Switching to Psychology for Graduate School

Contemplative graduate
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Many students who have completed an undergraduate degree in a non-psychology field might find that they would like to switch to psychology for graduate school. Is this even possible? Not everyone figures out where their passions and interests lie during the busy undergraduate years, but it's really never too late to start. It really just depends on how much time, effort, and commitment you are willing to put into making the change. Let's take a look at things you might want to consider before switching to pursue psychology in grad school.

Can You Switch to Psychology?

So can you switch to a graduate degree in psychology if your undergraduate degree is in a completely different field? Yes, but there are a few important things you need to consider.

  • First, you might need to take some additional courses in order to meet the prerequisites before applying to a graduate program.
  • Next, you need to be sure that you have completed any tests that are required for admissions to the program, which may include the GRE and the psychology subject test.

Before you fully commit to a graduate program, you might want to consider starting with a few prerequisite psychology courses. This can not only get you up-to-speed on the subject matter, but it will also help give you a better idea of whether you really want to continue your studies in psychology. 

Where to Begin

Start by looking at a few graduate programs that interest you. Contact each program to learn more about their admissions procedures and requirements.

Some of the most common prerequisites needed for admission to psychology graduate programs include:

In addition to taking prerequisite classes, you will most likely need to then take the GRE and psychology subject test before submitting your application for admission.

Finally, you should remember that getting a Ph.D. in psychology is only one available option. You might also opt for a Psy.D. program, which typically focuses on professional practice while Ph.D. programs center more on a combination of research and practice.

While clinical psychology is definitely one of the largest employment areas within psychology, there are a number of alternatives that will also allow you to work in the field, such as health psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, forensic psychology. Next, learn more about some of your career options with a graduate degree in psychology. If you're still not sure what specific focus you'd like your psychology career to take, this quiz was made just for you.

The key thing to note here is that switching to psychology for graduate school is definitely possible, but it's going to take some real effort on your part. If psychology is your passion, then you should definitely spend some time looking at your options and figuring out how you can get started on the path toward your dream career.

1 Source
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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. PsychologistsOccupational Outlook Handbook.

Additional Reading

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is the author of the "Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition)" and has written thousands of articles on diverse psychology topics. Kendra holds a Master of Science degree in education from Boise State University with a primary research interest in educational psychology and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Idaho State University with additional coursework in substance use and case management.