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What should I get my masters in?

Right now I am in a joint program for psychology and criminal justice and am having a hard time deciding what path I should get my masters in. I am interested in criminal behavior and want to become a criminal psychologist but i am unsure.

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Michael’s Answer

If I were you, and I had your age, I would get a master’s degree and perhaps a phd degree in both fields! A lot of the knowledge you will gain in both, overlap the skills you will need in either! Right now just learning what you can at home, in the community, around the world and in school will seal your knowledge base and prepare you to do more than one project! There is no time to place oneself in a box by choosing one over the other! Go for more than two if you can but at least two career choices will enable you to be as successful as you want to be! Be sure to check in with yourself about why you decided to enter into either field as well. Your world view is critical in how successful you can, will and desire to be. All the best and never stop short of accomplishing anything you set your mind to do.
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Jay’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

I agree with the sentiment of other responses: choosing one or the other would not necessarily close you off to the other. These fields go hand in hand. I would consider what it is you would like to do with criminal behaviors. Is your interest in assessing for competency, providing rehabilitation services, profiling, or other? I have colleagues who went straight into a doctoral program for forensic psychology. I also have colleagues who completed a doctoral program in clinical psychology and then completed internship and post doctoral training in forensics, and is now in that field. There's many ways to create your own path to a career you'd enjoy. Best of luck!
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Kim’s Answer

I used to work in job placement. One of my clients was a man who went straight from his Bachelors to his Masters, to become a math teacher. He came to see me in October, about two months after the beginning of his first year of teaching. He hated his job. He wanted out. But, he was also married and his wife was pregnant. A horrible dilemma.

Why am I telling you this? Because even people who are "certain" they are destined to do XYZ, aren't always so certain. I also had two clients in a similar situation trying to leave their careers as lawyers.

Slow Down. The world is not going to pass you by. If you take some time to work a couple years after getting your Bachelors, the experience you gain will benefit you when going for your Masters. Also, and this is worth noting, some employers offer tuition assistance. So, let's say you get your Bachelors, take a job working as a Probation Officer in a county, and work on your Masters. Sure, it'd be part time, but, it would go by fast. Then you can either move up within the county, or, move on. The tuition assistance is worth considering.

Future jobs could be with local agencies, or FBI, etc. There are lots of options!!
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Joseph’s Answer

One cannot set your path for you. Your path is set based on his plans. Your decision should be based on where you feel the strongest area of concentration. Meaning both programs are exciting and challenging and have dependencies. Criminal Psychology is the area which would combine both for what you're looking to study.
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is really helpful. kayla
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Kayla,

A Criminal Psychologist will deal with criminal behavior. Do you want to go straight and pursue your Master Degree after earning your Bachelor Degree? Or, do you want to gain real work experience after graduation? If the latter, there will be companies that will pay tuition for you to earn your Master Degree.

Here are the best US colleges with a Psychology Major:

Princeton University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Stanford University
Yale University
University of Chicago
Johns Hopkins University
University of Pennsylvania

https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/psychology-major-4201

Here is a list of the 25 Best Criminal Psychology Degree Programs:

https://www.bestvalueschools.org/criminal-psychology-degree-programs/

My recommendation is seek the advice from your academic professor. Also, your academic department as well as the Campus Service Center will have internship opportunities in order to gain exposure to both fields of interests. With an internship, you can learn, gain experience and receive mentorship with a company and its professional staff. This will allow you to focus in on which educational and career pathway to pursue.

Best wishes for your education and career path in Criminology and Psychology!
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. kayla
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