In this section we'll cover many different elements of the psychology degree, focusing primarily on Graduate Psychology Degrees. We'll discuss the different types of psychology degrees, what you can do with a graduate degree in psychology, careers in psychology, and more. And don't forget to use our fantastic Graduate School Search Engine to find the graduate school that fits your needs!
There are three main career paths in Psychology: 1) Mental Health; 2) Industrial (Business) and Organizational (Non Profit) work; and 3) Academic Research and Teaching.
Graduate psychology degrees are offered at both the Masters level and the Doctoral level, but do you know what kind of degree you need for a career in each of these fields? We'll cover that in this section. You should also read the interviews we've done with graduate students - their experiences are incredibly valuable. You can read the first one by clicking here (more coming soon).
A Masters Degree derives its name from the idea that a holder demonstrates a mastery of a body of knowledge, both in a theoretical and applied sense, as well as a high level of critical thinking, empirical analysis, and problem solving.
Masters of Arts Degrees are conferred in fields of study within the humanities disciplines - the study of the human condition from a more analytical and applied point of view.
In contrast, A Masters of Science Degree is typically conferred in the empirical sciences, and in some cases the social science where the human condition is studied from a more empirical point of view.
In Psychology the differences between and an M.A. and an M.S often varies depending on the school conferring the degree, but as a general rule an MA curriculum will focus more on theoretical and applied topics while an M.S. focuses more on rigorous empirical research. An MSW is offered by some schools with a specialization in clinical psychology.
Mental health is by far the most popular career path for those with Psychology Degrees. It is also the field that offers the widest opportunity for career entry with the widest variety of degrees. With any of these degrees you can get into a variety of mental health professions, and even be licensed as a private practice therapist in some states. However, careers in business or teaching and research are few and far between for Masters Level job seekers.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is the granddaddy of all graduate level degrees - the highest and most prestigious degree the world over. PhDs in Psychology are offered in a variety of specialized fields of study, like clinical psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, and experimental psychology. Psychology PhD programs focus on both the theoretical and the applied and the empirical research approach varies by field of study. However, in all cases you will be required to present a dissertation involving some type of original research. With a PhD in Psychology, all career paths are open to you.
The Doctor of Education (Ed.D) focuses heavily on counseling psychology, although there are programs available in developmental psychology as well. Typically, Ed.D programs have focus on rigorous research. In addition, most are offered through a school's Education Department. Ed.D can get you into most mental health and business and teaching careers.
The Doctorate of Psychology Degree (Psy.D.) is a relatively new offering, geared for those whose interests are limited to the practice of psychology and have minimal emphasis on quantitative research focusing instead on theoretical and applied topics. The degree was born as an alternative to the traditional PhD and is very attractive to those career interests are limited to applied practice of the profession. A Psy.D degree will get you into almost all mental health fields and there is at least one new Psy.D program specializing in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.