If you’re a psychology buff, you might wonder if you should pursue a Master’s or PhD to propel your future career forward – and today, we’re going to detail what you need to know about obtaining a Master’s degree in psychology! From application requirements to career prospects, we’ll cover it all and leave you feeling confident in your next steps toward a rewarding and exciting career!

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Should You Pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychology? What is a Master's Degree in Psychology? Should I Choose an MA or MSc in Psychology? Specializations in Psychology Top Master’s of Psychology Programs The Journey to Getting Your Master's Degree in Psychology Master’s Degree in Psychology Considerations Looking Ahead: The Future of Psychology FAQs

Should You Pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

So, you’re a current (or former) undergraduate student who is interested in human behavior, wants to help people for a living, and/or is eager to learn more about human, and maybe even animal, psyches.

…If this rings a bell, you’re in the right place! A Master's in Psychology is more than just a degree; it's a passport to understanding the intricacies of behaviour and mental processes. Whether or not you’re hoping to become a psychotherapist, or, you’re hoping to work toward a doctorate status, perhaps as a psychiatrist, it’s imperative to know what your program options are. Do you need a Master’s to get a PhD? Not necessarily, although, many in the field of psychology do start out with a Master’s degree. In any case, we'll explore every nook and cranny of pursuing a Master's in Psychology – from the types of degrees to career prospects.

What is a Master's Degree in Psychology?

A Master's in Psychology is your backstage pass to the mind's mysteries. With this degree, you’ll form a deep understanding of patterns of behavior, mental illnesses, criminal psychology, psychiatric disorders and childhood development (to name a few).

There are plenty of universities in Canada and colleges in the United States that offer psychology programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. No matter where you attend, your Master’s degree in psychology will be an advanced degree that delves deep into psychological theories, research methods, and practical applications. Whether you're leaning towards a Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS or MSc), each path offers a unique blend of coursework and research opportunities.

The MA typically focuses on qualitative and theoretical aspects of psychology, while the MS/MSc are more research-oriented and quantitative.

Should I Choose an MA or MSc in Psychology?

Wondering what the real difference is between the two degrees? Confused as to which one would suit you best? Don’t worry, we’ve got you:

The choice between a Master of Arts (MA) and a Master of Science (MSc) in Psychology often hinges on the student's academic interests, career goals, and the nature of the programs offered by different universities. Let's delve into how these degrees differ and what that means for career outcomes and student preferences:

Differences in Focus and Curriculum

Career Outcomes

Student Preferences

Ultimately, the choice between an MA and MSc in Psychology should align with your career aspirations and academic interests. If you're more inclined towards human interaction and practical application, an MA might be more suitable. Conversely, if you're fascinated by research and scientific inquiry, an MSc could be the better path. Each degree opens different doors, and the right choice depends on where you want your career to take you.

Specializations in Psychology

Just as there are diverse paths, there are diverse minds – that extends to everyone, including you! There are no shortage of uniquely challenging and rewarding specializations that psychology majors explore during their Master’s degree journey.

  • Clinical Psychology: This specialization is for those who want to dive headfirst into the deep, sometimes murky waters of mental health and emotional disorders. It's about diagnosing, treating, and understanding the full spectrum of psychological conditions. You'll learn various therapeutic techniques and how to tailor them to individual needs. It’s challenging but immensely rewarding – you'll be the light at the end of someone’s tunnel.
  • Counseling Psychology: If you’re passionate about helping people navigate life's ups and downs, counseling psychology is your calling. It focuses on enhancing personal and interpersonal functioning across the lifespan. You’ll deal with everything from career stress to marital issues, using a more holistic approach to therapy.
  • Educational Psychology: This is where psychology meets education. You’ll explore how people learn, what motivates them, and how educational settings can be optimized to enhance learning. It’s perfect for those who want to make a lasting impact in the educational system.
  • Forensic Psychology: Blend psychology with the legal system, and you get forensic psychology. It’s the stuff of crime shows – understanding criminal behavior, working with law enforcement, and providing expert testimony in court cases. It’s as thrilling as it sounds!
  • Organizational Psychology: This is all about applying psychological principles in the workplace. Improve employee well-being, enhance productivity, and navigate the complex dynamics of organizational structures. It’s psychology for the corporate world.

Top Master’s of Psychology Programs



The Journey to Getting Your Master's Degree in Psychology

Whether you’re aiming to get your Master’s degree in Canada, in the United States, or, you’re pursuing another online graduate program, there will be significant preparation involved!

Building Your Foundation

Getting into a Master's program in Psychology is like preparing for a marathon. You need a solid foundation, usually an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field. But it's not just about the degree; it’s about what you do with it.

Engage in relevant work or research experiences during your undergrad years. Volunteer at mental health clinics, assist in research projects, or intern at organizations that align with your interests.

Additionally, you’ll need a pretty strong academic record to be accepted! Although it varies by program, an average GPA of 3.0-3.7 is typically what students require to be considered for admission. This can of course be offset by a degree from a reputable institution and/or relevant experience and accomplishments that support your application.

Preparation and Application

Your application is more than a formality; it's your narrative. A compelling graduate school statement of purpose that reflects your passion and understanding of psychology is crucial. Your statement of intent should showcase your suitability for the program, and any graduate school letters of recommendation required should do the same! Some universities might require GRE scores, so be prepared to showcase your academic chops. On your CV, you may wish to include any undergraduate research experience or extracurriculars that may enhance your application. If you still have time – say, 1-2 years before you enter your Master’s – consider utilizing that time to discover what you can do to stand out. Think of your entire application as a test to prove you're ready for the big leagues.

In the months leading up to your application (ideally, you’d start planning your application many months before the deadline) it’s wise to review each prospective program’s requirements, review Statement of Purpose examples, consider reaching out to a program facilitator or even exploring Reddit to help you gain a better understanding of what life looks like in that program, and be sure you’re well prepared to apply. (Full disclosure: Much like residency Reddit, Master’s and psychology Reddit can present ample biases – always digest this information cautiously).

If you need additional help, contacting a grad school admissions consultant can certainly help with preparing your grad school CV, research interest statement and career goals statement if required. Having someone in your corner who helps others like you every single day can prove beneficial if navigating the application process feels daunting!

If you do need to take the GRE, you must utilize a GRE study guide, understand what a good GRE test score looks like (and set your own goals) and plan your studying – a minimum of 3 months of studying – based on the GRE test dates. Although score ranges required for acceptance can vary between programs and sections of the GRE, here’s an idea of what might be considered a competitive score for each section:

Finding Your Perfect Match

Choosing the right program is like finding the right partner, or the right career – it needs to be a good fit if you want things to go positively!

When it comes to psychology, accreditation is non-negotiable; it ensures the program meets certain standards. Faculty expertise can make or break your academic experience; look for professors whose interests align with yours. And finally, consider the program’s focus – does it lean more towards clinical skills, research, or a mix of both? Your choice here will pave the way for your future career.

The Nitty-Gritty Of Academic and Real World Experience

Embarking on a Master's in Psychology means immersing yourself in a rich curriculum. You'll explore various facets of psychology – from abnormal psychology, which delves into the unusual patterns of behavior, to developmental psychology, understanding how and why people change over time. Research methodology will become your new best friend, teaching you how to ask the right questions and find credible answers. And then there’s the thesis – your opportunity to contribute original research to the field of psychology. It’s your academic magnum opus, a culmination of your learning and hard work.

But classroom knowledge is just one side of the coin; the real world is where the magic happens. Internships provide a critical bridge between theoretical understanding and practical application. They’re your chance to test the waters, apply what you’ve learned, and really see what it means to work in the field of psychology. Whether it’s a clinical setting, a research lab, or an educational institution, internships allow you to gain invaluable hands-on experience. They also help build your professional network and often lead to job opportunities post-graduation. Remember, the best psychologists aren’t just book-smart; they’re also street-smart (or, industry smart). Internships are where you develop those skills.

Your Future Post-Master’s Degree in Psychology

A Master's in Psychology opens doors to various career paths. Clinical therapists, educational consultants, organizational psychologists – these are just a few of the roles you might find yourself in with a Master’s!

For those looking to reach the pinnacle of academic and professional psychology, a PhD or PsyD is the next step. These programs delve even deeper and often lead to specialized roles in research, academia, or clinical practice. Keep in mind that licensing and certification are crucial in many psychology careers, especially clinical and counseling roles. This degree is not just about landing a job; it’s about starting a fulfilling career that makes a real difference in people’s lives.

Master’s Degree in Psychology Considerations

Pursuing a Master’s in Psychology is an investment, both in time and money. Tuition and fees can be hefty, but don’t let that discourage you. Many universities offer graduate scholarships, grants, and research assistant positions to help mitigate costs. Look into these options early and apply for as many as you can. Remember, investing in your education is investing in your future.

Balancing Work and Study

For many who work during their Master’s, balancing part-time work with full-time study is a reality. It’s like playing a complex game of Tetris, fitting everything into your daily schedule. Time management is key, no matter what you’re doing on your spare time. Create a realistic schedule and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, whether it’s academic support or just a listening ear. And remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself to avoid burnout!

Student Life and Support

Ideally, each student would thrive (and not solely ‘survive’ during their rigorous academic endeavours). Most campuses have their own unique culture, and this extends to online programs too! Although online realms are different to navigate and can be trickier than in-person learning for some, it’s still possible to connect with your peers and obtain support. Many programs offer chat groups or facilitate online-learning projects where you’ll have the opportunity to network. If you’re on campus for your studies, we recommend that you engage with campus life as much as you can – join clubs, attend seminars, and connect with your peers. It’s these connections that often make the grad school experience memorable. And don’t forget about mental health and academic support services. They are especially crucial in a field that revolves around mental health. Utilize these resources to ensure you’re not only excelling academically but also taking care of your well-being.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Psychology

The field of psychology is constantly evolving. Emerging trends like digital mental health interventions and the increased prioritization of mental well-being in workplaces and schools are shaping the future of the field. Technology, too, is playing a bigger role in both education and practice, from virtual reality therapy to online counseling.

As a psychology student, you’re not just learning about these trends; you’re part of them. You’re at the forefront of a field that’s more relevant than ever in our fast-paced, increasingly digital world.

A Master's in Psychology is more than just a degree. It’s a journey of personal growth, professional development, and making a meaningful impact on the world. The path isn’t always easy, but it’s worth every step. You’re not just studying psychology; you’re shaping the future of it. We can’t wait to see the incredible things you’ll do. Go forth and be great!


1. What is a Master's in Psychology?

A Master's in Psychology is an advanced degree focusing on understanding human behavior, mental illnesses, criminal psychology, and more. It provides deep insights into psychological theories and their practical applications.

2. Do I need a Master’s degree to pursue a PhD in Psychology?

Not necessarily, but many students start with a Master’s degree. It can provide a strong foundation in research and theoretical knowledge, which is beneficial for PhD studies.

3. What's the difference between an MA and an MSc in Psychology?

An MA in Psychology typically focuses on qualitative and theoretical aspects, including counseling and social psychology. In contrast, an MSc is more research-intensive, emphasizing statistics, research methodology, and experimental psychology.

4. What career paths can I pursue with an MA in Psychology?

Graduates with an MA often work in counseling, therapy, social work, or educational settings. They may also obtain licensure as counselors or therapists in some regions.

5. What are the career prospects with an MSc in Psychology?

MSc graduates often gravitate towards research, academia, or specialized areas like neuropsychology. This degree is also a stepping stone for those aspiring to pursue a PhD.

6. What are some specializations in Psychology I can pursue during my Master’s?

You can specialize in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, educational psychology, forensic psychology, or organizational psychology, each offering unique challenges and rewards.

7. What kind of preparation and experience do I need to apply for a Master’s in Psychology?

A solid foundation, usually an undergraduate degree in psychology or related field, is essential. Relevant work or research experience, a compelling Statement of Purpose, and possibly GRE scores are also important and may help your chances of admission!

8. How important are internships during my Master’s in Psychology?

Internships are critical for bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. They provide real-world experience and are essential for building a professional network. Along with internships, you may immerse yourself into studies, volunteering, and field research, but this depends on your specific program.

9. What should I consider when choosing a Master’s program in Psychology?

Key factors include program accreditation, faculty expertise, and the program’s focus. It’s important to choose a program that aligns with your career goals and interests.

10. How can I balance work and study during my Master’s in Psychology?

Effective time management is crucial. Creating a realistic schedule and sticking to it, while seeking academic and personal support when needed, can help maintain a balance between work and study.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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