Master’s in Applied Psychology

The field of psychology is well-known for its high degree of research and theoretical bindings. What most people consider psychology involves the use of laboratory-based experiments and research studies conducted in a controlled environment. In spite of this knowledge, there are other fields of psychology that provide a more practical foundation for knowledge - using real-world application and results. The field of applied psychology includes positions in psychology that range from the treatment of mental illness and disease to the application of theoretical concepts in community settings.

Programs That May Be Currently Accepting Applicants
Sacred Heart University | NEASC Accredited
Simmons College | Accredited

What is Applied Psychology?

Applied psychology seeks to go beyond what is taught from experimentation and change behavior that is observable in everyday life. Practitioners of applied psychology may regularly use the results of research to apply theories to real groups of people and analyze their effectiveness. For example, if a research study is completed showing that playing basketball is an effective means of helping adults quite smoking, the applied psychologists may take this knowledge to a self-help group of adults trying to cease their smoking habit and introduce it as a help program.

If the original research provided results that showed an increased number of smokers that quit, then the results of the program should closely resemble the research. As another example, an applied psychologist might work for an organization that is wanting to increase employee morale. The applied psychologist may review studies that effectively increase the morale of workers and help to apply it within the organization that they are employed.

Applied psychology is not only applicable to areas that focus on individual behavior. This field can also touch on the behavior of businesses, schools, and even the government. Any area within society that includes the participation of people is a potential field for the applied psychologist. Our team of experienced educational experts has provided this helpful guide to give you more insight into the available degree programs and the future that they can provide you.

What Does an Applied Psychologist Do and Why Are They Needed?

The most important aspect of the applied psychologist position is its ability to change behavior and attitudes through application. Regardless of which field you work in, you may find that applied psychology involves an active participation in providing a change to increase wellness, effectiveness, or quality of life.

As an applied psychologist, you may be responsible for taking findings from psychological research and applying it to various situations within a real-life setting. For example, an applied psychologist working for the school system notices that children being bullied are not doing as well in school as children that are not bullied. The applied psychologist may then locate studies or research that focus on increased educational attention to children that have suffered from bullying and use methods from that research to create intervention programs.

Research that is reliable and valid should show results that can be replicated in a real-world setting, making this is a great way to intervene when children are having difficulty with learning due to bullying. Applied psychology allows for professionals to finish the behavior-change process that is started by research specialist. Without fields such as this one, the years of research that has been created for the field of psychology may not have any other medium for reaching the public.

Common Coursework and Universities Offering Applied Psychology Certificates/Degrees

Since applied psychology is applicable to many different areas within society, it is likely that the curriculum for each program will vary depending on whether or not students have the option of pursuing a specialty. Some courses such as statistics and research methods may be present regardless of the program, since these courses are central to the application of psychological theory in all domains.

Programs that are designed for business professionals may include course topics such as human diversity and workplace ethics, while clinical specialties may include courses that focus more on the cognitive nature of behavior. Other courses that are common within these degree programs include group interventions, psychotherapy, and chemical dependecy. Our team has provided some popular master’s programs for you to browse beneath this section.

The University of Southern California

USC’s Master’s program in Applied Psychology caters to those that wish to apply their knowledge within the business setting. Applied psychology in business can bring to light the importance of considering diverse work population in relationship to workplace efficiency. This program is designed to bring together all of the elements of workplace ethics, diversity, individual behavior, and organizational dynamics in the business planning process.

Students in this program may be expected to take part in supervised work experience or an apprenticeship prior to completing the program. This 1 year, accelerated program is designed to provide students with the skills needed to analyze, assess, and change company behavior for better business practices overall. The curriculum for this program involves 5 core courses, 2 electives, as well as an internship course and experience requirement.

Pacific University Oregon

The Master’s in Applied Psychology from Pacific University Oregon provides students with the option to choose from 2 specialties: Applied Research and Clinical Psychology. The Applied Research specialty allow students to focus on bringing the results of research into real-world settings. The curriculum for this specialty may involve a deeper look into the different sectors of society and how research works to improve different areas within each sector. Clinical Psychology as a specialty can teach students how to use their knowledge within a practical and clinical setting.

Disease and illness diagnosis, treatment, and consultation methods may be taught throughout this program. Depending on the field in which you plan to work, one specialty may be more suitable for some than others. Each specialty requires 28 core courses, with applied research requiring 12 electives and 20 specialty courses and clinical psychology requiring 6 electives and 26 specialty courses.

The University of Pennsylvania

Providing an interesting turn on the standard master’s program, the University of Pennsylvania offers the Master’s of Applied Positive Psychology for interested learners. Positive psychology on its own seeks to identify strengths and other positive attributes of individuals or organizations that are needing a change. Using this method, students can learn to identify potential areas for growth and spotlighting during the change process.

The curriculum for this program involves a look into the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of psychology. Students that are enrolled through this program may be expected to take part in individual research projects, presentations, and group discussion. The entire program at this university consists of 9 courses, which can be completed in as little as one year.

Salary and Career Outlook

Applied psychology is an intriguing field that draws in students looking for more than the standard research position. Regardless of whether you might be interested in applying what you know in a business setting, schools, or throughout the community, applied psychology provides you with the skills to recognize problematic behaviors and situations, find a suitable solution, and apply methods for success.

Since more people and organizations are seeking more helpful ways of increasing their quality of life or business, this field may see an increase in participants in the near future. For psychologists as a whole, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the field will see a growth of 19% over the next decade (BLS; 2016). In terms of salary, the field of psychology has many different subfields. Applied psychologists can be found in many different domains.

Clinical and counseling psychologists have the potential to earn $73,270 on average per year while working throughout the United States, while those focusing on the industrial and organizational aspects can earn $82,760 per year on average (BLS; 2016). There is definitely plenty of potential for graduates within this field. Earning your Master’s in Applied Psychology can set you on track to obtain careers that can make a difference in the lives of people from all walks of life.

Final Thoughts

Having an interest in psychology can lead you in many different directions. Some people may find it more profitable to pursue careers working in clinical psychology or even school psychology, while others want to stick with their love of research and development. Depending on the type of person you are, there are numerous fields for you to become involved.

Applied psychology provides people with results, which is what the field of psychology set out to do when it was first conceptualized. The transition from the philosophy of the mind to psychology was made when people discovered that the ideas surrounding human emotion, thought, and behavior were not something that could not be tested and applied. From this growth, fields such as applied psychology have grown into helpful career paths that can change the dynamic of almost any group within communities all over the world.

The Master’s in Applied Psychology has many different applications throughout society – all of which were derived from previous studies and research conducted through experimentation. The main purpose of this field is to bring research and theory in psychology to life. Without professionals available to apply the knowledge gained through case studies, interviews, and laboratory testing, it would be difficult to consider any research reliable and valid. If you are looking for a field that allows you to get involved with the community and make changes that can improve the quality of life, education, and work for a large number of people, this is definitely a field to consider.

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