Graduate Programs in Psychology
Which One is Right for You?
While a bachelor’s degree in psychology offers an introduction to the wide range of topics in the field, you must make a choice when it comes to graduate studies.
You should certainly consider where your interests and skills lie. Do you prefer working with people or with numbers? Would you rather deal with abstract theories or scientific facts?
How long do you want to be in school? Do you prefer to take classes at a local university or opt for an online psyd program?
Overview of Psychology Graduate Programs
Biopsychology – Considered as a cross between psychology and neuroscience, biopsychology involves the scientific study of human behavior.
Also known as behavioral neuroscience, a graduate degree program may offer various concentrations in areas such as psycho-pharmacology, animal behavior, or sensory processes.
Most careers in the field require a doctorate degree because they require a high degree of scientific knowledge. Relevant careers include immunologist, researcher, clinical neuropsychologist, or professor.
Clinical Psychology – The focus of clinical psychology is the assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses.
There are many specialties within the field of clinical psychology, including learning disabilities, emotional disturbances, substance abuse, geriatrics, and health psychology.
A clinical psychologist may work in a hospital, private practice, or academic setting. They may treat people with a certain disorder or have clients with a wide variety of problems. Most positions in the field require a doctoral degree.
Developmental Psychology – Developmental psychologists study the mental and physical development of human beings throughout their lives.
Many graduate programs allow you to specialize in a specific area within the field such as infant, child, adolescent, or geriatric development, as well as developmental disabilities.
Similar to clinical psychologists, careers can be found in a variety of settings. You could work at a children’s hospital or nursing home, a private practice, a research center, or in academia.
Forensic Psychology – This field applies the principles of psychology to the law setting. A forensic psychologist may analyze a criminal’s mental competency or dangerousness, offer counseling to crime victims, work with child witnesses, and provide testimony in court. They must have a sophisticated understanding of the legal system and its terminology. Learning to read people is an incredibly valuable skill, with a forensic psychology online degree you can learn how to put this skill to professional use.
A doctoral degree is required for most positions, but many schools offer graduate programs that combine psychology and law courses. Also see: Blifaloo’s guide to detecting lies.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology – Also known as I/O Psychology, this is the scientific study of employees, workplaces, and organizations. I/O psychologists may study employee attitudes and behaviors and leadership styles to help improve workplace productivity.
With a master’s degree, you may find a job in human resources, consulting, research, government services, with higher career opportunities for someone with a Ph.D.
Social Psychology – This field integrates psychology with sociology and explores how individuals and groups interact. They may focus on researching human behavior, or they might apply research to solve real-world problems in workplaces, schools, political groups, or communities. In fact, they work in a wide variety of situations due to the variety of the human experience itself.
Depending on the position, a master’s or doctoral degree is necessary.
School Psychology – School psychology is the application of clinical psychology within the educational setting. Their main job is to help children with emotional, social, and academic issues, especially behavioral problems and learning disabilities.
They may also work with teachers and parents to help the child manage these issues.
Most clinical psychologists who work in schools have a master’s degree or an education specialist certificate, while those with doctoral degrees may also practice in other settings such as private practices, clinics, or hospitals.
Author Notes: Patricia Duggan has a Masters in Psychology and has been practicing for 11 years. She maintains the site: Psychology Degree Schools. She writes about various subjects within the psychology field.
Graduate Programs in Psychology – Further Reading
Links and books related to graduate studies and Psychology programs:
Getting In: A Step-By-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology
Handy & readable book that simplifies the process for applicants, and increases their chances of being accepted.
Useful timelines, tips, and tools break the tasks into manageable steps and help readers define their goals, select programs, and navigate the application process.
Insider’s Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology
A trusted resource with over 130,000 copies in print, the Insider’s Guide helps students choose—and get into—the graduate clinical and counseling psychology programs that meet their needs.
Featuring invaluable planning and decision-making worksheets, the book provides complete information on the application process.
Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice
The 50 sample essays-selected from thousands of candidates-showcase the best of the best, while the Essay Hall of Shame identifies common pitfalls to avoid. Sample letters of recommendation and essays for scholarships, residencies, fellowships, and postgraduate and postdoctoral applications cover all stages of the application process.
Teaches how to craft a winning essay with 50 state-of-the-art samples to inspire, instruct, and all but guarantee a top-of-the-pile application.