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Graduate School in Psychology

Preparation for Graduate Study
If you have been a high-achieving, conscientious student and are motivated to dedicate yourself to a much higher level of scholarly reading, writing, and research, you may be a good candidate for graduate school. You must be able to demonstrate your commitment to academic success by what you have achieved in your undergraduate program. Graduate school is not something you just fall into because you haven't chosen what to do next with your life; it also does not guarantee you a job or a high salary.

Graduate study consists of advanced training in a specific area of study. Consider very carefully why you want to go to graduate school, and what your expectations are. If you are interested in graduate school in psychology, you will need to know which area of psychology you want to pursue.

Admission Criteria
Competition for admission in all graduate programs is intense. Only the most qualified students are admitted. About 7 - 10 percent of psychology graduates go on to a PhD in Psychology. For a good Psychology program, meeting the minimum standards for admission is not usually sufficient; you must do more. For example, the minimum GPA for entering most psychology PhD programs is a 3.2, but students who are actually admitted have a much higher GPA (generally a 3.5 or higher). Some programs place more emphasis on the GPA earned during the junior and senior years. Consult the APA's Graduate Study in Psychology (available in 100 Psychology) to see the specific criteria for the psychology programs in which you are interested. Your undergraduate GPA and coursework, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, letters of reference, research and clinical experiences, and personal statement must show that you will be a successful graduate student. Students wishing to pursue graduate study in psychology should work closely with a faculty member in the area that they want to pursue. Advisors can also be helpful when selecting courses and helping with the graduate school process.

Graduate Record Exam
Your GRE scores are very important. The revised General Test includes three sections—verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections are scored in 1 point increments from 130 to 170. The analytical writing section is scored in half point increments from 0 to 6. The Psychology Subject GRE focuses on the core knowledge gained through a broad Psychology curriculum. All graduate programs have different admission criteria, so you will need to check with each program to determine if you need to take the GRE. The MSU Testing Office administers the GRE and other standardized exams. The Learning Resource Center offers workshops and tutoring. For more information on the General and Subject GRE, check out the official website at http://www.ets.org/gre.

Research Experience
Research experience is critical for most graduate programs, especially for psychology Ph.D. programs. It is also the best way to obtain stellar letters of recommendation! If the research results in you becoming an author or co-author of a journal article, or in the presentation of a paper, that will benefit you even more. Get involved in research early in your undergraduate career, and stay involved. Most clinical and counseling programs will expect you to have some clinical fieldwork or practicum experience.


Graduate School in Areas Other than Psychology

There are many graduate school opportunities available to psychology students besides graduate school in psychology. Students interested in working closely with people may wish to examine graduate programs in human services, such as social work, counseling psychology, or family studies. Other fields of interest for psychology students may include (but are not limited to) education, law, public health, labor and industrial relations, public affairs administration, and medicine. Please consult with your academic advisor for more information.

Below are a few examples of different types of graduate programs you may wish to explore at Michigan State University.

Clinical Social Work
Masters degree. This two-year degree program prepares students to work in the field of social work as therapists, mental health professionals, school social workers, and coordinators of various programs, to name a few. For more information, contact the MSU School of Social Work, 254 Baker Hall, 353-8616. e-mail: social/work@ssc.msu.eduEmail: Web: http://www.socialwork.msu.edu/

Counseling Psychology
Masters degree or Ph.D. program. Educational Psychology, School Psychology, Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, and Special Education are a few of the programs offered in the College of Education. For more information, contact the MSU Counseling Psychology office, College of Education, 435 Erickson, 355-8508, or visit their web site: http://ed-web3.educ.msu.edu

Marriage and Family Therapy
Masters degree and Ph.D. program. For more information, contact the MSU Department of Family and Child Ecology, 107 Human Ecology, 353-5248. e-mail: fce@msu.edu Web: http://hdfs.msu.edu

School Psychology
Ph.D. program For more information, contact them at 435 Erickson Hall, Tel:(517) 355-6684, Fax: (517) 353-6393, Web: http://education.msu.edu/cepse/SchoolPsychology/

Educational Administration
Masters degree. Are you interested in working at a college or university with students and faculty? Does becoming an academic advisor, resident hall director, or working with special programs interest you? Areas of focus in education administration include Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education and Student Affairs. For more information, contact the MSU College of Education at 353-9680, or visit their web: educ.msu.edu

Labor and Industrial Relations and Human Resources
Masters degree. This program will offer you specific skills to prepare you to work as a Human Resources or Labor Relations team member in any organization. Such positions are a highly visible partner of top management, and contribute as change agents within the organization. For more information go online to Web: lir.msu.edu .