Graduate Certificate in General Psychology: An Overview

A student seeking education in psychology beyond a bachelor's degree can pursue a graduate certificate in general psychology, which prepares students for further studies in psychology or for a career requiring a psychology background.

Essential Information

Many colleges offer a 1- to 2-year graduate certificate program in general psychology. They are often taken by instructors who want to teach the subject in public schools or community colleges. Other students are professionals who feel the program can help advance their careers. The development of research skills is emphasized, including the study of statistics, and students may work on laboratory research projects. A bachelor's degree with coursework in psychology is required for entry to this program.

Graduate Certificate in General Psychology

The coursework for such a program often focuses on advancing basic knowledge of the core areas of psychology. Students might be exposed to areas of psychology such as child and adolescent development, personality, and abnormal psychology. Also, usually included are courses in psychological assessment, learning theory, and biological links to behavior. In addition to statistics and psychological assessment, other course topics might include:

  • Advanced personality theory
  • Theories of cognitive psychology
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Advanced learning theory
  • Perception and cognition
  • Aging and later adulthood

Popular Career Options

A graduate certificate in general psychology can provide an opportunity for career enhancement for an individual with undergraduate experience in psychology. A student might consider a number of careers once the program is completed, including:

  • Community mental health professional
  • Corrections center staff
  • Social work professional

Continuing Education Information

Beyond the certificate level, opportunities for graduate study in areas related to psychology can include education, public health and social work. Also, a student might pursue a master's degree or doctoral degree program in psychology.

A certificate program in general psychology could be useful for individuals interested in continuing education or for those who would like to change careers into fields such as social work or community mental health.

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