Graduate school

Graduate School Decisions & Preparation

Graduate programs prepare students for a specific career such as psychologist, licensed mental health care provider, lawyer, doctor, entrepreneur, social worker, or teacher. So, the only really good reason to go to graduate school is because you have a true interest and commitment to a specific career and you must to go to graduate school to be employed in that field.

  • How can you know if your commitment to a career is strong enough to make going to graduate school the right decision for you?
    1. To know if a career that sounds interesting will really be a good fit for your work-related values, interests, personality, and skills you should meet with professionals, and try out the career via internship experiences. 
    2. Graduate schools want to know that you've thoroughly investigated the career for which their program will prepare you. You'll address this in the personal statement that you submit with your application.
    3. The answers to most important questions about how to prepare for graduate school differ depending on the career path and graduate degree that a student want to pursue. Which courses should you take? How much do GPA and entrance exam scores matter? How much research experience should you get? What kind of internship experiences will be valuable? The sooner you can clarify your career and degree goals, the sooner you'll find very helpful answers to your questions about how to impress selective graduate programs. 


  • Do students have to go to graduate school to have a good career?

    No. Nationwide, a majority of psychology majors (about 6 out of 10) will complete their education with a Bachelor's degree. Students who major in psychology go on to work in law, business, human services, education, criminal justice, information technology, marketing, and medicine & health care. Our majors have gone on to work in pharmaceutical firms, children's museums, major corporations, universities, and hospitals.

    Neuroscience majors enter a similarly broad array of careers with their Bachelor's degree and are especially well-trained to obtain research-related positions in biotechnology, the life sciences, or the pharmaceutical industry. 

  • Do you have to go to graduate school to become a psychologist?

    Yes. You have to complete a graduate degree in psychology if your goal is to become a psychological scientist, a clinical or counseling psychologist, a forensic psychologist, a sport psychologist, or any other kind of psychologist.

    An undergraduate degree in psychology provides you with broad knowledge of the field.

    A graduate degree will provide you with training for a career in a specialized area of psychology.

  • Are students limited to graduate degree programs that match their undergraduate major?
    No. Psychology and neuroscience majors enter a wide variety of graduate programs.
    Psychology majors who go on to earn a Master's degree (2-year program) are most likely to enter programs in counseling psychology, school psychology, education, business or health - but some enter other fields.
    Of those psychology majors who later earn a Doctorate degree (4-year program), about 75% will earn a degree in psychology, but others will earn degrees in medicine, law, business or other fields.

Explore Careers in Mental Health Care

New! Video guidance. Excellent resources.  > PBS Careers in Mental Health Care

  • Explore diverse career paths within the mental health care field
  • Evidence-based practices are safe & effective psychotherapies. Why is it essential that you obtain training in them? How can you obtain training? 
  • Undergraduate preparation: Classes, experiential learning opportunities, research assistantships, community involvement, more.
  • Choosing a graduate degree: Doctoral or masters? PhD or PsyD? Clinical or counseling or...? 
  • Selecting graduate schools: Keep calm and use our resources to search for programs!