Social psychology can be described as the study of individuals and the social environment. This discipline has enabled us to better understand social perceptions and how interactions with other groups play an important role in our lives. Social psychology is closely related to personality psychology, sociology, and organizational psychology. The history of social psychology dates back to the early 20th century when William McDougall published the first notable book on the field, “An Introduction to Social Psychology”.
In recent years, social psychology has emerged as a recognized academic discipline and is gaining attention on a larger scale. The Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) is a renowned organization that works towards promoting achievement and careers in this field. Many individuals are seeking careers as social psychologists. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for psychologists is expected to grow by 12% from 2012-2022.
Social Psychology Education
Social psychology is being offered as an academic discipline and major by a number of prestigious schools. Social psychology degree programs are designed to prepare students for careers as social psychologists and other related occupations.
Students can opt for graduate and PhD programs in social psychology. It is also possible to pursue social psychology online. Online learning is fast becoming popular as it has proved to be more flexible, affordable, and convenient. A social psychology course is offered by many accredited online schools.
Masters Degree in Social Psychology
This is a graduate level program that aims at providing students with a thorough understanding of social psychological perspectives. The program emphasizes on various social psychological theories within a social context. Students will acquire in-depth knowledge of fundamental concepts and build a strong foundation of scientific principles relevant to the field. Students will learn how to identify social issues, utilize social psychological knowledge, apply research techniques for social data collection, and design and implement plans for improving social welfare.
The coursework of the program typically includes a series of courses and subjects that are covered in classrooms. Before moving onto research-oriented topics, students must gain familiarity with the theoretical areas. Alongside classroom learning, students may also be required to complete assignments, presentations, and conduct field work.
The curriculum of social psychology masters programs may vary a little from college to college. However, students are most likely to come across important courses such as the following:
Introduction to community and social psychology
Advanced community dynamics
Applied research methods
Applied developmental psychology
To successfully earn social psychology masters programs, students must complete all the requirements of the curriculum. A minimum number of credit hours must be completed to qualify for the degree. Each course, assignment, or project is equivalent to a number of credit hours that typically range between 2 to 4. Degree requirements may vary from college to college.
How to Enroll in a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology
Fill out and submit the admission application
Submit the official transcript of a bachelor’s degree
Meet a minimum CGPA requirement
Submit letters of recommendation
The exact admission criteria will depend upon the college. Some schools may require applicants to sit for an admission test.
How Long Does it Take to Complete a Masters in Social Psychology?
It typically takes two years. However, students by enrolling in an accelerated program may complete the degree in a shorter period of time. Part-time masters programs may take more than two years to complete.
PhD in Social Psychology
This is the highest level of qualification one can earn in the field of social psychology. A PhD in social psychology is a post-graduate program that prepares students for careers in teaching and research. PhD programs in this field focus upon academic excellence and professional research. Students will not only develop a strong base of general psychology, but will also develop sound research skills. The degree typically includes:
The initial phase of the program consists of classroom-based courses that are theoretical in nature. Students will cover basic fundamental concepts and disciplines of social psychology. Some of the subjects covered are:
Applied social psychology
Social psychology theory
Each course will highlight various facets of the field.
Students are required to complete a project proposal and research on a selected topic. The research project will enable students to identify and implement research methodologies. They may also be required to orally present their research to a faculty committee.
A dissertation is the culmination of a student’s research and training. Students must write and complete a dissertation on their research project that clearly evaluates the research purpose, methods, and findings. This is an important part of the degree and is supervised by assigned faculty members. Please remember that the guidelines for writing dissertations will vary from school to school.
How to Enroll in a PhD Degree in Social Psychology
The admission requirements usually include:
Submission of a master’s degree transcript and research project
Submission of letters of recommendation
Meet a minimum CGPA requirement
How Long Does it Take to Complete a PHD in Social Psychology?
It usually takes 4-8 years to complete a PhD in social psychology. The exact duration is likely to vary from college to college, and will also depend upon the student’s pace and research project.
Students will learn how to use theory and research
Students will gain an in-depth understanding of social psychology and its development
Learn how to apply social psychology principles
Understand the role of social psychologists
Understand the use of social psychology in diverse social contexts
Develop strong communication and analytical skills
With a degree in social psychology, individuals can work as researchers, university professors, consultants, strategists, and even managers. The career prospects are dynamic and challenging. Those pursuing roles as social psychologists can seek employment in various government institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private firms.
The income level is likely to vary from place to place and will also depend upon factors such as qualification, skill, specialization, and employer organization. According to the American Psychological Association, BLS stated the annual salary of social psychologists to be approximately $85,830 in 2011.
Social psychology is a growing field and reflects a positive employment outlook. As the world becomes more culturally diversified, the need for social psychologists will remain. This field is suitable for individuals who enjoy working with others and want to help change the community for the better.