General Psychology Degrees: Understanding the Underlying Motivations

General Psychology Degrees

In our increasingly technical and specialized world, psychology is arguably one of the few remaining majors that has broad applicability across numerous fields. Having knowledge of human nature and the ability to work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds are both highly desirable skills in a globalized world where boundaries between countries and industries are becoming blurred. General psychology degrees can provide a broad undergraduate education applicable to a variety of industries, or alternatively, act as a stepping stone to specialized graduate study in psychology. Whether you would like to keep your options open in regards to your career or you aspire to become a psychologist or mental health counselor, exploring psychology degree programs can be a start to uncovering your niche.

Paths to Psychology Programs

Psychology degrees are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Undergraduate programs include short-term certification, two-year associate’s degrees, and four-year bachelor’s degrees. They will generally require a high school diploma or GED, and some schools will ask for standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT.
Graduate programs in psychology require you to have an undergraduate degree, and you may also be asked to include letters of recommendation and GRE scores. Programs will typically accept qualified students from a broad range of undergraduate majors, but some prior coursework or experience in psychology could be an asset.

While there are some general psychology programs at the graduate level, most programs will have specializations, such as clinical psychology, counseling psychology, developmental psychology, forensic psychology or social psychology, among others. A master’s program can typically be completed in two years and a PhD or PsyD program can take between three to five years. Master’s programs generally ask for the completion of a master’s thesis, while doctoral programs require the successful defense of a dissertation project. In order to become a psychologist, a doctoral degree in psychology is usually required.

Psychology Degree Program Curriculum

Increasingly, psychology schools will offer evening, weekend or online classes to accommodate the schedules of busy professionals. Although the curriculum will vary depending on the degree level, throughout your psychology program you might take courses, such as:

  • Developmental psychology
  • Experimental psychology
  • Social psychology
  • Statistics for the behavioral sciences
  • Learning and cognition
  • History and systems of psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Industrial organizational psychology
  • Clinical psychology

Some psychology programs, especially those at the graduate level, will incorporate an externship component into the curriculum so that students can gain practical experience. For those who would like to become a mental health counselor or a practicing psychologist, state licensure is required. Mental health counselors must complete a master’s degree in counseling, acquire 2,000 to 4,000 hours of clinical experience, and pass a state exam. Clinical and counseling psychologists must earn a doctoral degree in psychology, acquire one to two years of professional experience, and also pass an exam.

Practical Application: Psychology Careers

Popular career paths within psychology include mental health counseling and clinical and counseling psychology. These positions are focused on helping people cope with mental and emotional disorders by developing strategies that will assist them in overcoming the obstacles they face. Psychologists may also choose to become psychology professors. Focused on unveiling the complexities of human thought and behavior, psychology professors typically divide their time between teaching courses at the collegiate level and conducting research.

While these may be the more traditional routes for graduates of psychology programs, individuals may also work in law enforcement, business or education. Many people who need graduate training for their specific career goals choose to pursue psychology as an undergraduate major in order to gain interpersonal skills and an understanding of how others perceive their work environments, as well as life in general.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for graduates of psychology degree programs is projected to be favorable overall. Jobs for both psychologists and mental health counselors should increase at a rate that is much faster than average through 2020, while employment for psychology professors should grow about as fast as average. In 2012, the median annual salaries for these positions were as follows:

A larger number of people are becoming aware of the importance of mental wellbeing and seeking the services of psychologists and counselors, which has led to greater employment prospects. Opportunity will be particularly strong in areas where the population is growing, such as the south and the west. Although job growth for professors in general will only be about average, those with a graduate degree in psychology will likely find favorable opportunities in the job market due to the high number of current professors who are expected to retire, as well as the growing popularity of psychology among students. Gain insight on what is required to begin your new career by exploring psychology degrees today.


School Subject City State
Beckfield College
Liberty University Counseling Associate’s Degree Online
Liberty University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online
Liberty University Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Ashford University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online

Beckfield College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Cincinnati, OH

Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Antelope Valley, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Fairfield, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Folsom, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Hanford, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Irvine, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Lacey, WA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Modesto, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Monterey, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Ontario, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Palm Desert, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Roseville, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree San Diego, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Santa Maria, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Victorville, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Visalia, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Walnut Creek, CA
Brandman University Campus Counseling Master’s Degree Yuba City, CA
Brandman University Online Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online
Brandman University Online Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Florida Medical Training Institute
Florida Medical Training Institute Clinical Psychology Certificate & Diploma Melbourne, FL
Florida Medical Training Institute Counseling Certificate & Diploma Melbourne, FL

Grand Canyon University – Counseling Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online
Grand Canyon University – Counseling Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Burbank, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Burbank, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Carson, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Carson, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Elk Grove, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Fairfield, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Orange, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Orange, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Portland, ME
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree Riverside, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Riverside, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Salem, NH
Intercoast College Counseling Associate’s Degree West Covina, CA
Intercoast College Counseling Certificate & Diploma West Covina, CA

Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Daytona Beach, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Daytona Beach, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Daytona Beach, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Lakeland, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Lakeland, FL
Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Pembroke Pines, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Pembroke Pines, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Pembroke Pines, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Port St Lucie, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Port St Lucie, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Sarasota, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Sarasota, FL
Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Tallahassee, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Tallahassee, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Tallahassee, FL
Keiser University Counseling Associate’s Degree Tampa, FL
Keiser University Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Tampa, FL
Keiser University Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Tampa, FL

Marist College Clinical Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Online

Northcentral University Counseling Doctorate Online
Northcentral University Clinical Psychology Doctorate Online
Northcentral University Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Saint Leo University Online Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Online

Sullivan University Counseling Master’s Degree Online

The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Counseling Bachelor’s Degree Odessa, TX

Trillium College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Trillium College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
Trillium College Counseling Certificate & Diploma Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

University of the Rockies Clinical Psychology Doctorate Online
University of the Rockies Counseling Doctorate Online
University of the Rockies Counseling Master’s Degree Online

Vatterott College Counseling Associate’s Degree Omaha, NE