Advising - [ Frequently Asked Questions ]
Undergraduate Degree Questions
What can I do with an undergraduate degree in Psychology?
It is generally agreed that a person with an undergraduate degree in psychology is not a psychologist. He or she is, rather, the possessor of an arts and sciences education with a concentration in psychology. Anyone intending to perform as a professional psychologist must complete a graduate program.
A bachelor's degree in psychology prepares graduates to pursue:
- masters or doctoral study in psychology.
- graduate school in related areas such as guidance, counseling, educational psychology, rehabilitation, social work, criminology, law school, management, marketing, etc.
- employment in private business or government (e.g., working with people with retardation, social work, personnel work, quality control jobs, management training, marketing research, sales, etc.).
For a person with a bachelor's degree in psychology, psychological technician-type jobs in state hospitals or facilities for people with retardation are often available. Starting salaries in this area are typically from $15,000-$20,000.
More information about the types of jobs available for psychology majors at all levels is presented in Careers in Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Also, at MSU, the Career Center (Room 316, Colvard Union) keeps a list of current job opportunities in this part of the country, along with the salaries offered for each. The Career Center also maintains a current list of potential employers for psychology graduates at all levels.
What is the difference between a B.S. and a B.A? Which is better for graduate school?
Mississippi State University offers two undergraduate degree programs in psychology, a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science degree. The B.A. degree provides students with comprehensive exposure to the major core areas in psychology within a liberal arts education. The B.S. program replaces 12 hours of humanities and 12 hours of social sciences with a six-course theme requirement. The theme can either be a minor or an established concentration like gerontology, artificial intelligence, or women's studies, and is intended to show linkages between courses. Whether you choose the B.A. or the B.S. degree, we believe that an arts and sciences education is the best formal education to prepare you for employment versatility and a well-rounded intellectual life.
What are some ideas for a theme in a B.S.?
See the Department of Psychology student handbook for examples of themes for B.S. Degrees in Psychology.
Are there limits to what you can minor in?
No. You can minor in any subject that's of interest to you. You'll find the requirements for almost every minor offered by a department in the MSU Catalog. It's also wise to discuss this with your major advisor.
Graduate School/GRE Questions
What can I do with a master's degree in Psychology?
A master's degree increases the number and types of job opportunities. Other than state hospitals or homes, a person with a masters degree may also find employment with community mental health facilities, campus counseling centers, governmental agencies (court system, rehabilitation services, etc.), and research institutes. It is possible for a person with a M.S. in psychology to find a teaching position at a community college, although these positions are scarce. People filling masters-level positions usually have more responsibility and are more directly involved with therapy or research than those filling bachelor's-level positions. Starting salaries for these positions range from $20,000-$30,000 in this geographical area.
What can I do with a doctorate in Psychology?
A person with a Ph.D. in psychology generally has the best opportunities for employment. The doctoral-level psychologist can enter private practice, qualify to receive grants for research, teach, seek an administrative position, or function in any position also open to a person with a masters degree. Salaries begin around $30,000 and increase to over $100,000 or more for people in some administrative positions, as well as for industrial psychologists, clinicians, and outstanding researchers.
How do I find information on graduate programs?
APA publishes a guide to over 500 psychology programs in the U.S. and Canada. Graduate Study in Psychology provides information about programs and degrees offered, admission requirements, application information, financial aid, tuition, and housing. To purchase either the hard copy or the online version you must place your order through APA.
What is the GRE?
The GRE is the Graduate Record Examination, a standardized test required for entrance to graduate school. The GRE has two components: the General test (made up of Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical subtests) and the Subject test (in your case, Psychology). Your GRE scores are important determinants of whether or not you will be admitted to graduate school.
Where can I get help with GRE preparation?
To get more information about the GRE see their website at www.gre.org. Workbooks on how to prepare for such examinations are available in university bookstores and elsewhere.
When should I take the GRE?
Since most graduate programs have application deadlines starting as early as January (for admission starting the following September), you should take the GRE no later than the fall of your senior year. It would be a good idea to prepare for the GRE toward the end of your junior year. For more information on taking the GRE locally, contact the Computer-Based Testing Center at 325-6610.
What services are offered to students concerning their mental health?
The MSU Counseling Center is located in Hathorn Hall. All enrolled MSU students are eligible for using the services provided by the Counseling Center. All services are free. Call 325-2091 for an appointment.
The Counseling and School Psychology Lab (located in the Box Building behind the Student Health Center) is a counseling and assessment center used as a training facility by the Department of Counselor Education and Educational Psychology. Counseling services are provided by advanced masters and doctoral students as well as licensed faculty. Fees are based on a sliding scale. Call 325-0717 for an appointment.
How do I change advisors?
If you'd like to request a particular advisor you should first ask that faculty member if they are willing to add you to their advising load. If they are willing to, they'll let the main office know and your enrollment forms and folder will be changed accordingly. If you're having a problem with your advisor, talk to the Department Head about it.
I would like to know more about the teachers, their interests, etc.
Visit this website to learn more about the faculty: http://www.psychology.msstate.edu/faculty/facultybios/. Also, drop by our offices during office hours and have a chat!
What internships or fieldwork opportunities are available?
If you're interested, you can get academic credit for work in an applied setting. The purpose of an internship is to give you the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge under the supervision of qualified persons. With the variety of agencies and settings used as internship sites, the internship experiences cannot be precisely specified, but each will include a minimum of 300 clock hours. For more information contact the main office (325-3202).
How do I get involved in research? When should I start doing research?
Typically, this is achieved by finding a faculty mentor and working in his or her research lab. Research takes time, so you should start research work as a sophomore or junior if you want to have presentable results by graduation.
How do I get into Psi Chi?
In order to be eligible for Psi Chi Honor Society you must have completed 3 semesters of college, 9 hours of psychology courses, rank in the top 35% of your class in general scholarship, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in both your psychology classes and in your cumulative grades. Students in Psi Chi are involved in professional activities related to psychology and are committed to contributing to their discipline in a significant way. Dr. Sinclair (325-4108) is the MSU chapter advisor.