For those seeking a psychology degree there are three major options: the bachelor's degree, master's degree or the Ph.D. Each requires a different level of schooling, experience and published research. The higher students go in their education, the more job opportunities will be available to them in the field of psychology.
The first level psychology degree is the bachelor's degree. Most colleges will offer both the Bachelor of Science in Psychology and the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. One degree is not necessarily better than the other, but they tend to lead to different career paths. A bachelor of science is a clinical, math and science-oriented degree. Students following this path will take more labs and statistics courses, and be involved in applied psychology and research method classes.
The Bachelor of Arts is better suited for students who have an interest in psychology but aren't looking to become licensed, practicing psychologists. These students might want to take the skills they learn in a psychology degree program and apply them to other careers. This type of study, which includes human behavior and motivation, can be very useful in fields such as law, education and business management. The arts degree is more of a soft science, and it focuses more on theory rather than research and applied psychology.
Students looking to focus on a career in psychology will want to move on to an advanced degree, either a master's or a doctorate. A master's degree will take about two years to complete. This degree involves more hands-on clinical work than a bachelor degree requires.
Students will have the chance to apply what they have learned in their undergraduate degree to real world settings in the form of internships or clinical hours. A certain number of these hours are required for a master's degree. Further, students will need to publish a piece of original research in the form of a master's thesis, completed with the aid of an advisor.
The highest academic degree in psychology is the Ph.D. Typically, doctorate programs take five to seven years to complete. A large portion of this time is spent working on the doctoral dissertation. This might be a larger scope project of the master's thesis, or it could be a new study. In either case, students are required to publish a significant body of research that will add something new to the field of psychology. Students who achieve this degree will then be able to become licensed practicing psychologists or counselors. They are also able to teach at a university or carry out research in a clinical setting.
Last Updated: 02/27/2013