Master of Science (MS): Psychology Degree Overview

The two-year Master of Science (MS) in Psychology degree program centers on providing the student with general knowledge about psychology in order to prepare them to become psychologists, researchers, counselors or therapists. These programs can ready graduates for doctoral programs in psychology or master's-level careers in research and counseling.

Essential Information

The Master of Science degree in psychology opens the door to many career paths and provides the student with a strong foundation in psychology grounded in research. Most programs will require the completion of a thesis. Graduates should verify if the specific psychology career they are interested in requires a license.

  • Program Levels in Psychology: Master's degree
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree
  • Program Specializations Available: Clinical, social, behavioral, experimental or cognitive psychology
  • Other Requirements: Thesis

Psychology Master's of Science Degree

To enroll in a psychology Master of Science degree, an individual must hold a bachelor's degree and will be required to provide a statement summarizing their experience and goals in psychology. Throughout their Master of Science in psychology education, students may explore theories on patient assessment, intervention techniques, human behavior and research methods. Some of the common courses available in this degree program may include the following:

  • Industrial and organizational psychology
  • Personality evaluation
  • Statistical analysis
  • Social psychology
  • Professional and research ethics
  • Research internship

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Students who obtain an MS degree in psychology can pursue careers as therapists and other roles. Individuals may find employment as marriage and family therapists or industrial-organizational psychologists. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that marriage and family therapists, who require licensure, made an average annual income of $51,730 in May 2014. During the same year, industrial-organizational psychologists earned an average yearly salary of $90,070 ( The BLS anticipates that psychologists in general will see an employment growth rate of 12% from 2012 to 2022, which is about average.

Continuing Education

If individuals are interested in the independent practice of psychotherapy they'll need to earn a Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Psychology, according to the BLS. Each state has its own licensure requirements that psychologists will need to meet.

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