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When choosing a masters program for psychology, what aspect of the program should I focus on to help me decide if its a good fit?

I've been looking into a couple of graduate schools for my particular field and I've come across a lot of great ones, but need help narrowing down my search. #july20 #psychology


When choosing a masters program for psychology, which I am also doing myself now , I would advise looking into multiple aspects of the programs you find. First you can just google psychology programs within your area and try to specify what kind of psychology you wanted to do. For example, I want to do school psychology or developmental psychology because I want to work with kids. Then the most important aspects are definitely tuition, the requirements such as recommendations and personal statements, and what certifications you will achieve after you are done with your masters. I would also advise determining whether you want to pursue your PhD or PsyD after the masters program. I wish you luck! Diana J.

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Lisa’s Answer

Lashea - As you probably already know, there are a lot of careers you can pursue with an undergraduate degree in psychology. The first and most important question I would encourage you to ask yourself is whether or not the career you would like to pursue requires a graduate degree. For example, if you want to become a social worker, you need to have an MSW (Masters in Social Work), but if you want to become a recruiter or work in HR, most entry level positions are attainable with a bachelors degree.

Once you’ve done some research into whether or not your desired career path needs a graduate education, the next most important thing to consider is the actual degree you will be earning (ex. Masters or doctorate) and the credentials you will have upon completing the program. This is very important because certain degrees will prepare you for certain careers and you want to make sure that you are satisfied with the career options associated with your degree.

Other factors you should consider include:
- program curriculum, including the specific classes you have to take and your elective options
- program cost and funding options (ex. Scholarships, assistantships)
- program length
- program size and model (ex. Cohort model or not, online or in person)
- faculty and other instructors
- opportunities to get involved outside the classroom (ex. Student organizations, internships, research, etc.)
- program location and associated living options

One last thing to keep in mind is that in general, no one program is truly better than another. Different programs are good fits for different people, just like colleges. Despite pressure you may be receiving from different sources to make a certain decision, you should choose the option that works best for you.

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Camila’s Answer

Few things that don't tend to come up too often but are good to consider:
1. Check if the school is CACREP accredited. That will make your life a lot easier should you want to transfer the degree and/or get licensure in other States.
2. I'm a big fan of smaller classrooms and cohort systems. Having the opportunity to meet and bond with the people you go through this experience with makes a huge difference in learning. You'll be more likely to be vulnerable, take risks, network, learn from their experiences, get referrals and pointers, and just make great friends. Keep in mind that psych degrees are time consuming but they can be very emotionally challenging too (if you do it right).
3. The name of the school has very little weight in interviews. I have hired many people and have been in several interview panels, and I have never seen anybody care where people went to school. Price tag outweighs name tag.

Good luck!

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Sarah’s Answer

Hi Lashea, I would encourage you to check out this link on choosing a psychology graduate program from Association for Psychological Science.

https://www.psychologicalscience.org/members/apssc/undergraduate_update/summer-2011/choosing-a-graduate-program

Good luck to you!

Thanks,
Sarah

Thank you! Lashea H.

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Sarah’s Answer

Keep you in mind what you want to do after your education. Focus on how good the school is and the cost, as well as having chances that extend beyond the classroom. And don't forget this where you're going to live for the next few years. Are you going to be comfortable with the weather and the cost of rent, etc. Good luck!

When choosing a masters program for psychology, which I am also doing myself now , I would advise looking into multiple aspects of the programs you find. First you can just google psychology programs within your area and try to specify what kind of psychology you wanted to do. For example, I want to do school psychology or developmental psychology because I want to work with kids. Then the most important aspects are definitely tuition, the requirements such as recommendations and personal statements, and what certifications you will achieve after you are done with your masters. I would also advise determining whether you want to pursue your PhD or PsyD after the masters program. I wish you luck! Diana J.

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JENNIFER’s Answer

I have my Masters in Counseling Psychology and love it! It opens up several career options such as: Counselor for Individuals, Career Counseling, Guidance School Counselor and Group Counseling. I choose Career Counseling and work with military families at the Department of Homeland Security.

Thank you! Lashea H.

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