What Is Applied Psychology?

What is applied psychologyApplied psychology is the study and ability to solve problems within human behavior such as health issues, workplace issues, or education. There are various specialty areas within applied psychology including clinical psychology, counseling services, medicinal psychology, and forensic psychology. In this article, we will cover the basics of an applied psychology degree, the difference between basic psychology and applied psychology, careers you can pursue with this degree and how you can major in applied psychology.

Why Choose an Applied Psychology Degree

When choosing a college major, it’s important to consider your ability to get a job in your field once you graduate. One field that is seeing growth in projected job demand is psychology. While a psychology degree can be the basis for careers in counseling, therapy, or clinical psychology, it also equips you with skills you can put to work in other fields including:

  • Education
  • Marketing
  • Human resource management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Criminal justice and corrections
  • Social services
  • Technology

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most graduates of a psychology bachelor’s degree program work in industries unrelated to psychology, such as sales, business, and education.[ii] In fact, an undergraduate degree in psychology can teach you things that can be handy in any profession, such as writing clearly and organizing complex thoughts. Some students earn their undergraduate degree in psychology and go on to earn a master's degree in another field.

A bachelor's degree in applied psychology typically focuses on how to put psychological theory and techniques to work on a practical, day-to-day level. The goal is to produce professionals who can improve performance, strengthen group dynamics, and build strong client relationships in any context.

What You Will Learn with an Applied Psychology Degree

The skills and concepts you learn will likely include:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Research, including statistics
  • Managing group dynamics
  • Understanding behavior, including consumer behavior
  • Human development

You will also develop your professional writing and presentation skills to a high level in this program.

Basic vs. Applied Psychology

Basic psychology is different than applied psychology in that it focuses on theory and fundamental understanding over practical solutions to issues. Applied psychology focuses on the real-world implementation of these theories to better serve their community. One key difference between basic psychology and applied psychology is that applied psychology uses the information gathered by basic psychology in order to develop treatments or programs to solve issues people are faced with.

Applied Psychology Careers

Since this qualification is so versatile, career outcomes vary greatly. Here are a few sample career paths available to applied psychology graduates with the right experience:

Career Path Median Salary 2014-2024 Growth Rate

Human Resources Specialist



Social Services Manager



Marketing Research Analyst



Sales Manager



Parole or Probation Officer




GMercyU: Your Pathway to Success

Interested in an undergraduate psychology degree? Learn more about the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree programs offered at GMercyU! A rewarding career awaits.