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Q I love psy­chol­ogy. But I’d also like to know what ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able in lib­eral arts. A There are vast op­por­tu­ni­ties in both the fields and both ca­reers can be ex­cit­ing and sat­is­fy­ing. To help you de­cide which ma­jor to pur­sue, I sug­gest you do a psy­cho­me­t­ric test, which will map your pas­sion against your skill sets. While I am glad to hear you are pas­sion­ate about psy­chol­ogy, it is equally im­por­tant to de­ter­mine you have the skills and where­withal for this field. You’ll also need to de­cide which stream of psy­chol­ogy is most suit­able for you – clin­i­cal, foren­sic, cog­ni­tive, in­dus­trial, sports coun­selling and so on. Bear in mind that lots of psy­chol­ogy ma­jors work in busi­nesses, con­sult­ing, train­ing, or as pro­fes­sors, and not nec­es­sar­ily in clin­ics. An in­tro­duc­tory class in psy­chol­ogy will ben­e­fit you. It pro­vides in-depth knowl­edge about hu­man thought, emo­tion and be­hav­iour, which is rel­e­vant to any ca­reer.

In to­day’s eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment it is not nec­es­sar­ily grad­u­ates with spe­cialised tech­ni­cal skills who are in de­mand but those who can an­a­lyse sit­u­a­tions, com­mu­ni­cate and are ca­pa­ble of crit­i­cal think­ing and un­der­stand­ing. Tech­ni­cal skills can be taught on the job but prob­lem-solv­ing, an­a­lyt­i­cal and peo­ple skills that lib­eral arts ma­jors pos­sess are not easy to find. The aim of lib­eral arts ed­u­ca­tion is to pro­duce grad­u­ates who are vir­tu­ous, eth­i­cal and knowl­edge­able in var­i­ous fields, highly ar­tic­u­late and with trans­fer­able skills. To­day some of the top and most com­pet­i­tive ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes tend to be lib­eral arts col­leges. By def­i­ni­tion the con­cept of lib­eral arts study is very wide and would en­com­pass hu­man­i­ties (phi­los­o­phy, lan­guages and ethics), nat­u­ral sciences (bi­ol­ogy, chem­istry), so­cial sciences (his­tory, psy­chol­ogy, eco­nom­ics) and for­mal sciences (maths).

It is no se­cret that an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of em­ploy­ers are bi­ased to­wards lib­eral arts grad­u­ates due to their trans­fer­able skills and the abil­ity to learn and as­sim­i­late new ideas in an ever-chang­ing work en­vi­ron­ment.

SAN­JEEV VERMA is an in­ter­na­tional ed­u­ca­tion coun­sel­lor

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