Illinois Masters in Psychology Programs
Masters in Psychology programs are either terminal degrees for those who are interested in entry-level jobs in fields such as mental health, industrial-organizational psychology and forensic psychology or are earned within a doctoral program or to prepare a student to apply for a doctoral program.
Masters in Psychology: Essential Information
A masters in psychology is a graduate level-degree that generally involves two to three years of study beyond the undergraduate degree. Admission to psychology masters programs typically requires that you have completed the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), demonstrating the required passing score, while keeping a solid grade point average (GPA) at an accredited university for undergraduate work. In some cases you need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, so it is best to do some inquiring with any graduate school on your list.
While one may pursue a Master’s degree in psychology if the Bachelor’s is in another area, it is important to have undergraduate psychology classes on your college transcript. These might include introductory psychology, experimental psychology, and statistics. Once accepted into a program, expect close to 60 hours of coursework, which will vary by institution and state standards. Many universities require at least a 1-year internship, while some will also expect a master's thesis. Some universities stipulate both.
Masters in Psychology Programs are available in a wide variety of specialized areas within the field of psychology itself. When you are ready to pursue your Masters degree in psychology, it is important to choose an area of specialization and determine whether you want to work in the clinical, educational, research, or business setting. There are masters in counseling psychology, masters in clinical psychology, sports psychology and forensic psychology masters programs to choose from, so read on to find out which graduate program in psychology aligns with your goals and interests!
FUN FACT: Psychologists study cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by observing, interpreting, and recording how people relate to one another and their environments[i].
Types of Masters in Psychology Degrees
The two most common types of psychology master's degrees are the Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Master of Science (M.S.). A Master of Arts in Psychology degree may be a sign of a stronger liberal arts focus, while a Master of Science in Psychology may indicate a stronger emphasis on research and the sciences. The type of degree offered depends upon the graduate school and Psychology Masters program since the academic requirements are often very similar.
REMEMBER: It’s important to note that the American Psychological Association (APA) does not accredit master’s degree programs in psychology, but “accredits doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling, school psychology and combination programs; internships, a required component of doctoral training; and postdoctoral residency programs in traditional and specialty practice areas of psychology”.
Some psychology masters programs offer what is known as a ‘terminal degree’. This type of degree is designed to prepare graduates for professional practice in their specialty area. In other cases, a master's degree may serve as preparation for further study at the doctoral-level. Many Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs actually do not require a master's degree, and students are able to begin these doctoral programs immediately after completing their bachelor's degrees.
FUN FACT: Mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists are typically required to have a master’s degree and a license to practice[ii]. On the other hand, most clinical, counseling, and research psychologists need a doctoral degree. Students can complete a Ph.D. in psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree.[iii]
Helpful Ways to Find the ‘Right’ Psychology Masters Program For You
Since specific course requirements tend to vary considerably, it is wise to take a careful look at the course outline of any program you are considering. You may also have to choose between a thesis and non-thesis option. For students interested in further graduate study, completing a thesis is a good choice. The non-thesis alternative might be ultimate if you are more interested entering the workforce immediately after graduation.
If you are unsure if a PhD or PsyD degree is right for you, a master's degree might be a good option. Most colleges and universities want to see you succeed. Spend some time talking to a college advisor and/or faculty member to determine which path is the best choice based on your educational interests and career goals.
Online Masters in Psychology or Traditional On-Campus Graduate Program?
Busy working students may prefer the convenience of an Online Masters in psychology Program; typically access to courses is 24/7. If you work well independently and the program you are choosing will give you the credentials you need, distance-learning is a great option. This does not mean that campus Psychology Masters programs are inconvenient. Many graduate schools schedule courses for busy adults during evenings and weekends. On site learning is more hands-on and interactive, for sure, but again, finding a program that is accredited and provides the academic backbone to your career is quite important.
Ready to get started reviewing some of our listings? If you have a sense of wanting a Psychology graduate school with a campus-based master’s program, use the GradSchools.com search tabs to find colleges and universities by location; there are city, state and country tabs. If an online Masters in Psychology degree is what you seek, scroll through that section.
Use the ‘subject selection’ to find specific programs, either online or on-campus. Really straightforward, right? You can request information from the school directly, and open several windows in your browser.
Choose from Master of Arts in Psychology, Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology, Masters in Applied Social Psychology, Master of Arts in Counseling: Specialization in Forensic Psychology, MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Listings abound, so the right one for you is a mouse-click away!
Masters in Psychology: Potential Curriculum and Specializations
Students in Psychology Masters Degree programs take core psychology classes and select a set of electives in a psychology specialty, such as family psychology, industrial-organizational psychology or clinical psychology.
Students also develop their research skills, and, as per above, a thesis is generally are required. Psychology courses are separated into basic psychology, personality, social psychology and biological psychology. Some courses may include the following:
- Child psychology
- Personality disorders
- Neuropsychology and memory
- Behavior therapy
- Social psychology
Our directory has a full list of Specialized Masters in Psychology Programs, depending on what type of career you are interested in:
- Clinical Psychology
- Counseling Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology
- School Psychology
- Social Psychology
It is worth spending some time to determine whether the objectives of the program you are interested in matches your career goals and your capabilities as a graduate student.
Potential Career Paths For Masters in Psychology Graduates
While earning a Masters in Psychology degree means you may find more job opportunities than you would with an undergraduate degree, job options are still limited if you are interested in entering the field of professional psychology.
A terminal master's program, however, does open the door to entry-level jobs in fields such as mental health, industrial-organizational psychology and forensic psychology. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists is extremely positive; employment growth is projected at 19% from 2014-2024. The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists was $48,040 in May 2014.[iv]
If you are interested in a career where you will be practicing psychology or using the title of “psychologist”, most states requires licensure. Furthermore, n all states and the District of Columbia, psychologists who practice independently must be licensed where they work. According to the BLS, overall employment growth for Psychologists is estimated at 19% from 2014-2024, though employment of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists is projected to increase by 20%. The median annual wage for psychologists was $70,700 in May 2014.[v]
Ready to Review Masters Programs in Psychology?
Whatever you choose, earning a Masters degree in Psychology may help refine your analytical and observational skills, improve your communication and people skills, and set you up with the knowledge you need for the type of career you aspire to lead. Start reviewing the listings today!
[i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm | [ii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm | [v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
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