Media Psychology Degree Programs & Schools
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The field of Media Psychology is a relatively new field of psychology. With the decline of print media, new technologies are giving rise to increased opportunities for students wishing to enter this competitive field.
Media psychology is a multidisciplinary field (social, cognitive and developmental psychology) studying how technology and media impact individuals. It is often integrated with other areas of study, such as organizational psychology or marketing, software, telecommunications, and entertainment.
Master’s Degree in Media Psychology
As a rule, a master’s degree is required to practice as a media psychologist. Students may obtain a Master’s of Digital Arts, a Master’s of Fine Arts, or a Master of Media Studies. Prior to entering a master’s program, an individual must first earn his or her bachelor’s degree. Although most master’s degree programs do not require an undergraduate degree in psychology, it is expected that students have a basic knowledge of psychology and statistics prior to entering a master’s program.
At the master’s level, students learn how media – social networking, mobile communications, the Internet, and other media – influences and impacts human behavior. Necessary education includes coursework, a capstone project or senior exhibition, and independent study. Curriculum may include:
- Global and social media
- Human psyche
- Information technology
- Psychology and the media
- Communication law
- Mobile advocacy
- Cognition and development
- Marketing and advertising
Media Psychologist Licensing Requirements
Media psychologists do not work directly with patients in a clinical setting, and therefore, licensure is not required; however, as media psychology is a growing into very competitive field, internships and volunteering in media-related agencies is highly recommended. There are also many opportunities for students to network with professionals in the field by joining a growing list of organizations and societies, such as the Society for Media Psychology and Technology (American Psychological Association (APA) Division 46), and the Media Psychology Research Center, which also offers the Media Psychology Review online magazine.
The Media Psychology Research Center offers an online psychology certificate program, which emphasizes audience engagement and brand psychology as they relate to media psychology. This program is through Fielding Graduate University’s Media Psychology MA Program.
PhD in Media Psychology
PhD programs in media psychology are rare. However, some graduate schools employ faculty who specialize in this field. The complexity of this field allows for significant growth in individuals who decide to further their education by earning their PhD in psychology.
PhD students produce research that influences the way people think and behave, as it relates to all types of media. A PhD degree in media psychology prepares a student for careers in research, academia, and advocacy.
Coursework at the PhD level may include:
- Cognitive psychology
- Developmental and biological psychology
- Media and sub-disciplines
- Study and research in media psychology
Upon graduating, students will have a vast knowledge in these areas:
- Research design and methods
- General psychological theories and how they apply to media
- How to design and communicate independent research
- The contribution of media psychology on people and the world
Media Psychologist Career Outlook and Salary Estimates
Media Psychology is a high paced and growing field. Professionals in the field of Media Psychology will have a solid foundation in psychology associated with various mediums of media, and will enjoy a wide variety of career opportunities, including.
- Healthcare and human services
- Pubic advocacy and policy-making
- Digital marketing
- Media, entertainment, and film
- Independent and corporate consulting
- Market research analyst
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of media psychology is included in employment forecasts of all psychologists, who will see a 12 percent growth rate between 2012 and 2022. However, as this field of psychology is growing at a faster-than-average rate, employment opportunities will emerge as excitement for this field continues to grow. Average salary (2014) ranges between $68,000 and $89,000.
Online Programs in Media Psychology
As media psychologists do not practice in a clinical setting, or have face-to-face contact with patients, online or hybrid programs are good options, and there are a number of accredited online general psychology programs to choose from. However, there are few programs specific to media psychology. Most schools offer a general psychology degree with media-related coursework.
Students are correct to strive for the best education possible to ensure employment, as requirements for professionals in this area will transform and modify as this field expands and grows. It should be noted that not all online programs offer a doctorate degree in this field.
As with most online degree programs, there are a number of pros and cons to also be considered:
- Flexibility for students with other commitments, such as a job or family
- Assessable to long-distance learners
- Practical for students with disabilities that keep them from attending classes
- Online programs are gaining respect in the field of media psychology as this field continues to gain popularity
- Not all online programs are accredited, nor do all credits always transfer to a college or university program
- Some programs are more expensive than programs offered on-campus (however, as online learning is gaining popularity, many schools are now offering tuition costs comparable to on-campus learning)
- The timeline to earning a degree may be longer – this is true because many long-distance and online learners attend classes part-time
- Less face-to-face interaction with faculty and advisors, except in hybrid or blended learning environments
Campus-based and hybrid or blended programs offer the opportunity to study face-to-face with leaders in the field of psychology, and specifically media psychology if offered on-campus. For many students, on-campus learning, at least on a part-time basis, is necessary for disciplined study and interaction with other students and professors.
- Professors are often more accessible
- Students have access to tutors, on-campus clubs and associations
- On-campus learning can sometimes offer greater potential for internships and employment
- On-campus programs often carry more weight when people are competing for the same jobs
- Professionals in the field of psychology may recognize on-campus degrees as more credible than online degrees