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Which psychology courses do graduate programs require?

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Question: Which psychology courses do graduate programs require?
Answer: If you're planning to study psychology at the graduate level, it is important to select undergraduate courses that will prepare you for further study in psychology. An article published in the journal American Psychologist (1996) looked at graduate admission requirements provided by 2,023 graduate psychology programs in both the United States and Canada. The results describe the prerequisite courses most often required by psychology graduate programs.

Top 5 Required Courses

  1. Statistics - Over 85% of school's surveyed require or prefer that applicants have taken at least one course in statistics.
  2. Experimental Methods/Research Design - Required or preferred by more that 65% of programs surveyed.
  3. Abnormal Psychology - Required or preferred by over 30% of graduate programs.
  4. Developmental Psychology/Child Development - Required or preferred by over 35% of graduate programs.
  5. Personality Psychology - Required or prefered by over 25% of graduate programs.

Other Important Courses

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • History of Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Psychological Testing and Measurement
  • Psychology of Learning
  • Sensation and Perception
  • Physiological Psychology
The courses above offer a glimpse of which classes you should take as an undergraduate student. If you are preparing for graduate school, be sure to check the specific admission requirements of your chosen school. In addition to the appropriate coursework, most graduate programs also require applicants to take the GRE.

In addition to these core psychology courses, the Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology (1996) recommends that students also take courses in public speaking and communications, writing, biology, math, and advanced statistics.

References:

American Psychological Association. (1994). Graduate study in psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Norcross, J. C., Hanych, J. M., & Terranova, R. D. (1996). Graduate study in psychology: 1992-1993. American Psychologist, 51, 631-643.

Norcross, J. C., Mayne, T. J., & Sayette, M. A. (1996). Insider's guide to graduate programs in clinical and counseling psychology. New York: Guilford Press.

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