Paths in Psychology
Stepping into Graduate School and Careers in Psychology, April 1, 2021
Hosted by the University of Houston Psychology Department, this free annual event aimed to educate students from all backgrounds about careers and grad school options in psychology.
Download recordings and presentation slides from the event!
- Career Options in Psychology: PowerPoint and Recording
- Types of Graduate Programs in Psychology: PowerPoint and Recording
- Tips for Applying to Graduate School: PowerPoint and Recording
- Financing your Education: PowerPoint and Recording
- Life as a Graduate Student (including a live Q and A): PowerPoint and Recording
- How Psychology Can Land You a Job in Sports (hosted by Ehsan Bokhari of the Houston Astros): Recording
Getting into a Clinical Psychology PhD Program - Advice from Dr. Rheeda Walker
Getting Involved with Undergraduate Research
Getting Involved with Undergraduate Research at the University of Houston
Social Science Research Labs at UH
NSM Research Portal
Are you planning to enter the workforce after graduation?
Your bachelor’s degree in Psychology will provide you with a diverse and broadly applicable liberal arts education. You will enter the workforce armed with skills such as problem-solving, effective communication and teamwork. Psychology is a STEM discipline (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), so you will also have a background in statistical analysis techniques and critical thinking. These are important skills that prepare you for a broad range of careers. And, importantly for today’s fast-moving world, they are always valuable, regardless of technology advances.
University Career Services
Prepare for your future career while you are still working on your degree – the earlier the better. If you are a freshman, its not too early to start exploring options! One of the best ways to learn about potential careers is to visit the University Career Services
where you can find career counselors, take FREE tests to help you determine the best career for you, browse a database of job ads and get help preparing your resume.
The Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology-CUDCP
For undergraduate psychology students who are thinking about getting into Clinical Psychology graduate school, The Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology-CUDCP has created a website with clear advice, data, and links for students interested in careers as a clinical psychologist. The link below also includes a directory of post-baccalaureate research assistant (RA) jobs.
Purdue Résumé Workshop
This website provides detailed explanations, as well step-by-step processes, for creating an effective résumé.
Department of Labor sponsored O*NET OnLine
O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the characteristics of various work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, etc. You can type in psychologist in the Occupation Search and learn about a whole spectrum of the occupations for psychologists.
American Psychological Association
APA Careers: APA’s online career center with useful resources for job seekers as well as employers.
Texas Medical Center
TMC Job site: http://careers.texasmedicalcenter.org/
Are you considering going to graduate school in Psychology?
Below are the answers to questions that are often asked by PSYC majors about the process of applying to graduate school.
Graduate Applications FAQ
It depends on what you want to do! One of the first things to determine is whether you want to go into clinical psychology, or into research. This decision tree may be helpful in visualizing the most direct route to your desired career. For example, if you want to be a therapist, you could obtain the necessary training in a master’s program, PhD program or licensure program (eg LCDC). If you want to do research, a PhD in your area of interest is needed. If you are trying to determine your area of interest, it may be helpful to consider what psychology courses you liked most (and also which courses you did not like). Finally, when looking at graduate programs, it is a good idea to be realistic about your qualifications for graduate study (admission to graduate school is highly competitive) as well as how long you are prepared to be in school.
Generally speaking, you need a package of materials, including competitive GRE scores and GPA, a well-written personal statement, official transcript, a curriculum vita (CV) and letters of recommendation. If you are applying to a research-based program, it is imperative to have research experience. If you are applying to a clinical program, it is helpful to have some clinical experience (such as volunteering for a crisis hotline). Once you have determined which programs you wish to apply to, look at their specific application requirements and begin putting your package together for each program. Preparing your materials for graduate applications takes time and preparation, so begin well in advance. It is entirely appropriate to begin preparing materials 6 months to a year before application deadlines.
The GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is an entrance exam required by most Psychology graduate programs (Masters or PhD).
There are many prep books available that enable you to familiarize yourself with the exam format and practice exam questions. There are also prep courses available for a fee. Whether you choose to use books, a course, or both, make sure that you prepare! Beginning your preparation 3-6 months in advance of your scheduled exam date is advisable.
It is important to get letters of recommendation from professors who have knowledge of your academic and/or research skills. Well in advance (at least 1 month) of the deadline, ask the professor (in person or over e mail) if he or she would write you a letter. If yes, then provide that person with a copy of your personal statement (or a close-to-final draft), transcript and CV. Most letters will be submitted electronically, so make sure to let your letter writers know all the programs you are applying to, so that they can be watching their inboxes for the e mailed links.
Sometimes, a graduate program will have guidelines for what they want you to put in your personal statement. If no guidelines are given, then, broadly speaking, your personal statement should explain why you want to pursue graduate study in your chosen field. Include your career goals, why those are your career goals, and why the graduate program you are applying to is needed to fulfill those goals. It is fine to use personal stories to explain your career goals, but make sure to focus on future plans (versus past experience). Also, explain why you are an ideal candidate for the program you are applying to – show that you understand what the program is about, what it involves and how you would fit into it. If you have relevant research or clinical experience, use it to provide evidence of your future effectiveness in your chosen field. Throughout your statement, be factual, give examples and support your assertions. Finally, if possible, get feedback on your personal statement from professors.
A CV (“curriculum vita”) is the academic equivalent of a resume. Information to put on your CV includes details about your education, coursework that is relevant to the graduate degree you are pursuing, research experience (including research interests, techniques learned, abstracts presented and published papers), and clinical experience (such as volunteering for a hotline). It is also appropriate to include volunteer, internship or leadership experience that you have had.