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Psychology Graduate Programs

Studying the intricacies of the human experience is central to a psychology program. With a graduate degree, psychologists are able to work in health facilities, schools, and the government. These are the top psychology programs. Each school’s score reflects its average rating on a scale from 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding), based on a survey of academics at peer institutions.

What is a Psychology Graduate Program?

Psychology graduate programs like a Masters in Psychology include coursework, research, and sometimes clinical experience in psychology. They may help students pursue career paths related to the human mind and behavior.

Graduate students study Psychology to gain insight into human challenges. They apply what they’ve learned to new problems and complete projects in an area of interest.

Psychology graduate programs cover the human mind, personality, and behavior. They explore the ways people interact with each other and the world.

One main application for these programs is addressing mental health problems. You may study what abnormal psychology looks like. And, you may learn how to treat patients with conditions like depression or addiction.

Those who are interested in pursuing graduate work in developmental psychology and related disciplines are encouraged to explore the following programs for further information. Each university site provides details about the training that is offered, degrees and specializations, faculty, and other valuable data to assist a prospective student in deciding whether to apply to the program for graduate study. Programs are organized by geographic location within the United States and Canada and then listed alphabetically by university name. If you will be searching a number of programs, it may be helpful to bookmark this page. The websites you are examining will not contain a returning link.

Pursue Your Online Graduate Psychology Degree

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Are you majoring in psychology? Confused about what to do after graduation? Thinking about graduate school? Have no fear—read on for some steps to deciding what kind of graduate program may be right for you.

First things first – what type of program are you looking for?

1) Area of concentration

In deciding on an area of concentration, the first step is to figure out if you want to take a clinical or an experimental path. Clinical concentrations involve practice; these are the psychologists who can be licensed to see clients. Experimental concentrations emphasize research and generally do not see clients.

Examples of clinical and non-clinical concentrations:

Clinical

Social

Counseling

Industrial/Organizational

Clinical Health

Cognitive

Neuropsychology

Developmental

Experimental

2) Training model

The majority of graduate programs follow one of three training models. Depending on your interests, as well as your future plans, one model may fit better than another.

Research-Scientist: This model emphasizes research. This style is mostly found in experimental programs, but there are a few clinical programs that follow it; they’re usually called “Clinical Science” programs (e.g., Indiana University). This model focuses on psychology as a scientific field and trains students for careers in research and academia.

Scientist-Practitioner: This model balances research with practice. While programs under this model emphasize practica and clinical experience, they also train students for performing research. Clinical programs that use this model may focus on evidence-based practice.

Practitioner-Scholar: The most recent of the training models, this one focuses primarily on practice, while still promoting research and scholarship. The majority of programs that utilize this model grant a Psy.D., and require little direct research experience.

3) M.A. vs. Ph.D. vs. Psy.D.

The Master’s degree (either an M.A., Master of Arts, or an M.S., Master of Science) is the next stage after the Bachelor’s degree. It usually takes between two and three years to complete and is usually capped by a thesis. Counselors with Master’s degrees can be licensed as therapists, but they have restrictions on their abilities to practice, while PhDs do not.
Pros: Shorter term, higher acceptance rates
Cons: No (or little) funding, lower salary in research or clinical settings

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is recognized as the most prestigious graduate degree and usually takes around six years to complete. In psychology, a Master’s is not usually required to earn a Ph.D.; most Ph.D. candidates earn their Master’s while working on their doctorates. Programs will be either clinical or not. Clinical and counseling programs are very difficult to get into and require internships prior to graduation.
Pros: Funding opportunities, prestige, greater employment opportunities in research or clinical settings
Cons: Lower acceptance rates, longer term

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) is relatively new, as graduate degrees go. While still a doctoral degree, Psy.D. programs emphasize practice over research. Psy.D. programs usually take about five years to complete, and though there is usually not a dissertation involved, several practica (courses where the student sees clients under supervision from advisors) and a smaller-scale research paper is typically required.
Pros: Slightly shorter term, higher acceptance rates
Cons: No (or little) funding, less prestige

A perfect fit – finding a faculty match.

Faculty match is the biggest secret in the application business. Applications are received by programs or graduate schools, but in psychology, the prospective faculty advisor is a major unnamed player in accepting applicants. During application season, programs provide information on which faculty members are accepting new students. Applicants should tailor their personal statements to the faculty members they are looking to work with. Faculty match is important, not only for the application process, but also for your sanity. Getting accepted into a good program is good news, but it’s going to be a long six years if you’re working on an area you find boring. While grad students are not pigeon-holed into the research area their advisors work within, it is important to realize that until the dissertation and beyond, students are essentially at their advisors’ beck and call.

Finding a good faculty match primarily involves reading. Read faculty bios, check out their CVs, look at their lists of publications. Read their publications (or at least the abstracts). If you can imagine working on those experiments, or are excited by them, you’re probably on the right path.

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