What degrees can I earn?
You can earn a BA or BS in social psychology, as well as an MA or MS from social psychology graduate programs. Top social psychology degrees are awarded through PhD programs. Online psychology degree programs are also available to students and award MAs and PhDs in social psychology.
Students pursue social psychology certificates as graduate students or medical professionals who want more extensive training in the field. There are also certificate programs in general psychology, including online programs that allow students to focus their coursework in social psychology.
All certificate programs require students to have a bachelors degree from an accredited university and prior academic coursework in the field. Social psychology certificate programs award 9 to 28 credit hours, depending on the program. On average, they take 1 year to complete.
Students can pursue social psychology masters programs that award MA and MS degrees. All programs require students to have a bachelors degree from an accredited university, completed introductory coursework in psychology, a minimum GPA of 3.0 and 3 recommendation letters.
Competitive traditional and online masters in psychology programs strongly suggest that applicants have either research or volunteer experience in social psychology before applying. MS and MA programs take an average of 12 to 18 months to complete and award 45 credit hours.
Students interested in advanced graduate work can enroll in a social psychology PhD program. For those interested in clinical work, there are clinical PsyD programs that offer social psychology as a subfield. Successful applicants have earned a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university, completed coursework in social psychology or a related field and secured 3 exemplary recommendation letters.
To be admitted into the most competitive programs, you need to have a GPA of at least 3.6. Students complete their PhD in psychology program in 5 to 6 years and are awarded 72 to 102 credit hours.
Are there any online programs?
There are a few accredited social psychology online colleges that offer various degrees in the field, including a BA, MS and PhD. The best social psychology online program offers hybrid options so students can enjoy face to face interactions with professors and colleagues and on-site training. Social psychology schools online offer masters degrees that can be completed entirely online, as do a few brick-and-mortar institutions.
Students can pursue a limited number of programs that offer online BS, MS and PhD degrees in social psychology. Most online bachelors degree programs, such as Park University’s BS program, are hybrid and require students to complete a minimum number of credits on campus.
Online masters degree programs are usually completed entirely online, with most students finishing the program in 2 to 3 years. Since social psychology has a diversity of specializations, online students should make sure that the programs they enroll in offer niche classes that allow them to learn about subfields like social cognition or gender.
Currently, no brick-and-mortar schools offer online PhD programs in social psychology, as the only ones offered are through online colleges like Walden University.
What kinds of classes will I take in my program?
Undergraduates who pursue advanced studies in social psychology frequently major in general psychology. Foundational introductory courses, which are also available through online psychology courses and open courseware, include cognitive, developmental and social psychology and liberal arts classes that strengthen your writing and analytical skills. Students pursuing a BS in social psychology also enroll in statistics classes.
Graduate level courses include theories on social psychology, statistics, lifespan development, cognitive psychology and social change. Doctoral programs cover research theory, design and methods classes and extensive coursework in qualitative reasoning, ethics and standards of social psychology. If you want, you can also take online social psychology courses to supplement your advanced research.
What careers can I choose from?
Social psychologists research and observe social behaviors, including self-image behavior management and how self-image is impacted and shaped by social interactions. They often conduct research at universities and in post-secondary schools, but they can also work in commercial areas such as advertising.
Since social psychology degrees tend to focus on research rather than direct clinical services, social psychology jobs most frequently take place in research centers and universities. The average social psychology salary is high for this reason, as research careers in psychology pay more than careers in direct clinical services. The best careers in social psychology, then, include working as an educational administrator and a researcher.
Many social psychologists use their educational backgrounds and advanced degrees in group dynamics to become post-secondary educational administrators. They oversee student services, academics and research programs. Educational administrators also write school promotional materials, work with admissions counselors and produce research data on students and classes.
Almost all educational administrators have an advanced graduate degree, such as a masters or PhD in social psychology or a related field. The amount of time needed to complete their training varies from 2 to 7 years, depending on the type of degree they pursue. On average, they receive an annual salary of about $84,000.
Many social psychologists with doctoral degrees pursue research in specialized fields such as social cognition and pro-social behavior. As researchers, they conduct and supervise experiments in universities and social psychology labs as well as for nonprofits, hospitals and private corporations. Social psychologists often become professors and integrate teaching and research. Almost all social psychology researchers have PhDs, which take 5 to 7 years to complete. On average, they receive about $81,000 per year.
Is there anything else I should know about getting a degree?
All professional psychologists need masters, specialist or doctoral degrees in order to practice. You also need a state license if you provide direct healthcare services to patients and clients. Since social psychology training most often leads to teaching at colleges or universities or research in clinical labs, most social psychologists are not state licensed.
If you finish an advanced degree in social psychology and want to pursue social psychology certification, you may take the state licensing examination that general and clinical psychologists are mandated to take.
Since renewing state licensing is not necessary for most professional social psychologists, continuing education requirements are also not mandatory. However, in order to enhance their knowledge in related fields, many social psychologists continue to take courses and receive psychology certifications in subfields like behavioral and personality psychology.