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going for psychology major

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by boon, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. boon

    boon Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2005
    I am planning to go for B.S degree in psychology, and want to try go for M.A. degree after that. I am wondering how hard it is for acceptance into graduate.

    I was planning to go for pharmacy before, but my GPA isn't that great with a 3.0 and the major is competitive.

    So I'm wondering if anyone got any advice/help in what I need to know and should plan for a MA degree as a goal.

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  3. Maroon

    Maroon Junior Member 2+ Year Member

    May 24, 2006
    Yeah, I'm in the same boat.
  4. JockNerd

    JockNerd 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Can I ask why your plan is for an MA? Have you reviewed the relevent data related to what sorts of career options are available (I'm assuming you want to be a therapist)?

    A choice to do an MA over a PhD can limit down your choices for programs by a little bit. Many grad programs seek to train researchers and academics-- a PhD job. Terminal MA programs are harder to find and are typically less well-funded.

    That said... well, as far as Master's programs go, preperation is very similar to PhD application prep. Basically, try to get research experience, work as an RA if possible, do well in your coursework and on the GREs (if your progs require them).

    Psych is very competitive-- but unlike pharmacy, there are many options to applicants to boost chances of getting in, other than getting a 4.4/4.5 GPA.

    Anything more specific that you were wondering?
  5. boon

    boon Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 12, 2005
    Thanks for a reply. My plan to go higher than a BS degree in order to practice psychology rather than try to look for a job that is not much psychology related. I am interest into going for clinical psychology program.

    I would prefer to head for PhD program but knowing that it is much more competitive, and I can also run into financial problems (4 years of studying). I believe that if I do get my MA degree I can get rid of all the financial problems and then later continue my education (PhD) if possible.

    I am also worried on the GRE as well. Maybe I should try to take the general GRE first and see if I am competitive enough for the program?


  6. JockNerd

    JockNerd 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    I'd encourage you to check out PhD programs anyway. If money is a consideration you're more likely to get better funding in a PhD program. I strongly suggest you apply only to fully funded programs for your MA, if you do decide to go that route.

    A low GRE will not keep you out of grad school on its own. You can re-take the test, too, if you do poorly. Research experience (and fit of that experience/interest with the programs you apply to) is what's going to be the strongest factor in determining your competitiveness for a program, MA or PhD.
  7. terrybug

    terrybug happy 7+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2007
    Definitely take the general GRE first, just to see if your scores meet the expectations of most schools (at least over 1250 if you have amazing research experience and definitely over 1400 if you have limited research experience).
    Study your ass off for the GRE's so you don't get a low score and feel bummed out and give up too soon. Some people do that - they figure they don't need to study at all and when they get their scores, they're so depressed they just give up. You need to study, bottomline.

    As far as the MA vs PhD debate goes - I've heard that people with MA's actually do pretty well because HMO's don't have to pay them as much as someone with a PhD so they get preferential treatment. I've also heard that people with MA's start off higher than those with PhD's but it might be doing more admin-type work in the field.

    As far as school debt goes - most MA programs that I've seen are not funded. So, that means an MA = 2 years of paying $30k for the degree vs. a PhD = 4-6 years of fully funded study for the degree.

    best of luck to you.
  8. CindyLou

    CindyLou 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    thats really true. in one of my classes my professors spent about 2 lectures talking about graduate school. he said that the GRE and GPA score will get you considered but its the experience and research that will get you accepted. he encouraged students to take some time off and gain practical real world experience.
  9. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    The Beach
    I think this is GREAT advice. Not only does it give you more time to gain experience, it also allows you to mature a bit AND be in the "real world". I felt so much better prepared to handle the grad work and lifestyle because I had more experience under my belt...and not just research, but life experience.

  10. blindblonde

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

    Jan 21, 2007
    Groningen, Netherlands
    I'll second that. I applied to Ph.D. programs straight out of undergrad and did not get in. I felt as if I were the youngest one at my interviews, with many people already having a masters or at least great experience to push them along. I am going to a fully funded M.A. program in general psych and will try again in a couple of years. But know this: no matter how good your credentials are, you need a lot of help from lady luck to get in. With an internal locus of control, I really didn't want to realize this, but it is definitely true.

    And on that note, good luck!

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