Choosing a Graduate Program

A. Talk to professors in the areas in which you have an interest

  1. Find out what career options are available
  2. Find out what kinds of things psychologists in those areas actually do

B. Check out the resources in the psychology department, on the Internet, and in Career and Life Planning to investigate various careers

C. When you find an area that is interesting, read some of the research and theoretical literature in that area to see if you find that literature interesting

D. Check out Graduate Study in Psychology and Related Fields and other such handbooks to see what programs are available in the area in which you want to pursue your education

E. If you are still confused after this:

  1. Plan to apply to a university with a large faculty and diverse programs; OR
  2. Enroll in an Experimental Psychology masters program, then specialize at the Ph.D. level; OR
  3. Take a year off. This is a last-resort option because it has a number of disadvantages:
    • One becomes accustomed to a particular standard of living
    • One loses his or her study skills and habits
    • Unless one is very dedicated and makes an effort to resolve this issue by gathering information, he or she will be no closer to a decision at the end of the year
    • Graduate admissions committees do not look favorably on such activities unless the work one is doing is specifically related to the program

If you do decide to take a year off, spend the time studying in psychology, working in psychology, or taking graduate classes in psychology; during this time, make your decision and choose and apply to a program.