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Five-Year Bachelor's/Master's Programs in Psychology: An Overview

If you want to fast-track your education in psychology, you may consider a five-year combined bachelor's/master's degree program. Find out what these programs entail and what graduates can do when they finish.

Essential Information

Many schools offer programs in psychology that allow students to complete work for both a bachelor's and master's degree in just five years of full-time study. Specialization options include cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, social psychology, and health psychology. Most master's programs include hands-on experience through a teaching practicum, internship, or clinical work. Prior to graduation, students may be required to submit a final thesis.

Applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some programs require that applicants have already completed at least half of the required hours for a bachelor's degree, while other programs designate certain courses that must have been completed. Students must also submit letters of recommendation from school faculty members, and they may need to meet a minimum GPA requirement.


Five-Year Bachelor's Master's Degree in Psychology

In the undergraduate portion of the five-year bachelor's/master's program, students build foundational knowledge in topics such as psychological assessment, statistics, and research methods. At the master's level, students focus their studies on a particular specialization area, and they may be allowed to earn a degree in a related field. The following are some possible master's level course topics:

  • Biopsychology
  • Psychopathology
  • Art therapy methodology
  • Cognition and perception
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Social psychology
  • Substance abuse psychology

Popular Career Options

Graduates of combined degree programs may pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, including business, education, criminal justice, and health care. Possible job titles include:

  • Marketing researcher
  • School counselor
  • Data analyst
  • Lab technician
  • Mental health counselor

Licensure and Continuing Education Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all mental health and school counselors must be licensed (www.bls.gov). In many states, this requires a master's degree and two years of work experience. Candidates must also pass a state-issued exam.

Graduates of combined programs may also pursue doctoral degrees in psychology. This is the minimum educational requirement for aspiring clinical, counseling or research psychologists, according to the BLS.

To summarize, a five-year program enables students to earn a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology more quickly than if they pursued the degrees separately. Through classroom study in basic psychology concepts, focused studies in an area of concentration, and practical training in the field, these programs prepare students for counseling positions or related careers as well as higher levels of education.

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