心理学研究生学习选择

许多学生可能认为,本科学习心理学会自然而然地训练他们并使他们有资格在临床环境中工作,但事实远非如此。心理学本科专业更多的是作为该领域不同领域的入门,而不是训练学生成为心理学家。对心理学感兴趣的人通常必须攻读硕士或博士学位,硕士学位是进入该领域深造的“第一步”。许多心理学博士课程将包括非终身制硕士课程,这意味着学生将获得硕士学位并自动进入该学校的博士课程。值得注意的是,关于心理学家的称谓,各州有着不同的法律——在某些州,你可以用硕士学位来称呼自己心理学家,而在另一些州,你需要有博士学位才能称自己为心理学家。

硕士学位 vs 博士学位

在所有州,有兴趣在临床环境中与病人工作的人,可以获得各种类型的硕士学位。因为培训需求较少,所以你的客户群可能会因为你缺乏专业的培训和知识而受到限制,但如果你想要与之合作的人群没那么“严重”,硕士学位将为你提供你需要的培训。在所有国家,都需要取得执照,以确保从业人员具有技能并接受适当的教育培训。

处理病人

临床心理学咨询心理学是两个更受欢迎的研究生学位,如果目标是直接与病人打交道和开出治疗方案(不包括药物治疗,药物治疗属于拥有医学学位的精神病医生的范围)。美国心理协会认可这些研究领域的各种项目,想要获得这个领域的博士学位需要4到6年的研究生学习。毕业作业将包括课堂作业、指导临床训练时间(与病人一起)、一篇基本论文和一篇毕业论文,学生通常也被要求自己进行治疗。根据你想在哪个州执业,会有特定的执照要求,为了继续执业,你必须经常保持练习。

心理学其他工作领域的研究生

其他的心理学研究生研究领域也很受欢迎,包括社会心理学、发展心理学、工业/组织心理学、认知心理学、神经科学、学校心理学、运动心理学和法医心理学。这些不同的领域不同于临床心理学,因为它们可能更侧重于研究,并且这些职业不会总是涉及直接的病人治疗。例如,社会心理学家研究社会互动和群体行为的影响,有助于我们理解社会动力学;你可能会在学术界或私营部门发现这样的心理学家,帮助理解如何创造更好的工作环境(这也是工业/组织心理学家的职权范围)。

要考虑哪些方面

当你开始考虑心理学的研究生学习时,重要的是要考虑你想要花多少时间在你的高级学位上。如果六年的时间还不让人畏惧,那么攻读博士学位将为你提供更多的训练和技能(你还可以要求更高的薪水)。然而,如果你准备与特定的、不那么复杂的人群一起工作,并且想在学校花更少的时间,硕士学位是一个可行的选择。两者都需要书面工作,但只有博士学位才需要一篇论文,来自你设计、实施和分析的原始研究。如果你正在攻读博士学位,一定要仔细研究那些会指导你的教师;上最好的学校并不一定意味着你会得到你所在领域最好的导师……对于攻读心理学博士学位的人来说,更重要的是要有以研究而闻名的导师,而不仅仅是学校的名字。

英文原文

Options for Postgraduate studies in Psychology

While many students may think that studying psychology as an undergraduate student will automatically train and qualify them to work in a clinical setting, that is far from the truth.  The undergraduate major in psychology serves more as an introduction to the different areas of the field but does not train a student to work as a psychologist.  Those interested in Psychology as a career typically must pursue masters or doctoral degrees, with the masters degree being the ‘first step’ to advanced studies in the field.  Many doctoral programs in psychology will include the non-terminal masters, meaning that the student will acquire the masters and automatically continue into the doctoral program at that institution. It is important to note that states have different laws about who can call themselves a psychologist — in some states you can do so with a masters degree while in others, you need to have a doctorate to call yourself a psychologist.

Masters Degrees versus Doctoral Degrees

In all states, various types of masters level degrees are available for those interested in working with patients in a clinical setting.  Less training is required so your client base may be limited due to your lack of specialized training and knowledge, but if the population you intend to work with is less ‘severe’, a masters degree will provide you with the training you need.  In all states, licensure would be required to ensure that practitioners are skilled and have the appropriate educational training.

Working with Patients

Clinical or Counseling Psychology are the two more popularly thought of graduate degrees to pursue if the goal is to work directly with patients and prescribing therapeutic treatment (not including medication, which falls to the purview of psychiatrists who have a medical degree).  The American Psychological Association accredits various programs in these areas of study and to pursue the doctoral degree in this area requires anywhere from four to six years of postgraduate study. Graduate work will consist of classwork, supervised clinical training hours (with patients), a thesis and dissertation, and students are often required to undertake therapy for themselves as well.  Depending on which state you would want to practice in, there will be specific licensing requirements that you must regularly maintain in order to continue to practice.

Other Areas of Psychology for Post Grad Work

Various other areas of postgraduate studies in psychology are also popular, including Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Neuroscience, School Psychology, Sports Psychology, and Forensic Psychology.  These various fields differ from clinical psychology in that they may be more research oriented, and lead to careers that do not always involve direct patient treatment.  For example, social psychologists study social interactions and group behavior influences, contributing to our understanding of social dynamics; you may find such psychologists in academia or the private sector helping to understand how to create better work environments (which is also the purview of Industrial/Organizational Psychologists).

What to Consider

As you begin to consider postgraduate studies in psychology, it is important to think about how much time you want to spend on your advanced degree.  If six years does not seem daunting, then the doctoral track would provide you with more training and skills (you would also be able to command a higher salary).  However, if you are ready to work with a specific, less complex population and would like to spend less time in school, the masters is a viable option.  Both will require written work but only the doctoral degree will require a dissertation from original research that you design, conduct and analyze.  If you are pursuing a doctoral degree, make certain that you carefully research the faculty who would mentor you; going to the best “name” school does not necessarily mean you are getting the best mentor in your field…for psychology doctoral studies what is more important is to have faculty mentors who are renowned for their research rather than just the school name alone.