What are the subfields of psychology?

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In this blog we present you a list of the various subfields in Psychology. 

What are the subfields of psychology?

When we consider the scope and application of psychology we must understand that this field has developed into various subfields with a myriad of applications.

Some of the subfields of psychology that we will briefly discuss today include:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Cross-Cultural Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Behavioural Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Industrial-Organisational Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Sports Psychology

What is Psychology?

While there is no universally acknowledged definition for the field of psychology, the American Psychological Association defines the field as “the study of mind and behaviour.” 

The APA also added that this scientific field of study embraces all aspects of human experience. 

This field of study involves the functions of the brain and how it impacts human life and it also involves the impact countries and culture has on the development of a child to that related to the care of the older generation. 

This field of scientific study also encompasses the biological influences, social pressures, and environmental factors that affect how people think, act, and feel.

According to Kendra Cherry for Verywellmind, psychology can be broadly differentiated into:

  • Research, where psychological research is focused on deepening and broadening the knowledge based on theoretical knowledge. 
  • Practice, where theory is applied to solving problems- human problems. 

These two fields are not exclusive rather they are interrelated where one informs the other. 

It is in this field that Researchers, Psychologists, and psychiatrists work together to help understand mental health and also mental health disorders, as well as the various factors that influence well-being and life satisfaction. 

When we consider the scope and application of psychology we must understand that psychology has since developed into various subfields with a myriad of applications which makes the scope of psychology immensely wide.

Some of the notable subfields of psychology include:

Clinical psychology

Clinical psychology is a subfield of psychology that integrates science, theory, and practice to understand, prevent, and treat psychologically-caused distress or dysfunction, and promote an individual’s well-being.

This field of study also focuses on the intellectual, emotional, biological, psychological, social, and behavioural aspects throughout a person’s life, across varying cultures.

In clinical psychology,psychological assessment and psychotherapy are central. However, clinical psychologists are also often involved in research, training, forensic testimony, and other areas.

Counselling psychology

Counselling psychology is a field of przyloty that encompasses research and applied counselling in the counselling process and outcome; career development and prevention and health.

This field or subfield of psychology provides for a psychotherapeutic relationship in which an individual receives direct help from an adviser or a counsellor to develop positive growth in personality as well as well-being. 

Cognitive psychology

Cognitive psychology is a field of psychology that processes internal mental processes, such as thinking, problem solving, memory, learning, and language.

It investigates how people think, perceive, communicate, remember, and learn and is closely related to neurology and linguistics in the efforts to understand these concepts. 

Practical applications of clinical psychology include how to improve memory, decision-making, and also on a larger scale- how to set up educational programs to boost learning, for example, for special education populations who have intellectual and learning disabilities. 

Developmental psychology

This scientific study in the field of psychology refers to the systematic psychological changes that a person experiences over the life span.

It is the study of motor skills, problem solving, moral understanding, acquiring language, emotions, personality, self-concept, and identity formation- not only in infants and young children but also teenagers, adults, and older people.

This field of research also studies and investigates mental structures as well as  learning through life experience, or how a person’s characteristics interact with environmental factors.

Evolutionary psychology

Evolutionary psychology looks at how patterns of human behaviour have been affected by psychological adjustments during evolution. According to this field of science, many of the human traits of personality are a result of traits that have existed for thousands of years and have enabled us to survive as a species. 

Forensic psychology

Forensic psychology is a field of psychology that involves applying psychology to criminal investigation and the law. It is a science where psychology is applied within the criminal justice system and civil courts.

Various forensic psychologists are involved in assessing the psychological factors that might influence a case or the behaviour of victims and perpetrators that could prove helpful for insight in the court of law. 

Personality Psychology

Personality psychology is a scientific subfield of study that examines the personality traits of human beings and the variation of these traits among individuals.

The overarching goal of this subfield of psychology is to show how people are different in their own individual ways due to the psychological forces of personality. 

This scientific field of study focuses on studying individual traits and also the traits of personality as a whole so as to construct a coherent picture of an individual and also the major psychological processes involved in the building of an individual’s personality. 

Personality psychology is the scientific discipline that empirically studies the personality processes or the psychological systems by making strides in understanding an individual’s major psychological patterns. 


Neuropsychology looks at the structure and function of the brain in relation to behaviours and psychological processes.

This field of psychology strives to determine whether a person is likely to experience behavioural problems following suspected or diagnosed brain injury, such as a stroke.

It aids in the treatment of various psychological disorders as a result of brain physiology and neurochemistry as well.

Occupational psychology

Occupational or organisational psychologists are involved in assessing the performance of people at work and in training as well as making recommendations for healthier and more effective functioning of the company employees.

The practitioners in this field of psychology help companies to find more effective ways to function, and to understand how people and groups behave at work so as to improve  efficiency, job satisfaction of employees.

Social psychology

Social psychology uses scientific methods to understand how social and cultural factors impact human behaviour. 

This field of psychology seeks to explain how feelings, behaviour, and thoughts are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other people.

Cross-Cultural Psychology

Cross-cultural psychology focuses on how cultural factors influence human behaviour. This particular field of psychology started around the 1970s with the development of cultural sensitivities emerging worldwide. 

It pioneered the paradigm of multi-culturally informed psychology, researchers, and practitioners in the field of psychology. 

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology is the subfield of psychology  that looks at psychopathology and abnormal behaviour. 

They are mostly focused on diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders and includes:Counsellors, clinical psychologists, and psychotherapists.

Behavioural Psychology

The behavioural school of thought seeks to make psychology the study of observable behaviours- thus making the idea of human personality and the mind measurable for the first time. This subfield focuses on changing behaviour to improve life and health. 


Biopsychology is a subfield of psychology focused on how biological systems such as the brain and nervous systems influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

This field often studies how brain injuries and brain diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s etc impact human behaviour.

Educational Psychology

Educational psychology is the subfield of psychology concerned with how students learn in order to improve student outcomes.

They examine various factors such as learning disabilities, giftedness, the instructional process, and individual differences to understand how it impacts learning and academic development. 

Experimental Psychology

Experimental psychology is the subfield of psychology that utilises scientific methods to research the brain and behaviour. 

This field makes use of empirical experiments, correlational studies, case studies, and naturalistic observation and other research methods to understand human behaviour as well the other processes that impact human behaviour. 

Health Psychology

Health psychology focuses on how biology, psychology, behaviour and social factors influence health and illness. 

Health psychologists are interested in improving health by promoting healthy behaviours such as weight management, smoking cessation, stress management, and nutrition.

School Psychology

School psychology is a subfield field that involves working in schools to help students deal with academic, emotional, and social development.

School psychologists also collaborate with teachers, students, and parents to help improve the social and psychological atmosphere of these students to censure positive psychological growth and performance. 

Sports Psychology

Sports psychology is a subfield of psychological study that examines how human psychology influences sports, athletic performance, exercise, and physical activity. 

Sports psychologists work to improve performance and increase motivation along with other sports professionals like coaches and administration, 

They might also help players during rehabilitation,  exercise and games so that they can improve performance as well as enhance lives and well-being throughout.


In this blog we present you a list of the various subfields in Psychology. 

FAQ related to Subfields of Psychology

What is a psychologist?

A psychologist is a professional in the field of psychology that either works in the field of research or practice or both. Their expertise is in the area of human behaviour, cognition, and socioemotional processes.

What exactly does a psychologist do?

Psychologists either works in the field of research or practice or both to help understand and treat people’s cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behaviours. 

Is a psychologist a real doctor?

Psychologists can be both a medical doctor or a Doctor of Philosophy and Psychology. To be a medical doctor, a psychiatrist will have to specialise in psychiatry after their medical degree.

Is psychology a good career?

Psychology as a field has very good scope right now because of the increasing focus on mental health and wellbeing.

Recent strides in the field of psychology has highlighted the importance and need for psychology to ensure well-being and mental resilience of an ever changing and uncertain world this makes for the field of psychology highly desirable as a career, 

What is the study of psychology?

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour that actively involves research in studying and understanding mental processes, brain functions, and behaviour.

What topics do psychologists study?

Psychologists study how people behave, think and feel. They also spend time understanding the human experience and the workings of the human brain. 

They also conduct research to help develop an understanding of  consciousness, memory, reasoning and language to personality and mental health.


Kendra.C. What Is Psychology? Verywell well. Retrieved on 1st March 2022 .https://www.verywellmind.com/psychology-4014660#impact-of-psychology

McLeod, S. A. (2019). What is psychology? Retrieved on 1st March 2022 


What is psychology and what does it involve? Medicalnewstoday. 1st March 2022 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154874

Kendre.C. The Major subfields of Psychology.  Verywell well. Retrieved on 1st March 2022 https://www.verywellmind.com/major-subfieldes-of-psychology-4139786#toc-overview-of-psychology-subfields

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