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Math and Psychology

AmazhonAmazhon Posts: 557Registered User Member
edited July 2011 in Johns Hopkins University
Hi CC. My daughter is a rising Junior and we will be visiting schools beginning August including Hopkins. She's interested in a Psychology major, however, she has a natural aptitude for math. Since she was four she'd calculate almost anything. It's not a passion of hers, but she knows she's good at it. I suggested she also consider a career in mathematics. While she's actually considering my advice, can anyone suggest a major or career track that includes both her passion/interest in psychology and her affinity for math that I can share with her? Her longterm goals are to attend an MD/PhD program. She writes science papers every summer since the 7th grade but has always chosen psychology/psychiatric disorders. Her science fair project last year was on mind control, so she's open to unconventional ideas. Thanks.
Post edited by Amazhon on

Replies to: Math and Psychology

  • YanksDolphinsYanksDolphins Posts: 1,050Registered User Senior Member
    If she's interested in psychology and math, I would suggest the applied math department, not pure math. I majored in pure math and I can say it's not calculating and computing. The goal is to prove theorems in abstract spaces, and applications are rarely discussed. Another possibility is economics (mother major) and then taking an interest in behavioral economics, which is a hot field combining economics, psychology, and probability. There's nothing wrong with double-majoring in psych and math, but the math, especially in the pure math department, will not be particularly useful in psychology.
  • al6200al6200 Posts: 1,579Registered User Senior Member
    JHU has two completely separate math departments: Applied Math and Mathematics. They are actually is two different schools and to my knowledge there is no dual appointment or cross-listing.

    Nearly all applied math classes are based on probability and statistics. It includes disciplines like graph theory, game theory, stochastic methods, etc. That will be very useful for real world psychology. The pure math department is abstract algebra, Riemann geometry, analysis, etc.

    I agree that Psychology and Applied Math would be a formidable combo.
  • AmazhonAmazhon Posts: 557Registered User Member
    Great. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge in that area. She's taking AP Statistics in the fall and did well in a noncredit summer statistics class so that does seem to be right down her alley. I will definitely have to have her research Applied Math, as that is way over my head, but I totally get the Economics track and that does sound interesting (at least to me).

    A few more questions for you, or anyone else interested in joining the conversation. I assume with Economics, we're looking at schools with strong business programs that offer behaviorial classes within the major. But Applied Math... Is that considered Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Technology? What types of schools are we looking targeting? I'm going to google Applied Math Majors right after this, but thought you might be able to direct me to what I really need to know. Thanks again.
  • AmazhonAmazhon Posts: 557Registered User Member
    You know, I've got to give my self credit sometimes for being smarter than I think I am. Here's how collegeboard described Applied Math majors.

    "If you major in applied math, you’ll indulge your love of equations and proofs while preparing for a career in a field such as computer science, engineering, or science."

    Looks like its pretty much what I guessed, technology, engineering or science schools will work.
  • YanksDolphinsYanksDolphins Posts: 1,050Registered User Senior Member
    The Applied Math major is in the engineering school. I don't know what's in the psychology department but the econ department doesn't have any behavioral economics courses because they don't have faculty that specialize in that (JHU econ is strong in macro and labor).
  • tanmantanman Posts: 2,642Registered User Senior Member
    She should also consider neurobiology and computational neuroscience - Hopkins has a strong undergrad Neuroscience program with great faculty. It's somewhat of a different twist

    Another option is Cognitive Science. I don't know much about the department at Hopkins, but the course listings look like a good overlap/mix of psychology and neuroscience, with a computational component thrown in as well.
  • AmazhonAmazhon Posts: 557Registered User Member
    Passed on your information to my D last night and she is definitely interested in some of your suggestions. Thank you all for the wonderful advice.
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