Graduate & Professional Programs for Psychology Students
Psychology grads are well-suited for a variety of professional programs.
Many psychology grads want to work in a "helping" field, but aren't keen on the research-focus of a clinical psychology PhD. But there are lots of ways that grads can work in a helping capacity: This page includes descriptions of programs in educational psychology, counselling psychology, social work, rehabilitation sciences, and even medical school.
Some Psychology graduates successfully pursue teaching degrees and enter the teaching profession; typically these students take courses in both educational psychology and developmental psychology which give them a handle on the psychology of teaching and learning, and human development. These courses typically serve to augment the skills student teachers are expected to learn in their teacher education/ teacher preparation program. Today, most teacher education programs in Canada are 1 to 2 years in duration and have classroom visits and teaching practica embedded within them. However, most teachers continue developing their teaching repertories far beyond their initial 1-2 year teacher education program and pursue professional development and graduate degrees (e.g., MEd) as they continue on in their teaching careers.
We've also had many Psychology grads enter the legal world; grads who enjoyed courses like Psychology & Law or Forensic Psych pair their knowledge of psychology with law school, and others go into policing and related fields.
Other psychology grads are keen to apply their skills in the business world; post-degree diplomas can be a great supplement to a BA in psychology to make our grads very marketable in the competitive private sector. Post-BA diploma programs can be a excellent segue from a psych degree into the private sector.
A bonus of these types of career fields is that graduates are highly "portable" -- that is, you may be able to work anywhere (vs. being limited to only certain cities).
This page provides some description of these fields and other excellent options for professional training.
Educational Psychology departments offer MA (Master of Arts) and PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) programs that are typically housed within a faculty of education rather than a faculty of psychology.
Like more traditional psychology graduate programs, these M.A. programs tend to be 2 years in duration and PhD programs are generally 4-6 years in duration. Educational Psychology programs serve to provide graduate students with in-depth training in different types of program areas such as human development, learning, and culture; school psychology/applied child psychology; measurement, evaluation, and research methods; learning sciences; and special education. Students who pursue graduate training in these types of programs may work as registered school psychologists within a school district, statisticians who work for government or in the private sector, and academics within universities. Some graduate students who enter training in Educational Psychology may also be classroom teachers and have returned to school to enhance their knowledge and training.
Like traditional Psychology grad programs, grades, experience working with different ages of children and adults, and outstanding references are critical for gaining access to these types of programs. We've had King's Honors Psychology grads successfully enter in graduate programs like this at Western, University of British Columbia (Vancouver), McGill University (Montreal), and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (aka OISE; pronounced "oy-zee") at the University of Toronto.
You can read about some of these Educational Psychology programs below:
Counselling psychology is an M.Ed. program (Master's of Education) offered through faculties of education, not psychology departments. These programs are usually 2-years in length, and these programs train students to be counsellors, such as in schools, hospitals, government agencies, etc. Some schools also offer a doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in counselling psychology.
Post-degree diplomas through Western Continuing Studies
Several recent grads have furthered their education by one-year post-degree diplomas with Western's Continuing Studies. These programs are career-focused and can be a terrific supplement to any psychology bachelor's degree, whether it's a Major, Double Major, or Honors.
Laurier offers a unique MA in Community Psychology program, which includes "a practicum (field work) placement in a community, organizational, and/or government setting."
Psychology grads holding a 4-year honors degree may be well-positioned for entry into Master's programs in social work. (Social work Master's programs do not always require a BSW for admission.)
Occupational therapy (OT)
Master's of Applied Science (MASc)
Ontario has six law schools offering law degrees (usually called a JD; previously called a LLB).
You can also check out information from all Canadian law schools at this site, including McGill, Dalhousie, UBC, and University of Victoria.
Application deadlines are usually around November 1 for admission in the following fall.
In addition to law school, many psych grads are well-suited to pursue a career in law enforcement.
Ontario has several medical schools: McMaster University, University of Ottawa, Queen's University, University of Toronto, and University of Western Ontario (and a new program at the Northern Ontario Medical School).
Industrial relations (IR) or human relations (HR)
The Family Relations & Applied Nutrition department at the University of Guelph has two graduate programs that may be of interest to psychology graduates:
I think that psychology grads can leverage their psych education quite nicely in the business world! I've had some students go on to complete an MBA (offered at many schools across Canada and the world). Some schools (like Windsor) even offer joint business and law degrees, for the the over-achievers.
This is a partial list of areas that I think psychology students are well-positioned for; please let me know if you have other ideas.
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