Psychology is a science that focuses on the mind, its behaviors and mental processes, and the art of applying that knowledge to other people. The general psychology graduate curriculum involves the exploration of subjective beliefs, attitudes, values, emotions, moods, perceptions, sensations, memories, fantasies and consciousness.
General Psychology Courses
General psychology courses provide students with a fundamental, well-rounded knowledge of psychology, and they promote a higher level of self-understanding. Psychology includes numerous different branches, all of which will be taught on a basic level to students of general psychology, and from which they may choose a focus.
Some of the general psychology concentrations include:
- Applied psychology
- Experimental psychology
- Quantitative psychology
- Human factors psychology
- Clinical psychology
- Behavioral psychology
- Industrial psychology
- Social psychology
Graduate students enrolled in general psychology courses can choose to earn a masters degree or enhance their education at the doctoral level. A masters degree in the subject can prepare students for careers in interdisciplinary fields such as business, government and social services, but not for clinical careers. Students often obtain a masters degree in psychology as part of their journey toward a doctoral degree.
Those who are seeking general psychology careers in the clinical side of psychology will want to earn a doctorate degree. Doctoral general psychology curriculums require additional coursework, individual study programs and research that results in a dissertation. Graduates of doctoral general psychology curriculums will gain advanced, comprehensive knowledge of topics such as biopsychology, cognitive processes, development, experimental analysis of behavior, human abilities and sensation and perception.
Regardless of the level of the curriculum, students will take basic general psychology graduate courses in cognitive, developmental and social psychology. They will understand reading, perceptual and cognitive processing, as well as group interaction, social interaction and research design. Students will explore human personality, psychodynamics and psychoanalytic theory.
The coursework of general psychology graduate curriculums can include the study of eating disorders, psychology and the media, psychology in advertising, the psychology of addictions and human diversity. Students will take classes that focus on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and psychological disorders. The biological roots of behavior, perception and memory will also be studied.
General psychology curriculums emphasize the relationship between the brain, mind, psyche and soul. It also explores the “how” and ‘why” of human behavior, as well as how people perceive, process and respond to information. Students will build a theoretical and methodological foundation in psychology. They will study advanced statistics, neuropsychopharmacology, psychometrics and the history and systems of psychology.
It is important for students to learn about ethical issues in psychology, as well as about medical law. Through their general psychology courses, graduate students will sharpen their communication, interpersonal and analytical skills. Other skills they will enhance include critical thinking, problem-solving and technical skills.
Careers in General Psychology
Students who have earned both masters and doctoral degrees in the field have many general psychology careers from which to choose. Graduate students with a masters degree can go on to pursue either a doctoral degree or a psychology-related career in the sectors of business, government and human services. Doctoral degree holders obviously earn higher salaries and have a wider array of employment choices.
Those who have earned masters degrees can enter general psychology careers as marketing researchers, statistical and research consultants, research associates, human resource professionals, clinicians and industrial organization psychologists. Additionally, numerous interdisciplinary interests exist in the field of computer science, education, communications and engineering. General psychology job opportunities for graduates with a masters degree often include teaming up with other professionals, such as scientists, physicians, lawyers, computer experts, policymakers, managers and law enforcement.
Graduate students with a masters degree in general psychology can earn an average annual salary of $50,000 if they enter a career as a market researcher. They can earn an average of $66,000 each year as educational administrators, while they can earn $37,000 annually as assistant professors.
A doctoral degree can land graduates careers as psychologists in a variety of psychological concentrations. For instance, a general psychologist can expect to make an average of $70,000 each year, while an industrial psychologist may earn an average of $75,000 annually. General psychology professors command an annual salary of $40,000. Forensic psychologists can earn an average of $50,000 per year.
Overall, the general psychology career prospects are bright for graduates with an advanced degree. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, careers in general psychology graduate-degree holders will grow between 10 and 20 percent by 2010. School psychology is the fastest-growing sector for general psychology graduates, followed by industrial/organizational psychology and faculty positions.
If you like being in people’s heads, you can make quite a living for yourself.