But because this is ultimately a field in which you’ll be working with and helping people, it will also help to draft an engaging story detailing your passion for psychology. Updated September 4, 2019. For example, if your bachelor’s degree wasn’t in psychology, you might need to take a semester or two of undergrad prerequisites such as statistics, biology, and social sciences. Some paths you could take with an advanced degree include: It can help to volunteer in a few different settings to get a feel for the specialty you’d like to pursue. In the United States, the easiest way is to check with the American Psychological Association (APA). Those who are pursuing their doctoral degrees might also receive full or part tuition remission for assisting with research or teaching. While clinical psychology is definitely one of the largest employment areas within psychology, there are a number of alternatives that will also allow you to work in the field, such as health psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, forensic psychology. Next, learn more about some of your career options with a graduate degree in psychology. Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author, educational consultant, and speaker focused on helping students learn about psychology. I started grad school in clinical psychology, but found that it reminded me too much of the dreary madness I’d left behind in New York. You’ll need to figure out the path you want your career to take, determine what you want in a program, and meet the admissions requirements of your top-choice schools. For example, if you want to work specifically with issues affecting females, you might get a master’s in women’s studies before earning a PhD in clinical psychology. You’ll need to make some decisions about what you want the focus of your career to be before you apply to school. Along with meeting or exceeding the standard requirements, there are other things you can do to make your application stand out. So can you switch to a graduate degree in psychology if your undergraduate degree is in a completely different field? "Research experience is the best preparation for graduate school, and these days is virtually a requirement," she says. To find research opportunities, ask professors from your undergraduate psychology courses if they need research assistants or want to take on independent study students. Psychologists. Not everyone figures out where their passions and interests lie during the busy undergraduate years, but it's really never too late to start. This can be an especially good option for those who wish to work in a more highly specialized area. Should You Get a Post-Graduate Degree in Psychology? Work in a lab setting to prove that you understand research methodology and documentation will show commitment and give you a deeper academic experience. Many students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a non-psychology field might find that they would like to switch to psychology for graduate school. Of course, getting into the program of your choice is just a part of the process. Psychology Graduate School Application Requirements Transcripts. Does this program offer career placement or assistance? PhDs focus more heavily on research and methodology, while PsyD degrees emphasize the practical application of psychological knowledge. Be interesting. There’s no difference in the education you’ll receive, so the choice depends on your lifestyle and learning needs. Take This Quiz to Find Out! Some of the most common prerequisites needed for admission to psychology graduate programs include: In addition to taking prerequisite classes, you will most likely need to then take the GRE and psychology subject test before submitting your application for admission. This can not only get you up-to-speed on the subject matter, but it will also help give you a better idea of whether you really want to continue your studies in psychology. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning; 2016. Psychology students who wish to get licensed and practice independently will want to work toward earning their doctoral degree. If you’re working while going to school, your employer might offer contributions to your education. Your second step should be choosing the exact level of degree you need. To be a competitive applicant, you’ll want to have been involved in research, which is the reason many people pursue graduate school in the first place. Deciding whether to attend school online or in the classroom is another important step. If you're still not sure what specific focus you'd like your psychology career to take, this quiz was made just for you. Volunteering in the mental health field will not only give you valuable experience that can help you determine the specialty you want to pursue, but it will also look good on your application. You might even be able to find full-time employment if you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, working under the supervision of a licensed practitioner.
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