How do I choose a psychology graduate track?
I'm a rising college junior majoring in psychology and minoring in criminal justice. When I was researching graduate schools, I found there are many tracks in the psychology graduate programs that I'm interested in. How do I narrow down a single track? #psychology #graduateschool #college #degree #student #program #major #tracks #mentor #ms #colleges #programs #professor #july20
First, often the specific tracks are embedded within more general programs. So, for example, if you are interested in clinical psychology, a program might have tracks in clinical child, health psychology, etc. An experimental psychology program, may have tracks or programs in industrial organizational psychology or social psychology (to just give you a few examples). Thus, it is good to decide whether you are more interested in a clinical psychology degree or a degree that would fall under another area such as experimental psychology or counseling psychology. Once you know this, I would suggest that you read the faculty profiles of the individuals affiliated with interesting tracks to get a sense of their research interests and what they are doing, to see if their work seems appealing to you. If you have questions about their research (or any others), I would suggest that you email the faculty member and introduce yourself and tell them that you are interested in their work and their respective track, followed by any questions that you might have about either. So, for example, I often had students ask me about any ongoing research studies that I had going on in my lab as well as specific program requirements. A lot of faculty also have citations for their research studies online when you look at their profile on the psychology department’s web site. If you read some of their research studies, this also can give you an idea of whether their work might be of interest to you. Also, courses affiliated with each track should be listed on a department’s web site and you should review them to see which topics seem most appealing. Additionally, graduate programs should have a program director listed on their web sites. If you have questions after reading about a specific program or track on a web site, do not hesitate to email program directors about any questions that you might have about their programs or tracks. Finally, depending on the program, you might not have to always declare a specific track at the very beginning or there might be some flexibility in changing tracks if you decide to go in a different direction – this might be something that you could inquire about, if it is not clear from the web site. Good luck and it is good to do your homework before applying to graduate programs, so great job in planning ahead!
For me, psychology is deeper than studies and teachers and school names -- it's a calling and a feeling. I suggest you sit in meditation or prayer and ask yourself what it is you are searching for - not for the school, but for your life. And then find that University that makes you excited about learning and bettering yourself, first. If you love it, then you'll be awesome at it!! And you'll be able to share your skills and knowledge well with others.
If it isn't joyful, don't do it! Find your joy, and you'll find your passion and your track.
When I was deciding a track for my graduate school, I received a piece of advice from my mentor: go check out the programs that are offered in the graduate schools that you want to apply to and read their descriptions. Take my current graduate school, Teachers College, for example, it offers over 80 programs, which blew my mind at that time. It really opened my eyes and allowed me to consider some very innovative directions that I never thought would be taught at the graduate level. So I would recommend exploring the options available at each graduate school, and you will definitely be surprised.
By the way, the link for TC programs is here: https://www.tc.columbia.edu/academics/programs-search/, see if any of the programs sound interesting to you.
Popular areas of concentration or specialization include:
Child and adolescent psychology
Marriage and family therapy