How Do I Choose My Psychology Master’s Concentration?

psychology concentration

Choosing a psychology master’s concentration is just as important as choosing a degree program. Some of the concentrations available for graduate students today include applied behavior analysis, counseling psychology, and industrial and organizational psychology. Some colleges also offer general programs that look at the top fields of study within psychology. Those programs are usually best for students planning to enroll in a doctoral program. Students can find out more about the concentrations offered by colleges before they apply and learn how to choose one of those concentrations.

Related resource: Ranking Top 25 Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs Online

Major vs. Concentration vs. Minor

Before choosing a concentration, students should look at how a concentration compares to a major and a minor. The term major refers to the subject in which the student will focus most of his or her attention, which is psychology in this case. Schools use the term minor to refer to similar or related subject areas that students can pick. Colleges have a set number of classes that students must take to complete a major, but they only need to take a few classes to complete a minor. Concentrations are more closely related to the primary field of study. If a student majors in psychology, the college might recommend a concentration in forensic psychology or counseling.

Focus on Career Goals

A good way for students to choose a psychology master’s concentration is with a look at their overall career goals. Those who want to work as counselors in certain states will usually need to do an internship or a practicum and spend 300 to 500 hours or more doing fieldwork. They can choose a counseling psychology concentration that allows them to develop the skills they’ll need to interact with patients. Other concentrations can help students achieve any of the career goals they have.

Consider Career Potential

Many students today look at how much money they can make when they graduate from a degree program. Those applying to graduate psychology programs should do the same thing. They’ll also need to think about the different positions they can get with their degrees and how much their salaries can vary. A concentration in industrial and organizational psychology allows the graduate to work for nonprofit organizations and major employers. They typically make more working for private employers. Most colleges have career services offices and departments. Prospective students can talk to reps of that office to get help learning about their career options.

Talk to Experts

According to The College Board, talking to experts and professionals who already work in the field is a good way to choose a major or a concentration. Most students applying to graduate psychology programs already have some professional connections. They can talk to those connections and get help deciding which concentrations are best for them based on how much they want to make and either where they want to work or what they want to do. Some colleges allow prospective students to network with alumni and learn from them too.

The psychology field includes a number of related subjects, including industrial and organizational psychology, applied behavior analysis, and marriage and family counseling. Many colleges allow students to customize programs with concentrations in these fields. Students can choose a psychology master’s concentration with a look at the career potential of each one and with help from experts.