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Is there a way to combine Psychology and Engineering?

  1. Jul 3, 2015 #1
    I was looking around for some solid answers online regarding a career change from Psychology to Engineering and came across this:


    I was quite impressed with the smart answers, especially from folks like tygerdawg, so I felt compelled to join and create my first post to ask the following questions to be found below. I hope you guys can help me into the right direction.

    First, a little background.
    I've spend the last 10 - 15 years doing various degree of Psychology jobs from group homes to client supervising to psychological managements of client cases, etc. But to keep it simple, I've always been a lover of science. Always been very curious how things works, how things ticks. Heck, I even looked at humanity as a complex machine that I spend all those years puzzling out and coming to various degrees of solutions and understandings.

    But it's time for a change. Time for me to explore my true roots that reaches back into my childhood where I would tear apart radios, make trenches to redirect water flows after a spring rain, create complex Lego spaceships, taking apart fireworks and recreating it into duct taped version (even set the driveway on fire to which my dad laughed and didn't scold me about it).

    But...here is my dilemma, I cannot remove the trainings and various ways of thinking when it comes to psychology and human behaviors. And so, here are my questions.

    ~ Are there any Engineering fields that incorporates Psychology into engineering designs?

    ~ What Engineering jobs are out there that has either a demand for a Psychological approach to engineering or specializes in designing things around a human person (such as SpaceShipOne).

    ~ What things should I keep in mind when going after the Engineering degree to maximize the connections between Psychology and Engineering in the long run?

    ~ Will any Psychological centric Engineering be relevant and/or desired by companies out there?

    I will most likely have more questions once I obtain new information and insights into this whole new ways of thinking/seeing things.

    I look forward to reading all of you guys suggestions/insights/philosophy/etc.

    Thank you guys in advance for your time.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2015 #2


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    Off the top of my head, you might want to look into human factors engineering, computer-human interface design, or process engineering.
  4. Jul 4, 2015 #3
  5. Jul 4, 2015 #4


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    Education combines many, many, many fields. Engineering reaches many, many, many fields.
  6. Jul 5, 2015 #5
    Get the engineering degree, be a great engineer, and then use your psych skills to transition into managing those engineers.

    Engineers with great management (people) skills are a rare breed.
  7. Jul 6, 2015 #6
  8. Jul 6, 2015 #7


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    Welcome to the PF, @OldeWolf :smile:

    Those were my first thoughts as well. Having your psychology background would help you do a better job of Industrial Design (Mechanical Engineering or Industrial Engineering) and Human Interface design (Mechanical Engineering or Computer Science/programming interfaces). Especially for demanding interfaces like in confined spaces (planes, control rooms, etc.), the human psychology aspects would be important, IMO.

    You didn't mention programming in your engineering interests, but I'd bet companies like Google and Microsoft currently use psychologists on the teams that design their User Interfaces.
  9. Jul 6, 2015 #8
    Maybe you don't need math to design human-computer interfaces.
  10. Jul 8, 2015 #9


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    companies like IDEO and some other companies use human centric thinking to start their brainstorming process. They try to get at what the product is really trying to solve, instead of just solving a problem. That seems like a good fit.

    Also look up design thinking. You might be interested in it.
  11. Jul 12, 2015 #10
    sure but then it's a design course.

    Technical universities offer industrial design degrees but it's not an engineering course.

    If he loves maths and likes programming a design degree may not satisfy him.

    Still, he hasn't made clear for what reasons he likes engineering. Plenty of people who are interested in how stuff works find out engineering isn't for them during the first year. In which case design could be a good choice.
  12. Jul 13, 2015 #11
    Maybe it is your definition of engineering that is too narrow? Maybe because in your country there is certification? Pretty sure you can't get a certification based on this degree.
    Design stuff, to me that is exactly what an engineer does.
  13. Jul 13, 2015 #12
    sure! why look look at interfacing between signals (brain activity) and the brain? this can be achieved by sensors. perhaps biomedical engineering, electrical engineering with application focus on biological systems, or bio-instrumentation.
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