Media psychology studies the effects of telecommunications, politics, advertising, and entertainment on society and individuals. Drawing from cognitive and developmental psychology, media psychology also incorporates systems and learning theories. By studying methods of mitigating the negative effects of media, these psychologists can develop programs that improve literacy, reduce anxiety, and otherwise benefit members of society.
Students seeking a master’s degree in media psychology should expect to spend two years in their given program. The best media psychology degree programs will include a number of traditional psychology courses, as well as at least one class in research methods. Critical classes that study storytelling, social media, and advertising are frequently offered, as well.
Why a Master’s Degree in Media Psychology?
According to recent data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012, people with master’s degrees were about 20% more likely to be employed compared to those with a bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree holders also earned a 20% higher median weekly salary than their bachelor’s degree holding counterparts. According to a recent report produced by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, master’s degree holders could expect to earn $400,000 more over their lifetimes than those who stopped their education with a bachelor’s degree. In fact, master’s degree holders will earn $1,000,000 more than high school graduates who never attended college during the course of their careers.
Getting Into a Media Psychology Master’s Degree Program
Expectations vary by school; however, most master’s in media psychology degree programs share a few basic requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field
- Sufficient undergraduate grade point average (GPA) – typically 3.0 or higher
- Sufficient scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Letters of recommendation
Inside a Media Psychology Master’s Degree Program
At the master’s level, most course work will be in the major field; however, since media psychology incorporates other disciplines, students can expect to take classes in advertising and marketing, as well. Required psychology courses may include cognitive behavior theory and neuropsychological development. Given its prominent use in media, research methods that incorporate surveys and focus groups are almost universally taught.
Outside of psychology, students can expect to take courses in narrative, propaganda, and persuasion. Other common courses include global media, neurological marketing, and emerging technology. Social and mobile media are also frequently studied. Most programs require completion of either a capstone project or a master’s thesis, prior to graduation.
What’s Next for Media Psychology Master’s Degree Holders?
Many graduates of media psychology programs take jobs in the marketing industry. According to the BLS, demand for market research analysts is expect to grow by leaps and bounds through 2020; these professionals earn a median annual salary in excess of $60,000. Others, who choose to take positions in public relations, can also expect an annual salary in the range of $60,000; this field is also expected to grow through 2020.
Those who wish to pursue a Ph.D. will find an excellent return on the investment. According to the Georgetown University study, an individual with a doctoral degree can expect to earn $400,000 more over his/her lifetimes compared to those with a master’s degree. Doctorate holders can take teaching and research positions at colleges and universities, earning more than $60,000 annually, or work directly as psychologists, earning nearly $70,000 a year. Nonetheless, those who take their Ph.D. to industry are frequently sought after to work in supervisory roles as advertising and marketing managers; these professionals can expect to earn salaries in excess of $100,000.