A Master Degree in Psychology is a two to three year degree course, beyond the under graduation or bachelor degree in Psychology. It is a path to a further and deep knowledge in the field of Psychology that opens up more career opportunities, especially the ones associated with core Psychology. In most cases, Master’s degree in Psychology is a must, if you want to go for a doctoral program, as maximum universities require an M.A. or M.S. degree in Psychology.

master degree

Types of Master Degree in Psychology

There are two streams of the Master Degree in Psychology, such as –

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MS)

In most cases, the courses are more or less same. The only differences lie in the career goals, university admission requirements and educational goals.

In case of MA in Psychology, the course is mostly based around the study of humanities like sociology, anthropology, education, human behavior and other liberal arts. In MS program, the study focuses more on applied science, research, scientific theories and scientific methods.

Apart from the General Psychology, there are some specific fields of Psychology that offer specialization even for the Master’s degree. The most common specialization types are –

  • Masters in Clinical Psychology
  • Masters in Social Psychology
  • Industrial-Organizational Psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Quantitative Psychology
  • SportPsychology
  • MediaPsychology
  • Health Psychology
  • MilitaryPsychology
  • Developmental and School Psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Legal Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Evolutionary Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Comparative Psychology

These specializations focus more on the specific concepts rather than in General Psychology.

Requirements/Prerequisites for Master Degree in Psychology

To enroll in a Master’s degree in Psychology, most of the universities require a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in Psychology. As per the American Psychological Association (APA), in order to enroll into an MA or MS program in Psychology in a graduate school, the graduate schools do not require any BA or BS degree in Psychology. The student only needs to have a basic knowledge of introductory Psychology, experimental psychology, statistics and the research methods. The graduate school will teach the student, the rest.

The student needs to have –

  • A bachelor degree
  • GPA
  • GRE for foreign students

Most MA and MS degree courses in Psychology require 33 credits of work to complete the study program. The compulsory courses include –

  • Basic Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Personality
  • Biological Psychology.

There can be some other courses that largely depend on the special course or specialization that you have chosen, if any. During the course, you will require to complete a thesis on your Master’s degree and conduct a psychological research, solely dependent on the field of Psychology study that you have chosen.

Career Opportunities with a Master Degree in Psychology

An MA or MS degree in Psychology opens up a wide arena of career opportunities, as compared to those limited to BA and BS in Psychology. Though, in most cases, you need a PhD or PsyD degree in Psychology to become a licensed Psychologist, there are many areas that are open to those, who have completed their Master’s degree program in this subject. However, they need to complete a licensing or certification to start working as a Psychologist.

The career scopes are –

  • social worker
  • school counselor
  • parole or probation officer
  • juvenile justice coordinator
  • rehabilitation or abuse counselor
  • counseling psychologist
  • family counselor
  • music therapists
  • recreational therapists
  • massage therapists
  • occupational therapists
  • audiologist
  • speech and language pathologist

These are just to name a few.

The career opportunity is largely focused on whether you have chosen MA or MS degree in your program and the specializations and the coursework or research that you focused on.

DEGREE LEVELPERCENTAGE DISTRIBUTION
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Psychologists.
Associate's Degree0.8
Bachelor's Degree5.6
Master's Degree44.3
Doctoral Degree49.3

Continuing Education

The MA or MS in Psychology is considered as an intermediate between the Bachelor’s degree and the doctoral studies. Students, who pursue the Master’s program, either want to secure a better career opportunity or pursue further education on research. In order to become a licensed Psychologist, the students must pursue a doctoral study, which usually is a 4 year study program, with a year of internship, in some of the specializations of PhD or PsyD program. In most states of the United States of America, it is only after completing the internship for one to two years under a professional supervisor. Also it requires passing the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology to become a licensed Psychologist.