The bachelor of arts in human behaviour and applied psychology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University is a revision of the existing bachelor of applied arts in psychology for the fall semester. The degree prepares students for careers beyond health care and counseling. It focuses on transferable research skills and access to industries that depend on quantitative and qualitative research.
“This degree makes it a little bit more obvious how you can use psychology’s content and skills in careers that are outside of the care field,” says Kristie Dukewich, a KPU psychology instructor.
Dukewich says bachelor’s degree programs undergo a program review every five to seven years. The feedback received after each review for the psychology program was positive and recommended more student enrollment.
“There were just a couple of things that came into alignment, including a number of faculty … and an appetite from students,” Dukewich says.
Employers and former graduates of the program highly recommended the degree which resulted in the revision. Many students were also not aware that the applied degree was an option along with the other two psychology degrees, the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in psychology.
The bachelor of arts degree offers flexibility as it allows students to pick their specialization and is a recommended choice for those who have a vision of becoming therapists, school counselors, school resource officers, or are oriented towards social psychology. The bachelor of science in psychology is for students who want a career in healthcare.
The bachelor of arts in human behaviour and applied psychology is different from these degrees as it directs students towards courses in psychology by offering them transferable workplace skills. The program is also practical in nature as it allows students to engage in design projects, community campaigns, and research projects.
“I think students should take it if they are interested in psychology and see themselves going into a more traditional workplace like an office job … and they don’t necessarily see themselves caring directly for people as a part of their job, but they have an interest in psychology,” Dukewich says.
“It is actually an interesting springboard into a graduate degree for students interested in moving on to graduate studies.”
Dukewich says the practical application of the program prepares students to highlight the skills they have learnt in the workforce. She also says they are working on a citation that would allow students to specialize in the degree and highlight their research experience.
“When [students] go to apply for jobs they can be very specific with employers about their direct experience through [the] practicum, but also their indirect experience, and how it’s helped them gain those transferable skills,” Dukewich says.
The practicum for the degree requires students to connect with a B.C. employer and spend a semester working with them. The degree along with the course Post University Transition, or EDUC 4100, prepares students to enter the workforce by creating a portfolio of the work they have done. The course develops the skills of writing resumes, cover letters, and preparing for interviews.
“It’s sort of interesting, the way that practicums really can shape a student’s career and often they think of it as no biggie, but it can have big impacts.”