Types of Graduate Study in Psychology
A Master of Arts degree is a two-year program that can be focused on a particular area of interest (this is most often the case with terminal MAs), or they may be general psychology programs. The latter are often pursued as stepping stones towards a Doctoral program. Those who do not pursue the doctoral degree will find that there are many jobs in the psychological field that they are qualified for, including work as a psychology assistant or counselor in a group home or special education setting. Masters programs typically have a research component, but depending on the program the emphasis on research will be typically much less than that of a Doctoral degree. Furthermore, Master programs do not typically offer comprehensive funding to those accepted, and are normally funded directly by the students themselves.
The Ph.D. is the oldest doctorate program and the most well-known. It usually takes around five to seven years to complete, and it is very competitive to get in. Many individuals who wish to serve in the academic world choose to obtain the Ph.D.; people such as university professors for example. Other career options include full-time researcher and therapist. The Ph.D. offers the most flexibility in terms of employment and career choices. Ph.D.’s are endorsed by the American Psychological Association, and you can obtain licensure as a psychologist in all states with this type of degree.
Psy.D. stands for Doctorate in Psychology. This is a newer degree that takes around four to six years to complete (slightly shorter than the PhD). Also, Psy.D. programs don’t have an emphasis on research like Ph.D.’s usually do, but instead focus more on the clinical/practitioner aspect of psychology. More than 30 programs are now approved and endorsed by the APA across the United States, and you can become a licensed Psychologist in all states with the Psy.D.