People who earn a degree in psychology can find meaningful work in a variety of areas, including education, counseling, occupational health and research. For many careers, a master's degree is required. In general, it takes a year or two of postgraduate study after a four-year bachelor's degree to earn a Master of Arts or Science degree in psychology.
Prior to entering a master's program, a student must complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. While students don't have to major in psychology, most programs require them to complete certain psychology classes before entering the master's program. DePaul University requires prospective master's students to have earned 24 semester hours in psychology, including classes in statistics, experimental psychology and abnormal psychology. Boston University requires students to have taken an introductory psychology course, as well as courses in psychology research methods, statistics and at least two content courses. Students typically require four years to earn a bachelor's, and may need another year to complete the prerequisites if they haven't already taken them.
Master of Science
Students who desire a career in research or plan to enter a doctorate program may choose to earn a Master of Science degree. This is a good choice for people who want to do market research, public policy analysis, program evaluation or research management, according to the Arizona State University's MS program Web page, or for those who want to teach or do statistical consulting, according to DePaul University's program synopsis. These are two-year programs. Some schools, such as Drexel University, offer a quicker path for students who enroll as freshmen in the Psychology BS/MS Scholars Program. These students can earn an undergraduate and graduate degree in five years.
Master of Arts
As with the Master of Science degree, a Master of Arts degree can prepare students to enter a doctoral program or to begin a career in research or teaching. Students enrolled in Brandeis University's full-time program earn a degree in one year, as do students at Boston University. Students may enroll part time, and would then take more than a year to graduate as their schedules permit.
For those who prefer to study online, options include Walden University's Master of Science in Psychology program. Students can complete this program in as little as 15 months, according to the Walden website. Southern New Hampshire University also offers an online course which may be completed in 15 months.