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Evolutionary Psychology Programs and Careers

What is Evolutionary Psychology?

Psychology has expanded to include many different specialties, theoretical approaches, and areas of research. One area that has expanded considerably in recent decades is evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology looks at the evolution of the human race and how those instinctual decisions impact the thoughts and behaviors people choose today.

Though people today are quite different from their ancestors, the drives that kept the human race alive still exist. Evolutionary psychologists look at human needs like food, reproduction, survival, and family to figure out how people today function.

A recent evolutionary psychology study looked at the phenomenon of social media and how a person’s social media friends reflect real life friendships (Newsweek, 2016). The study discovered that people with more social media friends do not have more meaningful, deep friendships than those without large social media networks (Yahoo, 2016).

Are you interested in finding out how to become an evolutionary psychologist? Take a look at the list of evolutionary psychology programs below and contact schools for more information.

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Introduction to Evolutionary Psychology Careers

Darwin’s theory on the evolution of biological life had a profound impact on the world of biology, raising important questions concerning the developmental history of organisms’ physical characteristics. For example, how did the eye develop? What is, or was, the purpose of an appendix? In what way are we the descendants of apes? While biologist look to answer these questions, evolutionary psychologists explore similar issues for mental characteristics, seeking explanations for everything from the human mind’s capacity for reason and thought to the survival payoff of emotions like guilt and love.

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Evolutionary Psychology Job Description

Evolutionary psychologists, who work to explain these issues, study the evolutionary development of the mind and its attendant psychological characteristics. Organized around the concept of natural selection, evolutionary psychologists examine how brain design and function are “selected” in response to organisms’ survival and reproductive needs.

Evolutionary Psychology Requirements

Budding evolutionary psychologists come from a variety of majors including: psychology, biology and anthropology, as the field encompasses aspects of each of these disciplines. Because evolutionary psychologists engage in research-not clinical practice-candidates for graduate programs often must demonstrate particular interest in the field. In some programs, applicants are selected for admission individually by faculty members with whom they share an academic interest. The most competitive candidates possess prior research experience, relevant undergraduate study, and satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Students may pursue a master’s degree, which takes one to two years to complete, or the Doctor of Philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.), which takes approximately five years to complete. Evolutionary psychology receives mixed treatment within graduate programs. Some explicitly offer degrees in the field, while others-treating evolutionary psychology as a way of approaching other areas within the discipline–offer relevant coursework, which utilizes the evolutionary approach, but confers degrees in areas such as cognitive, developmental or social psychology.

Evolutionary Psychology Career Trends and Outlook

You may be drawn to the field of evolutionary psychology for several different reasons. If you are interested in the research aspect of psychology, you could really thrive in this field by exploring evolutionary theories and researching them. In addition, the research you develop could be used by practicing psychologists and counselors to offer more relevant therapeutic interventions to patients.

Those who specialize in evolutionary psychology study many intriguing topics. A recent study in Evolutionary Psychology compared testosterone levels of single men, men in new relationships, and men in long-term relationships (2016). Researchers discovered that there was no significant difference between single men and men in new relationships, but testosterone levels in both groups were significantly higher than those of men in long-term relationships (Evolutionary Psychology, 2016).

With a PhD or PsyD in evolutionary psychology, you may earn a solid evolutionary psychology salary. Per O*Net, the average salary for specialized psychologists is $95,710 per year (2017). Jobs in psychology are expected to grow faster than average through 2024, with openings projected to expand by up to 13% (O*Net, 2017). You may also use your doctoral degree to teach at the undergraduate level. Job openings for post-secondary instructors are expected to increase by 14% or higher, much faster than average, between now and 2024 (O*Net, 2017). The median income in this role is $73,140 per year (O*Net, 2017).

As an evolutionary psychologist, you can shape the future of this field by looking at the past. Learn more about this field and its career options by contacting evolutionary psychology schools below.