Jump to content

Psych degree vs masters in psych


Quick question....Im almost finished with my RN degree and I know im going to go on to finish my education. I LOVE LOVE psych....but where can I go or what can I do with a master of nursing specializing in psychology, or should I just go out and try to get a psychology degree?

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

You can get a Masters in the nursing field with a specialization in psychiatry. That's what I did. It focused on nursing with several classes at the end that focused on caring for psych patients. It didn't give me more information on psych illnesses, however, just how to care for general symptoms.

If your intention is to stay in nursing, you will be much better served by taking any additional degrees in (psychiatric) nursing. A psychology degree will not help you much (just as a nursing degree would not help your career much if you were a psychologist). The only way I could recommend a psychology degree would be if your larger plan was to move out of nursing into psychology.

I was interested to read Whispera's description of her/his graduate program -- I am a (child) psych CNS, and my MSN program was focused almost entirely on diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders (as a psychotherapist).

I would encourage the OP to further research the role of psychiatric CNS and NP.

An MSW - Master's in Social Work could also be helpful to you if you are planning on being a case manager and/or psych nurse. Some schools allow you to do this part time and you could probably do your practicum where you work.


Specializes in Psychiatric.

I'd strongly recommend sticking with psych-related nursing stuff. Generally speaking, with Psychology degrees, you will basically be in school for far longer (and likely will have to do an unpaid internship if you want to be licensed as a therapist) just to be paid far less.