Wed, 20 Jan 2021

Why are toppers going for Arts and psychology courses?

Posted on Monday, July 2, 2018

Students who score well in exams are showing interest in courses related to Arts and psychology, writes Sunaina Assanand

This year’s Class XII CBSE topper, Meghna Srivastava, who scored 499 marks out of 500, will be attending the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada this fall with the goal of studying psychology.

UBC’s Department of Psychology attracts high-performing students like Meghna not only from India, but from good schools in the US, China and many other countries as well as students from all across Canada.

Contrary to perceptions that the best students choose engineering or business programs, some of the world’s most outstanding students are applying to the social sciences and humanities, choosing programs that are academically rigorous and challenging and that will prepare them well to tackle some of the world’s most complex problems.

High-achievers are also attracted to programs like psychology that can offer a rich variety of specializations.  At UBC, these include such programs as the Psychology of Sport, Cultural Psychology, Childhood & Adolescence, and Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality. Students more interested in the biological basis of behaviour can pursue the BSc in Behavioural Neuroscience, which is considered to be a branch of psychology and neuroscience.

Again, contrary to perceptions that students graduating from the social sciences and humanities cannot find jobs, UBC graduates from psychology go on to diverse and successful careers as addictions counsellors, corporate trainers, mental health workers, market research analysts, organizational psychologists, public policy analysts, social entrepreneurs and more. 

 Arts students benefit from learning experiences outside of the classroom. We strongly encourage our students to take courses in research methods, get involved in research labs, and explore other opportunities to enrich their studies with applied experiences. Students from India and other international students have access to paid, full-time, relevant work experience through the Arts Co-op program. Others enhance their degree by getting involved in internships and community-based experiential learning opportunities within Canada or internationally.

 Indian students looking for high-quality programs in a safe and welcoming environment are increasingly interested in studying in Canada.  Applications have grown at UBC from just over 250 applications in 2012 to more than 1500 from Indian students this past year.  More than half of those applications are for programs in the arts and humanities.

 UBC has one of the most extensive financial assistance programs for international students in Canada.  Both need and merit-based scholarships are available, including the International Scholars program and the International Major Entrance Award which pays out up to $20,000 a year (in Canadian dollars) over four years.

The author is senior professor of Psychology, University of British Columbia 


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