7 Unique Psychology Specializations You May Not Have Considered

By: Jenna Savage

The psychology field is broad, and within it there are many specializations. Counseling psychology, clinical psychology, and behavior psychology are common examples of the concentrations on which psychology students can choose to focus. However, students’ choices don’t end there. In fact, there are many unique branches of psychology that combine fields and explore different aspects of psychological study. Listed below are some psychology specializations offered by universities that you may not have considered up until now.

  1. Social and Consumer Psychology. If you’re interested in exploring the way people’s beliefs and feelings affect what they buy and how they interact with products and services, then you may want to consider a degree concentration in social and consumer psychology. Offered by New York University, this degree explores cognition, behavior, emotion, and culture as they relate to business practices, advertising, branding, and marketing.
  2. Biopsychology. Biopsychology is a field that studies how the brain, nervous system, and neurotransmitters affect the way people behave and think. It examines the relationship between the physiology of the brain and the operations of the mind, and explores how biology affects mood, emotions, and other aspects of psychological function. Biopsychology programs are offered at schools like Hunter College and Tufts University.
  3. Psychopathology. The study of mental illness and other aspects of abnormal psychology, psychopathology is concerned with the way psychological mechanisms affect function and behavior. This field is concerned with identifying psychological and behavioral disorders, exploring the cognitive processes involved in mental illnesses, and finding adequate treatment methods. Psychopathology specializations can be found at schools like the University of Minnesota and the University of California at Irvine.
  4. Engineering Psychology. Engineering psychology applies the study of human behavior to the way technological systems work. The goal of engineering psychology is to make technology practical and easy to operate. By studying human performance, engineering psychologists learn how to design user-friendly machines. Georgia Tech and New Mexico State University are two schools that offer engineering psychology programs.
  5. Evolutionary Psychology. The study of evolutionary psychology is concerned with the way evolved behaviors and processes – such as mating, competition, and communication – affect the way people behave and interact with each other. By examining how human cognitive faculties are affected by genetic influences that have developed over time, evolutionary psychologists can gain insight into human function. Evolutionary psychologists also examine how evolutionary factors that are no longer relevant in modern living play a part in shaping human behavior. Evolutionary psychology specializations can be found at schools like Northwestern University and the University of Arizona.
  6. Sports Psychology. The field of sports psychology is concerned with the way mental and emotional factors affect performance in sports and activities. Sports psychologists study the factors that influence motivation and participation, and use their knowledge to counsel individuals into becoming better, more confident athletes. Sports psychologists also guide injured athletes through the rehabilitation process. This concentration is offered at schools like Barry University and Canisius College.
  7. Somatic Psychology. Somatic psychology is a holistic approach to exploring how an individual’s experiences, emotions, and behaviors are all embedded within the human body. Drawing upon movement therapy, posture adjustment, breathing work, and touch, somatic psychology seeks to help patients feel a strengthened sense of identity. This field of psychology also studies how individuals interact with each other, and how the body can be used to increase self-awareness. It is offered by schools like the California Institute of Integral Studies and Naropa University.