Four years may seem like a long time, but it’s worth it. According to new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the average college graduate earns 75% more than someone with only a high school education: $78,000 a year compared to $45,000.

But the long answer to that question is that it depends what you want to do with your psychology major. If you want to become a researcher or psychologist, you will need to get a masters degree or PhD, and that will take longer.

About the Psychology Program at Stonehill

Stonehill’s psychology major allows students to examine, and directly engage in, research that contributes to our understanding of human behavior, mental processes and emotional experience.

The diverse research interests of our faculty allow the Psychology program to be flexible and tailored to meet students' goals. You’ll get fully involved in the science of psychology and learn a variety of skills by designing and conducting research, analyzing data and presenting findings. And you’ll also do that research at The Thomas and Mary Shields Science Center, whose facilities are of a caliber usually only found in graduate school programs.

What You’ll Learn as a Psychology Major

There’s a lot to learn in just four years to help you develop the skills needed for a successful career. 

The psychology major curriculum at Stonehill is flexible. You can choose to follow any one of the following paths: school psychology, clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, graduate school experimental psychology or master’s level counseling psychology.

The psychology major curriculum is a mixture of required courses and electives and culminates in the completion of a capstone project senior year. Psychology majors have the opportunity to learn basic principles in the core courses and get fully involved in the science by designing and conducting research, analyzing data and presenting findings.

And that’s not all. Psychology students are encouraged to supplement their studies with work in the field through internships. Although internships are not required, many majors choose to complete one. Advisors help match students with internships that can further advance their mastery of the sequence they’ve chosen.

Developing Leadership Skills for Psychology Majors

Psychology majors at Stonehill are also provided with opportunities to develop leadership skills that often serve them throughout their careers. You might find yourself mentoring younger students or networking with alumni in new situations. Such experiences equip graduates to be leaders in advancing science but also in another area central to Stonehill’s values: social justice. 

Research for Psychology Majors

If research is one of your interests, psychology majors who have completed their first year at Stonehill have the opportunity to perform full-time, high-quality research over the summer months under the guidance of an expert faculty researcher.  A student in the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program spends 8-10 weeks of the summer collaborating with a professor — and sometimes other students — on an original research project that fits into the faculty member’s overall research program.

The experience includes postgraduate career seminars, program-wide outings, weekly lunches and a student poster session in the fall. SURE students generally live on campus and receive a stipend for their summer work.

Some students have presented their work at regional, national and international psychology conferences.

Graduate School for Psychology Majors

When considering whether or not to attend graduate school, you’ll need to decide what it is you want to do. The practice of delivering independent services as a psychologist ordinarily requires a doctoral degree. Still, there are settings where a master's degree may be sufficient.

The following is a brief description of the different degree options available to you.

(Ph.D. in Clinical, Cognitive, Counseling, Developmental, Experimental, General, Industrial/Organizational, Social, etc.)

Ph.D. programs favor those with a strong commitment to and high interest in research, indicating the importance of gaining experience in research. A Ph.D. normally takes 4-5 years to complete depending on whether you have completed a master’s degree or are applying right out of college. The majority of Ph.D. programs these days do not require you to obtain a master’s degree before applying, but the competition to gain acceptance into a Ph.D. program is extremely competitive (particularly for those individuals interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology). 

Programs for obtaining an Ed.D. are similar to those of a Ph.D., but are honored in Schools of Education. 

The Psy.D. is a relatively new degree that reflects concentration on the applied training side of psychology. The dissertation requirement of a Psy.D. may center more on practical application and less on research. Like the Ph.D., the Psy.D. may take anywhere from 4-5 years to complete. 

(M.A., M.S., M.Ed., in Clinical, Cognitive, Community, Counseling, Developmental, Experimental, General, Industrial/Organizational, Social, etc.)

A Master’s Degree in Psychology normally takes about 2 years (full-time) to complete and usually involves the completion of a thesis before a degree is conferred. Some master’s programs are geared toward preparing students for entry into doctoral programs while others, known as terminal master’s degrees, aim at preparing students for entering the workforce. 

Most M.S.W. degrees take about 2 years (full-time) to complete and allow you to become licensed upon completion. Most programs allow you to specialize in either clinical or macro social work. Clinical social workers work in a variety of settings ranging from independent practices doing individual and group work to agency and hospital settings. Macro social workers are involved with more of the administrative aspects of social policy.

This is a post-master’s degree program designed for individuals who have already completed a master’s degree in counseling or psychology and who wish to further their knowledge of theory and practice.

Educating the Whole Person

At the end of the four years it takes to major in psychology at Stonehill, students will have not only completed courses in their chosen interest, but they will have explored psychological principles for personal enrichment and to better help them provide meaningful community service. And because Stonehill College educates the whole person, each graduate will be prepared to think, act and lead with courage toward the creation of a more just and compassionate world.

The faculty in the Psychology Department fosters a learning community that promotes student success. The professors’ doors are always open to answer questions, discuss course material or give guidance.