researching graduate programs

DubsIt is a wise idea to think about what you will do and where you will go once you graduate from the University of Washington early--long before you graduate. Planning for and setting professional goals can be a daunting task. If you wait until your final quarter at the UW you might end up in a job you don't like. And don't stop with "I'm going to graduate school." or "I'm going to take a year off and figure out what I want to do." Those are fine starting points, but they are very far from the end of your journey. Your mantra should be: "Start early and figure out the details."

The Undergraduate Advising Office can help you, but there are lots of other resources at the UW. The Counseling Center, 401 Schmitz Hall provides career counseling. The Center for Career Services, 134 MGH has advisers who will work with you to decide on a career, and then teach you how to be the most effective applicant possible. The Carlson Center has community service opportunities to explore careers and build your resume--most of them for academic credit.

The Psych Advising Office has workshops every quarter of the year about careers and graduate school. All year we offer workshops on: applying to graduate school, internship opportunities, and careers in psychology related fields. Psychology majors do a wide range of work when they graduate--from social services, to human resources, to computer interface design, to paralegal work, to marketing and sales. We've written a series of career profiles that suggest UW courses and community experiences which will help you prepare for some of these careers.

There are several suggestions for students using psychology as career preparation.

  • Choose psychology electives which build a common core related to career goals.
  • Complete courses from other departments relating to career interests. Some UW departments offer minors that may be appropriate.
  • Take basic skill and job-related skill courses such as writing, accounting, computers, or human resources.
  • Do an internship to get experience in your chosen area. More information is available from the Advising Office, Rm. 119 Guthrie.

If a graduate degree is in your plans, talk with an adviser during Fall Quarter of your junior year. Applications require extensive planning. The process should begin at least one year prior to the quarter in which you are seeking admissions. Our office has handouts on graduate schools, as well as directories of various programs, available for check out. Attend a workshop on "Applying to Graduate Programs in Psychology," presented each quarter by the Advising Office. Talk with your TAs and professors regarding prospective schools.