WELCOME TO METU NCC PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM
In a nutshell, psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. The discipline embraces all aspects of human experience, from functions of the brain to group behaviour, developmental issues from infancy to old age, from romantic relationships to relationships within the workplace, from drivers' and pilots' decision making processes to consumer choices. The knowledge of psychology is put into practice in a variety of contexts such as neuropsychology laboratories, mental health clinics, human resources departments, flight or driving simulators, nursing home and kindergartens.
Psychology is a basic science that studies human behaviour and its associated mental processes in an array of domains such as personality, cognition and the like. Psychology has both theoretical and applied dimensions. Whether a psychologist studies human behaviour as a scientist like any other basic science field such as physics or chemistry, or practices psychology in a plethora of applied fields (clinical, developmental, industrial/organizational, etc.) does not change the basic training students at undergraduate level receive. In other words, the training psychology students receive at undergraduate level is designed within the framework of what is called "scientist-practitioner" model. Such training enables graduates to develop ways of answering professional questions via scientific methods or adhere to scientific sources and methods.
The psychology curriculum at METU Northern Cyprus Campus introduces most, if not all, areas of psychology to students such as developmental, social, experimental, clinical, health, cognitive psychology. On top of these, in the initial semesters all students are subjected to introductory psychology as well as statistics and research methods – the backbone of acquiring knowledge not just in psychology but in science, in principle. We also endeavour to raise a full awareness of ethical issues and responsibilities of psychologists in both practice and research by means of discreet subjects dedicated to these issues and embedding ethical matters in pretty all subjects taught.
While there are plenty of career path options for graduates of psychology exist in a variety of domains such as mental health clinics, research companies, child care sectors and several other sectors whereby psychologists are in demand, most graduates complete a master's degree in a field of speciality – a smart and almost mandatory path to take for all psychology undergraduates.
Unfortunately, many people, including some first year psychology students, assume that the whole area of psychology is an exclusively "mental health-related" field. While it is true that most psychology undergraduates specialise or aim to specialise in clinical areas of psychology, psychology has, in fact, over fifty different areas of specialisation. Some of these areas are social psychology (study of human behaviour in groups), developmental psychology (study of human development over social, cognitive, emotional and physical domains), cognitive psychology (study of constructs such as perception, cognition, intelligence, etc.).
In today's societies, there is an ever-growing need to further understand and decipher human behaviour in a variety of domains – clinical, developmental, educational, political, technology, human resources, etc. An in-depth study of human behaviour allows for better technology-human user coherence (cognitive psychology, experimental psychology), better mental health services (clinical psychology, psychotherapy, and health psychology), more job satisfaction and better human resource assessment (industrial and organisational psychology) and better and student-focused education systems (developmental psychology, educational psychology). Thus the aim of our undergraduate program is to raise a full awareness in our students of such research and applied concerns in a well-established ethical philosophy.
Psychology and GPC are usually mixed up by naïve students who are in the process of making a choice. Psychology is a basic science with over 50 different areas of specialisation (see http://www.apa.org/careers/resources/guides/careers.aspx). GPC, on the other hand, is an applied, sub-field of psychology that specifically focuses on individual- and group-based counselling as well as providing guidance on a number of issues including career choices, well-being, etc. (see http://www.apa.org/action/science/counseling/index.aspx). Both psychology and GPC are theory-based and applied areas whereas GPC is an ultimately applied area situated on a theoretical, scientific basis, graduates of which gain hands-on experience in counselling. However, GPC is not a clinical area of psychology and does not provide any treatment per se; but it is a preventative, thus an important applied field of psychology. In order to provide any mental health treatment to those suffering from serious mental illness, aside from psychiatry (a branch of medicine that utilises medical model for treatment), a specialisation is required via a master's degree in an area such as clinical psychology or psychotherapy.
The psychology program has been producing graduates since 2011. Our curriculum reflects both the necessities of a contemporary training in psychology at bachelor's level and, currently in the absence of graduate programs on our campus, highlights importance of research by embedding knowledge-producing methods in all subjects in which this is applicable. We are in cooperation with our colleagues on main campus to streamline our training as well as focusing our local needs. We give a great importance to our students' ability to both have a good command of the existing and ever-changing knowledge base in psychology as well as maintaining research skills irrespective of the career paths of their choosing. For instance, we have a special undergraduate research thesis course, a successful completion of which paved the way for doctoral studies for some of our students. An overwhelming majority of our students start up graduate degrees (predominantly in clinical, developmental, social and industrial/organisational psychology) mainly in Turkey, the UK, the Netherlands, Australia, Cyprus and the USA. The faculty's existing network in these countries allow for graduate studies that will benefit our students boosting their professional self-confidence. The follow-up of our students reveal, in par with our mission, that most of our graduates endeavour to excel in professional settings such as clinical domain, human resources, developmental psychology and academia – areas that are highly sought after in Turkey, Cyprus and the region.