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Case Studies - Psychology Degree Options after Bachelor's Degree

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

In Section I, you will read the case scenarios of three adults who are about to complete their bachelor’s degree in psychology and provide responses based on your reading and research to address the concerns in the scenarios.

  • Denise has decided she wants to counsel children and adolescents. She has a modest amount of interest in reading research findings that are relevant to counseling children and youth. She has little interest in conducting research. She is exploring the following options for her degree after her bachelor’s degree:

    • Master of Arts/ Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

    • Master of Arts/ Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

    • Master of Education in Counseling Psychology

    • Master of Social Work

    • Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling

    • Master of Science in Counseling.

    • Research the programs Denise is considering and list at least two pros and cons for each option.

  • Raul always thought he wanted to be a clinical or counseling psychologist until he did some volunteer work in a psychiatric clinic and interviewed several psychologists and counselors. Now, as a senior who is months away from graduation, Raul is trying to decide what his next academic and career steps should be. He has a moderate interest in research but does not care much for writing papers. He could see himself teaching, if necessary, but it is not his passion. He already has a wife and two children, so earning potential is important to him.

    • What advice would you give Raul based on the information from this week’s resources?

  • After many years in the corporate world, John was let go from his company due to down-sizing. He is interested in integrating what he learned in business with psychology. He believes that Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology might be a good fit for him.

    • What types of graduate options are available for John?

    • How competitive are graduate programs in I/O psychology?

    • What does he need to do to make sure he is competitive enough to be accepted into a graduate program?


Question 1

Master of Arts/ Master of Science in clinical psychology

Pros: Has the ability to help people through working with the medical team.

: Clinical psychology offers job flexibility hence one has varying employment options.

Cons: The schedule of the psychiatrist may lack consistency since clients may have emergencies from time to time.

: A career in clinical psychology requires the graduate to be emotionally strong due to the difficult situations faced at work.

Master of Arts/ Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

Pros: There is a bright outlook as job opportunities are predicted to increase significantly.

: One gets to work in a social setting while earning a competitive salary.

Cons: It can be stressful at times due to the rigorous coursework.

: This career requires odd working hours.

: In order to acquire a master’s degree, one has to undergo 7 school years.

Master of Education in Counseling Psychology

Pros: A counselor in this field gets to help students deal with personal, behavioral or social problems that may limit their ability to perform in school.

: The counselor in this field also helps shape the children’s career at the early age.


A number of psychologists quite after some years in the field due to the level of stress involved.

: The desire to help others is a mandatory requirement in order for one to be successful in this field.

Master of Social Work

Pros: There is a lot of fieldwork involved, which leads to valuable experience.

: One gets a chance to be a licensed professional and a wide range of career options.

Cons: The emotional demands of a social worker may be too demanding if the individual does not learn how to cope with the pressure (, 2013).

: The salary may be inconsistent depending on the level of the social worker since most individuals earn a median of $35, 120 annually.

Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling

Pros: Self-employment is an attractive option.

: There is potential of employment growth especially for mental health counselors (U.S. News University Directory, 2013).

Cons: The salary is relatively low compared to other fields.

: The counselor is required to work on weekends too.

Master of Science in Counseling

Pros: The salaries are quite attractive.

: There are many areas of specialization based on one’s skills and interests.

Cons: The work may be stressful as people share disturbing details with the psychiatrist.

: One may be required to work at odd hours of the day and night.

Question 2

A major priority for Raul is a consistent salary. He may choose to engage in teaching despite the low interest in the career. This may lead to poor performance eventually. It is important that Raul consider a career choice that brings in a good salary and one that he enjoys doing. A career in counseling can be quite rewarding as the counselor gets to help other individuals in need. In addition to a good salary, a counselor is also able to achieve a fulfilling career.

Raul may engage in helping people as a career guidance counselor (Murphy et al., 2010). The individuals in need of help may be adults or students in all levels of education. School guidance counselors may also get jobs in elementary, junior high or even in high schools. School guidance counselor also helps students and other individuals achieve their goals through overcoming certain behaviors and social issues.

Career counselors help other people recognize their talents and apply them to their career choice. One may choose o work in colleges, universities, communities, and government based agencies and businesses. A counselor in this field may also choose to work in the private sector where the salary is relatively higher. In the process, these professional also train people how to maintain a balance between work and family.

Question 3

The Master of Science in industrial and organizational psychology deals with the application of psychology in an organizational setting. Organizational behavior and employee training are major areas of interest in this program. One may choose a number of graduate programs from a range of industrial/organizational behavior management to counseling employees at the workplace.

Graduates holding undergraduates or postgraduate degrees in industrial and organizational psychology have limitless job opportunities especially in the human resource sector of any business. These vary from hospitality, energy, non-profit organizations and pharmaceuticals. The main purpose of these graduates is to improve the work environment in a manner that motivates employees while increasing productivity. Each business requires motivated employees thus the demand for a industrial or organizational counselor. In addition, graduates may opt to offer their services as individual consultants, which makes the profession rather lucrative.

Since graduate degrees in organizational and industrial psychology are quite competitive, an applicant must have excellent grades from past educational levels. Letters of recommendations from past employers, community leaders and other institutions also play an important role (Career Builder, 2008). Extra curriculum activities must also be considered as an added advantage in the application process, as they indicate a strong candidate (American Psychological Association, 2013).

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American Psychological Association. (2013). CV dos and don’ts. Retrieved from

Murphy, K. A., Blustein, D. L., Bohlig, A. J., & Platt, M. G. (2010). The college-to-career transition: An exploration of emerging adulthood. Journal of counseling & Development, 88(2), 174-181. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.

U.S. News University Directory. (2013). Mental health counselors career video, job description, education and salary. Retrieved from

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