THROUGH Meghan MalasMay 27, 2022 at 8:28 p.m
Illustration by Martin Laksman
A plethora of career paths are possible with a master’s degree in psychology, including roles in human resources, research, social services, substance abuse counseling, family and marriage counseling, and school counseling roles. Many graduates of these programs even go on to do a doctorate in psychology.
Of the 253,000 PhDs in psychology in 2019, 57% of them also had a master’s degree in psychology, according to the latest data from the American Psychological Association (APA). But most graduates of master’s degrees in psychology have gone on to non-PhD careers. In fact, of the 470,950 people who had master’s degrees in 2019, a majority — or 76% — were not pursuing a PhD in psychology, APA figures show.
As a result, career paths for these graduates can result in expected salaries that also vary drastically. While psychologists had a median salary of $82,180 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2020, the median salary for rehabilitation counselors was just $37,530.
While there are many opportunities for graduates with a master’s degree in psychology, costs can vary significantly. The total cost for Pepperdine University’s online master’s degree in psychology is $61,200 to $81,600 depending on whether students take 36 to 48 units. Indiana Wesleyan University tuition for their 30-credit online program totals $14,700.
Scholarships can play an important role in offsetting the cost of a master’s degree. Below are six scholarships and fellowships to check out if you are pursuing a masters degree in psychology.
1. APF Scholarships for PhD Students
The American Psychological Foundation (APF) awards scholarships to PhD students who have meanwhile enrolled Master’s degree, ie they intend to do a doctorate after completing their master’s degree. Students who are enrolled in a doctoral program are also eligible to participate. These 21 scholarships are aimed at students seeking help with research costs related to their master’s or doctoral thesis and range from $2,000 to $5,000. Students must apply by June 30, 2022 to be considered.
A student currently enrolled in a final master’s program is still eligible if they intend to enroll in a psychology doctoral program. Research training groups in psychology can also submit up to three nominations, depending on the number of enrolled students.
2. The scholarship from the Melanie Foundation
The Melanie Foundation Scholarship is a $2,500 grant awarded to candidates pursuing a doctorate or master’s degree in mental health. Application deadlines are March 5th each year. Candidates can reapply for additional years.
3. The Beinecke Scholarship Program
The Beinecke Scholarship Program, sponsored by the Sperry Fund, provides $4,000 to 20 college juniors in the arts, humanities and social sciences just prior to entering graduate school, and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. Eligible students must intend to enroll in a research-oriented master’s, doctoral, or MFA program in the liberal arts, humanities, or social sciences. 135 schools are invited to nominate one student each year for the award.
4. Psi Chi Graduate Scholarships
The Psi Chi Graduate Scholarships help with direct educational costs—including tuition, institutional fees, and required textbooks—by providing $3,000 each year to eight Psi Chi students attending graduate school. Psi Chi is the international honor society for psychology. To become a member, students must be enrolled as a major or minor in a psychology program or a program of a psychological nature, have completed at least three semesters of full-time study, including at least nine credit hours of psychology courses, and meet Society requirements GPA requirements. All applications must be submitted by July 4, 2022.
5. APAGS/Psi Chi Young Scientists Scholarship
The APAGS/Psi Chi Junior Scientist Fellowship provides a $1,000 research grant for a first-year or sophomore graduate project and offers selected applicants the opportunity to receive constructive feedback to increase their chances of success with a National Science Foundation (NSF) graduate increase application for a research grant. To be eligible, the applicant must be a current member of the APA and a member of Psi Chi.
6. NSF Graduate Scholarship Program
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship supports students pursuing full-time, research-based masters and doctoral degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) or STEM education. The five-year grant provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 training allowance.