Common Psych Degree Specializations
Its beneficial to discover which branch of psychology you want to specialize in. Some branches cover very different topics and can lead to distinct career paths and work settings.
The field of psychology has many pathways and branches, and each specialization offers a range of meaningful career options.
Online Master’s In Psychology Program Overview
Gain the expertise you need to advance your career with the Master of Science in Psychology online degree program at Southern New Hampshire University.
This accredited online master’s degree program can help prepare you to play an important role in the mental health and wellness of diverse populations in various environments from hospitals to schools, government facilities and beyond.
You’ll deepen your understanding of research methods, cognitive psychology, social psychology and personality, learning theory and ethical practice, while focusing on the real-world application of psychological research.
Our master’s in psychology online degree program offers the flexibility to pair your psychology studies with the exploration of complementary disciplines. The 8-course core features classes in psychology research, measurement, ethics and more.
Learn how to:
- Explain psychology’s ability to promote agency and wellbeing
- Address issues by evaluating the relevance, priority and appropriateness of responses
- Plan, conduct and evaluate research to advance knowledge in psychology and promote wellbeing
- Use theories, methods and research to generate new ideas and findings
- Incorporate empathy, reflectivity and an appreciation for collaboration and diversity of perspectives into work
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of professional ethics
Please note that the MS in Psychology at SNHU is not a clinical psychology program and will not lead directly to licensure.
Bachelor’s Degree In Psychology
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A bachelor’s degree in psychology is an undergraduate-level degree that typically takes four years to complete. At many universities, students can choose between a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. Generally speaking, B.A. degrees tend to require more liberal arts general education courses, while B.S. degrees require more science general education courses.
In most cases, there is a much wider range of job opportunities in psychology for those with a graduate degree. However, a bachelor’s degree serves as a solid basis for further graduate study in psychology and does offer a limited selection of entry-level career options.
According to one survey, only about 27% of people with a bachelor’s in psychology end up working in a field closely related to their degree. A few common job titles for people with this type of degree include case managers, psychiatric technicians, career counselors, and rehabilitation specialists. Bachelor’s degree holders often find work in other areas, including sales, management, and teaching.
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Graduate Degrees In Psychology
It can be tricky figuring out which degree to pursue since psychology itself has so many distinct branches of study and specialization.
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Before applying to grad school, it can be helpful to have a grasp on what kind of specific careers or professional roles youre interested in pursuing. Its also strategic to know what licensing may be required and what kinds of degree programs provide the most relevant training.
What’s The Difference Between Your Scaled Score And Your Percentile Rank
The ETS breaks GRE scores down into two groups: the scaled score and the percentile rank. Percentile rank measures how well a test taker does in comparison to other students. Schools value the percentile ranking over the scaled score. Currently, the average scaled score for the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections is approximately 150 on a scale of 130-170 therefore, approximately 50% of students score lower or higher on these sections.
Both scaled score and percentile rank appear on the student’s score report.
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Should I Not Attend Psychology Graduate School
While we believe attending psychology graduate school is an excellent choice for many, it wont always be the best path available. In this guide, we break down the fundamentals of weighing the pros and cons of attending graduate school.
Conversely, if youre looking for more reasons on why you SHOULD attend graduate school, consider our guide on the matter.
What Is The Average Gpa For Psychology Graduate School
When applicants have an above-average GPA, admissions offers tend to see that as an indicator of an applicants study habits and overall academic readiness.
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For masters degree programs, admissions officers generally want to see a minimum GPA of 3.0 or 3.5. How much GPA matters can vary from school to school, though. For most programs, your GPA is likely to be one factor among many, but not all graduate schools list an explicit minimum GPA requirement.
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Master Of Arts Vs Master Of Science
Depending on your school, you can choose to pursue either a Master of Arts or a Master of Science in Psychology. Some schools offer one of these programs, while others offer both.
Traditionally, an MA emphasizes a liberal arts approach, while an MS aligns its studies with the sciences and research. In most cases, however, theres very little difference in the education youll receive, though curriculum varies across programs.
No matter which degree you choose, you should graduate with a solid understanding of the principles and theories of human behavior and development. Some programs have requirements for supervised clinical practice, while most require the completion of a capstone project.
What Questions Should I Ask About Graduate Programs
In order to identify the best psychology graduate program for you and your goals, you will need to properly understand what each program offers. Unfortunately, the relevant information will not always be clearly available or readily transparent.
For instance, you will probably want to consult previous students of a particular program to get an insiders view of the program. Even the best graduate programs come with problems, but it will be up to you to decide which problems are acceptable and which are not. And for obvious reasons, a graduate school will not make much effort to advertise shortcomings.
In the above guide, we provide a strategy for teasing out a good understanding of your prospective graduate schools.
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The 30 Best Psychology Master’s Programs And How To Pick
Regardless of whether you majored in psychology as an undergrad or are just now realizing you have an invested interest in the field, a psychology master’s program could be a great fit for you, especially if you’re not sure about pursuing a doctorate.
In this guide, we look at what kinds of psychology master’s programs are out there and what the point of these programs is in terms of how they help you build a career. Moreover, we’ll present you with a list of the best psychology master’s programs for various kinds of psychology.
What Workplace Setting You Prefer
School psychologists work in educational institutions, many of which are specifically public school settings. However, private schools, universities, and clinical settings also hire school psychologists but typically require more advanced education.
If youre considering working in academia or in a clinical setting as a school psychologist or professor of school psychology, youll need to earn a PhD or doctoral degree, which takes five to six years to complete. Most PhD programs offer opportunities to develop in-depth research and teaching skills and specialize in concentrated areas within psychology.
For example, Northeastern University offers a School Psychology Doctoral Program to prepare school psychologists to work in various settings. Coursework in this program focuses on research and fieldwork to help students develop skills in research, intervention, assessment, and consultation. While this additional degree isnt required to become a school psychologist, it may be the perfect option for those looking to break into psychology research.
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What Is A Good Gpa To Get Into Grad School For Psychology
A good GPA for grad school psychology programs is one that conveys confidence to admissions officers that you can succeed in graduate school.
Since graduate programs tend to be more rigorous than undergraduate studies, the typical GPA requirement for grad school psychology admissions is a 3.0 or 3.5 GPA, though there are some grad schools with low GPA requirements. Your overall GPA might be only one indicator. Admissions officers may also calculate the GPA earned only for your upper-division courses.
Having a higher GPA might help you earn a GRE waiver at some schools. On the other hand, if you have a less than stellar GPA, scoring well on the GRE, even if not required for admissions, could help counter any concerns surrounding a low GPA.
The Structure Of The Gre
The ETS breaks down the test into three sections. Each section gauges the student’s ability to perform certain functions based on their undergraduate knowledge and prepares them for rigorous graduate-level coursework. The general test evaluates cognitive thinking and writing skills with two reasoning sections and one section dedicated to analytical writing. The verbal and quantitative reasoning portions contain 40 multiple choice questions each. For the analytical section, students write two essays based on a complex idea.
With a total testing time of four hours, students get 60 minutes for the verbal section, 70 minutes for the quantitative portion, and 30 minutes per essay. The ETS scores the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections on a scale of 130-170, while the essays are graded on a scale of 0-6.
Testing begins with the verbal section, followed by the quantitative portion, and concluding with the essays. Students do not have to answer every question on the test, as unanswered or incorrect questions do not subtract from the overall score. The computerized version of the test offers a mark and review option that allows students to revisit questions they previously skipped over.
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Jobs For A Masters Degree In Psychology
Except in the case of school psychology, which requires only a masters for licensing in most states, a doctoral degree is needed to work independently as a psychologist. However, there are many other paths you could take with a masters degree, and they all depend on your specialization, career goals, and state licensing requirements.
With an MA or MS in:
You could qualify to work as a:
Rehabilitation counselor, performance enhancement specialist, instructional sports counselor
How Long Does It Take To Become A Clinical Psychologist
Assuming youve already completed your bachelors degree, you still have some steps to complete before you can become a clinical psychologist. Most clinical psychologist licenses require a doctorate.
Depending on whether you get a masters next or gain admittance directly to a doctoral degree program, you may still have some 4 to 7 years of academic programming to complete. In addition, any fieldwork, labs, or internship requirements may add to your time to completion.
Thesis, dissertation, or capstone project requirements can also extend your time in school. Becoming a clinical psychologist also requires state licensure. Licensing requirements for each state can vary, but they often include at least one licensing exam as well as additional supervised fieldwork.
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Know Your Career Goals And The Limitations Of A Speciality
No amount of theory will prepare you for success if you cannot put these theories into practice in your own life. So what does this mean in the context of graduate school for psychology?
It means that you should establishas early as possibleyour desired career destinations and aspirations. Because psychology is a field of specialization, failing to build a profile of specific expertise may lead to certain doors being closed to you.
Thus in order to truly thrive in your psychology career, be sure to evaluate where certain degree programs lead.
What programs can you afford? What can you do with certain specialties? Does your desired profession require certain specialties? If youre looking to attend a PhD program, which program do you have in mind and what types of candidates do they enroll?
In this section well compile our work in answering these questions:
For many students, finding the ideal career path will involve a number of things personal to each students unique desires and aspirations. But lets be honest, for most people theres one fundamental offering that any career must haveparticularly one earned by way of an expensive graduate program.
What Are The Admission Requirements For An Online Master’s In Psychology Program
Admission requirements for online master’s programs usually do not differ from those of on-campus programs. Some schools require prospective students to supplement their applications with interviews or personal statements. In some cases, online programs cater to part-time working students. As a result, admissions personnel may emphasize applicants’ professional experiences more.
Master’s in psychology programs may not require a specific undergraduate major or academic background. However, applicants should have completed multiple psychology courses.
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Choosing The Right Program
No matter where you are in your education or career path, there are many opportunities to earn a degree in school psychology. Those who still need to obtain a bachelors degree should consider pursuing a field of study closely related to psychology. From there, you must obtain an MS Plus 30 in School Psychology from a NASP-accredited program, which only offers certification to students whove completed a three-year degree.
Northeastern University offers a Master of Science and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology, which is a three-year, fully accredited program through the National Association of School Psychologists and the Massachusetts State Department of Education. It requires 62 semester hours and a one-year internship or practicum consisting of at least 1,200 hours, half of which must be completed in a school setting.
While the curriculum is extensive, some of the required courses youll need to take in order to complete the program are:
- Cognitive Assessment
Answering General Questions About Psychology Graduate School
Whether youre in college, preparing for college, or youve taken some time off from academics to join the workforcetheres plenty that can be done to set you up for success in graduate school.
But first, lets break down what we anticipate to be the most common questions for those who are not quite set on working towards graduate school.
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Popular Psychology Graduate Degrees In Massachusetts
Psychology degrees are reported byNCES under the category of Psychology. Lets look at the most recent data . 34,177 Psychology degrees were awarded to U.S. graduate students. That is up 4% from 2013/14. Most of these programs were at the Masters level. So a masters degree is the most popular grad program in psychology.
What Are The Key Habits Of Succeeding In Graduate School
On this same topic, weve compiled this guide that outlines 20 of the most crucial habits to build in order to succeed and thrive in graduate school. If you focus on building these habits, not only will you find yourself positioned for success in graduate school, but youll also build a foundation for success in any professional endeavor.
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Do I Need An Undergraduate Degree In Psychology To Be Eligible For The Phd Program
A psychology major is not required, but it is recommended that applicants take some basic psychology courses and obtain research experience. Admitted applicants have excellent grades, test scores, letters of recommendation, research experience and are a good match in terms of research interests with one or more members of the faculty, who serve as advisors.
Accommodations For Test Takers With Disabilities Or Health
Test takers with special needs or disabilities must submit a request to the ETS. Students may use their ETS account to submit a request or mail a form to ETS Disability Services in Princeton, NJ. The ETS provides a bulletin outlining the types of special accommodation they provide and common disabilities. To receive any accomodation, test takers must submit medical documentation stating their disability or health-related need. It may take up to six weeks for the ETS to review the request and determine if the test taker can receive accommodation.
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How Long Is Graduate School For Psychology
That depends on the grad program. And whether you study part time or full time. Doctorate in psychology programs usually take four to six years. That is, for full-time students. Psychology masters programs are usually around two years. However, some take as little as one year. Looking for more flexibility? Consider online master of psychology programs. In an online program, you could study the same curriculum as a campus program. And you could still learn from expert faculty members. The difference is that youll explore the field of psychology on your schedule.
Specialist Degrees In Psychology
A specialist degree is an educational option between a masters and a doctorate. Within this field, a specialist degree is typically geared toward a concentration in school psychology. It qualifies you to work with children, parents, teachers, and administrators to establish environments that enable student learning and support those who teach.
A typical specialist degree requires two years of academic study plus a one-year internship. It requires more coursework than a masters degree but doesnt include a doctoral dissertation or thesis. Though a masters degree is the minimum requirement for licensing in most states, there are currently 13 states that require school psychologists to have a specialist degree. Even if your state doesnt, earning this degree could open you up to more leadership positions and potentially higher pay.
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