Master’s in Psychology Degree – Everything you need to know

Overview of a Master’s Degree in Psychology

A Master’s degree in Psychology is the next step up from the Bachelor’s degree. A master’s opens up a whole new world of possibilities and career opportunities for you, and will delve more deeply into the field of psychology. See our guide to Master’s in psychology jobs.

A Master’s degree can be studied as a standalone program or is sometimes incorporated into a doctorate program.

It typically takes 2-3 years to complete a Master’s degree in Psychology and whilst programs are rigorous it will significantly boost your earning potential with the BLS reporting the median annual salary for individuals with a Master’s degree in psychology at $80,370.

MA or MSc?

You can either choose to study a Master of Arts degree in psychology (MA), or a Master of Science in psychology (MSc).

An MA program in psychology often places a greater emphasis on the social and humanistic aspects of psychology, such as the study of culture, society, and social behavior. Coursework may focus on topics such as counseling, therapy, and the application of psychology in social and organizational settings.

An MSc in psychology typically has a stronger emphasis on the scientific and empirical aspects of psychology, such as research methods, statistics, and data analysis. Coursework may focus on topics such as experimental design, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology.

Most master’s programs are designed to give you the chance to dive into specific areas of psychology, so you may find Master’s degree programs such as M.A. or M.S in Social Psychology, or Child Development, or Forensic Psychology. This can give you a chance to hone in on your particular area of interest, and decide upon a course of study that will give you all of the tools you need to be qualified and successful in specific areas of psychology.

Why study a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

  • Career advancement – it opens the door to many jobs in mental and behavioral health (including IO psychologist, forensic psychologist and sports psychologist) and whilst the earning potential is lower than those who hold a doctorate, the median annual salary is $80,000+.
  • Flexibility – a master’s degree is a significant undertaking but many students find they are able to fit their studies around employment meaning they are able to enjoy all the benefits a master’s degree can offer without leaving the world of work for the 2-4 years of studying.
  • Specialization – a master’s program will off you the chance to dive deep into the area of psychology which interests you most. This specialization is both intellectually stimulating but will also set you apart from other candidates when it comes to finding a job.
  • Requirement for a doctoral program – the reality is that many students opt to take a master’s degree simply because it is a requirement for the doctorate program they intend to apply for.

What are the entry requirements for a Master’s Degree

The entry requirements to study a psychology master’s degree will vary depending on the university or the program. However here are some general requirements:

  1. Bachelor’s degree: most programs require that applicants have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.
  2. Minimum GPA: a minimum GPA of 3.0
  3. Letters of recommendation: from academic or professional references.
  4. Personal statement: Some Master’s degree programs may require applicants to submit a personal statement or essay outlining their academic and career goals, as well as their qualifications and experience.

What can you specialize in?

There are a wealth of areas and subfields that you could choose to concentrate on for your master’s degree program, here are a few:

  1. Social Psychology: focuses on the study of human behavior in social contexts, such as group dynamics,
  2. Clinical Psychology: focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders
  3. Cultural Psychology: examines how cultural values, beliefs, and practices influence human behavior.
  4. Military psychology: application of psychological principles and methods to military settings.
  5. Forensic psychology: apply psychological principles to legal and criminal justice settings.
  6. Geropsychology: specialize in in the mental and physical health of older adults.
  7. Cyberpsychology: the study of the psychological aspects of technology e.g. online identity, social media, and gaming addiction.
  8. Social Neuroscience: the study of the neural mechanisms underlying social behavior and mental processes.
  9. Ecopsychology: the study of the relationship between humans and the natural environment.
  10. Transpersonal Psychology: A branch of psychology that explores the spiritual and transcendent aspects of human experience.

How much can you earn with a Master’s degree

The expected salary for individuals holding a master’s degree in psychology will vary significantly according to their specialization. Below are some of the highest-paying professions within psychology available to those with a master’s qualification.

  1. Sports Psychologist: average annual salary of $72,000. See this guide for more insights.
  2. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist: average annual salary of $112,000. See this guide for more insights
  3. Forensic Psychologist: average annual salary of $60,000. See this guide for more insights.
  4. School Counsellor: The BLS reports that the average annual earnings for this profession are $58,120.
  5. Engineer Psychologist: According to the American Psychological Association, master’s level professionals earn an average of just over $90,000.

What jobs can you do with a Master’s degree?

Here are some jobs (in and out of the psychology field) you can do with a master’s degree in psychology without any further education i.e. a doctorate. For more examples and more details on each see our guide to master’s in psychology jobs.

  1. Mental Health Counselor
  2. School Psychologist
  3. Industrial-Organizational (IO) Psychologist
  4. Forensic Psychologist
  5. Sports Psychologist
  6. Rehabilitation Counselor
  7. Human Resources Specialist
  8. Market Research Analyst
  9. Nonprofit Program Manager
  10. Health Education Specialist
  11. Marriage and Family Therapist

Find Psychology Master’s Degree Programs

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