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Kendra Cherry

Can I Get a Graduate Degree in Psychology If My Undergrad Degree Is in a Different Field?

By June 7, 2011

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A reader writes: "I graduated from college a few years ago with an undergraduate degree in economics. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about pursuing a career in psychology. Can I apply to a psychology graduate program if my previous degree is in a completely different field?"

psychology graduate degree
Photo courtesy Bart Coenders/iStockPhoto

Earning a graduate degree in a field that differs from a student's undergraduate program is more common than you might think. For example, students with an undergraduate degree in psychology sometimes choose to earn a graduate degree in an alternative field such as counseling, social work or law. You can certainly study psychology at the graduate level with an undergraduate degree in economics (or another area of concentration). However there are a few factors you should consider:

  • What requirements does the graduate program have? If you have not yet taken some of the prerequisites, you should consider taking those courses before applying to the program.

  • Have you taken the required tests? Many graduate programs require at least a certain score on both the GRE and the psychology subject test.

  • Have you shown an aptitude or interest in the subject? Previous coursework and volunteer experiences are great ways to demonstrate that you have the ability to excel in the study of psychology.

Tara Kuther, About.com's Guide to Graduate School, offers some great advice for students interested in changing fields between undergraduate and graduate school. Learn more about some of the things you should consider and steps you should take in her article on earning a grad degree in a different field.

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