Accelerated psychology graduate programs are typically offered as joint undergraduate and graduate degrees, and it is necessary for students to enroll while still in their undergraduate studies. Students who are interested in this type of program can learn more about the program structure, coursework, and admissions requirements.
Information About Accelerated Psychology Graduate Programs
Often, accelerated psychology programs are referred to as 4+1 programs because they allow students to complete a bachelor's degree in four years and a master's degree in one year, rather than the typical timeline of two years for M.A. in Psychology programs. Students typically take some graduate-level courses while still pursuing their bachelor's degrees and then finish the graduate coursework during the M.A. program. In addition to saving time, students are also able to save money on graduate tuition. Below are five courses that are commonly found in the curricula of these accelerated programs, some of which must be completed during a student's undergraduate career.
A course in cognitive neuroscience provides students with an introduction to some contemporary issues in neuroscience as well as an understanding of commonly studied brain structures and functions. Some topics that may be discussed in this course include how the brain controls memory, language, and perception as well as various emotional processes. In addition, students learn how the brain is able to process information in order to distinguish clues about our own and others' mental states.
Students are also required to take one or multiple courses that cover some aspect of research methodology in psychology. This course may provide students with a broad overview of how to conduct proper scientific research in the psychology field by covering topics like experimental design, statistical analysis, and data collection. Some courses are more focused on a specific research method, like a certain statistical language and its applications or particular quantitative methods.
Social psychology courses may be more introductory in nature, providing students with a fundamental understanding of different theories of social psychology and current research in the field, or they may cover more advanced topics in social psychology. In either case, topics that will likely be discussed include attitude, stress, managing relationships, and various other concepts that have to do with how people relate to themselves and one another.
Graduate programs in psychology often require that students take courses focused on specific age groups. In an adolescent psychology course, students learn about some of the major biological and psychological events that affect an adolescent's development, with a strong focus placed on puberty. In addition, the course will also likely provide students with a theoretical component in which to frame this knowledge.
Because working psychologists and other social science professionals often provide assessments, a course in how to properly conduct these assessments is often required. Some of these courses are more introductory in nature in order to give students a broad understanding of the standards of practice in psychological assessment, while other courses provide more detailed information regarding the various components of a psychological assessment. Topics of study may include how to collect data, observe symptoms, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. Additionally, students learn about different theories of assessment as well as what sorts of tools and instruments can be used in this practice.
Admission Standards for Accelerated Psychology Graduate Programs.
Typically, these programs are designed for undergraduates who would like to earn an M.A. in Psychology from the same university they are currently attending. Students are typically required to apply for the M.A. program in the last year of their undergraduate studies. Programs set different standards for how many hours of graduate credit an undergraduate student is allowed to enroll in as well as how many of these courses can be applied towards both the undergraduate and graduate degree. There is often a special application pathway for students who are interested in these programs, though applicants must still supply their current transcripts, an application form, and, in some cases, GRE scores. These programs often set a minimum GPA requirement and may offer admission pending the successful completion of the bachelor's degree.
In summary, accelerated programs in psychology allow students to complete M.A. degrees in psychology in half the time while still providing them with an in-depth study of psychology at an advanced level and access to the same opportunities that would have been available had they attended a traditional program.