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I get a lot of questions from some of my younger friends about what UBCO is like and what the psychology program is like. So, I thought I'd write a quick post responding to some of the most frequently asked questions so I can get my thoughts of the program across to more people so that you can make a more educated decision in deciding which university to attend and if a psychology major is write for you!
Which campus is better, UBC Vancouver or UBC Okanagan?
I'm biased since I go to UBC Okanagan, but I do know people who go to UBC Vancouver as well; UBC Vancouver is significantly larger than UBC Okanagan. So, depending on if you want possibly smaller class sizes and a smaller campus (less overwhelming), then UBC Okanagan is the best in that regard. The one downfall to UBC Okanagan is they definitely don't have the same course selection as UBC Vancouver does since they have more space to have these class lectures. From my knowledge of both schools, UBC Okanagan was better for me since it was a smaller campus, 30 minutes away from the downtown area, easy drive (barely any traffic to commute to school) and there were tons of Psychology courses since that was what I was planning on majoring in, plus you get to live in the beautiful city of Kelowna.
What's the difference between a bachelors of science in psychology degree and a bachelors of arts in psychology degree?
The type of psychology degree you take needs to reflect the type of job you're working towards, or what you're more interested in. A psych degree in arts focuses more on the social science aspect of psychology and a psych degree in science is more behavioural neuroscience which means you'll be studying more about the brain. The science degree will have a significantly heavier course load since you'll be required to take other science courses such as chemistry, math, physics, biology, etc. The fun part about these science courses is they also each have a 3 hour lab every week at UBCO, so it's quite heavier than the arts degree in psychology. It all depends on what you plan on doing with your degree and what aspect of psychology you wish to study more.
What is majoring in psychology like? Do you like it?
I'll be completely honest here, I hated my program in my first year of university, but I think every single person will say that no matter what program they're in because of a little something called program requirements. There are courses such as English, science/math, and language credits that I needed to fulfill my degree requirements that obviously had nothing to do with psychology. The hardest part about my degree was honestly completing these courses and doing well since they weren't the reason why I was in school, so I very much disliked those. But, if you're smart, you'll get most if not all these stupid requirements done in your first year and then you can take more psychology relevant courses which is where you start either falling in love with your major or realizing that your major is not for you and you decide to try something else instead. I promise you the first year is the hardest, so try and get through it the best that you can and it will get better. Majoring in psychology is really fun, but I will warn you that there is a lot of memorizing involved so if you hate memorizing, then you may want to rethink majoring in psychology. Overall I love what I'm learning, and I know it's definitely the degree for me!
Do most students live on campus?
I personally did not live on residence at UBCO (thankfully lol). Since UBCO is so small, they only promise first years if they apply to stay on residence that they will be accepted; 2nd, 3rd and 4th years rarely are living on campus, they usually live close to campus in an apartment or house with roommate (lots of first years live on campus). From what I've heard, living on campus isn't as great as it sounds. If you live in a residence without a kitchen, you are required to get a food pass and the food on campus is not the greatest (especially when you're having it for breakfast, lunch and dinner). But, I have heard that staying on residence is a great way to meet people and create some very strong and long-lasting friendships during your university experience! So, it's all about what your priorities are.
What are your favourite classes you've taken throughout your psychology degree?
I'd say some of my favourites are social psychology, social and personality development, health psychology, drugs and behaviour and psychology statistics (sounds boring but was actually really fun). This spring/summer I'm enrolled in some really cool courses such as abnormal criminals psychology, computer ethics philosophy (elective), cyber-psychology and altered consciousness, so I'm so stoked for these!
What kind of job(s) can you get with a bachelors of psychology degree?
I'm going to be honest, there isn't a ton that you can do in the field of psychology with just an undergraduate degree. Psychology is one of those degrees that you just need more than an undergraduate degree since careers surrounding psychology/mental health are very specific and extremely important, so you need that extra education/training in whatever area you decide to go into.
What are your plans after you graduate with your undergrad in psychology?
Ha, the university student's most hated question! But I get why you're asking! Since I know what I want to do after my undergrad, I personally love this question. I'm planning on going into the Yorkville master's of counselling program because it is a completely online program that allows me to live wherever I want and travel when I please while finishing school! After finishing my masters, I plan on registering as a psychologist within the province of Alberta and start a private practise there. So yes, I've planned pretty much my whole life out, but if you know me personally, you're not surprised!
How much is tuition as a psychology major at UBCO?
Each course is about $550 each, and my normal course load is 5 courses per semester, so it's about $2750 per semester plus fees so it ends up being about $3000 per semester, resulting in about $6000 per year approximately as a psychology major. It's important to note that tuition costs go up every year, so these numbers may be different when you are looking to attend the school.
What's the course load like as a psychology major? Can you have a job while in school?
Depending on the types of courses you're in, the course load can be very different. For example, some psycology courses have 2 midterms and a final and that's your whole grade, whereas other courses have a bunch of small assignments and papers and a final exam or project, so it all depends. For me, I took 5 courses per semester and it is a lot of handle at first, but if you stay organized and had pretty good grades in high school, you get manage the 5 courses. I had a part time job (10-20 hours a week) at a restaurant while completing my degree which helped a lot with living expenses and groceries, etc. It is totally manageable to have a job, but be prepared to be busy because it's definitely not easy having a full course load and a job and then somehow fitting in a social life and a relationship, but if I can do it, so can you! You just have do some trial and error and figure out what course load and lifestyle makes the most sense for you.
For more information about UBC Okanagan, you can click here to visit their website!