The field of psychology is as diverse as the human experience. Psychology schools offer degree programs for every conceivable level of interest in the discipline. Students might earn a certificate, Associate's, BA, BS, MA, MS and Ph.D. in Psychology or a Psy.D. Just as there are a myriad of psychology specialties, so too are there academic programs to go along with them. Psychology schools might offer advanced degrees in such varying subjects as:
Students considering a choice of psychology schools need to verify that the schools they are interested in are accredited. Two types of accreditation are available for psychology schools: institutional and specialized. Both insure that the institution or professional program meets with the minimum standards of quality as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. The institutional accreditation is awarded to academic institutions by one of seven regional boards approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The specialty accreditation is awarded by the American Psychological Association (APA) (APA) Committee on Accreditation, and applies only to doctoral programs, internships and postdoctoral residency programs. Both of these accreditations are extremely important because in order to become licensed as a psychologist at the state level, professionals are required to hold a degree from accredited psychology schools, and their internships need to have occurred with accredited programs.
When debating the choice of which psychology schools to select, an important aspect to compare is what type of research, internship and postdoctoral work each one offers. Students interested in the research aspect of the psychology field will find this distinction as important as those interested in the clinical aspect of psychology. For example, some schools will state outright that their program is strictly a research-oriented program. Graduates of their program usually seek positions as research psychologists, typically in academic settings. As such, their internship program will not focus on psychotherapy or professional training. For example, the University of Pennsylvania offers a Clinical Psychology degree that has a greater focus on psychotherapy and hands-on clinical work. They have a psychological clinic on campus where students can complete clinical hours under the supervision of their professors. The early direction of a psychologist's career is greatly shaped by the program a student selects, so it is wise to consider the choice of a psychology school very carefully.
Last Updated: 02/27/2013