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Mental health psychology is a broad field of study that is made up of a variety of specializations. It is integral that students take their specializations seriously, since this could end up greatly narrowing the field in which they will be able to practice upon graduation. Before applying for a particular course, students will most likely want to find out a bit more about the school they are looking to attend, including the outline of the course, how many students are admitted into the program they are looking to join and their career prospects when they have graduated, among others.

Degrees

When signing up for a postgraduate qualification in mental health psychology, students will usually get to pick from a masters or doctorate program, although certain institutions offer postgraduate diplomas and applied courses.

A master's degree will usually take 2 years to complete, while a doctorate will take 3 or more years. Students will be able to register as licensed therapists with either degree.

Doctoral Degrees

Students who are interested in applying for a doctoral degree will have a wide range of specializations to pick from, although it is common for most schools to offer two main categories; a PhD, which is research oriented and a PsyD program, which is counseling-oriented. Both of these programs are vastly different in nature and will require somewhat unique sets of skills, so it is recommended students take note of these requirements beforehand.

Limited Acceptance Figures

Acceptance into a masters or doctorate program is generally limited to a certain number of students. For this reason, students need to ensure that they not only meet with the minimum requirements for the courses; they will want to make sure their marks are competitive enough to earn them a place in a class. The number of students that are accepted into a particular class will depend greatly on the institution itself, as well as the course being offered.

Students applying for a postgraduate degree will first need to make a formal application to the university before being admitted to an interview. It is usually during this time where the student will be asked about their experience with regards to subjects such as research. During this time, faculty members of the university will make their selection for the graduate class of the coming year.

Requirements for Graduation

In order to graduate from a program such as a master's or doctorate, students will need to meet with a certain set of requirements. The specific requirements will depend greatly on the institution in which the student is enrolled, as well as the degree they are completing. Some of the most common, however, requirements include; a minimum grade average, core classes, a set number of credit hours, an internship and a thesis paper.

The Costs

It is imperative that prospective graduate students make themselves aware of the costs of a postgraduate qualification, unless of course they have been accepted for a scholarship to the institution of their choice. The most common costs associated with this sort of qualification include; the application fees, books, tuition, living and travel expenses. Some institutions require that students undergo a certain amount of hours of therapy throughout the duration of the course. Students will need to make sure that they can afford these sessions.

Students who are unable to cover the costs of their education might want to consider applying for grants or federal loans. Students who are considering their options will most likely want to meet with a financial planner or academic advisor to obtain information about their options.

Many schools offer scholarships, grants and fellowships to students based on various factors. It is the responsibility of the students to take the time to find out about their eligibility for these programs. What is more, a variety of private organizations offer scholarships to graduate students.

Students are usually asked to complete a written essay as part of their application for a scholarship.

Important Points To Consider

Anyone looking to enter into the field of mental health psychology will need to ensure that they consider a few factors. Firstly, this field is particularly competitive and students are required to put in a considerable number of hours towards internships and volunteering. This can be financially taxing on students who are trying to support themselves. What is more, entry into a master's or doctoral program is not guaranteed. Having as much practical experience as possible can often increase a graduate's changes of being accepted into one of these programs.

Some of the fields that might interest students who are looking into the field of mental health psychology includes; rehabilitation psychology, school psychology, counseling psychology and sports psychology, among others.

Obtaining Research Experience

Anyone interested in obtaining a PhD will need to make sure that they build up as much pre-graduate research experience as possible. Successful candidates are usually those students who have taken time assisting professors and other graduate students in labs, building their experience and gaining exposure to the field.

Research lab work experience will play a very big role in whether or not a student is ready to enroll in a graduate program, and it is highly value by most institutions around the country. For this reason, many universities allow their undergraduates to assist them in their lab work. It might be a good idea for students in their final year to approach a lecturer or adviser that they like and who is involved in research that they find enjoyable to ask them for opportunities to get involved.

Planning is an important part of preparing for a career in psychology and this is something students need to do at least a semester in advance.

Anyone looking to start a career in psychology, whether it is as a counselor or as a rehabilitator, will most likely want to make sure they know what to expect so that they can tackle each challenge as it comes along. This is the most effective way of paving their way to a successful and fulfilling career within this field.

References:

  • http://www.staffs.ac.uk/undergraduate/subjects/psychology_and_mental_health/
  • http://psych.la.psu.edu/undergrad/wanttobe.html
  • http://www.goodtherapy.org/become-a-therapist/choosing-psychology-graduate-program.html#

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