Master of Science (MS): Psychology Degree Overview

The two-year Master of Science (MS) in Psychology degree program provides students with the psychological knowledge needed to become psychologists, researchers, counselors or therapists. Students can pursue psychology Ph.Ds. 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 and offer specializations in clinical, social, behavioral, experimental or cognitive psychology. Graduates should verify if the specific psychology career they are interested in requires a license.

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 $53,520 in May 2015. During the same year, industrial-organizational psychologists earned an average yearly salary of $92,320 (www.bls.gov). The BLS anticipates that psychologists in general will see an employment growth rate of 19% from 2014 to 2024, 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.

A Master's degree in psychology is often required to pursue further doctoral- and post-doctoral studies in psychology. Students in these programs will be able to specialize their research in specific psychological fields, so prospective students should look into possible career paths to hone in on their specific interests.

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