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Overview of Master of Science (MS) Degree Program in Psychology

Majors Overview January 10, 2016

This article talks about Master of Science (M.S.) degree programs in Psychology and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Psychology

Students enrolled in a 2-year Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology degree program gain general knowledge about psychology. The program aims at preparing them for careers as researchers, psychologists, therapists, or counselors. Program graduates can seek master’s level careers in counseling and research or doctoral degree programs in psychology.

A strong, research-based background in psychology is available to enrollees who are required to hold a bachelor’s degree. They may tailor coursework toward a particular concentration, such as social, clinical, experimental, behavioral, or cognitive psychology. Tracks may vary by school, but the completion of a thesis is a common requirement in most programs. Program graduates should ascertain the need for licensure for any specific position they seek.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree. Submission of a statement outlining their goals and experience in relation to psychology is an expectation in most programs.


Program coursework comprises courses in psychology devised to cover theories of intervention techniques, human behavior, research methods, and patient assessment. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Social psychology
•Statistical analysis
•Personality evaluation
•Industrial and organizational psychology
•Research internship
•Professional and research ethics

Career Choices

Graduates may seek careers in psychology and therapy, or jobs as industrial-organizational psychologists or family and marriage therapists.

Job and Wage Outlook

In May 2013, marriage and family therapists, who require licensure, brought in an average annual wage of $51,690. Industrial-organizational psychologists banked a median wage of $87,960 per annum (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In general, psychologists are expected to see a 19% job growth over the 2012 – 2022 decade (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates aiming to practice independently in areas of psychology would need to pursue a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) (BLS). Licensure requirements may vary by state.

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