Undergraduate psychology majors frequently go on to graduate school programs in psychology (clinical, counseling, developmental, family, I/O, neuroscience), teaching, social work, medicine, law, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, human resources, business, and other various fields.
Students should start planning for graduate school in their junior year. Gaining research experience beyond the requirements for the major is strongly encouraged.
How to prepare
- Check for the dates of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- Familiarize yourself with Graduate Study in Psychology
- Request applications from your chosen graduate programs
- Register to take all required admissions tests (GRE, MAT, etc.)
- Complete application forms
What they are looking for?
- Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
- Good grades (official transcript)
- Research experience
- Presented research
- Letters of recommendation from your current professors (Hint: Ask them three weeks in advance of deadlines!)
- Why you are interested in their program?
- How do your interests compare to their interests?
- Personal statements are used to assess your writing ability (readers will look for writing that is organized, coherent, and succinct).
- They help programs evaluate students in the mid-range (average grade & test scores).
How to write a personal statement
- Answer all the questions.
- Integrate academic, research, practical, and life experiences to show your determination to pursue your goals.
- Show how the graduate program will maximize your ability to pursue these goals.
- Conform to structural specifications.
- Avoid discussing personal problems.
- Avoid using clichés such as “I want to help people” or “I want to make the world a better place”.
- Demonstrate that you have researched the school to which you are applying such as the type of program, general research interests of the faculty, etc., and that it would suit your goals.
- Be careful not to be so specific however, that you narrow your options and decrease your chances of being accepted.
- Check your grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization carefully!
- How to Avoid the Kisses of Death in the Graduate School Application Process
- Explore our alumni updates/careers database to see what career paths our majors have followed and what graduate programs they completed to get there!
- Advice on letters of recommendation from the Social Psychology network
- APA video modules: Preparing and Applying to Graduate School
- Frequently asked questions about graduate school (apa.org)
- Científico Latino (mentorship, workshops, open-access resources on scholarships, fellowships and blog posts on professional development)
- Factors To Consider Before Attending Graduate School
- Graduate School Directory
- Sign up to be included in the Registry of Undergraduate Researchers (hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research)
- Which Graduate School is Right for You?
- Magoosh (GRE prep course, GRE Blog with free resources, also has resources for LSAT & MCAT)
- Graduate School Options for Psychology Majors
- Master’s in Clinical Psychology, PhD in Clinical Psychology
- Master’s in Counseling Psychology, PhD in Counseling Psychology
- Master’s Degree in Forensic Psychology, PhD in Forensic Psychology
- Master’s in Psychology, PhD in Psychology
- Masters in Social Work, PhD in Social Work
- Paying for Graduate School
- RN to BSN Programs
- The Grad Prep Quiz (pdf)
- Ways That Graduate School Different From Undergrad
- Apply to multiple programs.
- Check out Peterson’s Graduate School Channel!
- When requesting a transcript, ask when the transcript will be sent and then follow up to verify it was sent when promised.
- If you haven’t heard back from the school in a timely manner, follow up! This should be done at least three weeks before the school’s deadline for applications to be completed.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland offers a Master of Arts degree in teaching (with certification programs in elementary education, early-elementary and elementary education, PreK-12 art or music, PreK-12 foreign language, secondary education, and special education). Many psychology majors take advantage of earning a BS and a MAT in five years at SMCM.