Psychology is one of the social sciences, in which aspects of humankind and our societies are studied under close scrutiny. The field of psychology itself is concerned with the cognitive and emotional processes and behaviors of the mind, which encompasses a huge area of disciplines in consciousness, morality, pleasure and reward systems, learning, memory and many others.
As a field of study, psychology is not very old, and was not considered a formal discipline until the latter decades of the 20th century. However, since the early days of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, the field has grown significantly to encompass even more areas of the mind. While much within the study of psychology is applied to mental health and therapy, there are many areas that are directed towards understanding and solving various problems within human activities.
Why is a Master’s in Psychology Essential?
Thanks to these broad definitions of the various fields of study within psychology, it can be hard for a student to choose what area they are interested in and passionate enough about to follow through with a career in. Psychological fields can range from focusing more on the biological to focusing more on the sociological. Most fields, however, require that the student have the highest level of education possible. Ensuring that you have, at the very least, a master’s in psychology, means that your job offerings and opportunities will be much higher than those without a master’s degree. In fact, in some cases, if you want to get involved in clinical research or academia, a higher level degree is absolutely essential.
Therefore, it is important to recognize that you will probably need to get a master’s in psychology before you graduate with your bachelor’s, and to begin taking steps to prepare yourself for the next level. This means not only getting the best grades that you can, especially in all of the psychology related classes, but going beyond the classroom.
You should see if you can get involved in any psychology-related activities going on around campus. Many college campuses, especially those with a large psychology program, may have clubs and organizations devoted to psychology. Also, an excellent way to prepare for grad school is to find a professor who is conducting psychological research, and to volunteer to help out in his or her laboratory and/or experiments. Most professors are more than happy to accommodate a curious and motivated student and introduce them to the process of conducting research.
How to Get into Graduate School
Graduate schools vary depending on what factors they take into account when considering a student applying to their master’s programs in psychology. However, most take these into consideration: course selection (take challenging courses as well as basic ones), GPA (although if yours is low or mediocre, showing improvement in the upper grades is beneficial), practical experience and recommendations.
These last two are very important, as they can come from a professional in the field of psychology and can be very influential, even in over-weighing other aspects like test scores or GPA.
A master’s in psychology will really help to advance the career of anyone interested in the broad field of psychology. Preparing for a graduate degree while still in undergraduate school will give you a leading edge over other potential competitive students. Taking school seriously means that you will be better prepared in competing in the real world, after school is over and done with.
Additional Reading: Careers in Psychology