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

Psychology students interested in obtaining both a bachelor's and master's degree in only five years of study may enroll in a combined degree program. These programs may appeal to students who would like to enter the job field after graduation or pursue a doctoral program.

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. Applicants will need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some programs require that the students have completed at least half of the required hours for a bachelor's degree, while other programs designate certain courses that must have been completed.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, minimum GPA, letters of recommendation from school faculty members
  • Program Specializations: Cognitive psychology, counseling psychology, social psychology, health psychology
  • Program Length: 5 years
  • Other Requirements: Teaching practicums or clinical work, internships, thesis

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

In the undergraduate portion of the 5 year bachelor's/master's program, students get foundational knowledge in topics such as psychological assessment, statistics and research methods. At the master's level, the students may choose an area in which to specialize, such as counseling psychology, social psychology, health psychology or cognitive psychology. They may be allowed to earn a degree in a related field. Most master's programs include hands-on experience in teaching or clinical work, and a thesis may be required. Graduates can pursue mental health or school counseling certification with a master's degree. They will need to earn a doctoral degree in order to be licensed as a psychologist.

Coursework for the bachelor's degree program usually focuses on research methods and statistics. Introductory course topics in the graduate area of specialization may also be included. Master's degree coursework is more specialized. Courses could include biopsychology, psychopathology and the following:

  • 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 such fields as 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), program graduates who would like to work as mental health or school counselors will need to be licensed (www.bls.gov). In many states, this requires a master's degree and two years of work experience. Candidates will also need to 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.

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