Graduate School Options

graduate students in a seminarPsychology majors can apply to a variety of graduate programs. There are PhD and master’s programs in both clinical and non-clinical aspects of psychology in graduate psychology departments. Doctorates and master’s degrees may be earned in school psychology and counseling in many colleges of education. There are also psychology-related degrees that can be earned in departments of human development and colleges of social work. Each offers something a little different for the graduating student in terms of job skills and job opportunities and each requires something a little different in terms of basic credentials to get into their program. There are many options and many choices that have to be made.

As you become more serious about graduate school in your junior year, it is time to decide what you want to get out of graduate school and to locate programs that will allow you to do that. Graduate programs are highly specialized and not all programs are good at all things. A good place to start researching a graduate program is to look at the APA Guide to Graduate Programs in Psychology. The book is indexed to allow you to look up programs in different ways, such as by state or program. There is a brief description of each program that includes such things as degrees offered, program specialty areas, credentials of recent graduate applicants, and basic applicant requirements. That’s enough information to decide if you may be interested in the program.

The next step is to obtain more information about each of these programs. This can be done by writing, calling, or emailing each school for a detailed catalog about the program you are interested in evaluating further. The catalogs are free — ask for plenty of them.

Remember that getting into a good graduate program is not easy, and you must be competitive on the basis of your credentials and interests. Information on how to be competitive is available here. If you want to talk to someone about graduate school, we recommend contacting your assigned faculty advisor and making an appointment with them.

Careers in Psychology

While psychology is typically thought of as a field that requires graduate school to be successful, there are jobs that are open to college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. If you focus on developing skills during your time here as an undergraduate, then there will be plenty of people who will be happy to give you a chance. The kinds of skills that a psychology program emphasizes include skills that enhance your ability to work with other people, skills that make it possible for you to deal effectively with data, and skills that increase your ability to communicate effectively through writing.

These skills are valuable assets for persons who find jobs in government agencies involved with, for example, human services, counseling, and corrections and jobs in the private sector associated with, for example, sales, marketing, and management.


The following resources may be useful as you explore career options: