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For Psychology Students

Professional and Student Psychologist Organizations
December 10, 2014
A comprehensive list of Psychologist and related professional and student organizations
Types of Psychologists
December 7, 2014
Sub-Specialties in Psychology


Undergraduate & Graduate Psychology Degrees



Psychology Education Topics

What can you do with a Psychology Degree?
Some top career choices for psychology majors.
Criminal Justice Careers with a Background in Psychology
December 10, 2014
The relationship between the study of Psychology and careers in the Criminal Justice field.

capella psychology

Articles of Interest

What can you do with a Psychology Degree?
Some top career choices for psychology majors.
Criminal Justice Careers with a Background in Psychology
December 10, 2014
The relationship between the study of Psychology and careers in the Criminal Justice field.
Psychologist versus Psychiatrist
What are the differences?
Telespsychology
December 17, 2013
The use of Skype and Other Telecommunications by Psychologists


Psychology Undergraduate Programs

Do you need an undergraduate degree in psychology to be admitted to a PhD program? No, but it can be an asset, especially since you will be embarking on a very competitive journey. According to the American Psychological Association, most programs favor candidates with a lot of psychology coursework; often this means either a major or minor in the field of psychology.

Psychology Undergraduate Program Options

Psychology undergraduate programs may award an associate's degree in psychology, a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts. BS programs may place a greater emphasis on scientific methodologies or on biological bases of behavior than BA programs, but this varies a good deal from school to school. The American Psychological Association notes that there is much overlap and the decision is not critical. Either should cover the prerequisitesof course, programs may be impressed by a transcript that goes above the minimum in psychological scientific standards.

Since undergraduate programs are not geared toward meeting licensing standards and are not subject to program-specific accreditation, there is little standardization. Students should expect, at the onset or foundational level, to get an introduction to the discipline and to the scientific methods (for example, statistics).There will be some coursework in human development.

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers several Online Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral programs in Psychology including both clinical and non-clinical specializations. Capella University, also offers four online CACREP - accredited master's programs: MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, MS in School Counseling and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.

Some undergraduate courses survey psychology specialties. Some require multiple human development courses focused on different stages of the life cycle. It is possible to do a concentration or specialized track in fields like applied developmental psychology or even cognitive neuroscience. Some concentrations (for example, addictions) may help students achieve baccalaureate-level certifications.

The American Psychological Association does not have an approval or recognition process for undergraduate programs in psychology, but does offer resources for assessing program quality.

The APA has also put out a set of guidelines, newly revised and published in 2013(http://www.apa.org/ed/precollege/about/psymajor-guidelines.pdf). Some standards are discipline-specific, some shared with other majors. Standards cover psychology knowledge base, scientific inquiry, and professional development, among others.

The Undergraduate Psychology Major as Preparation for Graduate School

That undergraduate psychology coursework can be an advantage at the graduate level. But just enrolling as a "psych major" and taking the classes won't be enough to propel a person into a competitive Phd program.

The American Psychological Association notes that research is part of what can help you make the cut. The APA has this advice to offer students who are planning to take their education beyond the undergraduate level: Look for a school where you will have research opportunities and access to faculty members. (Your professors should be available to do more than grade your papers!)

There are plenty of opportunities for undergraduates to immerse themselves in the professional culture. Many schools have an undergraduate psychology association. Undergraduates also have the option of becoming student affiliates of the APA. As such, they have access to high-quality professional journals. The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) also accepts undergraduates.

The APA has a list of research and internship opportunities for undergraduates (http://www.apa.org/education/undergrad/research-opps.aspx). Exceptional students can apply for the APA summer science fellowship program; those who are selected work on research in areas like clinical psychology, applied developmental psychology, applied cognitive psychology, and industrial/ organizational psychology.

The Yale Review of Undergraduate Research in Psychology showcases the very best research carried out by undergraduate psychology majors (http://www.yale.edu/yrurp/submission.html).

Psychology BS or BA as Terminal Degree

Is the undergraduate psychology degree only valuable to those who will be continuing on to grad school? Absolutely not. It develops strong research and writing skills and provides knowledge of human behavior, which is applicable to everything from business and marketing to human and social services. The APA publishes a book on job search tips for the baccalaureate level psychology graduate (http://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4313023.aspx).

You may also want to check out Graduate School FAQs on the APA website: http://www.apa.org/education/grad/faqs.aspx?item=7

Undergraduate Psychology Degree Programs

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