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Knowing the right questions to ask a program about a master’s in psychology is critical to finding the best fit for you. When it comes to choosing a school, preparing intentional questions can simplify your decision-making process. With answers to these questions in hand, you’ll be able to better identify and focus your efforts on programs that align with your learning style and career goals.
What to Consider When Reviewing an MA in Psychology Program
When deciding among psychology master’s programs, make sure to visit each program’s website to gather basic information. Use this information to narrow down your list of potential programs based on your personal needs and values.
For example, you might consider each program’s financial aid offerings; whether the program provides online, hybrid or in-person learning options; typical program length and whether you meet the university’s admissions requirements.
Unsure where to start? To help guide your search, consider these questions to ask a program.
What are your career goals?
Graduate psychology programs are diverse in their offerings and specializations. Make sure to apply for programs that align with your goals for a career in psychology. The programs you apply for should offer courses that are relevant to your career path. For example, some schools focus on preparing students to work with clients, while others’ emphasize research and academia.
Where do you want your graduate school to be located?
If you plan to pursue a career that requires licensure, keep in mind that licensing requirements vary by state. Many graduate programs in psychology tailor their curricula depending on their respective states’ standards for licensure. It might make things easier to attend graduate school in the same state where you plan to begin your career.
Is the program APA or CACREP accredited?
Accreditation is crucial when selecting a MA in psychology graduate program. APA (American Psychological Association) accreditation is the gold standard for psychology graduate programs. This designation indicates that a program provides top-quality education.
CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs) is the top accrediting body for counseling-specific programs. Attending a school with one or both accreditations can help you stand out to future employers and simplify the licensure process.
Top Questions to Ask About an MA in Psychology Program
Once you’ve gathered basic information on prospective programs, you can start to ask more in-depth questions. Consider speaking with faculty, program staff and alumni. These conversations can help you determine whether a program would be the right fit for you.
If you attend an on-campus interview or open house, take that opportunity to ask your most important questions. Otherwise, schools often publish contact information for admissions counselors who can put you in touch with faculty and alumni.
Keep in mind that faculty may have a say in your admission to their program. The questions you ask will help you determine your program of choice and may even improve your chances of admission.
Consider asking the following questions:
‘How would you describe the program’s theoretical orientation(s)?’
Graduate programs may follow a variety of theoretical orientations, or psychological theories. One of the most common evidence-based psychotherapy orientations is cognitive behavioral therapy. Other modalities include dialectical behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, internal family systems and play therapy. Make sure to research the spectrum of orientations before selecting a program.
Psychology programs often focus on only one or a few theoretical orientations. Asking this question of a faculty member—especially if you want to work with clients—can tell you whether the program teaches a theory that interests and resonates with you.
‘What training methods does your program offer?’
Some psychology programs only train students to provide individual therapy. Others, such as marriage and family or child and adolescent programs, train students in couple, family and group therapy settings.
If you want to receive training in relational and group counseling, make sure your program offers these methods and…