Is AP Psychology a Science or Social Studies?


Diego Sanchez

When it comes to categorizing academic disciplines, there is often a bit of confusion surrounding where certain subjects should be placed. One such subject that seems to fall into a bit of a gray area is AP Psychology.

Some argue that it is a science, while others contend that it falls under the umbrella of social studies. In this article, we will explore both sides of the argument and try to come to a conclusion once and for all.

What is AP Psychology?

Before we can determine whether AP Psychology is a science or social studies, it’s important to first understand what the subject entails. AP Psychology is an advanced level course offered in high schools across the United States. The course covers a wide range of topics related to human behavior and mental processes, including but not limited to:

  • Research methods
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Sensation and perception
  • Cognition
  • Motivation and emotion
  • Developmental psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Personality
  • Abnormal psychology

As you can see, the subject matter covered in AP Psychology is quite diverse.

The Argument for AP Psychology as a Science

One of the main arguments for categorizing AP Psychology as a science is its heavy emphasis on scientific research methods. Throughout the course, students are taught how to design experiments, collect data, and analyze results using statistical techniques. This focus on empirical evidence and objective analysis is certainly reminiscent of other scientific disciplines like physics or biology.

In addition, many of the topics covered in AP Psychology have clear connections to biology and neuroscience. For example, when studying sensation and perception, students learn about how sensory organs like the eyes and ears work to collect information about the world around us. This knowledge is grounded in the underlying biological processes that make these organs function.

The Argument for AP Psychology as Social Studies

On the other hand, some argue that AP Psychology is more closely related to social studies than science. This argument is often based on the fact that much of what is studied in AP Psychology has to do with social interactions and cultural influences on behavior.

For example, when studying social psychology, students learn about how individuals behave in groups and how cultural norms shape our beliefs and attitudes. This type of knowledge seems more in line with what one might expect to learn in a social studies class rather than a science class.

So, is AP Psychology a Science or Social Studies?

After considering both sides of the argument, it’s clear that there are valid points to be made for both categorizations. However, ultimately it seems that AP Psychology is best understood as a hybrid subject that incorporates elements of both science and social studies.

While it’s true that much of what is studied in AP Psychology has to do with human behavior and mental processes (which would suggest a scientific classification), it’s also true that these topics are often studied within a broader social context (which would suggest a social studies classification).

In the end, whether you choose to classify AP Psychology as a science or social studies may come down to your own personal perspective and priorities. Regardless of how you choose to categorize it, there’s no denying that this course offers valuable insights into some of the most complex aspects of human nature.