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Social Psychology Training and Degree Programs

In social psychology programs, students learn the dynamics of group interactions and psychology through research, lectures and other traditional coursework.

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Essential Information

Programs in the field of social psychology primarily focus on the relationships between individuals and groups. Graduate programs in the area are research-based and widely available. Degrees are usually conferred as a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Social Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Psychology. At the master's level, students receive a comprehensive overview of social psychology theory and are able to choose a concentration in a related discipline. Doctoral students collaborate with faculty to design their plan of study, learning theoretical applications and principals while completing a dissertation, a requirement for their doctoral graduation.

Applying to the master's program requires a bachelor's degree and field experience, while the doctorate requires a bachelor's or master's degree. It is possible to specialize in criminal behavior, health education, groups and societies, social development and self-regulation.


Master of Arts in Social Psychology

The master's program curriculum is comprised of classroom lectures and independent research sessions. Curriculum covers statistical research methods, group behavior, social cognition and stereotyping. Some core subjects include:

  • Social psychology
  • Group dynamics
  • Social cognition
  • Attitude formation
  • Counseling applications of social psychology
  • Methodology of social psychology

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Psychology

The doctoral degree involves seminar courses, independent research, teaching practicums and a dissertation over a five-year program. In addition to topics like groups and cooperation and political psychology, other common themes are:

  • Social neuroscience
  • Human stereotyping
  • Perception and attitude
  • Psychology of self-control
  • Social development
  • Cognitive processes in personality development

Popular Career Options

Doctoral graduates are eligible for licensure, and research and postsecondary teaching positions. Master's degree holders can become consultants or researchers. There's a wide-array of career roles in the field of social psychology including:

  • Social psychology consultant
  • Educational course designer
  • Clinical researcher
  • Marketing researcher
  • Systems designer

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for postsecondary teachers and psychologists is predicted to grow at a rate of 13% and 19% over 2014-2024, with mean annual wages of $79,370 and $93,050 as of May 2015, respectively.

Continuing Education

Licensing requirements for practicing psychologists vary by state, but a doctoral degree, clinical or counseling experience and the passing of a licensure exam is a standard mandate.

Social psychology degrees, available at the master's and doctorate level, educate students on the principles of group dynamics and psychology. Various specializations are available, and can lead to careers in research and consultancy.

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