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How do I Choose the Best Postgraduate Psychology Program?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

If you want to choose the best postgraduate psychology program, it is crucial that you determine your long-term career goals, identify the geographic locations in which you can realistically complete your studies, and consider the financial and practical implications of enrolling in a specific program. Psychology is a diverse field, and in some cases you may be required to obtain professional licensure in order to practice your chosen career. Not all programs adequately prepare students for this licensure, so it is crucial that you understand the nature of the branch of psychology you wish to practice. It is also important that you enroll in a school that holds the appropriate and respected accreditation so that your degree is recognized within your professional and academic community.

People study psychology for a variety of reasons, and although many people associate the study of psychology with the practice of psychotherapy and counseling, many individuals do not care to practice either discipline and seek to develop careers in research, industry, or academia. If counseling and psychotherapy are of interest to you, you have additional considerations when choosing a postgraduate psychology program. In many places, the practice of counseling or therapy is restricted to individuals who hold a professional license that has been issued by a governmental agency. Not all schools that offer postgraduate psychology programs are approved for offering education that can lead to licensure. If you are planning to become licensed, be sure to evaluate only schools that are approved by pertinent government bodies to offer psychology education to potential licensees.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

If your ambitions are in the areas of research, academia, or industrial psychology, your considerations may be different from those who plan on clinical careers. When choosing a postgraduate psychology program, you may want to focus on the quality of education you can receive in the area of psychology that interests you. You should also look at the credentials and interests of various faculty members so that you will be able to find a professional and academic mentor while you are in school.

You should consider selecting a program that is easy for you to attend. If you are willing to relocate, make a list of places to which you are willing to move. If you are unwilling to relocate, then you'll have to settle for the schools in your area. Be sure to ask schools about their financial aid programs, as affordability can be a major issue for many graduate students. You should also learn about their class schedules and whether it is going to be easy for you to continue working a job, if you have one, while completing your education. By doing this, you are more likely to complete your degree quickly and without interruption.

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