Masters in Psychology: Prerequisites and Requirements

February 24, 2016 – 03:23 pm
Ph.D. classes are demanding

Master's degree programs in psychology are designed to prepare students for work in psychology or for work as assistants to psychologists who hold doctoral degrees. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), individuals with a master's degree in psychology are also prepared to continue their graduate studies in a doctoral program. Some doctoral programs in psychology require a master's degree for admittance to a doctoral program because of research experience gained in master's programs (

  • Program Levels in Psychology: Master's degree, doctoral degree
  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree (some schools require students to have a bachelor's degree in psychology), GRE, minimum GPA
  • Online Availability: Available, but not accredited by APA
  • Program Specialization: Clinical, Counseling, Cognitive, Developmental, Industrial-Organizational, Social, among others
  • Program Length: 2 years

Master's Degree in Psychology

Students in these programs take core psychology classes and select a set of electives in a psychology specialty, such as family psychology, industrial-organizational psychology or clinical psychology. Students also develop their research skills, and a thesis generally is required. Most master's degree in psychology programs take two years of full-time study to complete and require 33 credits of work.

Psychology courses are separated into basic psychology, personality, social psychology and biological psychology. Some courses may include the following:

  • Child psychology
  • Personality disorders
  • Neuropsychology and memory
  • Behavior therapy
  • Social psychology
  • Pathology

Employment Opportunities and Salary Info

There are a limited number of jobs for students with master's degrees in psychology. Graduates of master's degree programs can work as psychological assistants or counselors, but they must work under supervision of a licensed psychologist. Jobs can also be found in government, universities or private behavioral health companies. Mental health counselors earned a median annual salary of $40, 850 in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (

Continuing Education

Graduates of a master's degree program in psychology are ready to move on to a doctorate program. Ph.D. programs take 4-6 years, and graduates can work as licensed psychologists. Some master's degree programs in psychology are part of doctorate programs; students earn their master's degree part-way through the doctorate program.


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  • avatar What are the prerequisites for pursuing a degree in psychology?
    • As with any of healing sciences, psychology requires a real desire to help others before thinking of pursuing a degree in psychology. The clinical side of how the brain functions and its physical structure are but a small part of the science of psychology.