Can I Be a Physician With a Psychology Degree?


Vincent White

Can I Be a Physician With a Psychology Degree?

If you have a psychology degree and dream of becoming a physician, you might be wondering if your educational background can help you achieve this goal. While psychology and medicine may seem like two very different fields, there are paths that can lead you to becoming a physician with a psychology degree.

In this article, we will explore the possibilities and options available to individuals with a background in psychology who aspire to practice medicine.

Psychology as a Foundation

Having a psychology degree can provide you with a strong foundation for pursuing a career in medicine. Psychology focuses on understanding human behavior, mental processes, and the factors that influence them.

This knowledge is valuable in any medical setting as it helps physicians understand their patients better, communicate effectively, and develop empathetic relationships.

The skills developed during your psychology education, such as critical thinking, research methods, and data analysis, can also be directly applicable in the medical field. These skills are essential for evidence-based decision-making and research within medicine.

Pre-Medical Requirements

While having a psychology degree is beneficial, it is important to note that additional coursework will be required to meet the pre-medical requirements for admission into medical school. These requirements typically include courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

It is advisable to check the specific requirements of the medical schools you are interested in applying to. Some schools may have additional prerequisite courses or specific recommendations for applicants with non-traditional backgrounds like psychology.

Postgraduate Options

Once you have completed your psychology degree and fulfilled the pre-medical requirements, you have several options for pursuing further education in medicine. The most common path is to apply to medical school and complete a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program.

During medical school, you will learn about the various aspects of medicine, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and clinical skills. This rigorous program will prepare you for the responsibilities and challenges that come with being a physician.

Specialization in Psychiatry

Given your background in psychology, you may also consider specializing in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses.

With a psychology degree, you already have a solid understanding of psychological theories and therapies, which can be beneficial in this field.

To become a psychiatrist, after completing medical school, you will need to complete a residency program in psychiatry. During this residency, you will receive specialized training in assessing and treating mental health disorders using both medication management and psychotherapy techniques.


In summary, while having a psychology degree does not directly qualify you to become a physician, it can serve as an excellent foundation for pursuing a career in medicine. By fulfilling the pre-medical requirements and completing medical school, you can embark on your journey towards becoming a physician.

Additionally, with your background in psychology, specializing in psychiatry is another viable option to consider.

Remember to thoroughly research the specific requirements of the medical schools or specialties you are interested in to ensure that you are on the right path. With dedication and hard work, combining your psychology degree with further education in medicine can open up rewarding opportunities for you as a healthcare professional.