By having a master’s degree in psychology, you gain entry-level access to a variety of careers in psychology. For example, with appropriate licensure and certification, you could work as a behavioral counselor, family services worker, advocate, or psychiatric technician. And this list just gets us started. Let’s dive in deeper.
While there are many subfields in psychology, three key ones demand the skills and knowledge of professionals with master’s degrees:
- Industrial and organizational psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Social psychology
Industrial and organizational psychology, or “I/O psychology,” is a subfield pf psychology that focuses on individual and group behavior in organizations, such as workplaces and government. Forensic psychology involves serving people and entities involved in civil and criminal matters. And social psychology examines how people affect and are affected by their personal, social, and physical environments.
All three of these subfields of psychology draw from the field’s key principles and theories but focus on distinct populations and dynamics.
Pursue a Master’s Degree in I/O, Social, or Forensic Psychology at One of These Colleges
To work in the field of psychology, professionals typically must have at least a master’s degree. Colleges across the country offer programs in broad and specific areas of psychology so that students can deepen and expand their knowledge in core or specific areas of the discipline. Take a look at these schools and programs that offer master’s degrees in industrial and organizational, social, and forensic psychology:
1. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers an M.A. in industrial and organizational psychology entirely online or on campus. For people passionate about helping businesses, non-profits, governments, and other organizations succeed, an I/O psychology program could be a perfect option. Through one, you can learn how to identify the motives of individuals and teams and assess whether they’re helping an organization fulfill its mission or hindering its success. You can also learn how to use psychology to select personnel, appraise performance, and enhance training, leadership, and employee motivation. Do you think you’d make a great industrial psychologist?
These schools (and others on our site) also offer master’s degrees in industrial/organizational psychology:
- Walden University offers an M.S. in psychology with an emphasis in I/O psychology
- William James College offers an M.A. in organizational psychology
- Capella University offers an M.S. in leadership coaching psychology, a key component of I/O psychology
You can find more programs in industrial organizational psychology through our site, here.
2. Purdue University
Purdue University offers an M.S. in social psychology that focuses predominately on research in social psychology. Designed to help students prepare for doctoral programs, it immerses students in the key theories, principles, and research that shapes social psychology and its historical and contemporary application.
In this program and similar ones, students might study various social psychology topics such as gender, sexuality, aging, dying, and numerous others. Other schools, such as those listed just below, offer opportunities beyond preparation for doctoral studies. Programs in these schools and others might help professionals become counselors, consultants, and specialists, for example:
- Northcentral University offers an M.A. in psychology with an emphasis on gender diversity studies, a key component of social psychology
- Colorado State University offers an M.S. in applied social psychology. This program enables student to focus on an area of social psychology of their choice and to learn how to apply methodology and research in the field
- Hood College offers an M.A. in thanatology, a subfield of social psychology that addresses grief, especially for people who are terminally ill or bereaved
Search through other programs in areas of social psychology here.
3. Marymount University
Marymount University offers an M.A. in forensic and legal psychology that helps students learn how to apply psychology to areas such as probation and parole, victim assistance, law enforcement, intelligence, trial consultation, policy, and advocacy. Through programs like these, students often learn the legal system and how to apply psychology to various components of it. Other schools that offer master’s level programs in forensic psychology include:
- Walden University offers an M.S. in forensic psychology with an emphasis in psychology and legal systems
- Liberty University Online offers an M.S. in criminal justice with an emphasis on forensic psychology
- City University of New York (CUNY) offers a master’s degree in forensic mental health counseling
- for other programs in forensic psychology here.
Or Study Another Area of Psychology at One of These Colleges
As a blossoming psychologist, you might also be interested in studying other areas of psychology such as clinical, cognitive, community, or developmental psychology. Here are some schools through which you can study those subjects:
1. Vanguard University
Vanguard University offers an M.S. in clinical psychology that helps students pursue careers as Christian mental health specialists. Through earning this type of degree, students typically pursue work as counselors and therapists who support people through a variety of issues and experiences. This particular program presents students with opportunities to pursue licensure to practice in the state of California.
These schools also offer master’s degrees in clinical psychology:
- Marymount University offers a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling
- Wheaton College offers an M.A. in marriage and family therapy
- Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis Inc, which offers a master’s degree in psychoanalysis
Find a list of other schools and programs that could help you pursue clinical psychology jobs here.
2. University of Oregon
The University of Oregon offers a master’s degree in cognitive psychology, which includes a study of neuroscience and the cognitive and neural bases of perception, cortical sensory information processing, molecular and cellular basis of memory, visual cognition, selective attention, and other topics.
Other schools that offer master’s degrees in cognitive psychology include:
- The University of California, Santa Barbara offers a master’s degree in cognitive and perceptual studies
- The Teachers College offers a master’s degree in cognitive studies in education which explores the cognitive mechanisms that underlie learning and thinking in educational settings
- The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a master’s degree in human and animal cognition
- you can see, there is some diversity in terms of what you can study in cognitive psychology. You can find more options here.
3. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers an M.S. in professional counseling with an emphasis in trauma. The program helps students understand how to assess and treat developmental, childhood, and adulthood trauma-related disorders. Students who complete these program successfully may be able to test for counseling certification in Arizona.
Other schools that offer master’s degrees in community counseling include:
- The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers a master’s degree in community and cultural psychology that leads to a PhD program in psychology
- The Trinity College of Vermont offers a master’s degree specifically for staff, managers, and consumers who want to know more about health psychology in the field of public mental health
To explore more options for earning master’s degrees in community health, visit here.
4. Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University offers an M.S. in developmental disabilities with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis, or aba, which helps students learn how to address issues associated with developmental disabilities throughout the lifespan.
Other schools that offer master’s degrees in developmental psychology include:
- Syracuse University offers an M.S. in child and family health in the global community
- Montclair State University offers an M.A. in child advocacy
Find other options for master’s degrees in developmental psychology here.
Careers with a Master’s in Psychology
Let’s return to the question, “What can I do with a master’s in psychology?” No matter what topic you study, there are a variety of careers in psychology that become available once you’ve earned a master’s degree. Here are some common positions in the field:
- A behavioral counselor
- A rehabilitation specialist
- A family services worker
- A child protection services worker
- A psychiatric technician
- An advocate
- An administrator
- A policy-maker
Alternatively, and more broadly, you might work as a consultant, strategist, therapist, or program director. Note that if you want to work in management or as a researcher or educator in I/O, social, or forensic psychology, you might also need to pursue a doctorate degree in psychology.
In any of these positions, you could work in hospitals, clinics, legal systems, schools, private practices, and a variety of other settings.
Within these and other positions, you might specialize in a more specific area of psychology such as:
- Diversity studies
- Sex therapy
- Environmental psychology
- Adolescent or adult substance abuse and prevention
- Preventative health behavior
- Violence and aggression
- Conflict resolution and justice
- Cross-cultural and global perspectives
- Mental health
- Sociocultural psychology
- Applied behavior analysis
- Mental health
- Violent crime
- Domestic incidence
Need we go on? Through psychology master’s programs, students gain access to a breadth of knowledge.
Find Your Perfect School Now for Careers in Psychology
Take time to browse through the options we’ve listed above. Looking at schools and what their programs have to offer can give you a sense of your future direction. Get a sense of what subjects you’ll study in the program.
Consider what certifications and licensures the program prepares you for. And think about what you’d like to eventually do with your hard-earned skills and knowledge.
As you’re browsing through schools and programs, consider: what careers in psychology sound appealing to you? Are you interested in social psychology careers? Do you fancy pursuing industrial organizational psychology jobs? Does some other subfield of psychology pique your interest? As it becomes clear, follow your interest.