Experimental Psychology Degrees Programs and Online Schools
Find Programs to become an Experimental Psychologist
What is an Experimental Psychology Program?
Behind most solid research studies that influence change in the social sciences, you’ll find a carefully designed experiment. When you consider the impact of a psychological experiment, it’s clear that this specialty is one of the most crucial in the social sciences. Studying the experimental aspect of this subject involves carefully following the ethical guidelines of human experimentation, avoiding any biases that could tamper with an experiment’s results, and collaborating as part of a team.
Earning your Master’s or doctoral degree in this specialty gives you the chance to solve challenges that crop up in this field. Currently, psychologists who are focused on the experimental process are looking into new ways to conduct introspective research that can still be quantitatively studied (New Ideas in Psychology, 2016).
To learn how to become an experimental psychologist, you should compare experimental psychology programs in your area and contact schools for more information.
Online Programs in Experimental Psychology
Perhaps because experimental psychology often necessitates time spent doing hands-on research, online degrees in experimental psychology are few and far between. The few that do exist are master’s-level programs that assume that a student will continue his or her academic pursuits by enrolling in a doctorate program. Programs tend to be geared toward nontraditional students who work during the day and can access online lectures and reading materials at night. Online programs in experimental psychology require a thesis, but not an on-site internship.
Coursework focuses heavily on concepts like intelligence measurement, research design, the nature of cognition, neuropsychology and the administration of psychological assessments.
Because online study opportunities are so limited in this field, most students who want to pursue an experimental psychology degree should make plans to physically attend any of the 130-plus colleges and universities that offer a concentration in experimental psychology. The brick-and-mortar programs in experimental psychology that are available range from undergraduate to doctorate studies.
Online Experimental Psychology Programs to Consider
University of Louisiana at Monroe: At this time, the University of Louisiana at Monroe appears to be one of the only schools that offers any kind of online degree in experimental psychology. That degree is a Master of Science in general experimental psychology. It is a 36-credit-hour program of study designed to make students more competitive when applying for doctorate programs. Even online students are strongly encouraged to participate in campus research programs.
University of North Dakota: The University of North Dakota offers an online Master of Arts in forensic psychology. Although the main thrust of this program is to teach students how to perform assessments for the social services and criminal justice systems, students do learn statistics and evaluation skills, both of which are helpful to those who plan to continue their education in experimental psychology.
Introduction to Experimental Psychology Careers
Recognition of psychology as a subject worthy of scientific study did not come easily. For years, it was thought that the vagaries of the human mind could not be reduced to patterns or formulas. Psychology was conceived as individualized-each mind thinks, works and responds to various stimuli in unique and unpredictable ways. That view eventually gave way when scholars began to theorize- make generalizations-about human psychology. These theories emerged, and gained traction because psychologists developed scientific methods to test their accuracy. That process of verification is the work of experimental psychology.
Experimental Psychology Job Description
Experimental psychology generally refers to a methodology of studying psychology, rather than a particular substantive branch within the field (such as developmental, child or social psychology). Experimental psychologists attempt, as the title suggests, to construct controlled experiments in which psychological theories can be empirically tested, effects documented and variables manipulated.
Experimental Psychology Requirements
As undergraduates, future experimental psychologists tend to major in psychology, and have considerable facility with science, psychology and statistics. Because experimental psychologists engage almost exclusively in research-not clinical practice-candidates for graduate programs often must demonstrate particular interest in the field. In some programs, applicants are selected for admission individually by faculty members with whom they share an academic interest. The most competitive candidates possess prior research experience, relevant undergraduate study and satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Students may pursue a master’s degree, which takes one to two years to complete, or the Doctor of Philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.), which takes approximately five years to complete.
Due to its methodological nature, there are few programs devoted in name to experimental psychology. Only a handful of schools confer degrees in “experimental psychology.” Instead, experimental psychology is often understood to be synonymous with the study of various forms of non-clinical psychology, such as cognitive, developmental and social. In this sense, many graduate programs that focus generally on research-as opposed to clinical practice-could be accurately characterized as experimental. These non-clinical research subjects all utilize the empirically-oriented methods of experimental psychology to collect data and test hypotheses. For the most part, experimental psychologists are not trained for and do not actually practice psychology with patients, and thus do not qualify for or obtain licensure. As such, students interested in pursuing a career in experimental psychology must pay close attention to the ways in which various graduate programs define that course of study, regardless of the actual name of the program.
Experimental Psychology Career Trends and Outlook
Although most people go into experimental psychology because of a desire to conduct experiments and study data, there are also positions that involve the educational side of psychology. Regardless of what your long-term career goals are, you should anticipate earning at least a Master’s degree, if not a PhD or PsyD. Although some employers may hire you for experimental work with just a Master’s degree, many places expect you to be actively working toward a doctoral degree.
The hands-on work you do in this field can be quite rewarding. The results that come from a well-conducted experiment can directly influence theoretical interventions, procedures and protocols in mental health care, and long-held beliefs in the social sciences. In conducting research, you create an environment that centers the patient experience and provides them with the most evidence-based care possible. The studies that come from this field can also influence experimental procedures. A 2015 study in Experimental Psychology found that simply instructing subjects to avoid or seek out a specific stimulus affected the subjects’ negative or positive perception of said stimulus (2016).
When if comes to experimental psychology salary, psychologists who conduct research currently bring in an average income of $95,710 per year (O*Net, 2017). A significant increase in job openings is predicted through the year 2024, with any where from 9-13% growth anticipated, which could result in over 5,000 new jobs for psychologists in the nation (O*Net, 2017).
As you ask yourself “what do experimental psychologists do?” consider the possibility of teaching. As an instructor, you may teach undergraduate students about the research process and prepare them for careers in psychology. Psychology instructors bring in an average salary of $73,140 per year, and job openings are expected to swell much faster than average by 2024, with almost 16K new jobs anticipated (O*Net, 2017).
Find out how you can utilize your education to contribute to psychological research. Request information from experimental psychology programs below.
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia