Can I Complete a Master’s in Psychology Part-Time?

Any student who thinks that he or she doesn’t have time to finish an advanced degree should consider earning a part-time Master’s in Psychology. Many of the top programs in the country understand that students today need to work and spend time with their loved ones, which is why those colleges offer part-time programs designed to help students finish the program at a pace that works for them. You will still take all the required classes and complete the same requirements full-time students do, but you take fewer courses each semester.

Types of Psychology Degree Programs

Before applying to a psychology program, you need to decide what you hope to do in the future and the career path that interests you. While some schools offer a general psychology graduate program, most schools offer specialized programs that focus on a specific area of the field. Industrial organizational psychology focuses on helping companies and business owners identify problems associated with employees, while social psychology deals more with why people act in certain ways around specific groups of people. Other specialized studies options inclued: cinical psychology, forensic psychology, and counseling.

Why Go to School Part-Time?

A part-time Master’s in Psychology provides students a number of benefits. Part-time students often have the option of taking classes on campus, online or a combination of both types of courses. Some schools also offer courses that meet for three to four hours on Saturday afternoon or on a weekday night.  These concentrated classes let you devote a single day of the week to the classtime and the rest of the week to work on any required assignments. Part-time students also have more flexibility when it comes to choosing courses and finishing their degrees.

Part-Time vs. Full-Time

The biggest difference between going to graduate school full-time and going to school part-time is access to financial aid as a part-time student. Many graduate schools do not offer student loans to part-time students, however there are grants and private or alternative student loans that are available. You may also find that schools only give you a certain amount of time to complete your degree. However, in most instances the timeframe is extended for part-time students, usually to within five years of starting the program.

Thesis/Final Project

As part of your studies, schools often ask that you write a thesis or complete a final project before graduating. John Cone, who wrote a book to help students pick a dissertation topic, suggests that students look at what appeals to them and pick a topic that interests them. Cone points out that you’ll spend several semesters working on that project and that you want to choose something that you can stick with. As a part-time student, you may have more time to work on your thesis, finding inspiration from professors, other students, psychology journals and your daily life.

Psychology is the study of human thought and behavior. While you may learn some general knowledge about the topic as an undergraduate, you will need to pursue graduate studies for most career paths in Psychology. As a part-time student, you have the flexibility to balance all aspects of your life, however you may face challenges securing financial aid. A part-time Master’s in Psychology program lets you complete the same courses as full-time students, usually in an extended timeframe, starting you on a career path in Psychology.