“The field is oversaturated.” “Jobs are increasingly difficult to find.” “There is a lot of competition after graduation.” “Have you figured out what you want to do with your degree?” These phrases are all commonly heard, especially in the field of psychology. The current psychology undergraduate fears increasing competition, the lack of available jobs, the uncertainty that often faces them after university is over, and the increasingly pressurizing expectations of having a plan after graduation.
If you are an undergraduate psychology student who feels like that, don’t panic! Most of us face similar fears when thinking about the future. If you are not an undergraduate psychology student but are currently considering majoring in psychology, these thoughts would have surfaced at some point.
If you ever felt curious about the answers, or anxious about the future, not to worry! I will share the possible routes one can take after your psychology degree. Hopefully, these will provide you with some starting points to consider. Of course, internships and additional research often help guide your decision-making, but learning about the possible routes can give you a serious head start. So, without further ado, here are the possible routes!
Route 1: Getting a Master’s Degree
This is a common option, and many psychology undergraduates tend to apply for a Master’s immediately after graduation. While it is not a bad option, I think that there are a few considerations before rushing to apply.
First, Master’s degrees are not mandatory to find psychology-related work in Singapore. The only exception is clinical psychology, and even then, there are multiple options that do not require one. One example would be AP contracts, which I will cover in Route Two.
Secondly, Master’s degrees can be quite competitive in terms of applications. Not only are there a large number of applicants each year, but candidates typically require a year or two of work experience. In fact, on the NUS Master’s website, they explicitly state that candidates need at least two years of relevant work experience. They also discourage candidates with less than one year of work experience from even applying in the first place.
Thirdly, it is possible to get a Master’s degree without working experience by going overseas. There are many who immediately do so after university. However, I encourage you to be clear on why you want the Master’s degree. Nowadays, obtaining a Master’s is not as difficult as it used to be. In fact, there are many universities across the world that offer a Master’s in all sorts of psychology fields, ranging from clinical psychology to forensic psychology. Thus, the main question is: what do you want to take away from it?
Master’s degrees are extremely specialized in one particular field, and are meant to increase the knowledge of those passionate about that area. Simply picking a Master’s degree for the sake of the qualification is not a good reason to go for one, especially if you don’t know what you want to do with a psychology degree in the first place. If you don’t know which field you want to go to, or think you would like to enter that field but have no working experience, going for a Master’s immediately after is not a good idea. You will be expending time and money, which are two precious resources.
However, if you are highly determined, even as an undergraduate, and are dead-set on the field, then by all means, go for a Master’s. I think most undergraduate students are still deciding what to do with their lives. Additionally, the only exposure we get to the psychology field is through theory (when we take modules) and minimal experience as an intern (when we have internships during the summer break). There is still so much to learn and explore before deciding on a specific field. Because of this, going for an immediate Master’s is not the best idea. It’s why I strongly prefer Route Two: going to work.
Route 2: Going to Work
Another alternative is to find a job after graduation, and many options are available to psychology graduates. Most choose to work in psychology-related fields, while others veer away from psychology and find related jobs, such as marketing or business management.
For psychology-related jobs in the public sector, the more well-known options include joining the various ministries and working as either a psychologist or assistant psychologist.
Under MOE, you can either be a school counsellor or an educational psychologist. MSF works mainly with families and has assistant psychology positions available for the Clinical and Forensic Psychology division or Child Protective Services. MHA also offers psychology-related positions, such as either assisting in conducting research or being more directly involved, such as assisting in NS as a psychologist. Other public sectors also include SPS (Singapore Prison Service), MINDSVILLE and IMH (Institute of Mental Health).
Of course, there are other possibilities, but these are some of the options you can consider.
There are also private companies that you can apply to. For these companies, you can search them up and directly email them.
Aside from psychology-related jobs, you can also choose to work in media and communications, human resources, business management, or whatever else you choose. Psychology is a flexible degree, and there are many options open for psychology undergraduates. One way to check the companies available would be to go on to NUSTalentConnect and search for jobs available for you (assuming you are in NUS). Another option is to use LinkedIn to search, or to join university Telegram channels that often publicize job opportunities. Companies such as BreadTalk, NTUC, and Sephora are often hiring, so those opportunities are available if you wish.
Route 3: Take a Break
A final route would be to take a break instead of immediately working. Going on a graduation trip with your friends, playing video games, taking time out to read, or any other activity is also a good idea before you actually start work. And if you wish to take a year off for personal reasons, please feel free to do so. Have a break, and spend the time exploring possible options available.
Anyways, regardless of which route you choose, I hope this guide has at least given you some ideas in terms of what you want to do after graduating. And if you ever feel stressed or anxious about not knowing the future, don’t forget that everybody else also experiences the same feelings as you.
Well, that’s it for today! See you!