Graduate Programs for Psychology
What is a Graduate Degree in Psychology?
Psychology graduate programs aim to provide an in-depth exploration into the human mind and behavior patterns, as well as the opportunity to delve into an specific area of research. They do so through a combination of coursework, internships and independent research. Students in psychology schools might explore topics like behavior therapy, pathology and neuropsychology.
They might also concentrate on a subsection of psychology, such as applied behavioral psychology, organizational psychology or clinical psychology. Earning a graduate psychology degree could prepare students to play an active role in advancing the field by conducting studies, treating patients and more.
Psychology is one of the fields where advanced study may translate into a range of potential career paths. Why? One reason is that in order to actually call yourself a “psychologist” you need to be licensed.
Licensing laws vary by state and the type of position you are looking into. But, consider this: Most clinical and counseling psychologists need a psychology doctorate, to complete an internship, at least 1 to 2 years of supervised professional experience,and to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.i
Graduate Psychology Programs
Certificate, no degree
1 year, 21-30 credits
Introductory and advanced courses, supervised research, potential clinical service
M.A. or M.S.
1.5-2 years fulltime, 36-48 credits
Prerequisites, Core courses, elective courses, clinical research, clinical service/practice
Ph.D. or Psy.D.
5-6 years, fulltime
Concentration (area of study), Courses, Research and Dissertation, Defense, and Residency/clinical practice
Graduate psychology programs encompass masters and doctorate degrees in general psychology, as well as specific branches of psychology. Some students may enter a psychology graduate program after earning a bachelors degree in Psychology, but others may have a foundation in another field.
Popular graduate programs for psychology include:
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognitive Psychology
- Community Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
- Forensic Psychology
- Masters in Counseling Psychology Online
- Organizational Psychology
- Social & Personality Psychology
- Sports Psychology
- Psychology Graduate Programs with no GRE Required
- 1 year Psychology Programs
Now, maybe the type of career you aspire to doesn’t require a PhD or PsyD. But, it may require a Masters in Psychology. So, take a look inside a range of psychology schools to see what your options are. Explore which graduate psychology degree might lead you closer to your academic and vocational goals.
Concentration Areas for Graduate Psychology Programs
Psychology is an extremely broad field. Your undergraduate years may have brought you into contact with some foundational subjects. However, graduate programs in psychology allow you to get more focused, more experienced and research a field that really draws you in.
For instance, do you have a passion for sports? If so, you might choose Sports Psychology Graduate Programs. On the other hand, do you know if you would like to work within an organization? Then, you might choose an Organizational Psychology Graduate degree program. Forensic Psychology Graduate Programs might be the right fit for someone interested in the criminal justice system, or in working with victims of crime.
Find Your Focus Area
We recommend you spend some time browsing the specialties listed in the menu to determine where your interests lie. The information on each page may also provide insight into the academic path to practicing in that field.
For many prospective students, it may come down to choosing between a clinical psychology graduate program or a counseling psychology grad program. Consider whether you are more of a researcher or aspire to a professional practice. Then check a few options out.
The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 15 areas of psychology, such as clinical health, couple and family, or rehabilitation.iii
What Types of Psychology Degrees Are There?
We gave you a hint up top, but that only skims the surface. In addition to exploring a variety of specialties, graduate psychology schools offer programs at three main levels: the masters, doctorate and graduate certificate. Below is a brief intro to each type of psychology degree to help you narrow down your choices.
Psychology Masters Programs
Psychology masters programs are typically 2 to 3 year programs of study beyond the undergraduate degree. Masters programs in psychology commonly offer either a Master of Arts (M.A.) and the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. While typically they cover similar topics, a MS in Psychology may have a stronger focus on research and science. MA in psychology graduate programs, on the other hand, may take a liberal arts approach.
A Masters Degree in Psychology could prepare students to pursue their doctorate, or certain careers, such as a mental health counselor or organizational psychologist. Thesis and non-thesis options are offered depending on your intentions.
Do you plan to study at the doctorate level? Then, completing a thesis might be a good choice. Do you plan to enter the workforce right away? If so, a non-thesis option might be fine.
Some Psychology masters programs you might encounter include the following.
- MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Master of Arts in Psychology
- General Psychology MS
- Master of Arts in Counseling
- Specialization in Forensic Psychology.
Psychology Doctorate Programs
Aiming higher academically? A Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology is one of the highest-level degrees achievable in the field of psychology. Students might also choose a Psy.D. or Doctor of Psychology degree at this level.
The main difference is that the Ph.D. in Psychology focuses on the scientific model, emphasizing research. In contrast, the Psy.D. in Psychology focuses on the practitioner model and emphasizes clinical practice.
In either case, a psychology doctorate degree might take between four to six years of additional graduate study after earning a bachelors degree. This may depend on enrollment, program requirements and the amount of time it takes to complete a dissertation.
Some of your options might include:
- PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development
- Clinical Psychology Psy.D.
- PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology
Graduate Certificates in Psychology
A graduate certificate in psychology is designed to help you develop skills sets and knowledge in a particular area of psychology. They may be available at the masters or post-masters level.
While not a full degree, a certificate may be a great way to gain additional expertise and explore a topic in depth. Certificates are often shorter and may be completed in 1-2 years of full time study. Programs vary.
Some potential certificate programs include:
- Solution Focused Coaching Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
Ways to Earn A Graduate Psychology Degree
One of the ways to approach your search for a psychology graduate program is to determine whether you prefer to study on a college campus or in an online format. Some graduate schools for psychology may actually offera hybrid or blended format, allowing you to take advantage of the potential benefits of both.
You want to consider whether you have time to commute to class. You may also want to think about whether you need to schedule studying at your own pace. Also, you might want to factor in whether you prefer the hands-on and social learning atmosphere, or the independence of a distance-learning format.
Use the on page menu to filter psychology programs by the the format you prefer. Or search by location, if you have always wanted to study in a specific city, state, or country. And remember to look for accredited psychology graduate programs!
Find an Accredited Graduate Psychology Program
Students should ensure they choose an accredited institution, and learn whether, for their career purposes, they need to look into an APA-accredited psychology graduate program. The American Psychological Association (APA) accredits[ii]:
- Doctoral programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology. Pprograms offering combinations of two or more of these areas are also accredited. The primary professional degrees offered are the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and PsyD (Doctor of Psychology).
- Internship programs that are a required component of doctoral training.
- Postdoctoral residency programs that provide professional preparation.
Be aware that the APA does not accredit psychology schools, or programs at the bachelor’s or master’s levels. The U.S. Department of Education should have a list of legitimate psychology masters programs.
And, you should always contact a prospective graduate school directly to discuss requirements, pre-requisites and whether their program might help prepare you for licensure.
Find 1,945 Psychology Graduate Programs
Now you're equiped with the information you need to start your search for a graduate program for psychology. The academic path you choose may depend largely on what you plan to do after you complete your degree. To a certain extent, you want to not only prepare yourself with an education but also the ‘right’ education for the type of career you want to lead.
The easiest way to whittle down your choices is to use the menu bar. Search by degree level, specialty or format and location. Follow listings links for additional information.
And don’t be shy to reach out to a psychology school. Just fill out the on page form to make sure you understand the ins and outs of their program.
Why wait? You future psychology graduate program could be one click away!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm | [ii] www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/about/index.aspx | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm
- Some of the nation's most affordable tuition rates, from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access
Walden UniversityUpcoming Start Date: February 25, 2019
Walden University is offering a Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology - the first of its kind available online! This program will expand your understanding of how social factors influence human psychology and behavior through...
BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program can be completed in 19 months and prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of app...
Northcentral UniversityUpcoming Start Date: February 18, 2019
Deepen your understanding of human behavior in organizations with NCU's 100% online PhD in Business Administration - Industrial Organizational Psychology program. Explore IO Psychology and management theory, then conduct advanced research related to HRM.
- Weston, MAWeston, MA
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is commonly associated with the treatment of autism spectrum disorders; however, it has diverse applications including organizational behavior management, behavioral psychology, and behavioral pharmacology.
- Weston, MA
Saint Leo University
The Master of Science in Psychology is a broad-based, general degree in psychology.
George Mason University
HR and business pros learn the research, methodologies, and data analytics they need to systematically foster a culture of innovation — where each employee feels empowered and motivated to contribute new ideas, ignite change, and do their best work.
Our Lady of the Lake UniversityUpcoming Start Date: May 11, 2019
Our Lady of the Lake University's online Master of Arts in Counseling is built on a curriculum aligned to CACREP Standards and offers three career-specific specializations in School Counseling,Clinical Mental Health Counseling,or Clinical Rehabilitation.
Antioch UniversityUpcoming Start Date: March 04, 2019
The online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling offered by Antioch allows you to channel your passion for helping others into a meaningful and rewarding career as a mental health counselor.
University of Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati online Behavior Analysis Graduate Certificate teaches students methods to develop effective interventions to address a wide array of learning and behavior problem behaviors across typically developing populations and disa...
Purdue University GlobalUpcoming Start Date: April 17, 2019
Purdue Global’s Master of Science in Psychology could help you develop the skills and knowledge to become more marketable in the field. This graduate degree offers three career-focused concentrations: addictions, behavior analysis, and industrial/organi...
- Rockville, MD
- Omaha, NE
- South Portland, ME
- Milwaukee, WI
- Mason City, IA
- Lewiston, ME
- Saint Louis, MO
- Indianapolis, IN
- Augusta, ME
- Hagerstown, MD
- Des Moines, IA
- Davenport, IA
- Cedar Rapids, IA
- Fairfield, CTFairfield, CT
Sacred Heart University
The Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology program at Sacred Heart University will prepare students to be ethical practitioners of Industrial/Organizational Psychology.
Grand Canyon University
The Master of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in Organizational Psychology is a program designed for individuals who desire promotion and/or continued academic exposure in the field of psychology. The program focuses on the development of critica...
- Portland, ORPortland, OR
University of Western States
he SPP EdD curriculum helps students complete coursework requirements to become licensed professional counselors (LPC) and Certified Consultants through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (CC-AASP).
The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyUpcoming Start Date: May 06, 2019
The online M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program at The Chicago School prepares students to provide high-quality mental health services to a diverse clientele in a variety of community settings.
- Chicago, IL
- Irvine, CA
- Washington, DC
- San Diego, CA
- New Orleans, LA
- Los Angeles, CA
- South Orange, NJSouth Orange, NJ
Seton Hall UniversityUpcoming Start Date: May 21, 2019
Whether you’re planning to pursue a Ph.D. program or looking to enter a research-intensive job right away, the master’s program in Experimental Psychology will help get you there...
- Bristol, RIBristol, RI
Roger Williams University
A two-year, full-time program, the M.A. in Forensic & Legal Psychology is designed to prepare students for applied, clinical, experimental, or related Ph.D. training focused on forensic or legal psychology.
- Bristol, RI
- Costa Mesa, CACosta Mesa, CA
The mission of the Organizational Psychology program is to prepare students for professional excellence, ethical leadership, and service to people and society through enhancing life in the workplace.
- Costa Mesa, CA
University of Hartford
The online MS in Organizational Psychology program aims to address critical leadership skills required to enhance organizational effectiveness.
- West Hartford, CT
Our specialization in Psychophysiology is the only doctoral program in applied psychophysiology in the world at this time. ...
- Kirkland, WA
- Kirkland, WA
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University's Master of Arts in Counseling – Clinical Mental Health online program is dedicated to educating students to pursue careers as highly-skilled counselors, who are committed to serving the needs of thei...
Liberty University OnlineUpcoming Start Date: March 18, 2019
Liberty University’s Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Forensic Psychology, 100% online program, trains current and prospective criminal justice professionals in the application of psychological principles...