A master’s degree in psychology (MA) is a graduate degree granted to students who have completed the requisite coursework set forth by the Psychology Department of the degree-granting institution. Before applying to MA programs, students will have to meet the master’s program entrance requirements which are typically: a bachelor’s degree (BA/BS) from an accredited institution; a solid Grade Point Average (GPA) accompanying the BA as well as a passing score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Although related training and experience in the field are not required, having one or both can only serve to improve one’s candidacy in the acceptance process.

What Do I Need to Know About the Master’s Degree in Psychology?

A subtle yet important distinction to make with regards to the MA degree is if you are getting an MA degree in a mental health or psychology-related field or a degree that reads “Master’s Degree in Psychology.” The distinction is crucial to make; unwary students can run the risk of getting a degree ill-suited for their goals. Some examples of degrees granted in the field of mental health include social work (MSW), counseling (MAPC), therapy (MFT) and education (M.Ed.). Depending on the state in which you reside you may or may not be qualified to enter unsupervised private practice if your master’s degree reads “Master’s in Psychology.” You may be required to practice under a supervisor’s license; in each case, state law is determinative. If your end goal is in fact to practice therapy or counseling after getting your master’s degree, you will want to research your state’s laws. Quite possibly you are best served by getting a master’s in a mental health field, such as counseling, therapy or social work.