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Types of psychology degrees: Which one is right for you?

Do you want to study a psychology degree but you’re not sure which one is right for you? Our guide will help you understand the different types of psychology degree so you can take your career to the next level.

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Do you want to study a psychology degree but you’re not sure which one is right for you? From foundational undergraduate degrees to advanced doctoral courses, we take a deep dive into the different types of psychology degrees available to you and the career opportunities they can lead to. 

How many types of psychology degrees are there?

There are several types of psychology degrees available, catering to different aspects of the field and career paths. 

Each degree varies in focus, ranging from diagnosing and treating mental disorders to studying human development and organisational behaviour.

The diversity of psychology degrees reflects the multifaceted nature of human behaviour and the diverse career paths you can take. 

The main types of psychology degrees are:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology
  • Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) in Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Psychology
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.)
  • Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) in School Psychology

These degrees can include various specialisations, such as clinical, counselling, developmental and forensic psychology.

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Types of bachelor’s degrees in psychology

Typically, a psychology bachelor’s degree falls into two main categories: Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BS). Within these categories, you can specialise your studies in various subfields of psychology. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the bachelor’s degrees in psychology:

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology

This is the most common type of undergraduate degree and typically has an emphasis on scientific inquiry and research methods. You may take additional coursework in statistics, experimental psychology, and research design. This degree track is often preferred for those interested in pursuing graduate study or careers in research or applied psychology fields.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology

This degree often emphasises a liberal arts approach, offering a broad overview of psychology along with coursework in humanities, social sciences and communication. You may also have the flexibility to choose elective courses based on your interests, such as abnormal psychology, social psychology, or developmental psychology.

In addition to these main categories, some universities may offer psychology degree specialisations, such as:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Clinical Psychology: Focuses on preparing you for a career in clinical settings or for further study in clinical psychology graduate courses.
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Counselling Psychology: Provides foundational knowledge in counselling theories and techniques, preparing you for a career in counselling or related fields.
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) in Developmental Psychology: Explores the psychological development of individuals across the lifespan, with coursework focusing on child, adolescent, and adult development.

Types of master’s degrees in psychology

Master’s degrees in psychology also offer various specialisations tailored to different career paths and interests. Each degree provides advanced training in psychological theories, assessment techniques, and therapeutic interventions within their respective fields. 

Some common types of master’s degrees in psychology include:

Master of Arts (MA) in Psychology

This degree often provides a broad foundation in psychology with opportunities for specialisation in areas such as counselling psychology, clinical psychology, or experimental psychology. The MA may involve coursework, research, and sometimes a thesis.

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology

Similar to the MA, the MS in Psychology may also offer specialisation options. The MS typically emphasises research methods, statistical analysis, and scientific inquiry, with opportunities for hands-on research experience.

Master of Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in Clinical or Counseling Psychology

The MSW degree focuses on training social workers for clinical practice, often with a specialisation in mental health or counselling. Graduates may work in settings such as hospitals, mental health clinics, or private practice.

Master of Education (M.Ed.) in School Psychology

This degree prepares graduates to work as school psychologists in educational settings. The M.Ed. in School Psychology typically includes coursework in assessment, intervention, counselling, and consultation, as well as supervised field experience in schools.

Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

This is a specialised degree focusing on the principles of behaviour analysis and its application to areas such as developmental disabilities and organisational behaviour management. 

Psychology degree specialisations

Psychology degree specialisations offer you the opportunity to delve into specific areas of interest within the broad field of psychology. Each option equips you with unique skills and knowledge tailored to your desired career paths, whether in research, clinical practice, education, or industry.

Some specialisations include:

Clinical Psychology

This specialisation focuses on diagnosing and treating mental illnesses and emotional disturbances.

The course tends to integrate coursework in psychology, business administration, healthcare management, and leadership, providing a comprehensive skill set for addressing the diverse needs of patients and organisations in the mental health sector.

Counselling Psychology

Integrating counselling psychology with an MBA degree provides a solid foundation for those who want to combine therapeutic expertise with business leadership skills. It focuses on providing therapy and support to individuals, couples, families, and groups, helping them navigate life’s challenges, improve their mental well-being, and enhance their quality of life.

The course typically involves coursework in counselling theories, assessment, and intervention techniques.

Forensic Psychology

This specialised course blends psychological expertise with business acumen in the context of legal and criminal justice settings. It involves applying psychological principles to legal and criminal justice settings, where professionals assess individuals involved in legal proceedings, conduct evaluations, provide expert testimony, and offer psychological insights to inform legal decision-making.

The course includes coursework in forensic psychology, criminal behaviour analysis, legal, and ethical issues.

Educational Psychology

Combining educational psychology with an MBA degree equips you with the knowledge to apply psychological principles to enhance teaching, learning, and educational administration within diverse settings.

The course covers topics such as learning theories, assessment and evaluation, and educational research methods.

Industrial-Organisational Psychology

This specialised degree prepares you to address workplace challenges by applying psychological principles to enhance employee well-being, productivity, and organisational success.

This course covers topics such as organisational behaviour, leadership development, and performance management.

Health Psychology

This specialised course teaches you how to apply psychological principles to promote health behaviour change, enhance patient engagement, and optimise healthcare delivery.

The curriculum includes topics such as biopsychosocial aspects of health, health behaviour change theories, and health communication.

Developmental Psychology

This degree ensures you can apply developmental principles to areas such as leadership development, organisational change management, and talent development.

The course covers topics such as lifespan development, individual differences, and motivation.

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How to choose the right psychology degree

To choose the right psychology degree, you should carefully consider your interests, career goals, and academic preferences. Start by exploring the various specialisations within psychology to find a field that aligns with your passions and aspirations. 

Understanding the requirements and prerequisites for each degree, as well as considering factors like location, cost and available resources, can also help guide your decision-making process.

Ultimately, selecting the right psychology degree involves a balance of personal interests, academic goals, and practical considerations to set the foundation for a successful career in psychology.

The wide range of psychology degrees offers something for everyone, whether your passion lies in clinical practice, research, education or organisational leadership. 

Each specialisation provides a unique lens through which to explore and understand human behaviour, with opportunities to make meaningful contributions to individuals and communities.

From diagnosing and treating mental health disorders to shaping educational interventions, and unravelling the mysteries of human development, there’s a psychology degree to suit every interest and aspiration.

If you want to earn your psychology degree at your own pace, check out our collection of online psychology degrees from top universities.

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