Which psychology masters program will you take?
A new study from the University of Illinois at Chicago shows that some psychology masters students are likely to make it to the top of their chosen profession, even if they are not able to land a top-tier position.
The results suggest that graduates who have studied in an accredited psychology program may be better prepared for the job market.
But, they also suggest that students with an “unusual” psychology master degree are more likely to fail to achieve their ambitions.
In a new paper, published online on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers examined data from more than 10,000 graduate students who took part in a nationally representative survey of about 1,000 psychology programs across the US.
The study found that students who had taken a psychology master program were more likely than students who did not to have obtained their PhD at the same time, according to the study’s lead author, Emily M. Cottrell, a professor in the department of psychology at the University.
This suggests that students taking a master degree in psychology have a higher chance of graduating with a PhD at a later date.
For example, in the case of a psychology student who graduated from a program that was accredited in 2016 and who had a PhD in 2019, the probability that he would eventually receive a PhD is just one in 4 million.
The same applies to graduate students from other disciplines, such as economics, law or engineering.
This may seem like a relatively small difference in the outcomes, but it actually has important implications for students who are trying to land their PhDs, says Cottrel.
Students who do not complete a psychology program that has an accredited degree are far less likely to achieve a PhD than those who have taken it, Cottruffles co-author and assistant professor at the UIC College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Eric S. Wiedenmann.
“Our results suggest students who take an unusual degree, such that they do not have a graduate degree, have a lower probability of obtaining a PhD,” says Wiedens, who was not involved in the study.
In addition, he notes that the results also show that there are some students who succeed despite having an unusual psychology master’s degree.
“It is possible that the unique experience of taking an unusual program may make a difference,” he says.
“In this way, we hope to develop a new and robust framework for evaluating different types of students who might be interested in pursuing graduate studies.”
For instance, the research shows that the degree-granting process of the U.S. Department of Education could be a potential source of additional information for students seeking PhDs.
The survey data also showed that graduates of master programs were more than twice as likely to complete their doctoral studies than those of non-master degree programs, suggesting that students might be more inclined to take an odd degree.
In the study, the authors examined the degrees of students from eight different psychology programs.
These included the four accredited master programs in psychology and the six-year master program in psychology at Northwestern University.
These programs have a common approach to graduate degree programs: each offers a bachelor’s degree, which is followed by a master’s.
The students who graduated with a master of science degree from a master program did so with an average of about a third of the degrees awarded in their other three master’s programs.
This is the first study to examine the degrees received by graduates of a different master program and the degree distribution of the remaining programs.
The authors found that graduates from the master program with a Bachelor’s degree in 2018 were almost three times as likely as graduates from other programs to have completed their PhD. The researchers say the differences between the degree and doctoral degrees are not due to differences in how the programs compare in terms of students’ preparation, but rather to the degree programs’ different approach to doctoral education.
The degree programs have their own set of requirements, including a requirement for at least a bachelor of arts degree, and the graduate programs require students to complete a minimum of three years of graduate school.
But graduate programs are not designed to be as rigorous as master programs.
In general, a graduate program is much more flexible, says Wiesens.
“If a student has a bachelor degree in one of these master programs and wants to go into a PhD program, they have the opportunity to do that.
But there are other areas in which you need to look for different types [of students].”
In a paper published earlier this year in the journal PLOS ONE, the team analyzed data from nearly 5,000 graduates of Master of Science programs who took the Survey of Admissions and Fellows at the Kellogg School of Management.
The sample size of the study was relatively small, the sample was limited to the U of I community, and students were not told which programs they were enrolled in.
However, Wiesenmann says that the researchers are not surprised to find that students of the master of psychology degree are much more likely with their PhD than students of other master degree