In order to pursue a master’s degree in psychology, candidates have to be familiar with the many different specializations offered in this field. Only when they choose a particular specialty and decide if they want to work in a business, clinical, educational, or research setting can they seriously begin the hunt for the right master’s degree program for them.
The first step to applying to any psychology master’s degree program is, of course, to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Afterward, a student will need to take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), which is a standardized test meant to assess a student’s knowledge gained in undergraduate study. Finally, the student can apply for a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) program, depending on the work environment he or she hopes to enter upon graduation. Generally speaking, the MS degree will prove more useful for students who wish to work in medical fields and scientific research. The MA, meanwhile, which is more of a traditional liberal arts education, is better suited for those who want to enter an educational field or perform independent research of their own.
As you can imagine, course requirements can vary widely from one school to another. When considering different schools, therefore, it’s important to pay close attention to each individual institution’s guidelines and standards, as well as whether or not the student needs to follow a thesis or non-thesis path. If a traditional campus-based education is unavailable for whatever reason, the student can also opt for an online degree program from an accredited institution.
Having a master’s degree in psychology will train professionals to become familiar with major developments recent trends in the field of psychology. In addition to a better working knowledge of psychology, holding a master’s degree may help candidates discover new areas of work in the mental health sector and increase their employment prospects.
What Masters Degree One Might Opt for?
Students may opt for a specialty program according to interest and talent. Such programs may include an MS or MA in child development, experimental psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, forensic psychology, clinical psychology, or social psychology. Other common specialties in the field of psychology include abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, sports psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology, and paranormal psychology. Many of these topics are covered in a basic psychology education, but students can choose to specialize in any one area for a more in-depth study.
Areas to Work after Pursuing a Master’s Degree
Most professionals who hold a master’s degree in psychology become mental health workers in some capacity. They might work in the fields of health sciences, counseling, social work, education, and school psychology. It is not important for candidates to have prior educational experience in the field of counseling or psychology.
Master’s Program in Social Work (MSW)
Although not strictly a psychology degree, many MA and MS psychology students find work as social workers to address various social issues like illness, family strife, unemployment, poverty, disability, violence, and drug and substance abuse. Psychology students are especially well-suited to taking on the role of a social worker, as they can help address the psychological roots of many problems which plague society. For this reason, students will need to also take courses in topics like urban studies, social work, sociology, and political science.