Mar 11, 2010
3
0
0
Status
My whole point of getting a masters is to gain more knowledge, get research experience, and pinpoint exactly what I'm interested in. I thought general psychology would be best. But if I get my MA in General Psych, and decide I want to go on to Clinical Psych, can I do that? Or will I have to do another Masters in clinical psych? Specifically I think I may be interested in marriage and family counseling, but up until about 5 days ago I was solely interested in research. Now I'd like to experience both!
Thanks! Deadlines are coming up :)
-Cherish86
 

6SAnthony

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 15, 2008
30
0
91
Washington, DC
Status
Pre-Medical
A research oriented master's degree (such as one in general psychology) is primarily geared (as the department's web site should say) for individuals who need more research experience to apply to a clinical, social, biological, cognitive, etc PhD program.

Simply put: nope, you don't need a second master's degree. ;)
 
Jan 23, 2010
19
0
0
Status
I sort of disagree with this as I wanted to get a PHD in clinical psych, but considered getting a Master's first. Most clinical psych programs, from what I have researched, prefer that you get all of your degrees through that one school. In other words, there is no terminal master's program at said clinical psych. school, but you earn your masters at that school, on your way to getting your PhD. If you do get a MA in something, you may be able to transfer some credits, but you may very well need to retake many classes, in order to earn a degree from that school.

Again, I only know this based on research that I have done for myself, so take it for what it is worth.
 
Mar 11, 2010
3
0
0
Status
I got an e-mail from a friend of mine who did his MA at NYU. His response is a little long but very informative:

"If you complete a Masters in General Psych and decide to go onto a PhD in Clinical Psych or Counseling Psych, you will almost definitely have to redo part of the Masters, but it depends on what school you go to to do your PhD, accredited or unaccredited. And being accredited or not accredited only applies to PhD programs, not Masters programs.

The APA (American Psychological Association) gives accreditation to different schools and programs based on how long they've been around and how well their programs follow the APA model of training therapists. Some schools are accredited and some are not. A lot of people consider the accredited school the better ones, but sometimes the unaccredited ones are just as good, but they follow a different model of training than what APA requires. If you go to an unaccredited PhD program, it makes it more difficult to get licensed. You will likely have to spent a couple post-doc (after the PhD) years working at an accredited school or program in a hospital or counseling center to get licensed.

If you choose an accredited program for your PhD, that school will have you redo the standard basic courses that they want you to do at their school, the APA way; stats, inrto courses, so on. This is because accredited schools need you to follow the course path they set out for you that was approved by the APA. If you didn't do those courses at their school, it wouldn't be accredited. The few credits that do transfer over from the Masters will cover electives. These few credits from your 2 year Masters degree will take off a year or so from your PhD. The school from which you are getting your PhD will give you a Masters after you complete the basic courses, so you'll have two Masters. This is the same for Counseling or Clinical accredited PhD programs.

If you chose to go to a school that is not accredited for your PhD, that school may allow for all the credits from your Masters to transfer over and they will not give you another Masters. They can allow for all credits to transfer over because they are not bound by the APA accreditation requirements of making sure each student does courses APA's way. If you took a course during your Masters, that's fine for the unaccredited schools; they'll take it. So your 2 year Masters degrees from the previous school will likely take 2 years from your unaccredited PhD program. But, as I said two paragraphs above, if you want to get licensed, you will probably have to spend another couple of years or so doing a post-grad program at an accredited school or facility.

Those extra years are really not a big deal because you'll have to do some post-doc work before you get licensed anyway. It's part of the licensing process. But, those jobs and internships are more difficult to get if you don't go to an accredited school. But, in the end, you spend about the same amount of years to get to the end goal.

The best thing to do is to not complete the Masters. Do a year or so and apply to PhD programs while you're taking classes for your Masters. If you get it, go straight into the PhD program and hopefully as many credits will transfer over as you did in the Masters so far. This is good if you go to an accredited school for your PhD because you don't do more credits during the Masters than will transfer to the PhD. And this is good if you go to an unaccredited school for your PhD for the same reason, except you can finish the Masters and still likely have all the credits transfer over to the unaccredited school."

So there you go! I just hope I can get enough research experience in 1 year to make me a good candidate for the PhD. Good luck everyone!
 
Apr 13, 2010
5
0
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
My thoughts are this. No, you don't need a masters for a clinical phD. Yes, some of your masters electives with a grade above a minimum B (in most cases) will be accepted by your eventual phd program, which is better than nothing at all. But you really need to think about why a masters degree, and when do you want to start your phD program. I'm guessing that since you're considering a masters, you're thinking about applying to a doctorate in 2 years.

So, consider all this. All phD programs absolutely want applicants to have solid research experience. So here's an option for you. Get a job as a research assistant somewhere and don't get a masters. It doesn't even necessarily have to be an RA job in psychology, though considering you're trying to figure out some sort of direction in the field, a psych RA job will suit you best. So, while you're working during the day, getting paid, getting experience, building your resume, you can take psych classes at night as a non-matriculated student. Assuming you're on this 2 year plan (and many better RA positions look for a 2 year commitment), that's a good amount of classes you can take. Some psych masters programs offer an especially good number of evening classes because their student population is going p/t while working, so 2 classes per semester may be very realistic for you. In the end, you'll have made a salary instead of paying out money for a masters degree (though if $ isn't a problem, disregard this). You'll have great research experience, which is one of the top variables admissions committees for phDs consider. And you'll get a better sense of your interest thru these classes you take. Depending on the masters program, they may even let you take a grad-level MA course.

If you do decide to go for an MA, you don't need to go to a super fancy school. A solid state school will do. remember, a masters is totally unnecessary for a phD. What you want to do while you're getting that masters is take advantage of the connections there, and get awesome research experience. You'll discover that the same students from a state school are at those same research assistant positions as students from the high-priced schools, gaining the same experience, working for the same people you want to know.

Also, consider this. I don't know how many other schools operate this way, but I want to give you two examples I know of that very well may be seen elsewhere. the New School has a terminal masters program. Supposedly they only accept student for their phD program FROM their own masters program. Also, a lot of people like to go to Columbia for a masters. It's a relatively easy program to get acceptance to, and you end up with a fancy name on your resume. But it is well known that their phD programs accept almost NO ONE from their masters program. I have heard the same at other schools too, because the idea behind it is that many of your professors will be the same at the doctoral level, and they believe your having a different experience elsewhere contributes to the making of a better psychologist. For whatever that's worth. But it's something to consider, since the natural inclination may be to believe that getting a masters from the place you want a phD is a great way to get a foot in the door, but in this case, simply the opposite is true.

One thing I might advise against is this idea of leaving your masters program after the first year. Considering how long of commitment a PhD program is, admissions may look at you leaving a program early as demonstrating a lack of commitment. Maybe not, but it's something I considered doing. I spoke with people about that option, and that seemed to be the general consensus. But, that's clearly not an absolute truth.

Last, since you're still trying to figure out your interests, since you seem really interested and curious about lots of things and want a "focus" -- you probably already do this, but attend conventions and seminars for different fields, go online and read journals in various fields. Those journals you're most drawn to are gonna give you a good sense of what interests you.

good luck!
 

RejectClinical

10+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2009
226
86
271
Status
My whole point of getting a masters is to gain more knowledge, get research experience, and pinpoint exactly what I'm interested in. I thought general psychology would be best. But if I get my MA in General Psych, and decide I want to go on to Clinical Psych, can I do that? Or will I have to do another Masters in clinical psych? Specifically I think I may be interested in marriage and family counseling, but up until about 5 days ago I was solely interested in research. Now I'd like to experience both!
Thanks! Deadlines are coming up :)
-Cherish86
If you're interested in marriage and family counseling as well as research, have you looked at some counseling psych programs? Ball State I know offers a terminal master's degree and then if you want to go onto the PhD, you can apply to their PhD program (total time would be 6 years including internship). They also accept applicants from other master's programs as well.