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How do I get a Master's Degree in Psychology?

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  • Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2018
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In order to get a master's degree in psychology, it is important to first make sure that all prerequisites have been filled. For those who completed a bachelor's degree in psychology, it is likely that all prerequisites will already be filled by undergraduate coursework. Graduate programs have varying requirements. For each graduate school to which an application will be sent, it is important to compare the prerequisites with one's previous training and skills. For those who still need to complete prerequisite coursework, it is possible to do so by taking courses at a community college or as part of a continuing education program at a private or state institution of higher learning.

Once all prerequisite work has been completed, applications can be sent to colleges and universities that offer a master's degree in psychology. Acceptance will depend on how competitive the programs are and the strength of the student's application. With a strong application and a bit of luck, the applicant will be accepted into the program to being working toward a master's degree in psychology.

Depending on the field of psychology in which the student intends to specialize, the coursework for the master's degree in psychology will vary. Common branches of psychology include child psychology, forensic psychology, and clinical psychology. There are other branches as well, such as organizational psychology and criminal psychology.

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In addition to completing coursework, students working toward a master's degree in psychology also often have to perform fieldwork and complete a thesis. Fieldwork may include working part-time for an organization that specializes in the student's intended branch of study. This fieldwork is often overseen by an academic adviser.

A thesis for a master's degree in psychology is a long paper based on the student's own research and findings. The paper should focus on the particular branch of psychology that the student plans to pursue in his profession. A student working on a master's degree in psychology focusing on child development, for example, might write a thesis on a particular aspect of child development during a particular age or range of developmental milestones.

It is common that the thesis for a master's degree in psychology will draw heavily on the experiences that the student had while doing his field work and the resulting findings. The thesis may be any where from 50 to 150 pages, depending on the program's requirements.

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