The greater Boston metropolitan area is often considered to have the highest density of prestigious colleges and universities in the world. Not surprisingly, many of those institutions of higher learning have top-notch psychology programs.
In fact, there are eleven psychology schools and colleges in Massachusetts with doctoral programs that have full accreditation from the American Psychological Association. There also nine schools with psychology programs approved by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists, and six that are recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists. Over the 2011-2012 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics had Massachusetts ranked tenth for the number of students pursuing master's degrees in psychology, with 980, and eighth for undergraduates, with nearly 4,000 students majoring in psychology.
- According the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 4,890 clinical, counseling, and school psychologists working in Massachusetts as of May.
- The average annual salary for those psychologists was $77,580, which is slightly above the national average of $76,040.
- Massachusetts was fifth overall in employment numbers for psychologists; the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area had the fourth highest employment numbers for metropolitan areas in the country; and Northwestern Massachusetts was the top ranking nonmetropolitan areas in employment of psychologists.
Because Massachusetts has something close to full employment for psychologists, the state's Department of Labor and Workforce Development is predicting a modest yet sizeable increase in jobs for psychologists through 2022 of 10%. That is lower than the BLS-projected national number of 19% growth in the employment of psychologists over the next decade. But, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development in Massachusetts is expecting 21 percent growth in the healthcare/social assistance sector of the economy through 2022.
Massachusetts psychology licensing requirements
As in the rest of the country, psychologists in Massachusetts are licensed at the state level, and this is handled thought the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation. In order to apply for licensure, candidates must have a doctoral degree in psychology. This, along with the other licensure requirements, are listed below:
- A doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program or institution
- Completion of 3,200 hours, or two full years of supervised work experience, half of which may be done as part of a doctoral internship program
- Submission of fingerprints for a criminal background check
- Earn a passing score on the Massachusetts Jurisprudence Exam
- Earn a passing score on the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires psychologists to renew their licenses ever two years, by June 30 of ever even numbered year. To do so, licensed psychologists must be able to demonstrate that they have completed twenty hours of continuing education requirements.
Featured psychology schools in Massachusetts
The five top psychology schools and colleges in Massachusetts, as ranked by the U.S. News & World Report survey of graduate programs, are detailed below:
As one of the top academic research centers in the country and world, Harvard also has one of the best psychology departments for undergraduate degrees and graduate study and training. Undergraduates can choose from four distinct academic tracks: general psychology; mind, brain, and behavior; social and cognitive neuroscience; and secondary field in psychology. The graduate program is broken up into four broad areas: clinical science; developmental psychology; social psychology, and cognition, brain, and behavior. Harvard's Department of Psychology is also engaged in ongoing research in dozens of areas of psychology, including evolutionary psychology, moral cognition, unconscious processes, thought disorders, and group and intergroup relations. The Graduate School of Education at Harvard offers a master's degree in human development and psychology, as well as doctoral degrees in education and educational leadership.
- Department: Harvard University Department of Psychology and Graduate School of Education
- Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Online options: Harvard University is active in online learning, and it offers several psychology courses through its online program. However, it does not grant any psychology degrees through its online programs
The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University, or BU, is large and prominent, and its part of the fourth-largest private university in the nation, comprising 17 schools and colleges with academic departments and research institutes. It offers a major and a minor in psychology to undergraduate students, as well as a one-year master's program in general psychology for those who have already completed a bachelor's degree. At the doctoral level, training and research in broken down into three large areas of psychology: brain, behavior, and cognition; clinical psychology; and developmental science. In addition, BU's School of Education has a doctoral program in counseling psychology and applied human development, and EdD and EdM degrees in counseling psychology.
- Department: Harvard University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
- Location: Boston, Massachusetts
- Online options: BU has an active online degree program, however it does not grant online degrees in psychology
The flagship institution in the University of Massachusetts system of public research universities is not in Boston; it's a couple of hours west, in the quainter college town of Amherst. The University of Massachusetts Amherst, or just UMass Amherst, is one of the largest public universities in the New England area, and its psychology program is one of the best in the country. It encompasses a Center for Research on Families, a Center for Neuroendocrine Studies, an Initiative in Cognitive Science, a Psychology of Peace and Violence Concentration, and a Neuroscience and Behavior Program. Along with an undergraduate major and minor in psychology, the UMass Amherst Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has five broad areas of training and research: behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental science, and social psychology. UMass Amherst's College of Education also offers a Ph.D. in school psychology.
- Department: UMass Amherst Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and College of Education
- Location: Amherst, Massachusetts
- Online options: UMass Amherst offers online undergraduate degrees in psychology and applied psychology
Boston College is a relative small, private Jesuit college with a relatively big reputation for academic excellence, and several thousand graduate students. BC's Department of Psychology offers and undergraduate major and minor in psychology, as well as a special five-year track that culminates in a combined bachelor's/master's degree in psychology. The doctoral program in psychology focuses on five main areas of research and training: behavioral neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology, quantitative psychology, and social psychology. The Lynch School of Education at BC offers degrees in applied psychology, including master's and doctoral degrees in applied developmental and educational psychology, master's degrees in school and mental health counseling, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology.
- Department: Boston College Department of Psychology and Lynch School of Education
- Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
- Online options: Boston College does offer online courses, but it does have online degree programs in psychology
Located just outside of the Boston metropolitan area, in the city of Waltham, Brandeis is a private research university that was originally established as a Jewish non-sectarian institution of higher learning. The school's Department of Psychology has options for an undergraduate major and minor in psychology, as well as a master's degree program in general psychology. For doctoral students, the psychology department focuses its research and training on the brain, body, and behavior across the lifespan, with specializations in learning and memorial, the neuropsychology of learning, personality and cognition in adulthood, social and cultural neuroscience, social relations and health psychology, and speech comprehension and memory. Brandeis also offers a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience.
- Department: Brandeis University Department of Psychology
- Location: Waltham, Massachusetts
- Online options: Brandeis' Graduate Professional Studies program offers online master's degrees and graduate certificates, but not in the field of psychology
1. U.S. News & World Report, Education Rankings, Psychology Schools, visited on March 25, 2016; http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/psychology-rankings
2. American Psychological Association, Search for Accredited Programs, visited March 27, 2016; http://apps.apa.org/accredsearch/?_ga=1.120283918.72239646.1430315672
3. National Register of Health Service Psychologists, All Approved Doctoral Programs Listed by Jurisdiction, visited March 26, 2016; http://www.nationalregister.org/resources-links/doctoral-programs/approved-doctoral-programs-by-jurisdiction/
4. National Association of School Psychologists, NASP-Approved Programs, visited March 26, 2016; http://www.nasponline.org/standards-and-certification/graduate-program-approval/nasp-approved-programs
5. National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, "Master's degrees conferred by postsecondary institutions, by field of study and state or jurisdiction: 2011-12," visited March 25, 2016; https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_319.40.asp
6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2015 edition, 'Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists," visited March 25, 2016; http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193031.htm
7. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Long-Term Occupational Projections, visited April 12, 2016; http://www.mass.gov/lwd/economic-data/projections/
8. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation, Board of Registration of Psychologists, visited April 21, 2016; http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/licensee/dpl-boards/py/faqs.html#22
9. Harvard University, Department of Psychology, visited April 21, 2016; http://psychology.fas.harvard.edu/home
10. Boston University, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, visited April 12, 2016; http://www.bu.edu/psych/graduate/
11. University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, visited April 12, 2016; http://www.psych.umass.edu/aboutus/index.html
12. Boston College, Department of Psychology, visited April 12, 2016; http://www.bc.edu/schools/cas/psych.html
13. Brandeis University, Department of Psychology, visited April 12, 2016; http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/psych/doctoral/index.html