Obtaining a masters degree through one of the many top social and personality psychology graduate programs helps students lean how to study the way individual traits and social environment contribute to human behavior.
Students in social and personality psychology masters programs explore a wide range of issues, including racial prejudice, romantic attraction, aggression and violence, and conforming to social norms. They do this through laboratory research, clinical experiences, best practices in fieldwork, and even historical study.
Because the field is so heavily research-oriented, the majority of jobs in social and personality psychologists require graduate-level study – often practitioners may find that earning a master’s degree or Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology might potentially be advantageous to their career.
Students typically begin their masters degree in personality psychology graduate work with courses that introduce the various types of psychology as well as courses in research methods and statistics. Then, they typically proceed to more specialized courses in social and personality psychology, including those focused on human attitudes, small group interaction, cultural psychology, social judgment, and personality assessment. These courses help prepare them to pursue their own original research and complete a dissertation.
The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest professional organization for psychologists, and it offers an array of opportunities for potential career development. Social and personality psychologists may also benefit from membership in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Though smaller than the APA, it is an organization specifically dedicated to this particular branch of psychology with over 5,500 members. The group enables those in the field to publish research, attend conferences, and network with others professionals of similar interests.
Psychologists work in a wide range of environments, from government and health care to education and private practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 12% growth rate in the number of positions for psychologists between 2012 and 2022, which is average. Most psychologists work in clinics, government, industry, or schools. Job prospects are projected to be best for those psychologists who have a specialist or doctoral degree.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary for psychologists in 2012 was $69,280. The top 10% of earners made more than $110,880 and the bottom 10% of earners made less than $38,720. The graph below provides 2012 median salary information for psychologists employed in select specializations.