I'm a M.A.Sc (equivalent with M.Sc.) student majoring in electrical and computer engineering at a top-tier Canadian university. My undergraduate studies were, reasonably, related to computer science and engineering. Robotics and implementation of human mental (cognitive) capabilities is my main research interest within these years. So, I had to learn a lot about cognitive processes of mind, biological aspects of nervous system and psychological concepts. Right now, I'm thinking about not to pursue technical majors towards Ph.D. and switch to psychology field. In no doubt, I have no classical background in psychology in view of previous degrees, but I have some fairly-strong reasons to justify my new idea to change the major:

  • First of all, I was already interested in study of psychological affairs within the artificial intelligence (AI) framework, but now I'd changed my mind because I feel I am actually interested in WHAT natural aspect of psychology, not artificial HOW perspective. Furthermore, I think my contribution to psychology will be more gratifying (for myself) than AI, since the impact of the former will directly affect human-beings, whereas real imitations of AI are just like dreams, currently.

  • (As I stated above) However I have no official preparation in psychology, my research experiences may show that I'm not an alien in this field. I have a couple of conference and journal papers, most of which are about implementation of cognitive processes into computer procedures. Hence, I am aware of them partly.

  • My ideas are coherent enough to let me write a proposal to address what sort of contribution I've in mind to have. Obviously, that proposal will reflect a literature review that is by itself representative of my acquaintance with this field.

My target programs are well-known ones in US and EU, such as University of Cambridge. I've tracked some faculty members whose researches need background and mental preparation approximated by mine.

With all being said, my main concern here is whether aforesaid stuffs and justifications have any merit to help me get in such (at least in first sight!) irrelevant program compared to my background or it is impossible for me to hit this mark (I'll be carrying water in a sieve). In other words, how do universities typically analyze applications of fellows like me and what sort of credits are often important for them (which should be reflected into my application)? What are typical admission committees' assessment criteria in such situations?

PS. The probable answer might be:

Just pursue another master degree (in psychology, this time), and then apply for Ph.D.

Actually, I'm an international student and humanity funded positions (at least here) are very rare, typically granted to aboriginal candidates. So, please assume that pursuing another master is not pretty feasible for someone in my situation.

  • My guess is you can add a lot more value to society by improving AI than by doing whatever it is that psychology graduates do. – DepressedDaniel Feb 8 '17 at 0:07
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    @DepressedDaniel: Thanks, but the question is not about finding a way to convince me that my decision is wrong! (As I made it after sufficient thinking about my future, goals and capabilities.) – Roboticist Feb 8 '17 at 0:09
  • That's why I put it as a comment rather than an answer. – DepressedDaniel Feb 8 '17 at 0:10
  • Cambridge apparently welcome applicants with engineering or computer science degrees, so what's the problem? – 101010111100 Feb 8 '17 at 0:42
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    @mkennedy - That's true, but what I'm trying to say is that STEM fields tend to be more forgiving of language deficiencies than the humanities, which are more language intensive. Since OP is asking a career guidance question, it would be doing him a disservice not to point this out. – aparente001 Feb 8 '17 at 17:51

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