What You Should Know About This Degree
Psychology is one of many social sciences rooted in exploring and understanding human behavior and helping others. While there are overlapping responsibilities between psychologists and social workers, mental health counselors, and therapists, psychology is its own distinct field. Psychologists can specialize in clinical, industrial/organizational, forensic, developmental, or sports psychology, to name just a few options. At this stage, you should clarify what your career goals are and decide if psychology, versus another related degree, is right for you.
Licensure is required for most types of psychologists to ensure that professionals are qualified to provide responsible mental health care. Each state sets its own licensure requirements and processes, and your ability to become licensed may be affected by the master’s program you attend. It’s very important to think about what state(s) you may want to be licensed in and research their licensure requirements.
Also note that a master’s degree in psychology is not a terminal degree. Depending on your career goals, you may need to continue to a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Psychology program, which can mean committing more time and money to your education. When considering career paths, keep in mind there are many good psychology-related jobs that only require a master’s degree.
Here are some questions to ask when researching Master’s in Psychology programs:
- Do I meet the admissions criteria? While most programs accept students from all educational and professional backgrounds, some programs require students to have previous coursework in psychology, taken either as part of an undergraduate degree or independently prior to enrollment. Confirm prerequisites and how to complete them before applying.
- Does this program offer the concentration I want? As an incredibly broad field, there are many different psychology concentrations available. However, not all programs offer these specializations. If there is a specific area of psychology you want to study, make sure the program you’re exploring offers coursework or a concentration in it.
Once you have identified the programs that interest you, research their application deadlines, processes, and requirements, including work experience and standardized tests. This information is typically available on the program’s webpage; you can also contact the program directly if you have questions.
Funding your graduate education is another important consideration. Ask the schools you are applying to about scholarship and financial aid opportunities and deadlines. If you are currently employed, check with your employer to see if tuition remission/reimbursement benefits are available.