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Accelerated Masters in Psychology

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by gradpsyc, Dec 30, 2009.

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  1. gradpsyc

    gradpsyc 2+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Hello all,

    I have recently joined this site and have found many of the threads very helpful in answering some of the questions I had. I didn't find the answer to one of them however, and I apologize if it's already posted somewhere on this forum (there are so many!)

    My question is, are there many (or any) Masters programs in Psychology that can be completed in one year? And if so, how do I find them? I tried googling them, but the search usually results in numerous online programs. I am currently applying to some PhD programs in Clinical Psychology, but considering just how ridiculously competitive they are, I would like to apply to a few Masters programs as a back-up plan. Since I do want to get my PhD eventually, I don't want to feel like I'm wasting time getting my Masters first, but if I could get it in one year it seems like a possibility at this point.

    Any help/advice is appreciated!
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  3. erg923

    erg923 Psychologist 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2007
    the only masters program that would up your chances for admission to a ph.d program would be one that requires a significant empirical thesis. This would not be possible to do in a one year program.
  4. Hadashi no Gen

    Hadashi no Gen . 2+ Year Member

    Sep 26, 2009
    Brattleboro, Vermont, USA
    If you don't want to waste your time doing a masters as a back-up plan, you should consider one in professional counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, or another one which will allow you to practice psychology/therapy professionally. A regular Masters in Psychology will not allow you to practice in the feild of psychology (in most states). These are a bit longer, but worth it. Not only could you test for a professional license upon graduation, but if you wanted to enter a doctoral program in the future, you would have the professional experience to assist you... besides the ability to apply for Advance Standing.
  5. gradpsyc

    gradpsyc 2+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    My problem is that I can't really see myself as a full-time therapist... I certainly want to have that option, but I'm ultimately hoping to end up in academia/research. Which is why neither a PsyD nor a terminal Master's degree will really work for me. I found that most of the PhD programs don't really care if you have an MA/MS or not and those credits are rarely transferable, which is why I said I didn't want to feel like I'm "wasting my time"... That is something to consider though, thank you.

    That's what I was afraid of :(
  6. blindblonde

    blindblonde U.S. citizen, Dutch Ph.D 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    I'll echo the response from above--I do not know any Master's programs that will help your academic ambitions that can be done in a year. But trust me, the two years I spent in a master's program was well worth it. It may seem like a "waste" of time to spend two years on something that may or may not transfer, but the experience will allow you to be a better Ph.D. student when you finally get there. You learn how to handle graduate school, bulk up on your stats, and get a grip on what it really means to be a researcher. I initially viewed my Master's program as my backup plan, but it ended up being the best thing for my career. So don't discount the Master's route just because it takes a litle longer than you have planned. It will be time well spent, trust me.

    Good luck! :luck:
  7. gradpsyc

    gradpsyc 2+ Year Member

    Dec 30, 2009

    May I ask, did you enroll in a PhD program after you got your masters? If yes, did you find it easier to get into one now that you had that experience? If not, did the master's degree help you with employment?

    My biggest fear is that if I do choose the MA/MS route, I still might not get into a PhD program, and the actual masters (esp. if it's non-counseling, but research-oriented general psych) won't make a difference in getting a better, higher-paying job. I currently work as a research assistant at a major university, and we have RAs here who have their master's employed at the exact same position as myself (I have a BA).
  8. blindblonde

    blindblonde U.S. citizen, Dutch Ph.D 2+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Sorry for the delay in responding--I viist this site infrequently now that I am settled into a Ph.D. program. ;)

    After my MA, I felt that I was a stronger applicant in several ways (which I mentioned before--stronger at stats, research, and knowing that I can handle grad school). I understand your concern. The only time I heard of a master's hindering your changes is if you go for a clinical or counseling master's rather than a general, research-oriented masters. One way to think about this issue is to consider the perspective of an admissions committee. It is not as risky to take a Master's student (rather than a student straight from undergrad) who has shown they can handle graduate school and start working in the lab fairly quickly (instead of needing more statistics training or other coursework before starting). Granted, this decreased risk perception is dependent on the quality of your master's education.

    When I applied to Ph.D. programs, the reception of my application appeared to be more positive, and new avenues were available to me (including the change to apply to some better ranked programs than when I applied from undergrad). The same was true for my classmates. All of us who applied to Ph.D. programs got in somewhere, and those who applied for jobs did get some jobs that paid well (and I believe some were paid more than the BA's because they had a MA). The Master's route is not as bad as it sounds, and it can definitely help in the long run.

    Good luck!
  9. whypsy


    Feb 22, 2010
    I'd agree with the previous poster. My master's experience and education directly influenced my acceptances into a phd program. However I would emphasize that in many ways it is up to you to make your master's level education worthwhile. Going into a master's program I suggest taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible and do well.

    With that said, it is definitely possible to attend a master's program and completely waste 2 years of your time and money. Do your research and choose carefully.

    As for the 1 year master's program, I've never heard of a program like that. Honestly I'm not sure how much credit such a program would get within the application process.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2010
  10. psich

    psich 2+ Year Member

    Mar 27, 2009
    Getting an applied Master’s degree does not necessarily hinder your chances of admission into a Clinical Psychology PhD program. What’s most important is how you present yourself in your application, particularly your SoP.
  11. berlin81

    berlin81 2+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    Chicago, IL
    Hi, I understand that there is concern on the worthiness of going into an MA program and if there are 1-year accelerated programs out there. I actually went to a school that had a 1-year program where I did my coursework, thesis, and practicum/internship all within 11 months. The school is called Michigan School of Professional Psychology (MiSPP), its located about 15-20 miles outside of Detroit. Just do a google search and you should be able to find their website.

    With that said, let me state a few issues that could help or hurt you...

    First, after graduation you can apply to become a limited-licensed psychologist here in Michigan (also known as the LLP). I have this credential and I am able to do basically what a PhD or PsyD can do. The only problem is that LLP's in Michigan have "unique" rules regarding supervision, which depends on whether you are working in a for-profit or non-profit/governmental setting.

    Second, MiSPP's program is based exclusively on humanistic psychology and require that your thesis implements qualitative research methods. Most traditional psychology programs completely discount this approach for various reasons. However, I believe that if you already have experience in more traditional approaches to research, learning about qualitative methods will not hurt you.

    Third, there is pretty much no way you can keep a job and go through the program at the same time. You will be way too busy with papers, internship, and thesis. So you would have to prepare to take out loans to also help out with living expenses unless you have a good deal of cash laying around.

    Forth, if you ultimately want to go after a doctorate, it can be done after getting a master's. I believe it would just depend on whether or not you want to work in a clinical setting or do research. It would also depend on which schools you would want to apply to. If you're interested in the more in-depth approaches to psychotherapy, I would think that schools that focus on the clinical are going to be more interested in your work experience and knowledge towards both traditional and non-traditional techniques.

    As an overall recommendation, I believe MiSPP is a great program for those who strongly desire to do clinical work. I sort of went into the program very skeptical about their orientation towards psychotherapy, but I was able to network with other professionals and learn how to be a conscious therapist. As a result of going there, I was able to get a decent job as a psychologist and get some great experience.

    Finally, I too am hoping to get into a doctoral program soon. Unfortunately, I did not get accepted to the three schools I applied to this year, but I knew that my lack of research experience would hinder me. So, that is something that I hope to work on within the next year, possibly by obtaining an RA job.

    I hope this information helps. Bottom line, there are alternative programs out there that can provide great experience, it just depends on what you want to focus on and keeping an open mind all at once.
  12. brianth


    Apr 13, 2010
    I agree with what the others have said, and will add the following based on my experiences:

    I'll be graduating with a general psych masters in 1.5 years, rather than 2. It feels very rushed, and is atypical, but has been done -- and I'll be able to do it and accomplish everything I could in two years' time. But less than 1.5 years? You don't benefit at all from the experience, and you'd be better off simply taking a couple of classes somewhere, non-matric.

    How I am finishing the program minus one semester is that I took one (yes, only one) grad psych class the semester before starting the masters. With that out of the way and taking a full-time (3 courses per semester) class load, I'm set to complete the requirements next May. So, if you want to start a masters in the fall, take one or two grad courses this summer so that they can go toward your masters, and you can get out with your degree in less than 2 years. IF that makes sense calendar-wise.

    I also felt like a masters would be a waste, especially of money. I'm glad I did it this way though, for a number of reasons I won't get into right now. What may be most relevant to you is that I chose to attend a city college to get my masters. Of course, I'm lucky to live in a city where the education is cheap and good. Not everyone has that benefit. The MA program is not top of the line, but the same research resources in this city available to people paying $40k/year for a masters are available to me too, and I got lucky and got one of the best research internships around. You make it worth it for yourself. And the great thing is that though yes, I will have debt after my masters is over, because it's a city (or, go to one of your state schools) tuition, it won't keep me up at night. This option of going somewhere like a city or state school may make you feel better about spending money on a masters...

    good luck!

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