Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

Getting into a Psychology PhD program after getting a Masters in something else???


Imaya
 Share

Recommended Posts

So I have a BA in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology and my goal is to get a Masters in Medical Anthropology or Medical Humanities and then get a PhD in Health Psychology. To me, the fields seems very related (researching the same sorts of questions with different methodologies), but I'm wondering if having a non-Psychology Masters would hinder me in anyway when applying to the PhD programs?

 

Also, should I apply to the PhD program first or the Masters program? Some of the Masters programs I'm looking at (mostly the Medical Humanities programs) encourage PhD students from other fields to enroll in their program while working on their PhD. Would this be the same approach with Medical Anthropology programs? Or should I completed the Medical Anthropology Masters before applying to Health Psychology PhD programs?

 

 

Is this even a good idea???

 

Thanks for your help!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This depends on you? Do you not feel you have enough to get into a PhD Program now? I don't think having a non related masters would hinder you (although this does seem related) as long as you can spin it in your SOP and interviews. Personally I got accepted into two PhD programs without a masters. So you have to weigh your options, money, etc. And whether or not your research interests fit the Health Psychology Programs in the country. 

 

Best, 

 

Steven

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really doubt this will hurt you. Your psychology undergraduate demonstrates that you understand and know the field well. The  masters demonstrates a depth of interest. The problem you'll run into is the switch and programs can seem like you "can't make up your mind." Make sure you tailor your SOP to demonstrate your focus and passion towards your end goal. Tie your undergrad and masters together, and demonstrate how they interconnect for you personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, no, it won't hurt you, as long as you can articulate why you chose to get the MA first.

 

But I'd have to wonder why you would do it. Those kinds of MAs are rarely funded, so you'd have to pay a lot of money to complete them - and you definitely don't need them to do a PhD in health psychology.

 

If you want the MA 7 times out of 10 you'll need to do it first. There are some universities that allow you to earn concurrent MAs or certificates with a PhD - for example, getting an MA in statistics concurrently with a PhD in another field is quite common. So it just really depends.

 

I'm going to PM you because I think my PhD program would be perfect for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I highly recommend against doing so, at least if your long-term career goal is to go into psychology as a higher education research and/or teaching professional. Doing so would be perceived as you're not sure what you really want to study. Given the competitiveness of PhD psychology admissions, programs only want to select the best students they "know" will do well and not drop out. Past performance is the greatest indicator of future performance. And if you've pusued another discipline on the graduate level, then they will read that as you are unsuited and/or truly uninterested for psychology. Undergraduate work in a different discipline is somewhat common among psychology applicants (with some psych training, of course), but that is undergraduate work, which is like a general education with minor discipline emphases. Graduate work is job training intended for future academics.

To give an anecdote, I have a friend who graduated with a BA in psych at a top 50 public research institution. At that point, she wasn't sure what she wanted to do, and seemlessly enrolled into the same school's sociology MA program. She realized quickly that sociological perspectives were VERY different from social psychological perspectives, and wanted to switch back to the psych world. She continued to RA for the social psych lab to be competitive for social psych phd programs. Even with over 4 years of research experience in social psychology, independent projects, one decent publication, and awesome GREs/GPA/LoR, she has been flat out rejected for the second year in a row to over 26 social programs. With most POIs citing "concerns" of the purpose of her sociology masters...

Also, I suspect those fields are much more different than you allude to in the eyes of each field's respective experts. Just something to keep in mind when approaching the topic with them.

Edited by Mastershaakti
Link to comment
Share on other sites

^That's a sad story. Granting the fundamental differences between social psychology and sociology, I find it unfortunately narrow-minded for psychologists to be "concerned" about someone's choice to study sociology. If anything, we need to have more cross-talk between those two fields, so I find it sad that it's being discouraged.

 

Fortunately, many people in behavioral sciences take a multidisciplinary approach. I know several people in my program who got Master's degrees in different fields, most notably computer science and engineering. It is considered valuable to bring knowledge from another field if it complements your field well, because it means you will have something unique to offer that few others can.

Edited by Arcadian
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you, Arcadian. Interdisciplinary study should be seen as a positive advancement, but I don't think the field of psychology, as a whole, is to that point. Given the extreme competition of PhD psychology admissions, I think interdisciplinary experiences aren't given a fair evaluation. But this probably not only varies by field (and sub-field) but also by program and professor.

Also, it might be beneficial to look toward mentors (their advice, experiences, CVs) whom you'd like to be like when you "grow up." Reflecting from my mentors and the most influential currently in my field, their CVs usually don't report graduate degrees from other disciplines. But health psychology might be different!

Edited by Mastershaakti
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.