There are many reasons why Florida is a great place to get a graduate education in psychology. For starters, Florida has wonderful weather, white sand beaches, and ample opportunities to relax and enjoy yourself when you aren’t in school.
But, more importantly, there are many excellent graduate psychology programs in the Sunshine State. Many Florida institutions have what you are looking for, whether you want a master’s degree, a doctorate, or both.
Below is a list of the popular graduate programs you can choose from in Florida. While this isn’t a full list, it includes some of the most highly-regarded colleges in the state.
Top Psychology Graduate Programs in Florida
The University of South Florida (USF)
As one of the largest universities in the state, the University of South Florida offers you many different opportunities to advance your education. With more than 50,000 students currently enrolled, the University offers a widely diverse learning environment whether you choose to learn on campus or online.
USF has a very large population of minority students, with 40 percent of the student body being students of color. There are students from all around the world, too – 146 nations, in fact! The diverse viewpoints and experiences of your classmates serves to enrich your educational experience.
Speaking of your education, you can choose from hundreds of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. This includes options to study psychology at all three levels.
If you have already completed your undergraduate studies and want to take the next step in your psychology training, the University of South Florida’s Master of Arts in psychological sciences is a great option.
This is a 36-credit program with both thesis and non-thesis tracks. If you choose the thesis track, you must enroll in a six-credit thesis course during which you will complete your research and paper, then defend it to a faculty committee. The non-thesis track requires a three-credit research component that must be completed before graduation.
Regardless of the option you choose, you will explore topics related to social, biological, cognitive, and developmental psychology. In that context, you will learn more about human behavior, how to observe it, and how to influence it.
If you already have a master’s degree and want to explore even further studies and training, you might consider the psychology Ph.D. program at USF. This program offers three challenging specializations that you can use to tailor your educational experience:
- Clinical Psychology
- Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology
- Industrial-Organizational Psychology
The University of Central Florida (UCF)
Like the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida is a relatively young school. UCF was founded in 1967 in Orlando, and in the years since, it has become one of the largest universities in the United States. Current enrollment is around 70,000 students.
With massive growth in enrollment comes more money to fund campus improvements and academic programs. In addition to a beautiful campus with modern facilities, the University of Central Florida is a top research school. Whether you want to conduct psychological research, biological research, or something in between, UCF has the facilities to help you do it!
The University of Central Florida’s Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology offers two tracks.
The first option is an Applied Pre-Licensure track that prepares you to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). This two-year, full-time program includes traditional coursework, a practicum, and an internship that gives you much-needed field experience. Once you graduate and have two years of supervised clinical experience, you will be eligible for licensure as an LMHC in Florida.
The second option is a thesis-based research track that’s ideal if you want to continue your studies in a doctoral program. Likewise, this track is the better option if you have no interest in clinical practice.
As you would expect, the research track involves a lot of research (both for the thesis and as part of other course requirements). This track has fewer course requirements than the pre-licensure option to make room for additional research.
The University of Florida
The University of Florida might be the most well-revered of all the schools on this list. In fact, US News and World Report ranks the University fifth among public schools in the nation. The University also ranks 29th among national universities in the United States. The school consistently has excellent graduation rates and retention rates, too.
With over 53,000 students enrolled on campus and online, the University of Florida is also a very large school. With that kind of student population comes great diversity – there is a large contingent of international students, including many from China, India, and Venezuela.
The University of Florida offers two Ph.D. programs in psychology – one in psychology and another in clinical psychology. Both programs require the completion of 90 credit hours.
If you choose the psychology track, you can pursue one of four specializations:
- Developmental Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Neurobehavioral and Cognitive Science
- Behavior Analysis
Additionally, you can choose to double-major and earn a second Ph.D. in a related area if you so wish.
Meanwhile, the clinical psychology track prepares you for advanced practice as a clinical psychologist. Since each faculty member has a specific area of expertise, you can learn valuable skills for working with a range of clients and mental health disorders.
Most first-year students in this program receive a full tuition waiver and a stipend. Stipends are renewed each year and are available for up to five years, provided you remain in good academic standing.
Florida State University
Florida State University is a public doctoral-granting institution that’s one of the most respected research colleges in the nation. As evidence of this, the Carnegie Commission notes that FSU undertakes the highest research activity among colleges and universities.
FSU is a very large school with more than 45,000 students from around the nation and the world. The school has more than 2,500 faculty members, and with a student-to-teacher ratio of 21:1, the school also offers good class sizes for expanding your mind while learning with people from diverse backgrounds.
With nearly 300 degree programs available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, your studies can take any number of directions, including psychology!
Florida State’s Department of Psychology has five different options for getting a graduate degree, and each option is quite different from the rest.
You can earn a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from FSU’s Panama City campus that prepares you for helping clients modify their behavior through changes to their environment. This is an accredited five-semester program that prepares you for certification from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.
Alternatively, you can pursue one of four Ph.D. programs in psychology – Clinical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, or Cognitive Psychology. Each of these specialties offers terminal-level training and prepares you for competent practice in various settings.
For example, you might focus on social psychology and conduct research for a government agency. As another example, you might focus on developmental psychology and work for a school district to develop age-appropriate counseling programs for students.
No matter which specialization you choose, you will learn from world-class faculty, conduct research in well-equipped laboratories, and develop knowledge and skills that are crucial to your success as a psychologist.
Requirements to Become a Psychologist in Florida
The Florida Board of Psychology offers various pathways for becoming a licensed psychologist, including an examination track, an endorsement track, and a track for psychologists that were educated abroad, among others.
While the specific requirements of these tracks differ, any type of state license is predicated on having at least a graduate degree in psychology, if not a doctoral degree. What’s more, supervised practice is necessary to meet some forms of licensure.
Additional licenses are available for special circumstances. For example, if you have been licensed as a psychologist in another state for at least ten years, you can apply for a limited license in Florida. Likewise, if you were educated abroad, you can apply for a Foreign Educated license to practice in Florida.
With so many pathways to licensure available, the state of Florida makes it as seamless as possible for you to get the proper credentials. This, in turn, makes your quest to begin working as a psychologist much easier. This is just another reason why working as a psychologist in Florida has its benefits!