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The Graduate School Process


The Graduate School Process Questions to Ask Graduate Schools Do you have a _____ program? (Specify exactly what type of program you are interested in.) ADMISSION ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Graduate School Process

The Graduate School Process
Decide what you want to study
  • If not sure----You are not alone--Dont panic
  • Do research on career options--use counselors,
    books, web, professional organizations, people

Some areas of psychology
  • Clinical
  • Counseling
  • Social
  • Personality
  • Developmental
  • Biopsychology
  • School
  • Forensic
  • Cognitive
  • Experimental
  • Community
  • Health
  • Industrial Organizational
  • Google areas in psychology

APA Divisionsone for everyone!
  • Society for General Psychology
  • Society for the Teaching of Psychology
  • Experimental Psychology
  • Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Social
    Issues (SPSSI)
  • Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics,
    Creativity and the Arts
  • Society of Clinical Psychology13Society of
    Consulting Psychology
  • Society for Industrial and Organizational
  • Educational Psychology
  • School Psychology
  • Society of Counseling Psychology
  • Psychologists in Public Service
  • Society for Military Psychology
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Psychology
  • Society for Consumer Psychology

APA Divisionsbut wait theres more!
  • Society for Theoretical and Philosophical
  • Behavior Analysis
  • Society for the History of Psychology
  • Society for Community Research and Action
    Division of Community Psychology
  • Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse
  • Psychotherapy
  • Society of Psychological Hypnosis
  • State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological
    Association Affairs
  • Society for Humanistic Psychology
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Society for Environmental, Population and
    Conservation Psychology
  • Society for the Psychology of Women
  • Society for the Psychology of Religion and
  • Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice
  • Health Psychology
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Clinical Neuropsychology
  • American Psychology-Law Society
  • Psychologists in Independent Practice
  • Society for Family Psychology
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian,
    Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues

and more.
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic
    Minority Issues
  • Media Psychology
  • Exercise and Sport Psychology
  • Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and
    Violence Peace Psychology Division
  • Society of Group Psychology and Group
  • Society of Addiction Psychology
  • Society for the Psychological Study of Men and
  • International Psychology
  • Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent
  • Society of Pediatric Psychology
  • American Society for the Advancement of
  • Trauma Psychology
  • Most of these represent areas for graduate

Clinical Psychology
  • General Career Pathways
  • Education options

What does clinical psychology mean as an area
of work and education?
  • Related to the study and treatment of mental
  • Related to the study and promotion of mental
  • This is not limited only to clinical
  • May also include non-clinical populations

Work in Clinical Psychology
  • May be Research
  • May be Teaching
  • May be Practice
  • Therapy, treatment etc.
  • May be all three!

Will I get rich?
  • Probably not
  • Will you earn a good living?
  • Probably so
  • Check for salary surveys

What about Getting a License?
  • To do therapy you need a license
  • If you seek a Ph.D. only to do research (which is
    really what the Ph.D. is for) you dont need a
    licensethough you can get one
  • The PsyD and many MA degrees provide options for
  • Getting a license requires a combination of
    coursework and therapy training
  • Licensure is on a state-by-state basis

Some Licensable Degrees
  • Ph.D.
  • Psy.D.
  • M.D.
  • MSW
  • M.Ed
  • Masters in School Psychology
  • Masters in Counseling
  • Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • MS in Autism Studies

Educations related to Clinical Psychology
  • Ph.D.
  • This is a research and teaching oriented degree
  • If you dont like research you should not pursue
  • If you only and/or mostly want to do treatment,
    you should not pursue it

Ph.D. in Clinical
  • A Scientist Practitioner Model
  • Available through Universities
  • Usually includes some funding
  • If you dont get funding you should not go
  • Very competitive
  • Programs typically get 300-600 applications in a
    year and take 6-8 applicants
  • Mentored (usually)
  • An applicant works with an individual faculty
  • Completes the masters and dissertation with this
  • Choice based on shared interests

More Ph.D.
  • Includes clinical training
  • Requires a one year clinical internship
  • Focus is on research
  • Quantitative/Qualitative
  • Collecting data
  • Publishing
  • A Ph.D. program is not just more/more difficult,
  • It is possible to flunk out of a Ph.D. program
  • It is not a degree to rush into
  • If you arent really really sure, you are better
    off waiting
  • And it helps tremendously to have research
  • Consider working in a research lab for a year or
    two before applying

  • This is a clinical treatment oriented doctoral
  • Four years (typically) of coursework and training
  • Focused on clinical work
  • Research is a minor focus, but necessary
  • Whether it requires an internship varies by state
  • Licensure requirements vary by state

  • Programs are most often free standing
    professional degree programs
  • Like some law or medical schools
  • Accept a larger cohort than Ph.Ds
  • E.g. around 100 in a class
  • May not have much access to funding
  • May be costly

  • A medical degree
  • Requires you to go to medical school
  • May lead to research
  • Commonly leads to practice
  • Private, clinic, hospital all common
  • Practice is usually oriented towards medication
    related treatment
  • It may also include therapy

  • Master of Social Work
  • A two year degree
  • Will confer an opportunity for a clinical license
  • Can be a treatment related degree
  • Can also lead to other applied work
  • Policy, community organizing, human services

  • Master of Education
  • A two year degree typically
  • May be a treatment related degree
  • Can lead to licensure in counseling, school
    counseling, marital counseling
  • May be an education related degree
  • If you want to go into teaching and have a more
    advanced understanding and training in the field
  • Can also lead to licensure as a teaching

Masters in Counseling
  • Also a treatment related degree
  • Typically two years
  • Can lead to licensure in counseling
  • May include individual, group, or system related
    counseling work

Masters in School Psychology
  • May be a treatment degree
  • Typically two years
  • Usually orients towards working within a
    secondary school system
  • Clinical treatment
  • Assessment and testing

MA in Marital and Family Therapy
  • Programs that focus education specifically on
    this area
  • Not all states offer licensure
  • You should check the program/state guidelines
    carefully to be certain

Some programs in the area
  • Ph.D. in Clinical
  • Umass Boston (also counseling and school psych)
  • Clark University
  • Umass Amherst
  • Harvard
  • Northeastern (Ph.D. in counseling)
  • BU
  • BC
  • Psy.D. in Clinical
  • Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

A few area MA Programs
  • Simmons
  • Assumption College
  • BU
  • BC
  • UMass Boston
  • UMass Amherst
  • UMass Lowell
  • Salem State
  • Worcester State

Deciding what to study (cont)
  • Talk to a Career Counselor 978-934-2355
  • Talk to people ---professors, friends, alumni---
  • Get experience in different fields to better
    understand options
  • Think about what you really like to do and relate
    it to jobs and academic areas
  • Review different Graduate School offerings

Initial Graduate School Search
  • Do a google search with key words that are most
    relevant to your search
  • graduate program plus
  • Area of psychology (clinical, social,
  • Location
  • Type of degree (MA, PhD, MFCC)
  • American Psychological Association link
    on graduate postdoctoral education
  • http//

Researching Graduate Schools
  • Compile list of schools offering your field of
  • Directories and web sites list
  • schools by fields of study
  • http// 
  • Talk to people about schools programs
  • Professors
  • Administrators
  • Staff members
  • Professionals
  • Friends
  • Read professional journals--what schools are
    represented / professors?

Narrow the list of schools
  • Location
  • Admission requirements - Test scores, grades,
    field experience, ...
  • Time frame of program -
  • Day, evening, part-time, full-time----Start time

Narrow list of schools (cont)
  • Reputation and mission of school, program
  • Programs and coursework offered
  • Professors backgrounds and interests
  • Current Students and Alumnis comments
  • Accessibility of faculty
  • Accreditation

Choosing a School
  • Attend the best school to which you have
    been accepted and can afford
  • Academic Requirements
  • Entrance Test Scores
  • Grades
  • Class and Program Offerings
  • Cost
  • Financial Package offered to you
  • Free Monies - Scholarships, fellowships, grants
  • Loans
  • Graduate Assistantships teaching, research,
    administrative, resident halls

Choosing a School (cont)
  • Size of student body in relation to size of
  • Facilities (library, housing, study space,
  • Demographics of student body
  • Enrollment and class size
  • Make a site visit (research professors before

School Admission Criteria
  • GRE scores
  • GPA
  • Personal Essay
  • Work experience
  • Letters of reference / recommendation
  • Interview
  • Samples of previous work (optional)
  • Financial Aid Application

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Computer adaptive test
  • General aptitude test of three parts
  • Analytical
  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • fee
  • GRE Subject test 8 tests of major fields of
  • study-ex. Biology, Psychology
  • Is not computerized
  • fee
  • check with school if required
  • http//

Potential Benefits of Waiting a Year or More
  • Work in related profession and decide if field is
    right for you
  • Earn money to help pay for education
  • Gain work experience which may assist admissions
  • Relax before the rigors of Graduate school
  • Mature

Potential Costs of Waiting a Year or More
  • May lose some reading, writing, and analytical
  • May be difficult to motivate yourself to go back
    to school (may indicate your desire was not as
    strong as you had thought)
  • The longer you wait, the longer it will take to
  • Some schools have a deferment policy
  • May lose contact with references Go ahead and
    secure letters of recommendation before leave
    undergraduate institution.

Application Tips
  • Follow Directions of application
  • Start Early--Most applications due in December,
    January or February
  • Contact schools to be sure application is complete

Letters of Recommendation
  • Should come from people who know you well enough
    to offer a truly informed assessment of your
  • Academic references carry most weight
  • Provide your references with
  • a copy of your personal statement and CV
  • Instructions on how the letter should be
  • May be a checklist format or a letter request
  • Which box do you check? Do you waive your
    right to view the letter?

Personal Statement
  • Usually in some manner covers the question
  • Who are you, and why do you want to go to
    graduate school?
  • Include your plan for graduate school
  • research and experiences you hope to attain at
    that specific program
  • Writing should be clear and concise
  • Draw attention away from your weak points by
    focusing on your strengths.
  • Try to not exceed 2 pages (length may be mandated)

Funding Graduate School
  • Forms of financial aid
  • Grants / scholarships which do not require
  • Scholarships check out
  • Wages, which are provided in return for work
  • Loans, which require repayment
  • 75 students finance education with loans

Questions to Ask Graduate Schools
Plan Ahead !!!
Time table
  • Spring semester of your junior year
  • think about what type of program you're
    interested in
  • start talking to the faculty
  • if you haven't already done so, find out if you
    can get involved in faculty research or an
    Independent Study project consider taking a
    fieldwork course
  • Summer before your senior year look over
    Graduate Study in Psychology
  • make a rough list of schools you might apply to
  • start writing your personal statement
  • begin studying for the GREs

Time table
  • Fall semester of your senior year
  • near the start of the semester, write to schools
    for information about their programs
  • as you receive this information, start making
    your final list of schools you will apply to
  • near the end of the semester, ask professors to
    write letters of recommendation
  • After the fall semester
  • complete your applications and send them off
    -deadlines may be in January, February, or March,
    depending on the school
  • if possible, visit the schools

UMass Lowell Grad Programs
  • How to Figure out Which Program and Increase
    Success of Getting Accepted

Some areas of psychology
  • Clinical
  • Counseling
  • Social
  • Personality
  • Developmental
  • Biopsychology
  • School
  • Forensic
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Experimental
  • Community
  • Health
  • I/O
  • Education
  • Google areas in psychology

Some areas of psychology
  • Clinical
  • Counseling
  • Social
  • Personality
  • Developmental
  • Biopsychology
  • School
  • Forensic
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Experimental
  • Community
  • Health
  • I/O
  • Google areas in psychology

M.A. in Community Psychology
  • Faculty and students share a commitment to social
    justice and the empowerment of all citizens
  • Designed to help students understand the complex
    relationships between individual, family and
    community well-being

M.S. in Autism Studies
  • Launched in September 2012
  • 42 credit program
  • Mix of online and on-campus courses
  • Enables individuals to meet the education,
    experience and supervision requirements for board

Behavior Intervention in Autism (BIA)
  • We offer 5 BIA courses within a
    post-baccalaureate graduate certificate.
  • You can complete the certificate with 4 of the 5
    courses, or 3 plus an approved elective. This is
    designed for those just beginning their graduate
  • You can complete the certificate with all 5 BIA
  • This option is designed for those who already
    possess or are currently pursuing a master's
  • All 5 of our BIA courses enable you to meet the
    education requirements for national certification
    as a Behavior Analyst

How do I figure out which program is right for me?
  • Volunteer (see craigs list)
  • Work in the field (Melmark, May Institute)
  • Conduct research with faculty
  • Volunteer to participate in research
  • Interview faculty
  • Take advantage of all of your opportunities
  • Join Psychology Club