Engineering and Psychology

Engineering and Psychology are two sciences that are on opposite sides of the scientific field. Engineering is application of the “hard sciences” while psychology is considered “soft science”. The two are very distinct courses that it’s not easy to make a comparison between them. Nonetheless, this paper aims to compare these two majors and investigate points of differences and intersection of Engineering and Psychology.

First, comparing the two disciplines as degrees, Engineering is a degree focused on technology and application of sciences such as chemistry, mathematics, physics, economics, etc. On the other hand, Psychology deals with human behavior and the fields related to it are biology, anthropology, history, and other social sciences. It is difficult to choose which among the two is more challenging to study merely by the field related to them. One might argue that Engineering is more challenging because of advanced mathematics and physics involved in it, but then again, Psychology deals with something not directly observable as neuroscience and human behavior. In the end, a student’s choice on what course to take is more dependent on their personal preference and which one they feel they will be good at. For example, a student good in math and drawing/drafting is more likely to choose Engineering while a student who is social and good in dealing with different kinds of people might prefer Psychology.

Another point of comparison are the subject courses for each discipline. Students must also consider these subjects that they need to complete to finish their degree. For instance, psychology majors require some subjects such as Biology, History, Social Studies, and theories of personality. Engineering majors require completing subjects like advance Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science, and Physics. Both require general education subjects like English, basic Maths, Statistics and Economics. General education is one point of intersection of Engineering and Psychology, which is a similarity that they also share with other degree courses.

With regards to how long it takes to finish Psychology and Engineering, both majors need a certain number of units (more or less 180 units) and both courses require around 5 years to complete. In some countries, Psychology is only a 4-year course while Engineering courses are 5-year courses. However, these are just prescribed lengths of time to finish the major. In reality, some subjects in Engineering like Math and Physics are hard to pass and it causes delay to engineering students. These subjects are higher Maths and Physics and are generally more complex. At worst, many engineering students drop these subjects that they could not continue to get the degree. If a student wants to have a degree faster, he or she might favor Psychology for the reason stated above. It doesn’t mean though that Psychology is really easier as a major—it’s only shorter in terms of course duration.  Psychology majors have to deal with difficult subjects too like neuroscience which is a relatively new field and concepts that are very complex and cannot be easily understood and applied to the physical world. Both majors have a challenge when it comes to coursework.

Sometimes, students favor Engineering over Psychology because of the belief that there are more jobs and that salary is better. Although this is not exactly true, salary and availability of job affects student’s choice of a major to pursue. For example in the United States of America, the average annual salary of a Psychologist is $72, 805, which is very close to an Electrical Engineer’s annual salary ($72, 338). This shows that it is not necessarily true that Engineers get paid more than Psychologists. In fact, because practicing psychologists are fewer, the field has become highly specialized, hence they get paid a little bit more.

After students get the degree and during job search, both psychology and engineering graduates’ proof of qualifications for the interview is their degree diploma. However, engineering graduates can get additional credentials by getting an engineer’s license through board exams. A license an advantage of engineering majors because it increases their chance of finding a job, but it is another difficult step for engineering majors. Fortunately because of the boom in construction and production throughout the world, there is a high need for engineers as opposed to psychologist. For example, imagine a company that is related to manufacturing, construction, or retail. There is less need for a psychology major to handle human resources and there will be more need for engineer to handle projects and processes. Therefore, if the same number of engineers and psychologist graduate in one term, there will be more unemployed psychology graduates.

Most often they pursue other related fields like psychiatry, human resource, and training. An alternative that is both available to engineering and psychiatry is the field of research and education. Graduates that were not able to get a job in the industry can opt for research work or work as an instructor or university professor. Like many other students who work in the science field, you can read about this in the essay about science.

In sum, Engineering and Psychology are two very different majors—Engineering focuses on technologies and structures while Psychology deals with human behavior. Although they are very different, students of both majors face challenges in coursework, as well as in employment.

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