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Psychology- why not a science?

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Ds wants to take a psycho.ogy course- he has a fascination with mental illness (which is not as weird as that sounds, I swear). We use keystone for quite a bit, and they have psych and ap psych, but under social sciences. His history plate is full for high school, he doesn't need another and I can't think of anything I would want to substitute, since to me, psych is much more a science. But- could it be? Would a college accept it as a year of science? Since he is not sciencey at all in the traditional sense, this would be a great science for him to take as he is actually, you know, interested. But is psychology really not considered a science?

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At the college level psychology can often go both ways. At my uni it could be either a social science or a science. Of course, at college history would be a humanity not a social science.


At high school I find most folks want to put it in social science where history is also put.


This does not help you in terms of giving you any advice for your transcript. Sorry, just musing.

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I have my BA in Psychology. To make psychology into a science, you would need to focus more on the neuroscience behind why a person behaves the way they do. Basically you would study more of the biology of how the brain and nervous system work. This would mean a strong understanding of Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy/Physiology. It is possible to do this if your son already has a background in these science areas. Then you would apply those science concepts to the psychology concepts. To receive a BA in Psychology I had to take Psych 101 as a foundation course, other basic courses such as child psychology, lifespan development, statistics, research methods, and then a couple of labs such as psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience. In these we used EKG machines and other medical equipment to figure the science part. Since your son would not have access to this stuff, you would need to have him really study the science parts which from what you said is not his strong suit. There will be a couple chapters in every basic psychology textbook on nerves and the brain but definitely not enough to call it science.


For a BS in Psychology, the student needs to take all of those science courses I mentioned above. That is the way to turn Psychology into science. Otherwise it's just a social science. I know that is a lot more information than you're looking for but I hope it explains why a basic psychology course cannot be counted as science.


Some ideas for doing psychology as a science without the other sciences could be:

1. Introduction to Neuroscience (what goes on in the brain and nervous system that leads to psychological disorders. My favorite part of this course was the study of how the brain is affected when a person has schizophrenia.)

2. Biology of Aging (mix of what happens to the body as we get older and how that affects our mental state)

3. Abnormal Psychology (must include case studies where you have to use the DSM-IV to determine what disorder or condition the person is suffering from.) You would also want your son to research a disorder or two of interest and write a 5-7 page paper on the subject and maybe include a case study in which your son comes up with a case plan to help the person live a more normal life (That was one of my favorite assignments in college.)

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Crystal- your suggestions are fab! Thank you!


Now I'm thinking he could do the keystone course, and I could add to it, with things like your suggestions to beef up the "science" part so it could be accepted as a science. I know there is open course neuroscience stuff out there, and have a good background in anatomy and biology...lots to think on!


Unfortunately he will have to wait a bit and finish bio and chem first I think, but it could work. I love home schooling!

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