doing Social and Cognitive Psych.

    Well, I have very mixed feelings about this course, including some different views I have from you. Actually I deeliberated for a very long time b4 signing up. But my worst fears have come true.

    I viewed the textbooks at at exhibition back in the year 2000 or so. I felt then the materials were really dry. Not psychology in general, but British textbooks are notorious for being boring. Finally decided to sign up 3 years later anyhow. Well, long story cut short, in my 3rd yr now, and I'm dragging myself to complete the course! I think psychology should be interesting (read the american textbooks and you know what I mean) but I don't find it so the way they presented it.

    I think most take up this course cos they wanted a degree (pay can increase) or they are sponsored by their companies. Don't think a doctor or teacher will spend time and $ to take up so that they could understand or deal with people better! They can't get that out effectively from this course anyway.

    I'm not sure how well recognised an OU degree is. Oh well, since I'm in it already... The last time I asked the adviser, he beat around the bush and didn't answer my question directly. Frankly, I wonder how a person can graduate with just those few Psych modules he has studied. Part-time even. It's even worse for those who added another minor like Business Studies which means he or she got to miss taking some psych subjects.

    As for motivational speakers... This one I have to toitally disagree with you. I'm not sure which ones you've attended but if you go to seminars by the BIG ones, like Anthony Robbins, you'll be blown away. In fact, contrary to your views, I think these people are very much more practical. In that, what they say can be easily understood and put into practice. It's not easy to stand in front of a crowd and sound convincing. Try it. These people are not there for show or bulls***. They've experienced life's downs and came back successful with methods that work. Not academic theories.

    What we learn in academic psychology courses are just that. Theories and stuffs. Sometimes, after I read so many of them, I'm thinking Darn it! I can come up with those theoreis too. None of them are conclusive. In that sense, I find psychology is not a science. Freud, Chomsky, etc etc... What a dread.

  6. #6

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    No mkt in Singapore as there's a stigma of going to 'Woodbridge'.

  7. #7

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    I really don't know the curriculum at OU or SIM, but at NUS you would be much too stressed out to bother if it was interesting or not. If the statistics modules don't kill you the other modules definitely will. If is quite well known that in NUS, Psych stats challenges the standard of pure stats. In that sense, Psych in NUS is very much a science. You will learn the true meaning of pain when you have to compute by hand, MANOVAs, Multiple Regressions, MDS and other parametric and non-parametric tests. That is the reason why you need to be mathematically inclined to do Psych in NUS. And if you go on to do Psychometrics in your honours year there will be even more torture. And if you think you can get by without touching Statistics, sorry to say, you can't. All the Freud and Chomsky stuff you're doing is very basic, it is assumed. The rabit hole is much deeper than that. For example, have you heard of Chomsky's work on Finite State Grammar? I guessed not.

    Real world Psychology is not fun and games, like telling a patient to lie on a couch and tell you his problems; its a lot of very hard work, a lot of research and self-discipline, its not for everybody. Problem is its been glorified by Hollywood and every Tom Dick and Harry thinks he or she will make a good Psychologist because he is a good judge of character or gives good advice to his friends. Psychology is much more than that. This demand creates the supply of Psychology Courses, some good, some sux. The good get better because they only take in good students and have the resources. Those that suck try to get better by attracting brilliant professors, but its an uphill struggle.

    There is a difference between pop psychology and real psychology. Just make sure you know which is which and what you're paying for.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2
    Hi jsbn,

    Hey same boat here! Which yr are u in at SIM? I'm in my third, doing Social and Cognitive Psych.
    3rd year as well... Doing my Cognitive Psych module... And its driving me nuts.


    I viewed the textbooks at at exhibition back in the year 2000 or so. I felt then the materials were really dry. Not psychology in general, but British textbooks are notorious for being boring. Finally decided to sign up 3 years later anyhow. Well, long story cut short, in my 3rd yr now, and I'm dragging myself to complete the course! I think psychology should be interesting (read the american textbooks and you know what I mean) but I don't find it so the way they presented it.
    Well, I din have the luck of 'previewing' the textbooks before I signed up. I initially held the thought that, "Oh well, get it over and done with." I din realise how dry the subjects were (not all of them, except history section in AZS103 and Cognitive Psych module!) until I took them!

    But den I still have like 1.5yrs to go. Occasionally I'd ask myself what the hell am I taking this course for. Ppl pay money to enjoy, I pay money to suffer now. But after meditating on my thoughts, I guess that with the skills learnt, it might help me greatly in my line of work next time! Who knows?

    I think most take up this course cos they wanted a degree (pay can increase) or they are sponsored by their companies. Don't think a doctor or teacher will spend time and $ to take up so that they could understand or deal with people better! They can't get that out effectively from this course anyway.
    Well, there are ppl in my tutorial group who are teachers. Although their general feedback is to 'learn something to help them deal with people', I couldn't possibly second-guess what their real intention was. Your reason may be valid as well. No denial of that.

    As for motivational speakers... This one I have to toitally disagree with you. I'm not sure which ones you've attended but if you go to seminars by the BIG ones, like Anthony Robbins, you'll be blown away. In fact, contrary to your views, I think these people are very much more practical. In that, what they say can be easily understood and put into practice. It's not easy to stand in front of a crowd and sound convincing. Try it. These people are not there for show or bulls***. They've experienced life's downs and came back successful with methods that work. Not academic theories.
    So far haven't tried the big ones yet. But den again, I had my experience with those smaller motivation speakers... And to be honest, if that's the kinda stuff they can churn up, I can simply memorise my textbook and churn up equally impressive stuff.

    Dat's me though. I dun like such motivation talk thing. Kinda like a 'switch off' time for me. hehehe....

    What we learn in academic psychology courses are just that. Theories and stuffs. Sometimes, after I read so many of them, I'm thinking Darn it! I can come up with those theoreis too. None of them are conclusive. In that sense, I find psychology is not a science. Freud, Chomsky, etc etc... What a dread.
    Hahaha... But haven't u realised that u could come up with those theories only AFTER you'd read the theories?

    Its not all abt the theories I believe. Theories are there to just assist and to give background information to the Psychologist, not as a main study guide. One of my tutor last year told us that being a counsellor and psychologist is like 90% heartwork and 10% brainwork.

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    Psychology is a very interesting field of study, but do take note that to practise as a psychologist, one will require at least a Masters. This is the international standard. U can't be a psychologist without a masters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn
    3rd year as well... Doing my Cognitive Psych module... And its driving me nuts.
    hey, it's nice to bump into fellow coursemate here...i also take psych degree with SIM-OUC. This year is my last yr for this course and i'm doing child development .

    i know whatchya mean when you say cognitive psych driving you nuts! I've been there done that....do they still have that 2 weekend projects for you guys? i remember back then....Sat and Sun....go back to SIM to do project testings...9am to 9pm?

    Oh, allo to kiwi2 too!

    O, like what jsbn mentioned earlier, i took it up more for complementing my job and also for interest. Never thought of practicing psych here in Spore...
    Last edited by footprints; 30th May 2005 at 05:15 PM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeusExMachina
    I really don't know the curriculum at OU or SIM, but at NUS you would be much too stressed out to bother if it was interesting or not. If the statistics modules don't kill you the other modules definitely will. If is quite well known that in NUS, Psych stats challenges the standard of pure stats. In that sense, Psych in NUS is very much a science. You will learn the true meaning of pain when you have to compute by hand, MANOVAs, Multiple Regressions, MDS and other parametric and non-parametric tests. That is the reason why you need to be mathematically inclined to do Psych in NUS. And if you go on to do Psychometrics in your honours year there will be even more torture. And if you think you can get by without touching Statistics, sorry to say, you can't. All the Freud and Chomsky stuff you're doing is very basic, it is assumed. The rabit hole is much deeper than that. For example, have you heard of Chomsky's work on Finite State Grammar? I guessed not.

    Real world Psychology is not fun and games, like telling a patient to lie on a couch and tell you his problems; its a lot of very hard work, a lot of research and self-discipline, its not for everybody. Problem is its been glorified by Hollywood and every Tom Dick and Harry thinks he or she will make a good Psychologist because he is a good judge of character or gives good advice to his friends. Psychology is much more than that. This demand creates the supply of Psychology Courses, some good, some sux. The good get better because they only take in good students and have the resources. Those that suck try to get better by attracting brilliant professors, but its an uphill struggle.

    There is a difference between pop psychology and real psychology. Just make sure you know which is which and what you're paying for.
    Hi hi...

    So.. U a psychologist? U sounded like you were struggling with the Psych course in NUS!

    Actually torture or not depends on your math ability. I suppose Psych is afterall an Arts subject and not a hard science like Physics or Chemistry. So maybe those with pure Arts background and not so well exposed to math may struggle somewhat...

    I was in Physics and math so trust me... I've seen much more mind boggling stuffs.

    I've always suspected something was very wrong with OU course and what you said confirmed my suspicion. Indeed, the math required in OU course is peanuts. Those who have taken the Research Methods will know. It involves some stats. Gosh, I thot even a pri school kid could do it. I'm not bragging. See the syllabus and you will know what I mean. They charge $1,700 for it! And even the Honours degree does not come with writing a thesis.

    Actually the prob with academic psychology is that, after you study all those tons of theories and didactic 'hoola-bulas', you're not gonna apply them to your clients. You're not gonna say "According to Freud..." So you just talk general stuffs... And frankly, that's the problem. Cos some laymen could also do that kind of job. Maybe not as professional... but still...

    If someone comes to you with depression.... What couch? That was popularized by Freud. People here wouldn't even give psychologists a damn. They'd go straight to a medical doctor if not a psychiatrist for advice. Don't think psychologists here are respected enuff to treat depression. Very sad. Back in the US where I was for some time, you can see adverts on therapy and psychology for cases of depression, insomnia, etc. Very pro.

    Pop psychology, if that's how it is termed, is more attractive to me. Actually it's about making improvements in your life. You have a depression? A phobia? Unless it's a medical condition... All these can be 'treated' instantly. Going to a psychologist will only mean spending $ and time and just months or years or pouring over sorrows after sorrows... Motivational speakers will say SNAP OUT OF IT! To me, tt works, if you allow yourself to.

    Still... I love academic psychology for its rich history and interesting findings. But the OU course is juz... disappointing.
    Last edited by kiwi2; 30th May 2005 at 10:20 PM.

  12. #12
    ClubSNAP Idol Adam Goi's Avatar
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    Get your Masters ...

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Goi
    Get your Masters ...
    At what cost? Come back scarli jobless...

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by roninwolf
    Psychology is a very interesting field of study, but do take note that to practise as a psychologist, one will require at least a Masters. This is the international standard. U can't be a psychologist without a masters.
    So in singapore, with a BA in Psych, what do they do? Counsellors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2
    At what cost? Come back scarli jobless...
    Well I nearly applied to do my Masters in Applied Psychology and yes it took my a long while before I took up the other one ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi2
    So in singapore, with a BA in Psych, what do they do? Counsellors?
    counsellors also need masters. Masters in Counselling Psychology.
    from wat i know, with BA in psych, most end up in HR. I know of someone with BA in psych working in banks.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by reno77
    No mkt in Singapore as there's a stigma of going to 'Woodbridge'.
    HA!! Juz what I think now. Precisely... Very sad.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by roninwolf
    counsellors also need masters. Masters in Counselling Psychology.
    from wat i know, with BA in psych, most end up in HR. I know of someone with BA in psych working in banks.
    Oh no... shucks....

    I have 2 new found pals I know recently... I tink they only have Honours degree in Psychology. And they are working in fMRI lab... Will ask them tmr more... But they are lucky I tink... Such jobs come when u flick the papers at the right time...

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Goi
    Well I nearly applied to do my Masters in Applied Psychology and yes it took my a long while before I took up the other one ...
    What other one? Hey, din know u into psychology... Maybe you're in teaching and they have this Masters course is it? I know after you teach for some years, they allow you to go for some psych course, even though you dun have a psych degree... TRue?

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsbn
    3rd year as well... Doing my Cognitive Psych module... And its driving me nuts.

    Well, I din have the luck of 'previewing' the textbooks before I signed up. I initially held the thought that, "Oh well, get it over and done with." I din realise how dry the subjects were (not all of them, except history section in AZS103 and Cognitive Psych module!) until I took them!

    But den I still have like 1.5yrs to go. Occasionally I'd ask myself what the hell am I taking this course for. Ppl pay money to enjoy, I pay money to suffer now. But after meditating on my thoughts, I guess that with the skills learnt, it might help me greatly in my line of work next time! Who knows?

    Well, there are ppl in my tutorial group who are teachers. Although their general feedback is to 'learn something to help them deal with people', I couldn't possibly second-guess what their real intention was. Your reason may be valid as well. No denial of that.

    So far haven't tried the big ones yet. But den again, I had my experience with those smaller motivation speakers... And to be honest, if that's the kinda stuff they can churn up, I can simply memorise my textbook and churn up equally impressive stuff.

    Dat's me though. I dun like such motivation talk thing. Kinda like a 'switch off' time for me. hehehe....

    Hahaha... But haven't u realised that u could come up with those theories only AFTER you'd read the theories?

    Its not all abt the theories I believe. Theories are there to just assist and to give background information to the Psychologist, not as a main study guide. One of my tutor last year told us that being a counsellor and psychologist is like 90% heartwork and 10% brainwork.
    Oh so u find it a dread too huh! Hee.. I'm not the only one. Blame it on the textbooks. Gosh, the way the write it... Seriously, you should go see the American ones... Their Intro to Psych very shiok to read. Lots of colours, pictures, and real life applications. I remember even for our 1st year psych, the books sucks. So dry and boring. Black and white photocopied pics. Words words words.

    IMHO, there is very little skills learnt. After 3 years, I can only say this so-and-so guy says this and that.... I find I understand people better and give them good advice from my own reading of self-help and improvement books.

    Sometimes, I feel I'm only summarizing what the texts say and put in my own words for the TMAs. There's no motivation... Cos as working adults, we don't really plough through outside resources and books.

    Those teachers that you mentioned... I've heard 1 or 2 of them. My guess is that they don't have a degree yet. In MOE, once you get a degree, the pay is revised higher. So my guess is that's their intention. Psych is not a teaching subject in our schools anyway. Given their heavy workload, I doubt they'd want to spend more time studying themselves and paying 20K! But if it's to have better job prospects.... why not perhaps, in their view.

    I've met air stewards and stewardess too. Their companies actually sponsor them to get a degree! Cool huh...

    Yup, some people think motivational talks are pian jiaks or rubbish. Depends how you look at it.

    As for theories, actually before or after I read it, I already have them in me. I think we all do. I always believe we are psychologists in our own ways.

    Have you done Social Psych? Darn, the textbooks are driving me nuts!
    Last edited by kiwi2; 30th May 2005 at 10:48 PM.

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