Graduate Education in Psychology
Psychology, as the name suggests, is the study of the human mind (Animal mind too!). Although this discipline is a cardinal social science, its applications vary from business, neurology to even sports and music. Globally, universities provide undergraduate programs in psychology that help students initiate their careers in the same. But, an undergraduate degree is hardly ever considered to be capable of assessing a psychologist’s repertoire. But a heavy emphasis is laid on his/her potential during the graduate tenure. Unlike other fields, this enables students from different backgrounds (Economics, Science, Arts) to establish themselves as psychologists with a graduate degree program.
Graduate psychology programs all over the world are roughly divided into the following four academic tracks: Clinical, Developmental, Social and Cognitive.
Clinical psychology involves the assessment of the functioning of the brain to prevent psychology related disorders. Developmental psychology is the study of how the human mind changes/modifies/develops itself over its entire lifespan. Cognitive psychology is the study of the ability of the human mind to think. Social psychology helps us understand how people behave socially.
Graduate education in any such sub-discipline of psychology is heavily researched biased in the top tier universities all over the world. These only enrol students who are intent on pursuing a doctorate or a PhD, which generally spans over four to six years. As a research-intensive program, a ‘terminal Master’s degree is rarely offered by universities. That being said, students can opt for Master’s level programs in community colleges or private institutions.
The eligibility criteria set by universities for admitting students for graduate programs are academic performance, recommendations, English proficiency (GRE/IELTS/TOEFL) and research. Research is very crucial and is underestimated by potential applicants. Students with an undergraduate in psychology have maximal scope to bolster their potential in the form of academic and research projects as compared to those having the non-psychology background. This, by no means, should imply that the latter are impaired in this avenue. They can always engage themselves in internships and extra-curricular projects that emphasize on psychology. This coupled with recommendations from experts in the fields and sincere intent expressed in the Statement of Purpose would enable their parity with students from a psychology background.
After completing the program, graduates normally pursue a career as a researcher in an academic setting. Positions as a professor or a post-doctoral fellow in universities are very common and most sought after. Opportunities for graduate psychologists exist in government organizations (FBI, military etc.), in the form of counsellors who attend to the psychological disorders of employees and also study criminal or terrorist profiles. Psychologists are also required in the department of justice as a correction counsellor for providing therapy to inmates. Prospects also lie in management and marketing consultancy firms where graduate psychologists are required to be engaged in behavioural and market research. As a graduate in psychology, you can also look for opportunities as a research scientist in think tanks and research institutes. Further, they can also find employment as educational counsellors and work towards better learning and development.
An important aspect of establishing one’s credibility as a psychologist is a prerequisite to enter practice in a non-academic workplace. The licensure requirements and objects vary from country to country and even state to state in countries like the US. For example, California psychology board requires a degree from a US/Canada Institute. If it is a foreign university, they require the transcripts to be NACES verified. They also require 3000 hours of supervised professional experience of which at least 1500 should be post-doctoral. They also require you to take up and pass a couple of tests. Singapore, on the other hand, does not have a regulated psychology practice. Anyone who has majored in psychology can call themselves a psychologist there. Globally, universities provide undergraduate programs in psychology that help students initiate their careers in the same. But, an undergraduate degree is hardly ever considered to be capable of assessing a psychologist’s repertoire
For more information, contact our counsellors at Collegepond, who will offer you guidance about the best-suited program for you, help you get the recommendations as well as the academic statement, and also prepare you for getting your visa, provide post-departure services for licensure and so on.