General Psychology Degree and Certificate Program Information

Oct 08, 2019

General psychology programs are most commonly offered at the bachelor's degree, graduate certificate and master's degree levels. In each program, students learn about human development and behavior, as well as mental and behavioral disorders.

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Essential Information

Bachelor's and master's programs in general psychology frequently offer internship opportunities; research projects are a central component of each program. To enter the bachelor's program, students must have a high school diploma or GED and a background in math and science. Admission to a master's program usually entails prior completion of undergraduate psychology coursework such as introductory psychology, research methods and psychology statistics. Many master's programs can be tailored to a student's interests, though some focus on clinical practice and preparation for doctoral study.

Graduate certificates in general psychology are typically designed for working professionals with bachelor's degrees in a variety of fields, and they take two years or less to complete.


Bachelor's Degree in General Psychology

Students in most bachelor's degree programs in general psychology are exposed to general psychology principles, as well as theories behind behavior and behavior modification. Graduates can go on to further study in psychology or use their undergraduate education to pursue a career in counseling or social work. They also might opt to gain more training in business, law, human resources or health care.

In addition to general education classes, bachelor's degree programs in general psychology feature coursework that focuses on research methods. Programs typically include hands-on experiences, such as internships or volunteer opportunities. Course topics might include:

  • Statistics in psychology
  • The role of biology in psychology
  • Sensations and perception in psychology
  • Cognitive psychology and memory
  • Human developmental psychology

Graduate Certificate in General Psychology

A graduate certificate program in general psychology exposes students to general concepts in psychology and research methodology. These programs are typically geared toward professionals, such as human resources managers, who might need general psychology training to flourish in the careers.

General psychology certificate programs usually can be completed in one to two years. Programs typically include a research project. Some course topics might include:

  • Introductory psychology
  • Statistics for behavioral scientists
  • Experimental psychology laboratory
  • The psychology of personality and social traits

Master's Degree in General Psychology

A master's degree program in general psychology might appeal to someone looking to advance in a health care or social services career. It also can prepare individuals for further study in clinical psychology at the doctorate level. Some programs have a clinical focus, while others can be customized, allowing students to select a certain number of electives in a specialized area.

Many psychology master's degree programs include a thesis or similar research project. Course topics often include:

  • Research methods in psychology
  • Contemporary issues in psychoanalysis
  • Psychology in the media
  • Hypnosis as treatment
  • Character and personality disorders

Popular Career Options

Earning a bachelor's degree in psychology can set the foundation for further study or for entering the job market. Some possible careers include:

  • Statistician
  • Psychiatric assistant
  • Psychology technical writer
  • Sales representative
  • Laboratory assistant

Many professionals could benefit from general psychology training. Certificate programs might appeal to those who work as the following:

  • Police officer
  • Human resources professional
  • Chief executive officer
  • Human services specialist

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Earning a master's degree in general psychology can prepare an individual to work as an industrial-organizational psychologist. These professionals use principles of psychology to improve the workplace, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicted that the number of jobs for industrial-organizational psychologists would increase 13% during the 2018-2028 decade, which is as fast as the average for all occupations. As of May 2018, the median salary in this field was $97,260, as reported by the BLS.

Continuing Education

There are a variety of graduate certificate and degree programs available in the various branches of psychology for those seeking more specialized study. Concentrations might include school, sports or health psychology.

General psychology certificate programs can prepare someone who doesn't have a background in psychology to pursue further education at the graduate level. Psychology certificate coursework, combined with a bachelor's degree, might be considered for admission to a doctoral program in psychology.

Doctorate programs in general psychology are rare since most programs on that level are in clinical psychology or other specialized areas. A doctorate is the standard for becoming a clinical psychologist, although some states may grant licenses to those with a master's degree, according to the BLS.

Bachelor's degree, graduate certificate and master's degree programs are all available in general psychology and provide a solid foundation of general concepts in psychology and research methodology. Graduates work in a number of different environments and industries.

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