Choose Areas of Concentration for Your Psychology Grad Programs
Psychology is an extremely broad field. Your undergraduate years may have brought you into contact with some foundational subjects. However, graduate-level 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 you would like to work with industry? 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.
Narrow Down Your Subject Selection for Your Psychology Graduate Programs
We recommend you spend some time browsing the ‘Subject Selection’ to determine where your interests lie. The subject selection also may provide the academic path is 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.
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 Graduate Programs Are There?
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 may 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.
Doctorate in Psychology Programs
Aiming higher academically? A Ph.D. or Doctor of Psychology is one of the highest-level degrees achievable in the field of psychology. A doctorate degree might take between four to six years of additional graduate study after earning a bachelors degree. As an alternative to the Ph.D., students might choose a Psy.D. or Doctor of Psychology.
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.
Some of the listings might include:
- Ph.D. in Infant and early Childhood Development
- Clinical Psychology Psy.D.
Graduate Certificates in Psychology
A post-master's graduate certificate in psychology is designed to help you develop skills sets and knowledge in a particular area of psychology beyond the master’s degree level. Other graduate certificates might require a Bachelor’s degree. A certificate may be a way to gain expertise beyond your undergrad degree.
Some of the listings might include:
- Solution Focused Coaching Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology
- Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis
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