What Masters Degree Can I Get With a Bachelors in Psychology? [2021 Guide]

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What masters degree can I get with a bachelors in psychology? With a bachelor’s in psychology, there are a number of master’s degree programs that may be available to you.

Masters Degree With Bachelors in Psychology

While graduate programs in psychology may be one option, there are several non-psychology graduate degree choices as well. Your options may range from law and criminal justice to counseling and beyond.

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Several factors, including your personal and professional goals, can influence which graduate degree program is the right one for you. 

What Masters Degree Can I Get with a Bachelors in Psychology?

Bachelors degree programs in psychology

Bachelors degree programs in the field of psychology can help provide you with foundational knowledge of different areas of psychology. Common topics of study are memory, human development, behavior, social psychology, and gender psychology.

Through your undergraduate studies, you may also gain insight into areas such as experimental psychology, foundations of clinical counseling, psychophysiology, and principles of learning.

After earning your bachelor’s degree, you may decide to pursue a master’s program in order to continue your learning and develop expertise in a particular area of the field. There are a number of different educational areas that may be available to you with your completed bachelor’s degree in psychology.

First and foremost, it’s important to mention that with a bachelor’s degree in psychology you may be well-suited for enrollment into a psychology master’s program.

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These programs focus on various areas of psychology. Common areas of study in psychology include clinical counseling, forensic psychology, organizational psychology, or developmental psychology, among other specialties.

In some cases, depending on your specific career goals, a master’s in psychology may not be the right option. Psychology majors often pursue grad programs in counseling, criminal justice, education, health sciences, social work, and law.  

Pursuing an alternative graduate degree option can give you the opportunity to study a variety of topics. These might include child and adolescent counseling, law enforcement, crime prevention, behavior management, or elementary curriculum methodology.

Other options might be ethics in healthcare, evidence-based practices in healthcare, social change and innovation, and policy advocacy.

Common Alternative Graduate Programs for Psychology Majors

Alternative Graduate Programs for Psychology

There are several graduate degree options that may be available to you with a completed bachelor’s degree in psychology. These options may include master’s degrees in counseling, criminal justice, education, health sciences, or social work.

1. Master’s in Counseling

Earning a master’s degree in counseling can help prepare you for positions in the field of individual and group counseling. This work may be performed in schools, offices, hospitals, or treatment facilities in order to help young people and adults alike.

Though it’s possible to become a therapist without a psychology degree, a master’s in counseling can help you pursue a variety of counseling careers. Some potential options are helping those who have experienced childhood trauma, providing support for mental health and addiction issues, or working in the criminal justice system.

People with a master’s in counseling often pursue careers as mental health counselors, correctional treatment counselors, or marriage and family therapists.

2. Master’s in Criminal Justice

Earning a master’s in criminal justice

Earning a master’s in criminal justice can help you obtain a job working alongside law enforcement professionals. You might provide treatment and support to juvenile and adult offenders or work in policy development and advocacy.

Common topics of study for this degree are crime prevention, crime analysis, police effectiveness, and juvenile justice. Graduates with a masters in criminal justice often pursue careers as police officers, FBI agents, and policy analysts. Correctional treatment specialists, fraud investigation specialists, and victim advocates are other options.

Forensic psychology is offered as a concentration in some master’s in criminal justice programs.

3. Master’s in Education

Earning a master’s degree in education

Earning a master’s degree in education can help you break into administration roles at various educational institutions. It can also help you secure more advanced opportunities in areas such as curriculum development, instructional design, and teaching.

A master’s degree in education can help you qualify for a role as a principal, curriculum developer, instructional designer, academic coordinator, or community college instructor. Other roles that you may qualify for include corporate trainer, training specialist, or educational consultant.

In some cases, you may have the opportunity to specialize in areas such as early childhood education, educational technology, special education, or educational leadership.

4. Master’s in Health Sciences

Earning a master’s in health sciences

Earning a master’s in health sciences can help prepare you for roles in healthcare administration, telehealth, education, leadership, health law, or sports medicine.

Depending on your specialty, completing your degree in this area may require you to develop a level of expertise in management, finance, biomechanics, or health policy. Risk management, health informatics, information management, and health education may be other areas of studies needed.

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With a degree in health sciences, you can pursue a job as a nursing home administrator, health informatics specialist, clinic manager, or chief operations officer within a healthcare center.

5. Master’s in Social Work

mental health case managers

With your master’s in social work you may work alongside treatment professionals, law enforcement officials, patients, policymakers, and more. A master’s degree in social work can help you secure a job in education, healthcare, mental health, child and family services, and other areas of human services.

Graduates with a master’s in social work often pursue careers as social workers, child welfare workers, family therapists, policy analysts, victim advocates, and mental health case managers. 

Common topics of study in this degree program include policy and advocacy, family and group dynamics, human behavior, and research methods in the field of social work.

Why Get a Master’s Degree after a Bachelors in Psychology?

Master’s Degree after a Bachelors in Psychology

There are a number of different reasons you may want to get a master’s degree after completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. These will likely vary depending on your personal and professional goals.

Some reasons may include:

  • Increasing your earning potential
  • Advancing into higher-level positions, such as leadership and management roles
  • Breaking into a field that has more competition
  • Changing your career direction from psychology to a different area, such as law or criminal justice.
  • Developing a level of expertise in a particular area of study.

A master’s degree program can help you achieve a number of these goals and complement your psychology education. It can also help you develop a unique blend of understanding and knowledge to apply to your future professional roles.

How Can I Decide Which Master’s Degree Is Right for Me?

master’s degree program in psychology

Whether a specific master’s degree program is the right fit and choice for you can vary greatly depending on your specific needs, interests, and goals.

The following are some factors to consider when deciding which master’s degree program is right for you:

  • Your professional goals: The type of work you’re interested in performing for your career will likely influence the degree topic you choose to pursue.
  • Enrollment options: Whether you can enroll in a program on a full-time or part-time basis may help you decide which program to choose. Part-time enrollment options can help you manage other commitments and responsibilities, such as work or family life.
  • Attendance options: In some cases, online classes may be preferred due to the flexibility and convenience that they can offer. In other cases, on-campus options may better suit your learning style.
  • Total costs: Some schools and programs cost more than others, so your financial situation and ability to obtain financial aid may be an important factor to consider.

Other key considerations when selecting a master’s degree program may include the accreditation status of various programs, the course curriculum, and any internship or thesis requirements.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Psychologist?

become a psychologist

In order to become a psychologist, you are generally required to have at least a master’s degree in psychology.

A master’s degree in psychology can help you qualify for some positions, such as school psychologists or organizational psychologists. Other roles in psychology, such as clinical counseling positions, require a PhD in psychology or PsyD.

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In order to become a licensed psychologist, you’ll be required to meet a specific set of standards laid out by your state licensing boards. 

These requirements vary from one state to the next. Common requirements are the completion of a graduate degree program in psychology, working a specific number of supervised hours, and passing a professional examination.

What Are the Different Masters Degrees in Psychology?

Different Masters Degrees in Psychology

Earning a graduate degree in psychology can be done in a number of different educational areas or specialties.

The area of concentration that’s right for you may vary greatly depending on your professional goals, including the type of work you’d like to do and the individuals you’d like to support.

The different master’s programs that may be available to you with a bachelor’s degree in psychology include the psychology degrees listed below:

  • Clinical psychology
  • Counseling psychology
  • Organizational psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Forensic psychology

In addition to psychology-specific degrees, there are a variety of other masters degrees for psychology majors outside of the field of psychology that may meet your needs.

This may include earning a master’s degree in areas such as criminal justice, social work, health sciences, education, counseling, or public health. In some cases, students enroll in law school with psychology degree backgrounds.

Is Getting a Masters in Psychology Hard?

earning a master’s degree in psychology

Whether earning a master’s degree in psychology is challenging for you depends on your specific interests and skills. Common topics of study for this degree are social and consumer psychology, cognitive psychology, research methods, data analysis, clinical psychology, and statistical modeling.

Others are change analysis, neural networks, behavior analysis, childhood development, principles of learning, theories of personality, marketing psychology, and violence psychology. If these topics do not interest you, then obtaining this degree may be more difficult.  

In addition to completing various courses, some programs may also require you to complete a thesis or work placement in order to graduate.

How Long Does a Masters Take?

traditional master’s degree programs in psychology

On average, traditional master’s degree programs take approximately 2 years to complete. This includes programs where courses are taken two semesters per year, with the summers taken off.

Programs that require 36 credit hours and do not include a thesis or internship requirement usually take 1 year to complete with year-round enrollment. Some factors may increase the amount of time required to complete a master’s degree, including enrolling on a part-time basis and needing to complete a thesis or work placement.

Getting Your Master’s Degree Online

Master’s Degree in Psychology Online

Earning your master’s degree online can help you advance your career or break into demanding fields. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you may benefit from enrollment in different master’s or graduate-level programs depending on your personal and professional goals.

Some master’s degree programs that may complement your undergraduate education are programs in health sciences, social work, education, criminal justice, or counseling. Completing master’s-level online psychology degree programs in one of the many concentrations available may also be a good fit.

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Brenda Pyzik
Brenda Pyzik
Brenda has a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Waterloo, with a minor in legal studies. She obtained a graduate certificate in human resource management from Georgian College. Brenda focuses on employment, business, and training and development.