How Do I Become a Comparative Psychologist?

Jessica F. Black
Jessica F. Black
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Man with hands on his hips

Education and experience are required to become a comparative psychologist and although a bachelor's degree may gain you entry level employment in this field, you may want to consider working on a master's or doctorate degree. This profession involves studying animal behavior, which requires years of experience and training. Most universities do not have a specific degree program to become a comparative psychologist, and students often opt to receive their bachelor's degree in a broader psychology discipline. There are graduate programs that focus specifically on comparative psychology, however, and you may want to research these programs in order to determine the undergraduate program required for graduate school admission.

Once you have chosen an undergraduate program in a psychology field, you will need to enroll in electives that will prepare you to become a comparative psychologist. Aside from fundamental psychology courses, you will typically need to take courses in bio-psychology, evolutionary psychology, and psychological research studies. Some of the topics that these advanced courses may cover include hormones and behavior, biochemical models of behavior, and biological bases of cognition. These courses can prepare you for the fieldwork needed to become a comparative psychologist. Internships may also be important to entering this profession and most companies may prefer that you have completed certain courses before applying.

Most of the internships in this field last at least eight weeks and are focused on extensive research procedures. You should be comfortable interacting with various animals, because most internships will require interaction during research projects. These experience opportunities will heighten your research and analytical skills which can increase your chances to become a comparative psychologist.

Upon completion of your undergraduate studies, you may want to seek an entry level position in this profession to enhance your experience background while you continue your education. A graduate program in comparative psychology may include coursework in psycho-biology, fundamentals of comparative psychology, and anti-predator behavior. The majority of your coursework in these graduate programs will be heavily based on fieldwork and laboratory work. Studying the development of animals and humans will be important to become a comparative psychologist and future employers may want recommendation letters from previous laboratory directors.

There are many career options available in this field including research psychologist, animal behaviorist, and comparative psychologist. Research facilities and medical laboratories are some of the places that you may want to inquire about employment. Due to the highly specific nature of this career, you may want to perform an Internet search for positions in your area.

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Discussion Comments


@Euroxati - As humans, we all have very similar reactions to situations in our lives, both joyful and stressful.

In other cases, sometimes we may even have nervous ticks and little things we do when we get nervous, such as stuttering, twitching, or even scratching our head.

Psychologists are trained to read these things, and catch on very easily. You maybe be able to fool some people, but it's very hard to fool a psychologist. That's what they're trained for.


When it comes to being a psychologist, one thing I've always wondered is how they're trained to read you. From my experience, it's really hard to fool them, and even when you think you have, they catch on really fast. For example, a few years ago, I was visiting a psychologist, and I had a somewhat nervous look on my face. She asked me what I was thinking about. Even though I said "nothing" (which wasn't true by the way), she could tell I was lying.


No matter what kind of psychologist you are, it's always a good idea to make sure that it's a job you actually want. Psychologists deal with different kind of people all the time, and some of their cases can be very disturbing. However, through proper training and preparation, you will learn how to handle these situations without blinking an eye. That's what being a psychologist is all about.

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