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How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology?

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

phd psychology after masters

Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity,, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.

phd psychology after masters

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  • How Long Will It Take?

Before You Earn PhD in Psychology

Which type of degree should you get, can you finish your degree early.

Just how long does it take to get a PhD in psychology? The answer can vary depending on your program, educational background, and academic schedule. In general, most PhD psychology programs take anywhere from five to seven years to complete.

Learning more about what it takes to get a doctorate in psychology can help you better plan your educational and career journey.

At a Glance

Getting a PhD in psychology can take several years of graduate study. If you are thinking about becoming a psychologist, research your degree options to figure out what type of degree you need and how long it will take to enter your chosen profession. No matter what you decide, plan to spend anywhere from three to seven years in graduate school to earn a doctorate.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Doctorate Degree?

How long it takes to get a doctorate in psychology depends on various factors, including the type of degree you have selected, your educational background, and the individual doctorate program in which you have enrolled.

Most doctorate programs in psychology take between four to seven years to complete.

PhD in Psychology

Most PhD programs require at least five to seven years to complete. These programs often follow a scientist-practitioner model that trains professionals both in research and clinical practice.

In addition to regular coursework, you may also be expected to complete an internship or supervised residency. The program usually culminates in completing an original research project or dissertation.

PsyD Degree

Most PsyD programs require between four to six years to complete. A PsyD is a degree designed to train professionals to apply psychological knowledge to treating and helping people in real-world settings.

According to the American Psychological Association, PsyD programs focus more on applying psychological science, usually in the form of service.  

Most EdD programs require between three to five years to complete. EdD programs are often focused on psychology, counseling, or counselor education. They explore topics that involve both education and psychology.

It is important to note that many applicants to EdD programs already hold a master's degree in a related field. This differs from applicants to PhD and PsyD programs, who often begin their program of study with a bachelor's degree.

Before you begin your academic journey, it is a good idea to look at just how long it will take you to complete your degree. The amount of time it will take can depend upon various factors, including:

  • Your chosen specialty area
  • The program you select
  • The course load you can take each semester

A doctorate-level degree in psychology is required to work in many job areas, including as a licensed clinical psychologist or counseling psychologist. According to the American Psychological Association, a doctorate degree is also often required in fields such as school psychology or health psychology .

So how long does it take to get a PhD in Psychology ? First, it is essential to realize that the degree requirements can vary depending on the field that you decide to pursue. A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy degree is not necessarily your only option. In some cases, you might want also to consider the PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) or the EdD (Doctor of Education) degree options.

The PhD, PsyD, and EdD are all great options, but don't let how long it takes to complete be the primary deciding factor. Before you decide to get a doctorate degree, start by deciding which type of degree is most suited to your professional goals.

If you want to conduct research:

A PhD in Psychology tends to focus on a research-based model of education. People with a PhD in Psychology are qualified for a wide range of teaching, research, and clinical positions in colleges, universities, hospitals, government offices, and private mental health practices.

If you want to treat mental health issues:

The PsyD degree option generally focuses on a practitioner-based model of education. Individuals with a PsyD degree can also teach or conduct psychology research, but they frequently work in applied settings to provide direct mental health services.

If you want to apply psychology to help students:

Finally, there is also a third doctorate option that you might also want to consider depending on your career goals. If you are interested in working as a school psychologist or in a related educational field, the EdD, or Doctor of Education, is a possible option.

Despite the years of work, earning your PhD, PsyD, or EdD can be well worth the effort. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that workers with a doctoral or education specialist degree in clinical, counseling, and school psychology will find the strongest job opportunities.

Generally, if you have a strong background in psychology and have completed all of the necessary prerequisites, you can finish your doctorate sooner than students who have not taken the prerequisite courses.

Carefully planning your degree can also help ensure you complete the program requirements quickly.

Be sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do with your psychology degree once you've completed it. Do you want to teach, or is research more appealing to you? Are you interested in seeing clients, or are you planning to combine your training in psychology with another field, such as law or medicine?

If you need help deciding, make an important with an academic advisor at your school. They can help you explore your options and answer any questions you may have.

What This Means For You

No matter the degree you decide to pursue, earning a doctorate in psychology requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort. Because of this, it is essential to carefully consider your goals before deciding on a graduate program. You should also think about whether you need a doctorate or if a master's might be more appropriate.

Gee DG, DeYoung KA, McLaughlin KA, et al. Training the next generation of clinical psychological scientists: A data-driven call to action .  Annu Rev Clin Psychol . 2022;18:43-70. doi:10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-081219-092500

Loyola University. Can I get my Psy.D. without a Master's in Psychology?

American Psychological Association. Doctoral degrees in psychology: How are they different, or not so different ?

Franklin University. Is getting a Doctorate in Education worth it?

American Psychological Association. Frequently asked questions about graduate school .

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Psychologists . Occupational Outlook Handbook .

Carr, A. Clinical Psychology: An Introduction . London: Routledge; 2012.

Kuther, TL. The Psychology Major's Handbook . Boston, MA: Cengage Learning; 2016.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

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The clinical program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System.

Your program will typically be fully funded for five years thanks to stipend grant support and guaranteed teaching fellowships. Tuition support is also available for a six-year program. Funding is also available for research, travel, and conferences. You will have access to the latest technology at FAS Research Computing and the Neuroimaging Facility at the Center for Brain Science.

Examples of student dissertations and theses include “Childhood Anxiety Disorders: Developmental Risk Factors and Predictors of Treatment Response,” “Clarifying the Pathway to Suicide: An Examination of Subtypes of Suicidal Behavior and Their Association with Impulsiveness,” and “A Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Groups.”

Graduates have secured positions in academia at prestigious institutions such as Princeton University, Dartmouth College, and Columbia University. Others have embarked on careers with companies such as Facebook, BetterUp, and Apple.

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of Psychology and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies .

Areas of Study

Cognition, Brain, and Behavior | Experimental Psychopathology and Clinical | Developmental | Social Psychology

Admissions Requirements

Please review admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of Psychology .

Academic Background

While an undergraduate concentration in psychology is not required, some social science coursework is recommended. Because the program is heavily quantitatively oriented, college-level math and statistics are also advised. Research experience is extremely helpful; successful applicants have often worked for professors, done research projects as part of college courses, written an undergraduate thesis, or volunteered in a psychology research lab.

Please Note: Before making the decision to apply, the program in Psychology suggests checking individual faculty/lab websites or emailing faculty directly to inquire whether they plan to consider applicants for Fall 2024 admission. It’s important to note that while individual faculty members may have every intention of bringing in a new student this year, we cannot guarantee that they will all be able to do so. The total number of offers of admission to be extended by the graduate program is based on applicant preparedness and fit, availability of university advising and support resources, and target class size. Some of these factors are not able to be determined until after the applicant pool has been finalized.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Optional

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for Psychology

See list of Psychology faculty


Questions about the program.

Jonathan Golding, Ph.D. and Anne Lippert, PhD

Masters vs. Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Know the facts when deciding between a master's or doctorate in clinical psych..

Posted June 13, 2016 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan

In choosing a career related to clinical psychology, there are a lot of decisions that must be made. In a previous post we discussed the Ph.D.-PsyD decision. Today, we want to explore another tough decision: Master's (e.g., MA/MS in Psychology, Marriage , and Family (Counseling) Therapy , Mental Health Counseling or MSW) versus Doctorate (Ph.D. or PsyD).

Let’s start with some basic characteristics of each type of degree. First, a Master of Psychology can be in clinical (best suited for those with an interest in psychopathological populations and behavioral health), counseling (best for those interested in vocational and career processes, human diversity, and professional training) or educational (provide counseling services to students, including those with a learning disability or those with behavioral or social problems).

Second, a Master's of Social Work (MSW) degree can be in a clinical direct practice track, or a macro-practice track (i.e., focus on political advocacy, community organizing, policy analysis and/or human services management ).

Third, a PsyD is a Doctor of Psychology degree that is best suited for those with an interest in psychopathological populations and behavioral health, and places greater emphasis on the practice of psychology and less emphasis on research. Finally, a Ph.D. (a Doctor of Philosophy degree) can be obtained in the same domains as a Master’s degree, and puts greater emphasis on research than a PsyD.


The time frame for completing each of these graduate degrees is MSW: 2 years, MA: 2 years, PsyD: 4-6 years, and Ph.D.: 5-7 years. During these years of study, it is important to note that (in general) only Ph.D. students will receive support (tuition paid and a stipend) during their years in graduate school.

Of course, there are funding exceptions, especially in cases where a university only has a Master’s program. In addition, scholarships are sometimes available to MSW, MA and PsyD students, but this is generally rare. Support during graduate school might be very important for you, because you can rack up literally tens of thousands of dollars each year in financial assistance, and the amount of money you will earn with your graduate degree may not be as high as you imagined.

Master’s and PsyD programs, in general, are unable to provide the same type of support as a Ph.D. program. Part of this is tied to the fact that typically only Ph.D. students serve as Teaching Assistants or Research Assistants. Also, because Ph.D. programs have far fewer graduate students than PsyD programs, schools are able to afford to support their Ph.D. students.

As far as deciding to go Master or Doctorate degree, there are several issues to keep in mind. First, the general state of affairs for graduate school acceptance is that there is a hierarchy, with Master's programs being easier to get into than PsyD programs and Ph.D programs being the hardest to get into. For the sake of this post, ease of being accepted is defined in terms of grades and GRE scores, although other factors (e.g., clinical and research experience) do come into play. Of course, there are exceptions to this hierarchy, and you may decide to seek a degree at a for-profit school where grades and GRE score are not deemed as important as a non-profit public or private institution.

Our point is simply that your decision about going for a Master’s or Doctorate degree in a graduate program may be a function of what type of program your grades can get you into. We are not saying this is fair, but we hope you understand that schools need some way to pare down the number of students they will accept, with grades and (especially) GRE scores are seen as two important criteria to make these decisions.

We want to add one more point about all of this. It may be the case that your undergraduate academic record is not strong enough to get into a Doctoral program, but you can get accepted into a Master’s program and you do very well in this program. This can work to your advantage if you still want a Doctorate. The thinking here is that if you do well in the Master’s program, you show a Doctoral program that your undergraduate academic record was not indicative of your true potential. However, your stellar record in your Master’s program can show you have what it takes to continue your education in a Doctoral program.

phd psychology after masters

The second issue to think about is the length of time you will be in graduate school. As stated above, the time in graduate school is shorter for a Master’s student than a Ph.D. student. Of course, this means a typical Master’s student can be earning a real salary a few years before a Ph.D. student. Although this is true, one must keep in mind (1) a Master’s degree leads (on average) to a lower salary than a PhD, and (2) a Master’s student will typically have some debt incurred during their two years in school. Let me add that to find out tuition costs for any APA-accredited graduate program, go to their website and look for the link that says “Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data.” I think you will be very surprised to see the tuition costs at graduate programs—they’re pretty high. As stated earlier, a Ph.D. student will typically not have any tuition debt hanging over their head. Thus the extra salary for a Master’s student in the time they are out of graduate school working compared to the stipend of a Ph.D. student will probably be offset by the debt the Master’s student must repay.

Third, whether you go for a Master’s or Doctoral degree, you need to consider issues of accreditation of your graduate program and (for Doctoral degrees) your clinical internship. The reason for this is that graduating from an accredited program will offer a greater range of job opportunities. In fact, some employers will only hire those from accredited graduate programs (e.g., the Veterans Administration). If a school does not indicate that it is accredited (e.g., from the American Psychological Association) it should be viewed with caution. With all of this in mind, you should know that to be licensed (certified to practice by a state) in your chosen field it is often the case that you need an accredited graduate degree or internship. Also, note that licensure requires supervised professional experience, an examination at both the state and national levels. Specific courses may be required if a state deems it necessary.

Fourth, as discussed earlier, you must be clear about the issue of job opportunities and salary. In general, it is the case that Master’s degrees lead to fewer job opportunities and lower salaries than Doctoral degrees. One could argue that this is a function of the amount of training--employers are looking for potential employees who have more experience and supervised training. Some might argue that in this regard, a Doctoral student has a stronger foundation of training than a Master's student.

Fifth, you need to decide how much research training versus clinical practice training you want. If you are hoping for the former, then a Ph.D. is definitely for you. A Master’s in Psychology degree may include some research experience. An MSW and a PsyD will likely offer the least research training. One must keep in mind, however, that regardless of the clinical degree you pursue, there will always be some discussion of research, since the basis of diagnoses, testing, therapeutic techniques, etc. is based on research. The key point here is that certain clinical degrees do not require you to be actually conducting research.

Finally, give some thought to how much independence you want to have when you graduate. This all revolves around the issue of licensure that was raised earlier, and it gets very complicated because every state has its own laws regarding licensure for psychology-related degrees. Make sure you understand the laws for the state where you will practice. Of course, you might not know where you will end up, but you must be aware that the state where you end up living may have very different laws than what you expected or from where you originally were working. An important point to keep in mind about licensure is that once you are licensed, if you decide to go into private practice, your fee schedule is typically market-driven.

With all of this in mind, licensure issues require you to consider the following (also check out this info from the APA ):

You need to see what are the licenses your state approves. For a PsyD and PhD, this is not a problem, because all states will have a license for a Psychologist. The issue gets tricky when you have a Master's degree, because states tend to have different types of licensure for these individuals.

  • If your state does not have a license that meets your background, what requirements are needed to get a license in a different area? For example, your Master’s degree may not allow you to be licensed as a Psychologist, but after meeting additional requirements you might get licensed as a Licensed Clinical Counselor.
  • You need to be clear which licenses require you to be supervised (by a colleague with a certain license) and which allow for autonomous functioning (i.e., functioning on your own). Keep in mind that an employer typically likes an employee to be autonomous—they do not like paying for two hours of supervision (your time and that of your supervisor).
  • When you apply for a license that will eventually allow autonomous functioning, what are the requirements to ultimately receive this license (e.g., supervision hours, direct service hours) that you must fulfill?

In presenting these important factors to think about with regard to a Master's vs. Doctoral degree], we, of course, understand that each individual has unique circumstances that must be taken into account. Still, we hope that presenting these factors gives you some food for thought as you consider your ultimate career path in clinical psychology.

Please note that the comments of Dr. Golding, Dr. Lippert and the others who post on this blog express their own opinion and not that of the University of Kentucky.

Want more? Check out our website for more psychology-related career information.

Jonathan Golding, Ph.D. and Anne Lippert, PhD

Jonathan Golding, Ph.D. , is a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky. Anne Lippert, Ph.D. , is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Kentucky.

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Psychology - Clinical: Combined MS/PhD

Application deadline.

  • Fall: Dec 1

Contact Information

  • Bachelor's Degree: Psychology degree preferred, but not required
  • Prerequisite undergraduate courses: To qualify for admission, individuals must either (1) have completed a minimum of 15 credits of study in psychology, including general/introductory psychology, abnormal psychology/psychopathology, statistics, and research methods or (2) have completed the GRE Psychology Subject Test and reported their scores to BYU prior to the application deadline.
  • Application: Personal Information, Statement of Intent, Transcripts, 3 Letters of Recommendation, Resume/Vita, Automated Video Interview
  • Please indicate in the application a faculty mentor whose research program is most closely aligned with your career goals. You will have the ability to specify up to three potential faculty mentors in the application.
  • Virtual interviews with finalists will be held in January
  • Finalists will be invited to an optional second look campus visit following virtual interviews. Admission decisions will not be contingent upon attending second look visit. 
  • A background check will be required after the start of the program before a student is permitted to see clients.
  • Credit hours (33 hour minimum; B grade or better in each class)
  • Research data and analysis requirement:  9 hours of statistics and research methodology (Psych  501 ,  502 , and  504 )
  • Clinical theory requirement:  3 hours of ethics and professional issues (Psych  609 ); 3 hours of psychopathology (Psych  611 ); 6 hours of assessment (Psych  622  and  623 ); and 6 hours of psychotherapy (Psych  651  and Psych  652 ).
  • Master's thesis:  Students will complete a master's thesis that includes no fewer than 6 thesis credit hours (Psych  699R ).  Students have three years to complete the MS degree requirements, including the thesis, and are not allowed to enroll in doctoral level courses during their fourth year if these requirements have not been met.
  • Completion of the Psychology MS degree  (including all coursework and the MS thesis) is a requirement to attain the Clinical Psychology PhD.
  • The program requires the development of broad competencies described in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program Handbook and the Practicum Handbook. Thus, the program is not merely a series of courses and experiences. In addition to the requirements listed below, the student must demonstrate competence in clinical work, research, academics, and professionalism to advance through the various phases of the degree program, including the year-long predoctoral internship and clearance for graduation. 
  • Credit hours (100 minimum including MS coursework; B grade or better in each class).
  • Research requirements: 18 hours of dissertation (Psych  799R ).
  • General core courses: 3 hours of biological bases of behavior (Psych  585 ); 6 hours of social-cultural bases of behavior (Psych  550 ,  645 ); 3 hours of cognitive-affective bases of behavior (Psych  575 ); 3 hours of human development (Psych  520 ); 3 hours of history and systems (Psych  510 ).
  • Clinical core courses: 3 additional hours of psychotherapy (one of the following:  653 ,  654 ,  656 ).
  • Clinical practica: 20 hours of clinic practica (Psych  741R ); 2 hours of externships/clerkships (Psych  688R ); 3 hours of case conference (Psych  740R ); 3 hours of pre-doctoral internship (Psych  745 )
  • Dissertation (including a manuscript in a form suitable for submission for publication appended to the dissertation).
  • Internship: One-year pre-doctoral internship in a setting approved by the clinical director. 
  • Examinations: (a) comprehensive examinations in first, second, and third years; (b) oral defense of master's thesis; (c) oral defense of dissertation prospectus; and (d) oral defense of dissertation.

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phd psychology after masters

What are the Differences Between a Masters and PhD in Psychology?

Choosing a path in psychology can be a bit like picking a route for a big journey. Should you stop at a master’s or go all the way to a PhD? While both are advanced degrees, they serve different purposes.

A master’s in psychology usually takes less time and provides a general overview, helping you get into various career paths within the field. A PhD, however, is a longer journey, focusing on specialized research and allowing you to become an expert in a specific area.

So, whether you are dreaming of counseling, teaching, or groundbreaking research, understanding the distinctions between these degrees is crucial. Let’s explore both options to find which suits you best!

psychology phd vs masters

Masters Vs. PhD in Psychology

A master’s in psychology typically takes 2-3 years and provides foundational knowledge and skills for various psychology-related careers. On the other hand, a PhD in psychology, taking 4-7 years, emphasizes research and advanced expertise, preparing graduates for academic, research, or specialized clinical positions.

To work in the field psychology, you need to have a minimum of master’s degree in psychology , and if you want to become a licensed psychologist , then a PhD will help you do that.

Master’s and Ph.D. degrees come under the heading of graduate studies. As mentioned above, a master’s degree in psychology typically takes between 2 to 3 years to complete in addition to an undergraduate in the same subject.

There are different types of psychology master’s degrees with the two most common being a Master’s of Art (M.A.) and a Master’s of Science (M.S.) . Without a master’s degree in psychology you cannot get licensed and hence you cannot begin practicing freely.

If your focus in psychology is more towards the applied side, you will need to complete an internship as well. Depending on the program, students may also need to prepare a thesis report towards the final months of a master’s program.

When it comes to a psychology doctorate degree , there are essentially 2 options – a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or a Psy. D (Doctor of Psychology) . A PhD in psychology is more research oriented, whereas a Psy. D is more focused towards the practical and clinical sides. However, we are limiting our discussion to a PhD in psychology.

Typically a PhD can take between 4 and 7 years depending on how you approach it and on your work schedule. A few years of course work and a final dissertation are almost always required in a PhD program. Some PhD programs even require students to complete an internship which formally marks the end of their doctorate program.

The Road to Get There

To get into a master’s level program in psychology, it is preferred that candidates possess an undergraduate background in psychology. At the undergraduate level, students are presented with the opportunity to choose their majors which is then carried forward in the master’s program.

The undergraduate degree is necessary for creating a strong background and laying the right foundation for students. Some masters programs prefer that candidates have gone through some practical training which usually takes the form of an internship.

A master’s degree in psychology can also serve as an inroad to a PhD in psychology. Many top university PhD programs require students to have a master’s degree in psychology under their belt as a pre-requisite.

However not all PhD programs have that requirement. Some programs offer students a terminal master’s degree in the process of a PhD. This is basically a specialized master’s program that prepares students in their area of expertise and professional practice.

It is often required by PhD level psychology programs for students to have some kind of prior practical experience. This could be an internship or an assistant level position to a senior psychologist. With added practical experience, the concepts taught at the doctorate level are easier to understand and make more sense.

After Graduation

Psychology is a vast and quick expanding field of science which means that demand for qualified psychologists is high. With a masters level psychology you may land some entry level jobs such as a research assistant, assistant to a supervisor, teacher’s assistant and so on. You may work with other psychologists and learn from them on the job.

Opportunities may also exist in mental health institutes, schools and the like. You may also sit-in some sessions with a senior as they treat other patients. Initially there will be a lot of interaction with seniors in a controlled environment.

With a PhD in psychology under your belt you may be exposed to a more challenging and dynamic work environment. You may be part of an experiment where patients are kept under closely monitored situations. Pharmaceutical companies may contract your services to work on drug trials for instance.

Depending on your chosen niche, you may spend time with patients at correctional facilities, detention centers and even prisons.

Which One is Right For You?

There is no right answer for this question. Both degree options have their own merits, requirements and results. What matters is your drive and motivation as well as your career aspiration. For starters, you need to have an interest in the subject of psychology, otherwise there may not be any point in doing a masters, let alone a PhD.

A masters can only take you so far career-wise, sooner or later you will need to rely on a PhD to take your career to the next level – therefore you need to consider your vision. The best way to answer this question is from a timeline point of view – you must prioritize your goals at the given time.

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Graduate Guide To PhD in Psychology

Sponsored school(s).

Students who are looking to enroll for their doctorate in psychology will be in for an exciting and challenging period of their educational and professional lives. Because of the dedication, determination and hard work that is going to go into obtaining this sort of qualification, it is imperative that individuals feel they are prepared for the challenges ahead. What is more, they will need to ensure that they have chosen the right course to aid them in achieving the career goals that they have set out for themselves.

PhD and PsyD Qualifications

These days, most psychologists have a PhD, which is a doctor of philosophy. This sort of qualification is usually obtained through an institution that offers research-based training and it is quite common for psychologists to have to complete a thesis before they can graduate.

The PsyD qualification, on the other hand, is a much more experience-based degree, and it also happens to be one of the newer introductions to the field. Students who enroll for this sort of qualification will usually complete their training within a public or private institution, and while they are going through the course, they will be expected not only to conduct research, but also to complete practical assignments. While they are undertaking the latter, they will be under constant supervision.

Becoming a Licensed Psychologist

In order for a student to become a licensed psychologist, they will very likely need to complete an internship, and this is something that they will very often need to do before they complete their PhD. Internships often take about one or two years to complete, and once they are done, the student will be able to sit for the licensing examination within their state. A pass is required for them to be able to go on and begin practicing within their state of their choice. Many professionals within this field opt for fellowships once they are done with their PhD because they are looking for some more experience before they step out into the world as a qualified professional. This can come in handy for those who are willing to commit a bit more time to building up their experience before starting out on their own.

Not all students opt for their PhD in order to start practicing as a psychologist ; some opt for very diverse careers  within the fields of education, research and even corporate environments.

Is a PhD Necessary?

While a large number of professionals are opting to enroll for their PhD, there are still many who are choosing not to take this route. Because of the time and the expenses associated with this qualification, master’s graduates often look to start working with the qualification they have, so it is important that potential doctoral candidates understand why they should be moving ahead with their post graduate studies.

There are jobs available for students  with just a master’s degree . These students are usually able to apply for positions within research labs, as well as work in schools and mental health clinics. They might be somewhat limited in terms of the roles that they can play, however, and they will almost certainly earn less than someone with a PhD. These are only some of the reasons why many people are choosing this route.

Becoming a Member of a Professional Psychological Association

There are a variety of professional psychological associations that individuals will need to become a member of in order to practice within their chosen field. The American Psychology Association is one of these organizations that require a membership before certain individuals can practice within their state. In order to be eligible for a membership, individuals need to keep in mind that they will have to adhere to certain requirements and in some instances, this might mean that they should have a PhD. It is usually a good idea for prospective students to find out a bit more about the requirements of the specific professionals organization with which they will need to register so that they can enroll in the most appropriate course.

Applying For a Master’s Beforehand

Some students opt to enroll in a master’s course before applying for a PhD, while others don’t. While there are some courses that force students to enroll in the former before being eligible to apply for the latter, this isn’t always the case. Those who aren’t required to complete a master’s before going on to completing a doctorate might want to consider completing this course for a variety of reasons.

PhDs are usually quite competitive courses, so prospective students will most likely want to make sure that they put all of their attention into making themselves as appealing as possible in terms of their candidacies. Master’s programs tend to provide students with the opportunity to strengthen their applications by improving their grades to the point where they really stand out. What is more, this will also demonstrate the abilities of the student to complete graduate level work, as well as provide them with opportunities to work alongside members of the faculty.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Applying For a PhD

When applying for a position as a PhD candidate, individuals will need to ask themselves certain questions to ensure that they have chosen the right qualification to help them in achieving these goals. One of the first questions that a professional needs to ask themselves is what they want to achieve in their careers. Sometimes, professionals will have a general idea about the sort of work they want to be doing, while in other instances, they might be very specific with regards to their goals. Either way, this information can then be used to determine whether the course is actually going to assist them in achieving these goals.

It might be helpful for a professional to identify someone in their field that has a position similar in nature to the one that the prospective student desires. By finding out more about this individual’s career path, a student will have a better idea of what they can achieve by following the same route.

Students need to be comfortable in taking on a certain amount of debt when applying for a position within a PhD course. Those who are picking a course might want to weigh up how much they are likely to spend studying with how much they are likely to make once they enter into the field as a qualified professional. It is believed that an assistant professor within this field will make about $53,000. Practicing clinical psychologists earn a median salary of about $58,000.

Those who want to reduce the amount of debt that falls onto their own shoulders might want to consider applying to those programs that offer fellowships, teaching assistantships and scholarships. All of this can go towards helping an individual in getting through these years with ease.

Students need to consider the sorts of internship match rates that are available to them once they have graduated, otherwise they could end up with the theoretical knowledge and none of the practical experience. These internships are not always required, but for those who are interested in the fields of counseling , clinical or school psychology , this might be an important consideration.

Finding out who are the top researchers within a school will help students identify those professors who are interested in similar fields to the student. This is important because it shows the students that they will have a better fit in the event that they are chosen for a PhD candidacy position. Information on the professors and researchers can usually be found on the website of the institution, along with links to their work and publications.

Putting Together a Strong Application

Because of the number of students who will most likely be competing for the same positions, it is important that individuals put together an application that really stands out. Schools will most likely require a student’s grades from their bachelors or master’s years and this can take some time to collect, so students are advised to do so as early as possible.

The school will also most likely require a letter of intent. This statement should be pretty straightforward and requires the student to explain why they are interested in the field of psychology, what their goals are and how the program can help them achieve these goals. Students are usually advised to avoid making statements about wanting to help people, since these have been overused. It might be better to focus on the fields of interest where a person might want to help others, such as working with the aged or the disabled.

Anyone who is seriously looking into applying for a position as a PhD candidate will want to makes sure that they not only know what they are going to need to do to achieve this goal, but also that they are making the right decision about their career choice. This is going to be a challenging and rewarding period that students need to commit to for at least the next three years, so it becomes important to ensure they know what they want from the program.



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phd psychology after masters

Interview: Niary Gorjian, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Chicago School of Psychology

Niary Gorjian, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP), Los Angeles Campus, joins us toda...

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Psychology?

How long does it take to get a Doctorate in Psychology? That depends on whether you’re looking to earn a PhD or PsyD and whether you want to go full-time or not.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Psychology

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The major differences in time to completion will be whether you’re going part-time or full-time and whether you need to write a dissertation or not.

What Education is Needed to Become a Psychologist?

psychologist listening to a patient during therapy session

Psychologists work closely with individuals to teach them coping skills and provide necessary training to work through mental health issues and other related problems. They often evaluate patients and complete a variety of assessments to give a clear picture of:

  • Cognitive Ability
  • Intellectual Ability
  • Vocational Ability

They are also called upon to diagnose mental health problems. According to Psychology Today , it takes anywhere from four to seven years to complete your Doctorate in Psychology. The time required to complete a traditional or online degree in psychology depends on the educational route you take.

The US Department of Labor Statistics suggests you pursue a doctorate education if you are interested in becoming a psychologist. They go on to explain that you can enter the field with a master’s degree, but to get licensed, you must earn a doctorate. A PhD in this field will usually take longer to complete than a PsyD.

Do You Need a Masters to Get a PhD in Psychology?

Get a PhD in Psychology

There is more than one route to gaining your PhD in Psychology. The typical path does not include a master’s degree.

When you decide that psychology is your field of choice, you can begin applying to universities who offer doctorates in psychology after you have achieved the bachelor’s degree level. A number of universities offer accelerated psychology degree online programs.

If you do decide you want a master’s degree before moving to the next level, make sure the school you enroll also offers the doctorate that you desire. Many schools do not allow you to transfer credits from a mater’s degree from a different school to their doctorate’s degree program.

PhD in Psychology students studying together

  • A Doctor of Philosophy, or PhD, is a degree that is a degree focused on original research . This degree requires you to take an exam to show you have the skills needed to be effective in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this degree program calls for courses on statistics and experimental procedures.
  • A Doctor of Psychology , or PsyD, is a degree fit for those looking to provide services for people who have psychological needs. Participants in this degree may not prefer the research and teaching path.
  • A Doctor of Education or EdD is a degree in education, but it is closely related to the psychology field . Many schools of psychology degrees in the same area as education. With the right qualifications, you can use this degree to allow you to go into the counseling field.
  • An Education Specialist Degree, or the EdS, is an opportunity to advance your learning to a higher level without having the time and cost investment needed for the other degrees. This degree can open doors to careers in curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, and school psychology.

PhD in Psychology students attending a class in university

Each of these degrees can lead to a lucrative career as a psychologist if you are willing to put in the time and effort it will take.

There is a significant difference between the PsyD and the Ph.D. The Ph.D. requires you to complete a well-researched dissertation and complete a comprehensive exam. This degree is based more on research than clinical areas and can take five to seven years to complete.

The PsyD usually takes four to six years to finish but does not require a dissertation . This degree is more clinical.

Example of PhD Program at Brown University

PhD Program at Brown University

Brown University has four primary requirements that you must meet before to complete the PhD process.

  • You must apply and receive acceptance into the program. Before you apply, make sure you have all the qualifications to be eligible for approval.
  • Most people can expect to spend about three full-time years on the academics needed to complete the program. If you have a master’s degree from Brown University, then two full-time years of academics will be required for the doctorate. Brown does not always accept master’s degree credits earned from another school.
  • After completing the required course work, students at Brown will advance to candidacy to assess if the student can begin the dissertation process. Brown will expect candidates to pass a final assessment in their field of study before being approved to move forward.
  • The last step is writing an original research paper that relates to your field of study. Dissertations can take students one to five years to write. After the dissertation is complete, you can submit it for approval by the Graduate Council.

A PhD can be obtained in any field of study and can help students excel in the career of their choice. All information above comes from Brown University.

Example of PsyD from the University of Colorado Denver

PsyD from the University of Colorado Denver

A PsyD program from The University of Colorado Denver helps students meet the standards needed to complete the State Licenses Exam to become state Board Psychologists. To achieve this degree, you must meet the following requirements:

  • 75 credit hours of coursework
  • Seven credit hours of practice in working in this field
  • Six credit hours of training in a workplace environment
  • Eight credit hours of internship
  • Four capstone project hours

Finally, you will need to pass the School Psychology Praxis exam and a written, comprehensive examination before your program is complete. This information is from the University of Colorado Denver.

How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology?

psychology student studying in a library

A PhD in psychology is one of the most popular postgraduate degrees. Students who are interested in this field should choose one of the graduate programs in psychology with no GRE requirement .

It generally takes four to six years , after gaining your bachelor’s degree, to complete.

The dissertation is part of the degree process that can take the most time for many students.

How Many Years Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology if You Go Part-Time?

PhD in Psychology students in class

According to the American Psychology Association , you can earn a PhD in Psychology, even if you need to be a part-time student. The requirements of the program are the same for both full and part-time students, but part-time students may have five to seven years to complete the program.

All schools do not allow part-time students in doctorate programs, so be sure to talk with schools you are interested in before you enroll. The required internship for a PhD is one of the difficulties that a part-time student could face. The availability of a part-time internship is not as high as the demand.

The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers have hundreds of internships but only 17 part-time placements .

How Much Does a Psychologist Make?

Psychologist Careers and Salary

There are many types of careers available for those who have a PhD in Psychology. You can find work in places such as schools, hospitals, and Mental Health Facilities.

See the table below for some examples of careers and salary expectations for someone with a PhD in Psychology.

These careers are only a small example of the many occupations offered in this field. All information in this table comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics .

How Long Does It Take to Earn a PhD in Psychology?

PhD in Psychology students studying in library

Gaining a PhD in Psychology can take a full-time student 4-6 years to complete the program. If you go to school part-time, you can complete the program in 5-7 years.

The length to get a bachelor’s degree in psychology or any other specialization is typically four years and is a requirement in order to be considered for a PhD program.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctoral Degree?

The process for most doctoral degrees in any field is very similar. You should complete all academic course work for your area of study and a dissertation.

The process usually takes 4-6 years to complete, but it will depend on your specific program and personal situation.

Accreditation for an Online Psychology Doctorate Degree

Accreditation for an Online Psychology Doctorate Degree

College accreditation is essential to consider when choosing the program best for you. Being accredited shows a school’s doctoral, internship, or postdoctoral residency programs that can provide a high standard of education values.

There are several regional accreditations available for an entire school as well as programmatic accreditation for a Psychology programs. The most well-known programmatic accreditor is the American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association building

When you graduate from an APA accredited school , you should have the skills you need for a career in psychology. You should learn to provide evidence-based clinical service that can help you to better serve in your community with mental health-related issues and much more.

Many facilities in the US required potential applicants to have a degree from an APA accredited program.

Regional Accreditation

Each of the 6 regional bodies accredits schools by reviewing quality assurance and institutional improvement.

They will require the schools to do self-studies and then complete comprehensive evaluations and close monitoring to help the school keep high standards and expectations.

Financial Aid for a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Financial Aid for a Doctoral Degree in Psychology

Federal financial aid can provide grants and low-interest loans. Many graduate and postsecondary schools offer scholarships and grants for all levels of education. Eligibility will depend on a student’s financial need, accomplishments, community service. Often, new students are given priority for scholarship opportunities.

There are many other ways to help fund your education. You must be willing to apply and provide all the necessary paperwork to qualify for aid. Here are some places to look to help get assistance in paying for your Doctoral Degree in Psychology.

  • The National Science Foundation
  • The American Psychological Association
  • The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
  • The American Psychological Foundation
  • The International Honor Society for Psychology, Psi Chi

There are often other types of financial aid. You should talk to your school, community agencies, and your current employer to find out more.

Is a PhD in Psychology Worth It? What About a PsyD?

psychologist talking to a girl with her mother during therapy session

Yes, a PhD in Psychology can be worth it for many students. The same goes for a PsyD. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, life, physical, and social science jobs are set to grow at 5% over the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations. Common careers in this field include psychology professor, clinical psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and developmental psychologist.

If you are interested in bettering your career in psychology, gaining more knowledge in your field of study, then a doctorate is worth your efforts. A PhD and a PsyD can help you to become an expert in your area.

Higher education can open many doors for you in your future endeavors and can help you started in the career you have been wanting.

phd psychology after masters

The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

Getting a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. After an M.S.W.

What kind of degree is an abd.

If you already have an M.S.W., earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology might provide you with a number of career-enhancing benefits. While clinical psychologists and social workers often offer similar services, like psychotherapy, psychologists are also qualified to provide psychological testing. In addition to being able to call yourself "doctor," clinical psychologists earn a higher yearly salary. On average, clinical psychologists earned $72,220 per year, while social workers earned $54,870, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Competition Begins

Although you've already applied to graduate school once before, you'll need to go through a similar application process for Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology. But clinical psychology Ph.D. admission procedures can be even more stringent than those of M.S.W. programs. Clinical psychology doctoral programs tend to be more competitive than M.S.W. programs, and most only accept a handful of candidates each year. Doctoral programs in clinical psychology are some of the most competitive in the country, according to clinical psychologist Lynn Friedman in the "Washington Post."

Doing What It Takes

Although clinical psychology programs might look favorably on your previous graduate and work experience, you still need to meet certain admission requirements, whether you have an M.S.W. or not. While most M.S.W. programs don't require the GRE, you'll need to take it to apply to clinical psychology programs. Clinical psychology doctoral programs usually require students to have a GRE score of at least 1200, but some might even have higher standards. Students in certain programs, like Northwestern University's Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, have averaged over 1400 on the GRE. You also need to show strong academic achievement in your undergraduate and M.S.W. work -- many programs require a GPA of at least 3.4.

The Long Haul

Earning a Ph.D. in clinical psychology usually requires an additional four to six years of study. Since M.S.W. programs have different course work and internship requirements, your credits probably won't be transferable -- you'll likely need to complete all of the courses required by the Ph.D. program. After all, it's not even guaranteed that credits from master's degrees in psychology programs will transfer to Ph.D. programs, says the Hunter College Department of Psychology. Clinical psychology doctoral programs require a combination of course work, internships, research and a dissertation.

Think About It

Considering your personal and professional reasons for wanting to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology can help you avoid incurring unnecessary student loan burdens and extra time spent in school. You should not obtain a Ph.D. just for prestige, concerns that you're not smart enough or due to external pressure, says Laura E. Buffardi in "Psychology Today." Examine your ultimate career goals. For example, perhaps you want to conduct research or teach clinical psychology. But with an M.S.W., you can open a private practice, work in a school, medical facility or community services agency, just as clinical psychologists can. And many social workers in private practice earn higher salaries than the average reported by the BLS. Although it's not common, they can earn up to $130,000 per year, according to the 2009 Salary and Compensation Study.

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  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012 :19-3031 Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: 21-1029 Social Workers, All Other
  • Washington Post: Jobs: Getting Into Graduate School in Clinical Psychology
  • Northwestern University: Department of Psychology: What Does It Take to Get Into Graduate School in Clinical Psychology?
  • Hunter College Department of Psychology: Choosing the Right Degree: MA, PhD, PsyD and others
  • Psychology Today: Master's versus Ph.D.

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.


Student Notebook: Finding Your Path in Psychology

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  • Research Practice - Observer
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phd psychology after masters

If readers are anything like me, they likely have felt unsure about the direction of their research and have wondered if they’re capable of pursuing that dream research assistantship, postbaccalaureate position, or graduate program. Having gone through the process myself, I hope to show fellow young psychologists that they are not alone in navigating early-career uncertainties. Here, I share a few examples from my experience that I hope budding researchers can apply to their own journey. 

Diving into research  

When I started college, I remember feeling like an imposter among my peers. Despite my doubts about being cut out for research, I took a chance when I saw a posting from a cognitive psychology lab looking for undergraduate research assistants. I applied, thinking I probably wasn’t cut out for the job, but I hoped it would help me cover college expenses for a few months on the off-chance I got it.  

Applying to that lab was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made, as I was able to hone my skills and prove to myself that I could do research. A job I thought would last a few months turned into a research assistantship that I would keep throughout my 4 years of college, as well as a year-long postbaccalaureate lab manager position. My first lab fostered collaborations and lifelong friendships and granted me a feeling of belonging in research.  

Exploring research opportunities and getting involved in labs can open doors. You’ll receive mentorship from the principal investigator postdoc(s), and graduate students, and you might also build some fruitful connections and collaborations. Maybe you’ll get a recommendation letter from someone in the lab who can speak to your work ethic and character, or maybe you’ll be invited to collaborate on a manuscript. Either way, you’ll gain valuable skills and experiences, such as data collection, analysis, and research presentation.  

Feeding your intellectual curiosity  

By my sophomore year of college, I was determined to pursue a degree in psychology, but there was still something missing. I had always wanted to understand why people do what they do, both as individuals and in groups. My college offered a degree in history, technology , and society, a sociology-adjacent degree with a focus on understanding domestic and global issues related to technology and science. After consulting with my advisors and mapping out my course plan, I decided, why not pursue both passions? 

Two degrees offered me a breadth and depth of knowledge. Psychology allowed me to understand human behavior at the individual level, and sociology taught me human behavior at the societal level. My studies in history and sociology provide context for why certain individuals might think or behave a particular way in experiments; I also gained insight into why researchers have often strayed toward social and cultural bias . In my psychology classes and research, I learned how to conduct quantitative studies with findings that could be generalized to broader populations. In my sociology courses, I learned how to conduct qualitative research and lead rich, detailed interviews. My history classes taught me how to collect and interpret primary and secondary resources, a skill that would ultimately come in handy when later conducting a historical and conceptual review with colleagues (Mashburn et al., 2023). 

If you have multiple passions or want to home in on some skills, pursue them! Consider studies in whatever field will feed your intellectual curiosity and provide you with a more diverse skill set. A case can be made for the overlap of just about any field with psychology. I know people who have also studied neuroscience , computer science, business, philosophy, or math, and their knowledge from these fields allows them to contribute unique methods and perspectives to psychological research.  

Asking around and within  

Like many others, the COVID-19 pandemic presented me with a time of self-reckoning and self-reflection. I knew I loved the idea of doing research, teaching , and making contributions to science that would help others. But what niche would best allow me to pursue these aims? What did I want my “thing” to be, and what skills did I need to pursue it? 

During my transition out of college and into my postbaccalaureate research, I researched different careers, subfields, and graduate programs that seemed interesting to me. I also made sure to note the programs of study that would provide me with skills I would need to succeed in an academic or industry position, like a strong statistics curriculum or opportunities to learn different programming languages. I reached out to find out more about what people in different careers of psychology do, and what skills were most important for their jobs. Talking with alumni, grad students, and faculty helped me to get a better idea of what programs and research areas were the best fit for me. I talked to people from a variety of subfields— industrial/organizational , social , developmental , clinical , counseling , educational , and school psychology. Because of how much I loved my first lab, I came full circle back to cognitive psychology. 

One suggestion for budding researchers: Think about what your goals are and what skills you’ll need to become an expert in your area. Some early-career researchers fail to consider that graduate school won’t be fancy invited talks and prize-winning papers. A lot of it is learning how to design tasks, conduct studies and analyses, and visualize data. You need to think about whether and how you see yourself doing that work. Ask yourself what skills and areas of study will best serve your goals. Utilize student–alumni networks, your professors, and of course the internet. People are receptive to simple messages, such as “I’m really interested in what you do. Would you be available to chat so I could ask you a few questions?” Seasoned researchers want to see young researchers be happy and successful. Nine times out of ten, they will go out of their way to help you! 

Going with your gut  

Once I had settled on what I wanted to pursue, applying to graduate programs felt like I was Goldilocks trying out bowls of porridge, and though the programs seemed right on paper, they didn’t feel “just right” in person. During one interview day, a student admitted to me that they regretted pursuing the program and weren’t getting the support they needed from their PhD advisor. At another program’s social, the graduate students seemed condescending. Many of these labs had some overlap with my research interests, but not completely. Some wanted me to brush up on a skill that I didn’t think was relevant to my goals or had plans to start a study that didn’t pique my interest. I was worried that pursuing a PhD might involve some major compromising on my proverbial porridge. 

See all Student Notebook columns

One program gave me a good gut feeling, and it’s the PhD program I ultimately chose. When I interviewed, I was pretty much sold on it: The graduate students were friendly and collaborative, the campus gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and my interests were a great fit, meaning I wouldn’t have to compromise on the research I wished to pursue. I inadvertently found myself comparing programs to this one, and no amount of pro/con listing could shake the feeling. I listened to my gut, and it was right. I now get to pursue research that genuinely interests me, and I get to collaborate with a supportive and knowledgeable network that includes my advisor, fellow graduate students, and colleagues at other institutions. 

Listen to your gut, and don’t feel like you need to settle to succeed, whether you’re applying for undergraduate research positions, postbaccalaureate jobs, or graduate schools. Prioritize what’s most important to you, be it work–life balance , opportunities for engagement and collaboration, or a supportive lab environment. Ultimately, your fit and your happiness are more important than whatever appears best on paper. 

Student Notebook serves as a forum in which APS Student Caucus members communicate their ideas, suggestions, and experiences.  Read other Student Notebook columns here , and learn about  the benefits of Student Membership.

Interested in submitting a Student Notebook article of your own? Learn more and indicate your interest by  clicking here  (logged-in APS members only).

Feedback on this article? Email  [email protected]  or login to comment.


Mashburn, C. A., Barnett, M. K., & Engle, R. W. (2023). Processing speed and executive attention as causes of intelligence. Psychological Review.  

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines .

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About the Author

phd psychology after masters

Mariel Barnett is a second – year graduate student in psychology at Case Western Reserve University. She is interested in how stress and cognitive abilities predict learning and individual differences in performance. Her current research focuses on academic achievement and performance under pressure, particularly the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms associated with math anxiety and math performance outcomes.  

phd psychology after masters

Student Notebook: Doing Research With Your Community, for Your Community 

Scientific findings can be difficult to apply to real-life scenarios. Fifth-year clinical psychology student Gabrielle Lynch gives advice on working with communities, building relationships, and overcoming research hurdles.

phd psychology after masters

Student Notebook: Tips for Navigating the Demands of Graduate School

Understanding the science of stress can help graduate students manage the uncertainties and demands they face, says PhD student Kyle LaFollette.

phd psychology after masters

Student Notebook: Mastering the Classroom 

Fifth-year graduate student Serena Zadoorian provides a list of essential information and advice for new associate instructors.

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PhD/Master of Psychology (Clinical)

IMPLY: A program for the construction of deduced intervals on secondary contrasts from confidence intervals on primary contrasts

The UNSW combined PhD/Master of Psychology (Clinical) is a four-year, full-time degree that encourages initiative and originality in research. High-level candidates are offered the opportunity to engage in advanced training in areas relevant to the professional practice of psychology. 

Our program has a research component as well as coursework and professional placement components. Its focus is on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of people with a range of psychological challenges. It includes advanced training in research skills that are particularly relevant to clinical application. 

A full scholarship is required to undertake this program.

Primary supervision must be provided by an academic who holds a position in the School of Psychology.

The minimum academic eligibility requirement is completion of a four-year APAC-accredited sequence in psychology, including a major research thesis/project, with Honours Class 1 (85%), or international equivalent. Qualifications must have been completed within the last 10 years (exceptions may be possible in limited circumstances).

While there is a standard process to apply for most Higher Degree Research programs at UNSW, there are additional requirements for Combined applicants which relate to the Masters component of the program.

Please review the  step-by-step application guide .

The School does not have specific requirements for a research proposal/research description. Applicants can be guided both by the general information published in the  Document Submission Guidelines  and advice from their potential supervisor.

Applicants must:

  • demonstrate their competency in speaking and communicating in English is sufficient to practise the psychology profession
  • satisfy both  UNSW's English language requirements  and those required by the  Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) .

All applicants, domestic and international, are encouraged to use AHPRA’s  Pathways diagram for all professions  (under ‘Additional resources’) to guide their understanding of AHPRA’s requirements.

  • Term 1 is the only available intake for this program.
  • Applicants should familiarise themselves with the  key scholarship dates , as deadlines are strict and a scholarship is required to undertake this program.
  • International psychology qualifications must include a major research thesis/project and must be assessed by the  Australian Psychological Society (APS)  before an application is submitted.  Note that the APS will only assess complete qualifications.
  • As the number of places available each year is limited, entry into this program is competitive. Selection is based on the availability of supervision, academic qualifications, two referee reports and performance at an interview. Only shortlisted applicants will be invited to participate in an interview – remote participation may be permitted in limited circumstances.
  • Enrolled students must register as provisional psychologists prior to program commencement and registration must be maintained for the duration of enrolment.
  • Applicants should familiarise themselves with the relevant  registration standards  for the psychology profession. You must meet these requirements before an application for registration as a provisional psychologist can be approved.
  • Applicants should review the inherent requirements of the program before applying.
  • Applicants interested in BOTH a Combined program AND a stand-alone Master program OR a Combined program only must submit ONE research (Combined) application and ONE coursework (Master) application.

The program is accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) as a fifth and sixth year of study. Graduates are eligible to apply for full membership of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and registration as a psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia (PsyBA).

Graduates are also eligible for Associate Membership of the APS College of Clinical Psychologists. After completing a Psychology Board of Australia approved Clinical Psychology registrar program (further two years of full-time equivalent supervised practice), graduates are eligible to apply for APS College of Clinical Psychology Fellowship and endorsement as a Clinical Psychologist.

The UNSW School of Psychology is considered the best in Australia and is ranked among the top psychological schools worldwide. We attract award-winning staff and offer excellence and innovation in our teaching.   

The school has excellent research and professional training facilities that include extensive computing facilities, a psychological test library, a psychology clinic, a technical workshop and laboratories in all areas of experimental psychology.  

The school also has strong links with professional practitioners in the areas of clinical, neuropsychological and forensic psychology.  

There’s an increasing demand from a wide variety of agencies across Australia to obtain psychological expertise to aid understanding and management of psychological issues.  

Clinical psychologists work in a wide range of settings, including:  

  • hospital settings 
  • community mental health centres 
  • acute inpatient clinics 
  • private practices 
  • universities and schools. 

Research component (PhD): Contact the Admissions and Scholarships team at the  GRS  or the  Postgraduate Coordinators  for the School.

Coursework component (Master of Psychology): Prospective applicants should review the School’s  Frequently Asked Questions ,  Program Guide , or  contact the School .

Learn more about our programs and connect with the UNSW School of Psychology.

Is it Worth Doing a PhD After a Master’s?

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Is it worth doing a PhD? This is a question that probably plagues every research student at some point in their career.

The decision to pursue a PhD after getting your Master’s degree is a difficult one.  A PhD is a huge undertaking emotionally, mentally and financially. It takes 3-4 years to complete, during which you are on a pretty basic stipend (OK, you’re poor).

You also need the ability to continually motivate yourself through the times when your experiments are not working (most of the time). Oh, and you might not see as much of your friends and family as you would like, especially when you’re writing up your thesis.

People pursue PhDs for a variety of reasons: some know from the start that they want to run labs at a university, some feel pressured to go for the top degree in their field, some see it as a natural progression after receiving their Master’s, and some continue on in academia because they just don’t know what to do next.

For all, it is a highly personal decision, but one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

During my undergraduate degree, I had the opportunity to work in a research laboratory as part of a summer vacation scholarship. The PhD student supervising me on a day-to-day basis gave me a really useful piece of advice: don’t do a Master’s or a PhD just for the sake of doing one . She encouraged me to thoroughly explore my options and not to merely drift into a postgraduate course just because I didn’t know what else to do.

So, is it worth doing a PhD? The following questions might help you to decide.

1. Is it Worth Doing a PhD to Pursue Your Chosen Career Path?

Not every job requires a PhD for you to be successful.  In fact, many do not.  If you are not planning to stay in academia long-term, then a PhD may be of no additional benefit to you. Picture the type of job you would like to have once you are finished with your education; our handy article lists some options .

Having a PhD might give you an edge over other candidates and help you secure a position, even if a PhD is not required for a particular job. However, it can also work against you, potentially making you overqualified and less likely to get the job.

Have a career discussion with as many people as possible to get different opinions and viewpoints. Try to talk to people who have chosen a variety of career paths. Also, talk to people who have done or are doing a PhD; their experience and insight can be invaluable.

2. Have You Explored Other Options?

For example, like gaining experience in industry or working in a laboratory as a research assistant or technician ?

It’s hard to make a clear-headed decision when you are caught up in the middle of things.  Sometimes it is better to take a step back and pursue an option without making a multi-year commitment.

Working as a research assistant in an academic laboratory for a year or so is a great way to figure out if you enjoy working in the academic environment and more specifically within a particular laboratory. This kind of experience should confirm if doing a PhD is right for you.

3. Have you Found a Supervisor and a Topic?

Remember that you’ll be committing to both the topic and the supervisor for 3-4 years!

A good PhD supervisor is worth their weight in gold and finding a good mentor should be a priority. Furthermore, you need to be passionate about your research topic to motivate you during the tremendously tough times.  Make sure you work on something you care about.

4. Do You Have Support from Family and Friends?

Talk to your support network, i.e. your friends and family. They are the ones you will rely on heavily while doing the PhD for emotional support (parents may also be a source of financial support).

If you are looking for further advice, make sure you check out our article with pointers for PhD students . Are you sure that a PhD is the right move for you? Search for PhDs in Biological and Medical Sciences to find the right PhD to suit you.

5. Can You Afford to Do a PhD?

Doing a PhD can be costly. There may be fees, and you’ll need to be able to live, so factor in rent, food, and bills too. Depending on where you live and plan on studying, you may be able to get a grant or stipend to help cover the costs.

If you are considering working on the side, note that this might not be feasible. Often PhD work is more than a full-time job, leaving you little room to earn on the side. That said, there might be options for paid work as part of your PhD – for example as a teaching assistant (remember those helpful people during your lab practical? They were probably PhD students!).

In addition, you need to factor in what you’ll be missing out on compared with entering the workforce – you’ll most likely not be contributing to a pension or retirement fund or other benefits of a full-time job (e.g. health care).

You also need to consider that if you plan on leaving academia after a PhD, you may still be on an ‘entry-level’ salary and therefore be several years behind where you could have been if you’d not done a PhD.

Originally published November 13, 2013. Reviewed and updated on December 8, 2020

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I have a mater degree (LMHC). I want to purse my PH.D. I’ve been checking out some college . I’m not that old I’m in my early 40’s which still leaves me some time. The issue I’m having is paying for the PH.D, also locating a school that’s right for me.

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  • PsyD vs PhD

Get Your Psy.D. Degree After MSW Social Work

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Interested in going from a Masters in Social Work to Ph.D. in psychology? Obtaining a doctoral degree in psychology such as a Psy.D. is a natural option after you already have earned your Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). With your doctoral degree in psychology, you will learn essential clinical skills so that you can eventually earn licensure as a psychologist. One of the advantages of earning your Psy.D. is psychologist tend to make more than social workers.

Salary Considerations

Current Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that all psychologists earn a salary of approximately $77,000. Those with the highest level of experience may earn a salary up to $124,000 with a doctoral degree. ( ).

SEE ALSO:  Salary PsyD Degree

On the other hand, social workers earn only around $48,000, but with an MSW degree , you can earn up to $79,000. ( Because you already earned your master’s degree, you do not have to spend any part of your Psy.D. in psychology earning master’s. Combining these two degree can provide you with an excellent salary and skill set from the perspectives of psychology and social works.

Job Demand Considerations

With a doctoral degree in psychology , you can expect a 14% increase in job demand by 2026. Job growth in psychology should be most pronounced in clinical, counseling and school psychology in the coming years, as more people seek help with their psychological problems. ( ).

In the social work field, you can expect 16% job growth through 2026, much faster an all occupations. Also, employment with health care social workers should rise by 20%, much faster than average. Healthcare social workers are more needed to help older populations and families deal with new treatments, lifestyles and medications. ( .

Be Ready for Competition

Even if you already have your master’s degree in social work, you will have to go through a similar rigorous process for your Psy.D. program in psychology. But your psychology Psy.D. admission process could even be more intense than what you found for your MSW program. Psychology doctoral programs often are more competitive than the MSW. Many such programs only accept a few candidates every year. Doctoral programs in psychology are some of the most difficult to enter in the country.

What It Takes

Many graduate clinical Psy.D. in psychology programs can look easier to get into as you have previous MSW graduate experience. But you still have to meet tough requirements for admission. To get admitted into a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program, you may have to take the GRE. Some programs may require a 1200 GRE score, and others could require more than 1500. In terms of past college work, you could need to have a GPA of 3.4 or higher. There are a number of distance learning options that allow applicants to forgo the GRE requirement.

SEE ALSO:   Online PsyD Degree Programs without GRE

Earning your doctorate degree in psychology often requires up to six more years of study . Your typical MSW program has various coursework and requirements for internships, so your credits may not be able to transfer. You could need to take all of the courses that the doctoral program requires. It is not even a sure thing that master’s in psychology credit will transfer to a doctoral program.

Different Work Situations

Social workers and psychologists often work in different environments. Both careers may involve working in an office offering counseling and therapy, there can be differences. Psychologists with their Psy.D. may work in a private office setting or a hospital. But a social worker can work in a rehabilitation center, nursing homes schools, mental health facilities, prisons and military bases.

SEE ALSO:  Salary Outlook with Ph.D. in Social Work

Social workers tend to work more on a community level. That is, they attempt to connect patients to community resources to deal with their mental health problems, such as resources for jobs, medical care, drug treatment etc. Psychologists tend to focus more on the individual treatment plan for the person. Combining these two degrees could provide patients with an interesting mix of care options that are pulled from different disciplines.

Think It Through Carefully

Think about the professional and personal reasons you want to earn your Psy.D. in addition to your MSW degree. A good reason to earn your Psy.D. is if you want to open a private psychological practice. You will have more options to do so with your doctoral over a mere masters degree. Still, with your masters in social work , you can still work in private practice as a mental health professional, similar to a psychologist . You might even after several years be able to earn more than $100,000 per year with an MSW degree as a clinical social worker.

  • Psychologists. (2017). Retrieved from
  • Social Workers. (2017). Retrieved from
  • Getting Clinical Psychology Degree After MSW. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • 17 Best Things You Can Do with an MSW Degree. (2019). Retrieved from

Master of Arts in Psychology

Current Stanford doctoral students can apply for a Master of Arts in Psychology during the course of their PhD, JD, or MD program.

Graduate students who are already enrolled in the Psychology PhD program and who have completed (a) the first-year and second-year course requirements; and (b) at least 45 units of Psychology courses may apply for conferral of the MA degree. This application should be discussed with the Student Services Manager.

Students who are currently enrolled in a Stanford PhD or professional program in another Department may be granted a Master of Arts in Psychology. In such cases, admission to the MA is considered by the faculty on a case-by-case basis. An admitted student must complete at least 45 units of Psychology courses and possibly other research or course requirements as determined by the faculty.  Interested applicants should consult with the Student Services Manager, Dena Zlatunich ( ecfay [at] (d) denamz [at] (enamz[at]stanford[dot]edu) ).

All applicants must satisfy University residency requirements for the degree and are responsible for consulting with their primary departments or the Financial Aid Office about the effects of the proposed program on their current funding. 

Please note:  The Department of Psychology does not offer terminal MA degrees for students who are not already pursuing another advanced degree at Stanford.

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of 45 units of graduate-level Psychology courses
  • Completion of the required  Core Courses, including two statistics courses
  • A maximum of 18 units may be from lab courses, independent study, outside units, and practica (eg. 222, 258, 269, 275, 281, 297, 282, 290)
  • Successful completion of the First Year Project (FYP) or equivalent Master's thesis

Fill out the  application form  and obtain your advisor's signature.

  • Submit the completed application form to the Psychology Student Services Manager, who will obtain the Department Chair's signature.

Submit a request for the Master's Degree via Axess using the Graduate Program Authorization Form. To find this form, navigate to the Student Tab, then Petitions and Forms under the Academics tab. Make sure to indicate that you are adding a Master's degree. There will be a checkbox to leave your current graduate program - do NOT check this box!

  • Enter your payment and select "Apply to Graduate" in Axess (make sure to select the Master's, not PhD).
  • Psychology's Student Services Office will approve your request in Axess.
  • Carefully review the  Psychology MA Policy and Process document .
  • Set up a meeting with the Student Services Manager (Dena Zlatunich, denamz [at] (denamz[at]stanford[dot]edu) ) to review the process.
  • Secure Psychology faculty MA advisor.
  • Submit an application to the Student Services Manager. The application consists of the following: Statement of Purpose, CV, and letter of support from primary home department advisor(s). This application will be reviewed by Psychology Faculty.
  • If approved by Psychology faculty, the Psychology MA advisor will mentor you as you complete the MA requirements. The requirements include the 45 units of coursework outlined above as well as a Master's Thesis and Master's Thesis defense. For complete details, refer to the  Psychology MA Policy and Process document . 
  • Upon completion of required MA coursework, Thesis, and Thesis defense, fill out the  application form  and obtain your advisor's signature.
  • Submit a request for the Master's Degree via Axess using the Graduate Program Authorization Form. To find this form, navigate to the Student Tab, then Petitions and Forms under the Academics tab. Make sure to indicate that you are adding a Master's degree. There will be a checkbox to leave your current graduate program - do NOT check this box! 
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MS Psychology Program Details

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MS in Psychology Program Duration

The MS in Psychology program requires six or seven quarters of coursework, depending on the chosen concentration. Those who are admitted to Palo Alto University's PhD program transition directly into PhD coursework during the summer quarter after completing this program. Students have a maximum of five years to complete the program.

Work and School Scheduling

Most students can maintain full-time employment while completing this program. 

Earn a Terminal Degree

Students in the Generalist, Tech and Mental Health, and Forensic Psychology concentrations will automatically be awarded the MS in Psychology degree upon successful completion of all graduation requirements.

Students in the PhD Prep Track who successfully complete all academic requirements are awarded the MS in Psychology degree. Those who complete the PhD in Clinical Psychology earn an MS in Clinical Psychology, which supersedes the previously-earned MS in Psychology. 

Transition to PhD Program

Students in the PhD Prep Concentration who meet academic qualifications may interview for admission to the PhD program during the summer after their first year. Those who are offered and accept admission to the PhD program begin PhD studies during the summer quarter after completing their master's coursework. Admission to the PhD program is selective, and admission is not guaranteed. 

Learn More About PAU's Student Services

Faculty advisors.

All students in the MS in Psychology program are assigned an academic advisor upon entry into the program. The primary role of the advisor is to assist with academic planning and to provide guidance on any personal or interpersonal issues that may arise. Because learning online can present unique challenges, academic advisors also serve as online success coaches, checking in with students monthly by phone, email, or both. The first meeting with an advisor is in an online video chat format. PhD Prep Concentration students and advisors meet face to face during the one-week intensive course at the PAU campus in Palo Alto. Throughout the program, students also have quarterly meetings to ensure that all their needs are being addressed. Students are strongly encouraged to be proactive and contact their advisors as soon as they have questions or if any difficulties arise.

At the beginning of the program, all students attend an orientation via web conference to ensure that everyone starts out on the same page with respect to academic expectations, online learning formats, available services, where to turn when needing assistance, etc.

Student Assistant Advisor

A student advisor is available for help, support, and proctoring. The student advisor is a PhD student who has successfully completed the MS in Psychology program online.

Student Feedback

Students are required to submit written evaluations of all courses each quarter. This informs the PAU faculty and administration of our strengths and weaknesses as we strive to deliver the best possible program.

Video Conferencing Orientation and Advising Sessions

A live orientation is available and required before courses start. In addition, the Student Assistant Advisor and the program director schedule quarterly video conferences. Moreover, the program director is available throughout the program for individual academic advising sessions.

Academic Resources and Administrative Support

Whether enrolled in an on-campus or online program, all students are members of the PAU community and have access to the full range of student services, including:

  • Research Library
  • Office of Student Services
  • Office of Financial Aid
  • Student Organizations

Academic Requirements for PhD Admission. Students who satisfy the following requirements can gain acceptance into the PhD program:

Prerequisite courses.

Students need not have a bachelor's degree in psychology to enter this program. However, they must complete four prerequisite bachelor's level classes. Each is a prerequisite for a specific MS in Psychology program class.

Students must complete all seven quarters of the program, maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 with:

  • No failing grades
  • No more than one B-minus
  • No more than one incomplete

Course Sequences

Normally, all required coursework is completed by the end of the second spring quarter following matriculation. Any deviations from this timetable must be approved by the Master's Student Evaluation Committee.

Each student must interview with the MS to PhD bridge faculty.

Starting the PhD Program

Those continuing to the PhD program, an on-campus program, need to relocate to the Palo Alto area. Students begin PhD coursework during the summer quarter, completing two online courses that are prerequisites for clinical work in the PhD program: Psychometric Theory (4 units) and Introduction to Psychotherapy (3 units).

MS in Psychology students accepted into the PhD program are expected to start their clinical work during the fall quarter of the first year of their PhD program. By that time, they must have completed the two summer courses listed above and also pass the clinical foundations competency exam, which is typically given in late August, and the research competency exam (at either the beginning or end of the summer).

The MS in Psychology program was developed specifically to give students an opportunity to demonstrate that they have the ability to handle doctoral-level work at Palo Alto University. The hope is that every student admitted to this program in the PhD Prep Concentration will successfully transition to the PhD program. The Student Progress Committee meets quarterly, approximately two weeks after grades are submitted, to review the progress of all students in the program. Their goal is to identify and provide guidance to any students who may be encountering problems.

Students who wish to continue to the Palo Alto University PhD program will complete a brief application. Interest in and qualifications for the PhD program are discussed with the program director and advisors during the first year of studies.

Qualified MS in Psychology students receive conditional PAU PhD program acceptance letters in the fall of their second year, after completing the MS to PhD interview process. The final offer of acceptance is based on grades earned during the second year of coursework and passing competency exams after completion of all MS in Psychology coursework.

Students complete master's coursework by the end of the spring quarter and are then notified when to take their competency exams.

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What Can You Do With a Master's in Psychology?

Published on: March 5, 2024

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If you already have a bachelor's degree and are looking to expand your career prospects, then it may be time to explore an advanced degree. Specifically, a master's degree in psychology can open the door for all kinds of job opportunities. Whether you are interested in pursuing a more traditional clinical/counseling role or are interested in a corporate role, there are plenty of potential jobs with a psychology master's degree.

With a better understanding of the different types of master's degrees in psychology along with some common career paths for this degree, you can determine whether this path may be right for you.

Get Your Applied Psychology Degree

Types of Master's Degrees in Psychology

Psychology is a relatively broad field, so there are quite a few different master's degree programs available that you may want to consider. The two main types of degrees are a Master of Arts and a Master of Science (or applied science).

So, what is the difference between an MA and an MS in psychology? Typically, an MA is more focused on the application and practical uses of psychology concepts (such as in a clinical setting), whereas an MS is more focused on the scientific methods and research behind psychology concepts.

Both degree types can have their benefits, depending on what you are planning to do with your degree and where your interests lie. For many students, a Master of Applied Science in psychology offers the best of both worlds, incorporating some scientific research/theory while also covering practical applications that can be useful in the real world.

Within graduate degrees in psychology, there may also be specialized degree programs for those who want to focus their studies even further. You may be able to explore master's degree programs, for example, in:

  • Behavioral psychology
  • Clinical psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Organizational psychology

Job Outlook for Master's in Psychology Graduates

There is an increasing demand for psychologists and those with graduate-level psychology degrees across the United States. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for psychologists is  expected to grow by 6 percent between 2022 and 2032. That's faster than the national average for all occupations.

Common Careers With a Master's in Psychology

So, what can you do with a master's in psychology? There are so many possibilities to explore, depending on what your interests and career aspirations look like. From clinical roles to corporate, educational and legal roles, you can explore the area of the field best suited to your goals.

Clinical and Counseling Roles

Some people who obtain their master's degrees in psychology go on to work clinical jobs in counseling, therapy and similar roles. Of course, this will depend on the state in which you plan to work. Some states allow psychologists to practice at a limited capacity with just a master's degree, while others may require a doctoral degree.

Corporate and Organizational Psychology

Interested in more of a leadership role in the corporate world? Then working as a human resources manager can be a challenging yet rewarding line of work for a myriad of graduates with master's degrees in psychology. In this kind of role, you can use your understanding of the human mind and its functions to better serve team members and keep the organization running as smoothly as possible.

Educational and School Psychology

If you are more interested in how the principles and theories of psychology may apply to how people learn and grow, then studying educational or school psychology may be right up your alley. With a master's in psychology and proper training, you may be able to work in this fascinating field as a school psychologist or educational psychologist.

Research and Academia

You do not necessarily have to practice applied psychology in your everyday work to make a career out of it. Some people who obtain their master's degrees in psychology go into the realm of academia. These graduates may collaborate with other academics to conduct important research or even teach classes on psychology. 

Legal and Forensic Consulting

Another potential line of work to consider once you have your psychology degree is getting into legal or forensic counseling. These professionals typically work for police departments and government agencies to handle everything from profiling criminals to conducting psychological research on specific cases. This area of the field can be quite challenging and requires a lot of problem-solving and critical thinking, but it can be a good fit for those who like a good challenge.

Sports Psychology

Some graduates of a master's in psychology program may also end up working in the field of sports psychology, which uses psychological theories and concepts to better understand how athletes develop and reach peak performance. If you have a passion for sports or exercise, then this could be the perfect line of work for you to get into after you finish your degree.

Health Psychology

Another potential career path to consider with a master's degree in psychology is getting into health psychology, where principles and theories are used to promote better health and wellness among patients. As a health psychologist, you might work in a hospital setting or in a physician's office, and you can work with a wide range of ages and populations. This can be an excellent area of the field worth exploring if you enjoy helping others and making a difference.

How to Prepare for the Job Market

Regardless of the specific line of work that you are interested in pursuing, having a master's degree in psychology is only one step toward landing your dream job. There are some additional steps you will want to take to better prepare yourself for the job market and ensure that you are a competitive candidate.

Evaluate Your Career Goals

Start by considering your short- and long-term career goals, or what you see yourself doing in the next several years. Do you plan on finishing school once you complete your master's degree program, or do you see yourself potentially pursuing a mental health doctoral degree? Ultimately, this will depend on how far you want to work up your career ladder and what you envision yourself doing professionally down the road.

Identify Your Preferred Clientele or Work Environment

You will also want to consider the kind of people you prefer to work with and where you would like to work within the psychology field. For example, if you enjoy working with children, then getting into school psychology can be a great starting point. On the other hand, if you prefer to take on more of a human resources role where you work in an administrative setting, then organizational/corporate psychology may be a better fit.

Develop Essential Skills

Once you have a better idea of where you see yourself working within the psychology field, you can begin working on the skills you need to succeed in these areas. Many of the skills you need can be sharpened during your graduate program, but you may need to work separately on some essential soft skills (such as communication and critical thinking) to stand out from other talent.

Acquire Necessary Qualifications

Depending on the line of work that you are pursuing, you may also need to acquire additional qualifications beyond your formal degree. For instance, in some states you need to obtain a license to practice as a psychologist. In other areas of the field, certification or other designations may be preferred or required by employers.

Take the Next Step in Your Educational Journey With Husson University

A master's degree in psychology can help you take your career to new heights or even open the doors of opportunity for a career change. That said, not all graduate degree programs are created equal — which is why it is so important to explore and thoroughly research your options before you commit to a program.

At Husson University Online, we offer a  master of science degree in applied psychology  that can be completed in as little as 24 months. This program includes a flexible curriculum that allows you to personalize your studies, as well as free 24/7 tutoring services and career services for all students.  Get in touch  to learn more about this program or any of our other available programs. We would love to speak with you!

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Related posts.

Psychology Jobs Guide: Understanding Mental Health Careers

Exciting Jobs You Could Get With a Psychology Major

Cool Psychology Facts That Will Make You Want to Explore a Degree

How to Become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Is a Psychology Degree Worth It?

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Know before you read At SNHU, we want to make sure you have the information you need to make decisions about your education and your future—no matter where you choose to go to school. That's why our informational articles may reference careers for which we do not offer academic programs, along with salary data for those careers. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.

If you're interested in the human mind, you might want to pursue a psychology degree. But you may also be wondering how you might use a psychology degree and if it’ll be worth it in the end.

Can a Psychology Degree Be Useful?

There are a few different types of psychology degrees  you may consider pursuing, depending on your interests and career goals.

A few of those include:

  • Associate of Arts (AA) in Psychology (Not currently offered at SNHU)
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
  • Master of Science (MS) in Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD-PSY) (Not currently offered at SNHU)
  • Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) (Not currently offered at SNHU)

Dr. Leslie Buddington, an online adjunct psychology instructor at SNHU

Dr. Leslie Buddington , an online adjunct psychology instructor at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), suggested a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology  degree if you’d like to apply psychology concepts to the workplace.

Although there are several different areas you can focus on, most psychology programs have some common skills you can learn.

According to Buddington, while pursuing a psychology degree, you may learn about:

  • Applying research
  • Conducting experiments
  • Data analysis and research methods
  • Individual differences
  • Making measurable changes in an environment  
  • Social justice and inequities  

“Those are incredible skills that are useful in any future career,” said Buddington.

Many employers look for individuals with those kinds of skills, across a variety of fields. According to Buddington, psychology is a well-rounded field that demonstrates that you understand people, how situations contribute to behavior, how to predict and change behaviors and how to apply that information in order to make changes to a system. “That is going to help you stand out as a job candidate in multiple careers," she said.

Exploring experiential learning opportunities  can help you to stand out even further, providing real-world experience while you're a student. Buddington noted that you can also work with your school's career center to find an internship.  “An internship or experiential learning opportunity is definitely worthwhile to pursue," she said.

Find Your Program

How hard is a psychology degree.

An icon of a pencil.

"Because in psychology there are multiple perspectives (cognitive, developmental, behavioral, evolutionary and so forth), there is often no one ‘correct’ answer,” said Buddington. “Sometimes the fact that an answer is not just black or white doesn’t fit with how some people think.”

Buddington also said that students can sometimes be surprised by the amount of statistics and research work a psychology program involves.

The course load and program requirements may vary from school to school. Taking the time to research and ask questions about the programs you’re interested in can give you a better idea of what to expect while pursuing a psychology degree.

“I don’t necessarily think a psychology degree is hard, but it can sometimes be different from what you are expecting,” said Buddington.

Is a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology Worth It?

Buddington said that a BA in Psychology can allow you to work in many careers. Some options you may consider include:

  • Data analysis
  • Human resources
  • Law enforcement
  • Sports coaching

“I think because the principles you are learning apply to people, situations, behavior, society, as well as data analysis, they are universal skills that are needed across multiple career fields,” said Buddington.

And the reasons for entering this field of study are just as varied.

Yasmine Molinari, a BA in Psychology graduate from SNHU

With her degree, Molinari hopes to work at a healthcare organization. She wants to help anyone who needs discretion, empathy and care, such as those transitioning or those who don’t have healthcare.

“I would just like to lend a helping hand to anybody who needs it,” she said.

A psychology degree can also help you to change careers.

Cedric Parker, a SNHU psychology graduate

“I always had an interest in the human mind,” said Parker. Psychology was the obvious choice when choosing his major.

After working 14-hour shifts, traveling all over the country, he would start doing his schoolwork. Since earning his degree, he now works as an HR business partner.

“It’s amazing, the job opportunities you can get with a psychology degree,” said Parker.

Is a Master of Science in Psychology Worth It?

A white outline of a hand holding a yellow heart

“With an MS in Psychology, you are able to concentrate more fully on a field,” said Buddington.  

You might become a therapist or forensic psychologist, according to Buddington. She said that a master’s degree may also allow you to teach at some community colleges.

Parker said that his degree has already opened doors for him, including the opportunity to pursue further education. He’s currently enrolled in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at SNHU. (SNHU is not currently enrolling new students in the graduate counseling program.)

“My ultimate goal is to go back into drug and alcohol counseling, try to help people who suffer with addiction,” he said.

Are Psychologists in Demand?

“Post-pandemic there is more need than ever for psychologists,” said Buddington.

Becoming a psychologist typically requires a master's degree or higher, and licensing requirements vary by state. BLS predicts that job growth for psychologists will grow by 6% through 2032.*

A blue graphic with a yellow talk bubble and white ellipsis

“Teletherapy allows more individuals to have access to therapy that they otherwise may not have had,” said Buddington.

For example, people living in rural areas might not have therapists available nearby. Teletherapy allows those individuals to have access to therapy, said Buddington. “The fact that you can become teletherapy certified is an equity and inclusion triumph,” she said.

Like most fields, psychology is open to more diverse and inclusive perspectives. A psychology degree can provide you with the ability to better understand those from different backgrounds from you.

According to a study on diverse populations by the American Psychiatric Association, people from racial or ethnic minority groups are less likely to receive mental health care ( American Psychiatric Association PDF Source ). Some factors contributing to this include:

  • Lack of diversity among mental health providers
  • Language barriers
  • Mental health stigma

Psychologists with unique cultural perspectives can help more people to feel understood.

A degree can change your life. Find the SNHU psychology program  that can best help you meet your career goals.

*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.

Ashleigh Worley '22 is a writer at Southern New Hampshire University, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at SNHU. Connect with her on LinkedIn .

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What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree? The Ultimate Career Guide for Psychology Majors

Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and human development. Psychology majors study human behavior, looking at things such as how people make decisions, process emotions, and what motivates them.

Getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology does not automatically qualify you for a career in clinical psychology. Students with a psychology degree may decide to seek graduate studies and become a certified psychologist. However, there are also many non-clinical career options for psychology majors.

A psychology degree is broadly applicable in many industries, so there are truly endless career opportunities for psychology degree holders.

Here we will cover some of the most popular clinical psychology, non-clinical psychology, and non-psychology careers for psychology degree graduates.

Careers in Psychology with a Bachelor’s Degree

There are some roles within the field of psychology that bachelor’s degree holders will be qualified for. 

Behavioral Support Technician

A behavioral support technician works under the supervision of a behavioral analyst. They offer mental health support services to clients and patients, including tasks such as administering medication, home visits, and conducting assessments

  • Average Salary: $37,330 per year
  • Career Projection: 9% growth over the next decade

Non Clinical Social Worker

Working as a non-clinical social worker requires only a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field, such as psychology. 

  • Average Salary: $55,350 per year
  • Career Projection: 7% growth over the next decade

Community Psychologist

Community psychology involves the consideration of problems at a societal level and the physical well-being of people in the community.

  • Average Salary: $46,190 per year
  • Career Projection: 14% growth over the next decade

Careers in Psychology with a Graduate Degree

The following careers in psychology typically require at least a master’s degree in psychology as well as any relevant clinical qualifications. 

Clinical/Counseling Psychologist

A clinical psychologist works with patients who are dealing with a variety of difficulties in their life, including mental, physical, or relational difficulties. 

  • Average Salary: $85,330 per year
  • Career Projection: 6% growth over the next decade

Educational Psychologist

Educational psychologists work with children’s development and learning processes. They often help support students with learning disabilities or behavioral difficulties.

  • Average Salary: $84,940

Research Psychologist

Research Psychologists spend their time conducting research and publishing their findings in academic journals. These psychologists often work for universities or external funding agencies. 

  • Average Salary: $68,230 per year
  • Career Projection: 13% growth over the next decade

Environmental Psychologist

An environmental psychologist studies how people interact with their environments and how their environment impacts them. This can include someone’s natural environment or “built” environment such as their work or home space. 


A neuropsychologist studies how brain injuries and brain conditions affect the way that people work, move, and feel. They assess issues with the brain and support patients by providing treatment plans.

  • Average Salary: $102,000 per year

Sport Psychologist

Sports psychologists work with players, coaches, and teams to assess their performance and communication strategies. 

  • Average Salary: $106,413 per year

Organizational Psychologist

Organizational psychologists work with the behavior of employees and the culture within a workplace. They work to improve the work environment and create strategies for effective communication.

  • Average Salary: $147,420
  • Career Projection: 5% growth over the next decade

Careers for Psychology Majors in Non-Psychology Industries

A psychology degree is useful in many fields outside of psychology. Here are some of the most popular non-psychology careers for psychology majors.

Teachers help children learn through a range of pedagogical techniques. Psychology majors make great teachers and can pivot to a teaching career quite easily.

  • Average Salary: $61,620 per year
  • Career Projection: 1% growth over the next decade

Human Resources

Human resource specialists work in administration, recruitment, and training of employees. Psychology majors have skills that are very applicable to human resource careers.

  • Average Salary: $130,000 per year

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and advertising involve understanding people’s behavior and motivations. Psychology majors can make the switch to marketing and use their skills to succeed in the marketing industry.

  • Average Salary: $138,730 per year


Fundraising involves working for an organization and being responsible for raising money through events, applying for grants, and encouraging others to make donations.

  • Average Salary: $61,190 per year

Admissions Counseling

Admissions counselors help recruit students to a college or university and support them as they apply and enroll. Psychology majors are great at encouraging students as they find their perfect degree program.

  • Average Salary: $99,940 per year
  • Career Projection: 4% growth over the next decade

Public Relations

Public relations professionals are responsible for managing the relationship between an organization and the public and media.

  • Average Salary: $67,440 per year

UX (user experience) designers create services, products, or websites that improve the experience of the user. Understanding people and what they want is a big part of UX design.

  • Average Salary: $80,730 per year
  • Career Projection: 16% growth over the next decade

Law Enforcement

There are many careers within law enforcement that are perfect for psychology majors.

  • Average Salary: $69,160 per year
  • Career Projection: 3% growth over the next decade

Criminal Justice

Criminal behavior is an important area of human psychology. All careers in criminal justice can benefit from a thorough understanding of human motivation and decision-making processes.

  • Average Salary: $59,860 per year
  • Career Projection: 3% growth over the next decade\

Sport Coaching

Modern sports coaches are increasingly asked to be aware of the mental health and well-being of their players. A background in psychology can help sports coaches develop cohesive groups and confident athletes.

  • Average Salary: $44,890 per year

A degree in psychology can help you understand aspects of technology such as user experience. Psychology students will also have some experience with data analysis.

  • Average Salary: $102,240 per year
  • Career Projection: 10% growth over the next decade

What Do You Learn in a Psychology Major?

Psychology is a broad field that contains many sub-fields and areas of emphasis. A psychology degree will overview areas such as learning, human development, abnormal behavior, marriage and family, perception, clinical practice, community psychology, addiction, research methods, and trauma. While clinical psychotherapy is an important part of psychology, there are many other topics in psychology that can broaden your perspective on the world. One of the benefits of a psychology major is the broadly applicable nature of many of the classes.

What is Community Psychology?

Community psychology is the part of psychology that seeks to understand human experience at the level of the community. Community psychology provides a perspective on the way individuals make up communities and how communities shape individuals. Because there are many factors that influence community development, community psychology takes a holistic multidisciplinary approach. If you are passionate about changing the world, PBA’s degree in community psychology can prepare you to make a positive impact. 

PBA’s community psychology degree can be completed in a flexible online format and provides the rigorous training needed to create effective programs and interventions. Graduates of community psychology programs often go on to develop violence prevention programs, multicultural programs, and programs for the elderly. A community psychology degree is also a great choice for students interested in doing research in areas like social psychology and public health.

Earn Your Degree Online

Learn More about PBA’s Psychology Programs

PBA’s psychology programs are designed to give you the state-of-the-art training you need to thrive in the current psychology landscape. Reach out to PBA to learn more about our psychology programs.

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  • 08 April 2024

How we landed job interviews for professorships straight out of our PhD programmes

  • Violeta Rodriguez 0 &
  • Qimin Liu 1

Violeta Rodriguez is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

You can also search for this author in PubMed   Google Scholar

Qimin Liu is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University in Massachusetts.

A person organizing ideas and thoughts with sticky notes on a glass wall.

By staying organized in their job hunt, both authors received several job offers. Credit: Getty

We met during the last year of our PhD training, after securing placements at the University of Illinois Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry for our predoctoral internships — the final step of our clinical doctoral programmes. V. R. came from the University of Georgia in Athens and was pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology, and Q. L. came from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and was working towards a PhD in clinical science and quantitative methods. It was amid the academic rigour and personal stress of the last year of our programmes that we became friends. We bonded over being immigrants and not speaking English as our first language while navigating the complexities of academia. We both wanted to forgo postdoctoral training and instead immediately become junior professors. Now, we’re assistant professors: V. R. is at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Q. L. is at Boston University in Massachusetts.

The odds we faced in the academic job market had seemed insurmountable, particularly to immigrants, and we had been cautioned by mentors and even junior faculty members about the challenge ahead. But we succeeded: we received a combined total of 27 in-person interviews, leading to 15 tenure-track assistant-professor offers across departments of psychology, paediatrics or psychiatry, schools of education and academic medical centres. (You can check out our hints for nailing job interviews in our other article .)

phd psychology after masters

How to move labs

Despite the positive outcome, the process was stressful, fast and unpredictable. Our friendship became a sanctuary: amid the daunting job market and our own self-doubt, we understood and encouraged each other. We want to offer what our friendship provided us — understanding, support and encouragement — to researchers hoping to stay in academia after earning a PhD, so we are sharing our reflections and insights.

We must first make clear: no amount of job-search tips and tricks can substitute for good science and a strong publication record. To gauge our readiness, we looked up the CV of the most recent hire in each department that we applied to. We also made sure we had backup offers of postdoctoral positions. While navigating this process, we learnt that institutions were interested in candidates who planned to pursue external funding.

Portrait of Qimin Liu in front of a graffitied wall.

Qimin Liu is now an assistant professor. Credit: Qimin Liu

We had both obtained federal and private funding before — making us more competitive. We urge aspiring professors to prioritize their research contributions, external fellowship and grant applications and academic achievements above all.

To readers who’ve successfully navigated this process, many of our reflections and insights could seem obvious. However, this kind of advice can be the hardest to follow during a fast-moving job hunt, with several moving pieces involved and new considerations and job offers or advertisements emerging unexpectedly. Treat this as a checklist before beginning to fill out job applications.

Tips and tricks

Start your search early. Allow ample time to prepare for the job hunt; research potential options, such as jobs in academic medical centres, standard department positions or tenure-track jobs in related fields; and submit applications. Plan to reply to job ads long before the first deadline. Starting early gives you time to collect and incorporate feedback from mentors and colleagues.

phd psychology after masters

Training: Free course on peer review

Prepare your networks. The academic job market can be unpredictable, with opportunities emerging unexpectedly. It is important to think about who can write letters for you — sometimes at short notice. Most of our applications required three letters of recommendation from all applicants. Others requested letters from only shortlisted candidates.

Plan ahead. The final drafts of materials took, on average, one to two months in total to prepare and polish. The initial drafts took about 8 hours, and the research statement required a total of 16 hours. (The research statement summarizes your research programme, the work you’ve done so far and what you plan to pursue in future. It can also highlight why a particular institution is well-suited to support your work.) Preparing drafted statements in advance made it easier to adapt them to different positions later — tweaking materials for specific positions took 30–60 minutes per application.

Research potential job opportunities. Don’t just rely on word-of-mouth or googling specific positions to find things you’re interested in applying to. Use online job boards (such as HigherEdJobs or Nature Careers ), and tap into your professional network by sending e-mails or LinkedIn messages to your mentors and colleagues, letting them know you’re on the job market. Scour social media and department websites to find available positions. We both posted on X (formerly Twitter) that we were job hunting, and several people reached out with opportunities.

Develop job application ‘templates’. Create a set of well-crafted templates for your application materials, such as cover letters and statements, on which you can easily fill in your name, relevant details and where you’ve previously worked. Having adaptable documents allowed us to respond quickly to new postings.

Tailor your application materials. Templates can take you only so far. Take the time to customize your application materials, including your CV, cover letter (each of ours was one page long) and research statement, to highlight your relevant skills, experiences and research contributions. Tailoring your materials to each position demonstrates genuine interest and increases your chances of standing out to hiring committees. Generic applications are easy for hiring managers to reject. Mentioning centres or institutes that align with your research; available resources, such as early-career programmes, that you want to take advantage of; and the names of people whom you are interested in working with can help to personalize your application materials.

Stay organized. Maintain a well-organized system to track application deadlines, requirements and submission statuses. Be ready to remind your letter writers to submit their recommendations. Keep a calendar or spreadsheet to ensure that all required materials are submitted on time and to track when to follow up. An example spreadsheet is provided below.

Practise for interviews and job talks. Run mock interviews with your peers or mentors. Practise answering common interview questions and develop concise, compelling responses that highlight your expertise, teaching abilities and fit. Treat these seriously — you’re likely to be nervous in the real interview, so try to recreate that while rehearsing, perhaps by inviting a relatively unknown colleague or professor to join the practice runs. V. R. recorded her job talk on Zoom and sent it to others for feedback.

Practising your job talk — a presentation of your academic research that is often a spoken version of your research statement — until you know it backwards and forwards will prepare you for the unexpected. In addition, rehearsing how you plan to respond to different questions, and practising saying that you want people to hold their questions until the end, can be helpful.

Prepare a start-up budget to get your lab running. Many academic positions include a start-up fund for incoming faculty members. It is typically used for summer salary and staffing or research costs. You might be asked for an estimated budget before, during or after the interview stage — so you should have one ready in advance. When preparing your budget, keep in mind the spending norms at the institution and for your discipline. Ask for more than you think you need, because this amount will often be reduced during negotiations.

As we look back on our job-hunting experiences, we are reminded of how much we grew in this process, in ways that are not related to just our jobs — and this growth continued in our interviews .


This is an article from the Nature Careers Community, a place for Nature readers to share their professional experiences and advice. Guest posts are encouraged .

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Master’s Study in Psychology

Develop the understanding, professional skills and empathetic approaches that are critical for success in psychology with a master’s degree in psychology from Adelphi University in New York.

Three Degree Options

Choose from MA programs in general psychology, mental health counseling, and school psychology. Each offers optional specializations and valuable field placements.

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Adelphi and the Derner School of Psychology offer many ways to help you pay for master’s study, including graduate merit scholarships, scholarships for master’s psychology students, teaching assistantships and even employer tuition reimbursement.

A master’s degree in psychology opens doors to a wide variety of careers and can serve as a pathway to a doctorate.

Derner’s master’s in psychology programs give you the knowledge, training, critical reasoning skills and cultural competence you’ll need to excel in your career. Each includes optional specializations to help you focus on your interests:

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Exceptional hands-on training.

As a master’s student at the Derner School of Psychology, you’ll gain clinical skills through practica and internships in local healthcare settings, schools, agencies and organizations, and community services offered by Adelphi. You can also gain valuable experience—and earn money to help cover tuition—in graduate assistantships.

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Field experience is a vital part of our master’s degree programs, helping you develop the professional skills and the cultural competence to thrive in any working environment.

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Working with faculty, staff and students helps cover the cost of your graduate education. Choose from research, testing or departmental assistantships.

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UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs ranked among best in nation

U.S. News & World Report’s 2024 “Best Graduate Schools” list named multiple Carolina graduate degree programs in the top 10, including UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at No. 1.

Wide-angle shot of the Old Well on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill with a student walking by it. South Building is seen in the background.

Numerous UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs received high rankings – 20 were among the top 10 in the nation in their respective categories – as part of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools” list.

For the third time in a row (2016, 2020 and 2024), UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is the top pharmacy school in the U.S. The rankings are based on a survey of peers from accredited pharmacy schools across the country and are published every four years.

The Gillings School of Global Public Health was ranked second out of 213 schools and programs of public health in the U.S. for the seventh consecutive rankings period. The Gillings School has also maintained its position as the top public school of public health and has been ranked among the top schools and programs of public health by U.S. News since the magazine first ranked public health schools in 1987. U.S. News & World Report does not rank all graduate programs each year.

“Carolina’s graduate programs are exceptional, and it’s no surprise that our schools are ranked so highly among peer institutions by U.S. News and World Report, as well as other measures,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Interim Chancellor Lee H. Roberts. “Carolina is always proud to be recognized for our dedication to a world-class education. Every one of our graduate programs contributes to making us the leading public research university.”

Altogether, 23 programs increased their rankings, including multiple programs in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Education, Kenan-Flagler Business School and UNC School of Law.

“These rankings represent the hard work of our faculty, staff and students who are dedicated to moving Carolina forward through their incredible efforts each day,” said UNC-Chapel Hill Provost Chris Clemens. “It is gratifying to see this public recognition of their commitment to the mission of our graduate programs in research, teaching and public service. Even more than in the rankings, the proof of their work is the quality of our students and our passionate alumni who lead in so many fields.”

The School of Social Work moved up three spots in the latest rankings to a tie for fourth overall and is tied for second among public universities.

This year marks the first time since U.S. News & World Report began ranking law schools in 1987 that UNC School of Law has reached No. 20 out of 196 law schools. The UNC School of Law is also the seventh-ranked public law school.

Additional UNC-Chapel Hill rankings for 2024 follow.

Please note: Not all graduate programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report every year. For a complete list of rankings for UNC-Chapel Hill, visit the U.S. News & World Report website .

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Gillings school of global public health.

  • First public, second overall

Specialty Areas

  • Health Behavior, second
  • Biostatistics, third
  • Epidemiology, third
  • Health Policy and Management, fourth
  • Environmental Health Science, eighth

School of Social Work

  • Tied for fourth

School of Nursing

  • Nursing Schools, Master’s Programs, tied for eighth
  • Nursing Schools – DNP Programs, tied for 17th
  • Nursing Master’s, Administration/Management, fourth
  • Nursing Master’s, Nurse Practitioner: Psychiatric/Mental Health, fourth
  • Nursing Master’s, Nurse Practitioner: Family, tied for sixth
  • Nursing DNP, Psychiatric/Mental Health, third
  • Nursing DNP, Family, tied for sixth

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

  • Tied for 20th
  • Real Estate, ninth
  • Accounting, tied for 13th
  • Executive MBA, 14th
  • Management, 16th
  • Production Operations, 16th
  • Finance, 20th
  • Marketing, tied for 25th

UNC School of Education

  • Tied for 25th
  • Special Education, tied for 13th
  • Elementary Teacher Education, tied for 14th
  • Educational Psychology, tied for 15th
  • Education Policy, tied for 16th
  • Secondary Teacher Education, tied for 17th
  • Educational Administration, tied for 17th
  • Curriculum and Instruction, tied for 22nd

College of Arts and Sciences

Computer science.

  • Overall, 27th

Public Affairs

  • Overall, 39th (Master of Public Policy)

As part of the public affairs category, U.S. News and World Report ranked Carolina programs and specialty areas based in the School of Government and the College of Arts and Sciences’ department of public policy.

School of Government

  • Public Affairs, 23rd (Master of Public Administration)
  • Local Government Management, second
  • Leadership, 10th
  • Public Finance, 18th

UNC School of Law

  • Legal Writing, tied for 20th
  • Criminal Law, tied for 20th
  • Tax Law, tied for 20th
  • Business/Corporate Law, tied for 22nd
  • Clinical Training, tied for 23rd
  • Contracts/Commercial Law, 23rd
  • Health Care Law, tied for 28th
  • Constitutional Law, tied for 29th
  • Environmental Law, tied for 45th
  • International Law, tied for 52nd
  • Intellectual Property Law, tied for 53rd
  • Trial Advocacy, tied for 118th

UNC School of Medicine (additional Rankings will be available at a later date)

  • Audiology, tied for third
  • Occupational Therapy, fifth
  • Physical Therapy, 11th
  • Speech Language Pathology, 12th

School of Education students networked in Raleigh with representatives from 11 state agencies.

Kat Goodpaster standing in front of building wearing black top with her hair down.

Global studies scholar aspires to diplomacy

After earning a master’s degree, Kat Goodpaster became assistant director of Carolina’s Russian Flagship Program.

Interim Chancellor Roberts standing at the top right alongside a row of Public Service award winners.

Public Service Awards go to 7 people, 2 groups

The Carolina Center for Public Service honored work on health disparities, refugee aid and more.

Woman in foreground looking into camera with a look of concern, while man behind her plays a video game.

Broadway writer brings new comedy to PlayMakers

Fresh off the debut of her musical adaptation of “The Notebook,” Bekah Brunstetter ’04 will debut “The Game” in Chapel Hill.

Carolina blue background with yellow, blue and red logo reading

Arts Everywhere Day set for April 12

The eighth annual campus-wide event celebrates artists creating in all mediums.

Trees in background with old well in foreground, with text at top corner reading

Are you ready to run, hide and fight/defend?

Active Shooter and Critical Incident Response training customizes emergency preparedness to your workspace.

A student interviewing a person on camera. Both are standing outside.

EcoStudio matches Tar Heels with internships

Since 2018, the program has helped 466 students explore careers in environment and sustainability.

Palette of paints

Morrison Art Studio provides place to create

In this video, learn how one student uses this residence hall space to pursue her passion outside the classroom.

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  1. Why A PhD In Psychology?

    phd psychology after masters

  2. Masters Vs PhD: The Difference Between Masters & PhD/Doctorates 2023+

    phd psychology after masters

  3. The Path to Psychology Graduate School

    phd psychology after masters

  4. What Certifications Can I Get With A Bachelors In Psychology

    phd psychology after masters

  5. Can I do PhD in psychology after masters?

    phd psychology after masters

  6. master in clinical psychology

    phd psychology after masters


  1. PhD in Psychology from Delhi University

  2. Pursuing PhD in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University (BHU)

  3. Matser's in Psychology

  4. Jamia Psychology Department

  5. Best Ways To Make The Most Of Your Psychology Degree

  6. WATCH THIS Before Applying to PsyD/PhD Programs


  1. Doctorate in Psychology (Ph.D. and Psy.D.) Program Guide

    The median BLS salary for psychologists include both graduate and undergraduate level occupations. According to Payscale, of the 25 people reporting in September 2023, the average salary for graduates with a Ph.D. in psychology is $95,000. September Payscale data for 2023 reports the average salary for graduates with a Psy.D. as $92,000.

  2. Graduate Study in Psychology

    Find your Psychology Graduate Program. American Psychological Association's premier psychology graduate school search tool. Search and compare admissions information for more than 900 masters and doctoral programs at over 300 schools and departments of psychology in the United States and Canada. PREVIEW PRODUCT.

  3. PhD Admissions

    The deadline to apply for the Stanford Psychology Ph.D. program is November 30, 2024 . Applicants who are admitted to the program will matriculate in autumn 2025. In addition to the information below, please review the Graduate Admissions website prior to starting your application. The Department of Psychology does not have rolling admissions.

  4. Getting a Ph.D. in Psychology

    In order to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, you need to first begin by earning your bachelor's degree. While earning your undergraduate degree in psychology can be helpful, students with bachelor's degrees in other subjects can also apply their knowledge to psychology Ph.D. programs. Some students in doctorate programs may have a master's degree in ...

  5. PDF What are the steps to a Clinical Psychology PhD?

    What to do after you graduate to learn and prepare for a clinical psych PhD 11 Post-Baccalaureate Research Position: The Gap Year(s) 11 Masters programs as a path to clinical psychology PhD programs 14 Applying as an undergraduate to clinical psychology PhD programs 16 You took another path, and are looking to get back into this path 16

  6. How Long Does It Take to Get a PhD in Psychology?

    The answer can vary depending on your program, educational background, and academic schedule. In general, most PhD psychology programs take anywhere from five to seven years to complete. Learning more about what it takes to get a doctorate in psychology can help you better plan your educational and career journey.

  7. PhD Admission FAQ

    The program awards up to 100 high-achieving students every year with full funding to pursue graduate education at Stanford, including the PhD in Psychology. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars and separately apply to the Psychology Department. Note that the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program application deadline is in the ...

  8. PhD Degree Requirements

    Students in our PhD program conduct in-depth research in at least one of five areas of study: Affective, Cognitive, Developmental, Neuroscience, or Social Psychology. All students are expected to spend at least half of their time engaged in research. Each quarter, students should register for 8 - 10 research units (PSYCH207: Graduate Research ...

  9. Graduate Program

    The Department of Psychology offers a PhD program in four areas: Clinical Science, Social, Developmental, and Cognition, Brain, and Behavior (CBB). Admissions information, program requirements, funding and financial aid details, and other resources for the graduate program are detailed on the Psychology Graduate Program website and on the Harvard Griffin GSAS website.

  10. Psychology

    The focus of the psychology program is on research. You can choose from four main areas depending on your interests or intended career path: experimental psychotherapy and clinical science; developmental psychology; social psychology; and cognitive, brain, and behavior. The clinical program is accredited by the American Psychological ...

  11. Masters vs. Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

    Finally, a Ph.D. (a Doctor of Philosophy degree) can be obtained in the same domains as a Master's degree, and puts greater emphasis on research than a PsyD. The time frame for completing each ...

  12. Clinical

    The purpose of the Clinical Psychology Handbook is to outline and describe the philosophy and structure of Harvard University's Clinical Psychology Program and to provide students with information about the courses, research, and clinical training required to earn a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology.

  13. Psychology

    The clinical psychology training program at Brigham Young University confers two degrees combined into a single program; the MS in Psychology and the PhD in Clinical Psychology. Importantly, we do not offer a stand-alone master's degree. ... Clinical Psychology PhD Program Manager at [email protected] or (801-422-9140. Program Outcomes

  14. Masters Vs PhD in Psychology

    A PhD in psychology is more research oriented, whereas a Psy. D is more focused towards the practical and clinical sides. However, we are limiting our discussion to a PhD in psychology. Typically a PhD can take between 4 and 7 years depending on how you approach it and on your work schedule. A few years of course work and a final dissertation ...

  15. Graduate Guide To PhD in Psychology

    Becoming a Licensed Psychologist. In order for a student to become a licensed psychologist, they will very likely need to complete an internship, and this is something that they will very often need to do before they complete their PhD. Internships often take about one or two years to complete, and once they are done, the student will be able ...

  16. How Long Does It Take to Get a Doctorate in Psychology?

    Gaining a PhD in Psychology can take a full-time student 4-6 years to complete the program. If you go to school part-time, you can complete the program in 5-7 years. The length to get a bachelor's degree in psychology or any other specialization is typically four years and is a requirement in order to be considered for a PhD program.

  17. How Long Does It Take to Get a PsyD After a Master's Degree?

    Generally, a Psy.D. program will take between five and seven years to complete, and most programs can't be completed in less than four years, including internship time. Some Psy.D. programs actually include a master's degree as part of the Psy.D. degree track with students completing the master's during their second year in the Psy.D ...

  18. Getting a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. After an M.S.W

    Clinical psychology doctoral programs usually require students to have a GRE score of at least 1200, but some might even have higher standards. Students in certain programs, like Northwestern University's Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, have averaged over 1400 on the GRE. You also need to show strong academic achievement in your ...

  19. Student Notebook: Finding Your Path in Psychology

    Mariel Barnett is a second - year graduate student in psychology at Case Western Reserve University. She is interested in how stress and cognitive abilities predict learning and individual differences in performance. Her current research focuses on academic achievement and performance under pressure, particularly the cognitive and behavioral mechanisms associated with math anxiety and math ...

  20. PhD/Masters of Psychology (Clinical)

    The UNSW combined PhD/Master of Psychology (Clinical) is a four-year, full-time degree that encourages initiative and originality in research. High-level candidates are offered the opportunity to engage in advanced training in areas relevant to the professional practice of psychology. Our program has a research component as well as coursework ...

  21. Is it Worth Doing a PhD After a Master's?

    The decision to pursue a PhD after getting your Master's degree is a difficult one. A PhD is a huge undertaking emotionally, mentally and financially. It takes 3-4 years to complete, during which you are on a pretty basic stipend (OK, you're poor). You also need the ability to continually motivate yourself through the times when your ...

  22. Get Your Psy.D. Degree After MSW Social Work

    Those with the highest level of experience may earn a salary up to $124,000 with a doctoral degree. ( ). SEE ALSO: Salary PsyD Degree. On the other hand, social workers earn only around $48,000, but with an MSW degree, you can earn up to $79,000. ( Because you already earned your master's degree, you do not have to spend any ...

  23. Master of Arts in Psychology

    Current Stanford doctoral students can apply for a Master of Arts in Psychology during the course of their PhD, JD, or MD program. Graduate students who are already enrolled in the Psychology PhD program and who have completed (a) the first-year and second-year course requirements; and (b) at least 45 units of Psychology courses may apply for conferral of the MA degree.

  24. MS Psychology Program Details

    The MS in Psychology program requires six or seven quarters of coursework, depending on the chosen concentration. Those who are admitted to Palo Alto University's PhD program transition directly into PhD coursework during the summer quarter after completing this program. Students have a maximum of five years to complete the program.

  25. What Can You Do With a Master's in Psychology?

    Organizational psychology; Job Outlook for Master's in Psychology Graduates. There is an increasing demand for psychologists and those with graduate-level psychology degrees across the United States. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for psychologists is expected to grow by 6 percent between 2022 ...

  26. Is a Psychology Degree Worth It?

    A psychology degree can help prepare you for higher education or provide you with skills applicable in any field. If you are interested in a career working with people, such as education, human resources or counseling, a psychology degree might be worth it for you. Ashleigh Worley. Apr 10, 2024. Explore Psychology.

  27. What Can You Do With a Psychology Degree? The Ultimate Career Guide for

    Students with a psychology degree may decide to seek graduate studies and become a certified psychologist. However, there are also many non-clinical career options for psychology majors. A psychology degree is broadly applicable in many industries, so there are truly endless career opportunities for psychology degree holders.

  28. How we landed job interviews for professorships straight out of our PhD

    R. came from the University of Georgia in Athens and was pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology, and Q. L. came from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and was working towards a PhD in ...

  29. Psychology Master's Programs

    Faculty. A master's degree in psychology opens doors to a wide variety of careers and can serve as a pathway to a doctorate. Derner's master's in psychology programs give you the knowledge, training, critical reasoning skills and cultural competence you'll need to excel in your career. Each includes optional specializations to help you ...

  30. UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs ranked among best in nation

    University News. UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs ranked among best in nation. U.S. News & World Report's 2024 "Best Graduate Schools" list named multiple Carolina graduate degree programs in the top 10, including UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at No. 1. By University Communications,Tuesday, April 9th, 2024.