FAQ

Hopefully we can answer your question here! If not, be sure to contact us at 973-655-5201 or our Undergraduate Advisement Coordinator, Dr. Irwin Badin at 973-655-7376.

How many credits is the Psychology major?
The Psychology major currently requires 38 credits. For convenience, we have a Program Planning Worksheet for students to use as a tool in checking off the courses taken and courses needed to be taken throughout their academic careers. Check the "majors" page to find those worksheets.

How much flexibility is there in choosing my electives?
There are a total of 24 elective credits that need to be fulfilled by taking Psychology courses. This totals approximately eight courses.  There is a course pool of 40 courses from which to choose your eight electives so there is much flexibility in deciding what electives you would like to take. Also, there is a variety of areas in Psychology from which to tailor your electives to meet an area of interest to you.

Is there a Psychology minor?
Yes. The Psychology minor program is 18 credits.

At what point can I no longer take courses at another institution?
Once you are within your last 24 credits

How do I transfer psychology courses I took at another institution to MSU?
See Dr. Badin, Undergraduate Advisement Coordinator or Dr. Vietze, Department Chairperson. Bring a course description and syllabus.

Can I take psychology courses for free elective credit?
Yes, but they do not count toward the major if you've earned your 38 credits for it. The credits will count toward your 120 minimum credits required to graduate, though.

How do I get a psychology advisor if I wasn't assigned one?
Please complete the advisor form located on the wall outside of Dickson Hall 219 and bring it to Dr. Irwin Badin. He is located in Dickson Hall #220.

Do I need to take GREs to apply to graduate school ? Do I need the Psychology GRE to apply to graduate school?
Visit the website for the particular program you are applying to and review their requirements. Also visit the ETS website and review when the exams are  offered. It is important to pay attention to the exam schedule so that the  results arrive in a timely manner to your desired graduate program(s).

Are there any clubs for the field?
The Department of Psychology offers students the option of joining the Psychology Club. There are open meetings held regularly throughout the year that cover many topics including the different disciplines in the field, career choices, graduate school options, etc.  There is no cost to join or minimum requirements to be a member. The current advisor for the club is Dr. Ofelia Rodriguez-Srednicki.

Is there an honor society and if so, what are the requirements for induction?
The Department of Psychology is proud to host a chapter of Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honor Society.  Potential members are identified by being in the upper 35% of the Psychology major and must have at least a 3.0gpa.   The current advisor for the MSU chapter of Psi Chi is Dr. Debra Zellner.

Can students conduct research at the undergraduate level?
Absolutely!  In fact, we welcome the participation of students. Students are always invited to assist faculty in research and setting up experiments. Students can do independent studies with faculty and build a research project with the hopes of it being presented at conferences for possible publication. And yes, the students’ names are included in the publication! A GREAT resume booster! Check out our research laboratories page to see if research being conducted is of interest to you!

How many students are in psychology classes on average?
On average, the department sets a maximum capacity for most Psychology courses of 30-35. That does not mean that there are always 35 students in each class. Also, some of the more popular introduction courses can have large number capacities of 100; but that is not available for the upper level courses. Having smaller class sizes affords students the opportunity to participate and become more involved in the class with the professor.

What can I do with a B.A. Psychology degree?
Career choices are limited for students who stop with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Some may find jobs as assistants in rehabilitation centers, or in other jobs involving data collection and analysis. Those interested in seeking elementary education certification may do so with a bachelor’s degree. Also, those who meet state certification requirements may become high school psychology teachers. You can discuss the options with your advisor but first it would be helpful if you reviewed  http://psyccareers.apa.org/ so that you can have a productive discussion when you meet with your advisor.

A bachelor’s degree in Psychology also qualifies a person to assist psychologists and other professionals in community mental health centers, vocational rehabilitation offices, and correctional programs. They may work as research or administrative assistants or become sales or management trainees in business. Some work as technicians in related fields, such as marketing research.

What kind of graduate programs are available if students want to continue their education at Montclair State University?
Montclair State University offers three master degree programs, as well as a certification program and a post-grad certificate program. The M.A. Psychology can be completed as such or with a concentration in Industrial & Organizational Psychology. The M.A. Clinical Psychology can be completed with a concentration in  either Child/Adolescent Clinical Psychology or Clinical Psychology for Spanish/English Bilinguals. The M.A. Industrial/Organizational Psychology program which attracts a number of Fulbright scholars. The School Psychology certification program is for those interested in becoming school psychologists and working with assessment. The Forensic Psychology certificate program is for those who already possess a graduate degree and are looking for a new specialization or knowledge base in their current careers. Check out the admissions requirements.

What kind of career options are there for those with a graduate degree in Psychology?*
A doctoral degree usually is required for employment as an independent licensed clinical or counseling psychologist. Psychologists with a Ph.D. qualify for a wide range of teaching, research, clinical, and counseling positions in universities, healthcare services, elementary and secondary schools, private industry, and government. Psychologists with a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree usually work in clinical positions or in private practices.

A doctoral degree usually requires 5 to 7 years of graduate study. The Ph.D. degree culminates in a dissertation based on original research. Courses in quantitative research methods, which include the use of computer-based analysis, are an integral part of graduate study and are necessary to complete the dissertation. The Psy.D. may be based on practical work and examinations rather than a dissertation. In clinical or counseling psychology, the requirements for the doctoral degree usually include at least a 1-year internship.

Persons with a master’s degree in psychology may work as industrial-organizational psychologists or school psychologists (additional certification required). They also may work as psychological assistants, under the supervision of doctoral-level psychologists, and conduct research or psychological evaluations. A master’s degree in psychology requires at least 2 years of full-time graduate study. Requirements usually include practical experience in an applied setting and a master’s thesis based on an original research project. Competition for admission to graduate programs is keen. Some universities require applicants to have an undergraduate major in psychology. Others prefer only coursework in basic psychology with courses in the biological, physical, and social sciences; and statistics and mathematics.

 What is the salary range for those who have an advanced degree in Psychology?*
Median annual earnings of wage and salary clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in 2002 were $51,170. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,560 and $66,970. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,090, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $87,060. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in 2002 were as follows:


Offices of other health practitioners

$59,600

Elementary and secondary schools

54,480

Offices of physicians

51,140

Outpatient care centers

44,010

Individual and family services

37,490

Median annual earnings of wage and salary industrial-organizational psychologists in 2002 were $63,710. The middle 50 percent earned between $48,540 and $81,880. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $112,660.


What are some specific position titles to look for when searching for a job upon graduation?**
Entry-level positions available for Psychology majors are:

In the Mental Health/Social Services Area—(a minor in family and child studies, justice studies, health & aging studies, or sociology would be helpful)—
Behavior analyst                                 Director of volunteer services                        
Probation/Parole officer                     Case worker               
Drug/Substance abuse counselor        Program manager        
Child protection worker                      Employment counselor
Rehabilitation advisor                         Corrections officer
Family service worker                         Residential youth counselor
Counselor aide                                    Group home coordinator
Social service director                         Day care center supervisor
Mental retardation unit manager        Veterans' advisor

In the Business Area—(a minor in business would be helpful)—
Advertising trainee                              Insurance agent
Personnel worker/administrator         Administrative assistant
Job analyst                                          Public information officer
Advertising agent                                Loan officer
Public relations                                   Airline reservations clerk
Management trainee                           Sales representative
Claims specialist                                 Marketing representative
Small business owner                          Customer relations
Marketing researcher                          Store manager
Employee counselor                            Media buyer
Staff training and development            Employment counselor
Occupational analyst                          Warehouse manager

In Other Areas—(various minors may be helpful when combined with Psychology)—
Affirmative action officer                   Community relations officer
Child care worker                               Hospital patient service representative
Congressional aide                              Newspaper reporter
College admissions counselor             Director of alumni relations (college)
Park and recreation director                College admissions recruiter
Director of fund raising (college)       Statistical assistant
Community recreation worker            Fast food restaurant manager
Technical writer

What is the job outlook for those who wish to obtain a degree in Psychology?*
Overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2012, due to increased demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment clinics, consulting firms, and private companies. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists will grow faster than the average, while industrial-organizational psychologists will have average growth.

Among the specialties in this field, school psychologists may enjoy the best job opportunities. Growing awareness of how students’ mental health and behavioral problems, such as bullying, affect learning is increasing demand for school psychologists to offer student counseling and mental health services. Clinical and counseling psychologists will be needed to help people deal with depression and other mental disorders, marriage and family problems, job stress, and addiction. The rise in healthcare costs associated with unhealthy lifestyles, such as smoking, alcoholism, and obesity, has made prevention and treatment more critical. The increase in the number of employee assistance programs, which help workers deal with personal problems, also should spur job growth in clinical and counseling specialties. Industrial-organizational psychologists will be in demand to help to boost worker productivity and retention rates in a wide range of businesses. Industrial-organizational psychologists will help companies deal with issues such as workplace diversity and antidiscrimination policies. Companies also will use psychologists’ expertise in survey design, analysis, and research to develop tools for marketing evaluation and statistical analysis.

Demand should be particularly strong for persons holding doctorates from leading universities in applied specialties, such as counseling, health, and school psychology. Psychologists with extensive training in quantitative research methods and computer science may have a competitive edge over applicants without this background.

Master’s degree holders in fields other than school or industrial-organizational psychology will face keen competition for jobs, because of the limited number of positions that require only a master’s degree. Master’s degree holders may find jobs as psychological assistants or counselors, providing mental health services under the direct supervision of a licensed psychologist. Still others may find jobs involving research and data collection and analysis in universities, government, or private companies.

Opportunities directly related to psychology will be limited for bachelor’s degree holders.

*Source: : Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition, Psychologists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm (visited September 28, 2004).

**Source: Lloyd, M.A. (1997, July 16). Entry level positions obtained by psychology majors. http://www.psywww.com/careers/entry.htm  (visited September 28, 2004).