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Where do students go after the MSPS program?

Students in our MSPS program typically go on to pursue doctoral study in psychology or related fields, but outcomes also include professional career placements, master’s level training in another field (such as law, medicine, or counseling/social work), and other careers.

The graph below shows the outcomes of graduates from the MSPS program from 2011-2021. 


What kinds of doctoral programs do students attend?

MSPS graduates are accepted to competitive, high-quality institutions to study a variety of sub-disciplines in psychology.  Some recent examples include:

  • Clinical Psychology, University of Georgia
  • Counseling/School Psychology, Florida State University
  • Communications, Michigan State University
  • Quantitative Psychology, University of Virginia
  • Social Psychology, Penn State University

What kinds of professional jobs do MSPS students obtain?

MSPS students are selected for a variety of professional positions in psychology, both at the master’s and doctoral level. Recent examples include:

  • Project Manager at UF Health Jacksonville in Jacksonville, FL
  • Case Manager and Child Development Specialist at Episcopal Children’s Services in Jacksonville, FL
  • Academic Advisor at the ARC Jacksonville
  • Post-doctoral fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Solutions Consultant at Social Solutions in Austin, TX
  • Research Associate at the NOVUS Mars Project in Melbourne, FL
  • Researcher and Academic Advisor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL
  • Insight and Analytics Supervisor at the Sales Factory
  • Animal Behavior and Wellness Specialist at the Jacksonville Zoo
  • Operations Technician at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Quantico, VA
  • Data Manager at Emory University in Atlanta, GA

What kinds of other programs do MSPS students attend?

MSPS students are well-trained for graduate-level study in other areas. Recent examples include:

  • JD at the University of Kansas Law School
  • MS in Mental Health Counseling, Nova Southeastern University
  • MS in Applied Behavior Analysis, University of North Florida
  • MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Stetson University

What are former graduates saying about the MSPS program?

Sarah Beard, Class of 2017

Sarah Beard Smiling

My name is Sarah Beard, and I’m a PhD candidate in Human Development at UC Davis working in a developmental neuroscience lab with Amanda Guyer and Paul Hastings. I graduated from the MSPS program in summer 2017 and went straight into PhD with the help of 3 publications I co-authored while in the MS program.


I gained so much from the MSPS program that it’s hard to condense – but, I think I most appreciate the experience I gained in the areas of (1) theoretical background, (2) statistical training, (3) connections with professors, and (4) diverse job opportunities at UNF including both teaching and research experience.


The MSPS coursework gave me extensive background in theory, which prepared me well for PhD level coursework, as well as writing papers for publication. I didn’t even realize it at the time (while buried in readings!), but when I began my PhD, I found myself far ahead of some of my peers. A lot of the material in my first-year PhD classes were review for me, or at least familiar, even for an area where I only had one class.


I benefited greatly from the interactive nature of classes, approachability of professors, and opportunities to work on research outside of my own lab. The small classes made it easier for me to feel comfortable sharing ideas, and professors were always so approachable in office hours. Maybe I’m biased since I got my bachelor’s here too, but I cannot brag enough about how awesome the professors are!


Grad school is what you make of it, no matter where you are – but in my experience, UNF has a lot of unique opportunities, both to get more research experience and teaching experience.

Monique Villamor, Class of 2021



My name is Monique Villamor, and I'm currently a Research Coordinator of Recruitment and Retention for UNF's Preventing Alzheimer's with Cognitive Training (PACT) study. I'm a double alum of UNF where I received my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Psychology. 


During my undergrad, I worked alongside Dr. Rebecca Marcon serving as an intern for Early Head Start as well as working as a research assistant in her lab. Through these experiences, I discovered my passion for community-based research because it gave me the opportunity to practice technical-based research skills, while also building relationships with people in the community.   

After finishing my undergrad degree, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in research yet felt unsure if I had enough experience to be competitive for the jobs and PhD programs I aspired for. Therefore, I decided to continue my education at UNF. Choosing the UNF MSPS program was an easy decision for me because it offers a close-knit, collaborative, and diverse environment. My advisor, Dr. Jody Nicholson, helped me navigate the challenges of graduate school by providing me with clear direction and support while still encouraging independence. She also provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with other researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and conduct interdisciplinary research for my thesis working with Dr. Lauri Wright in the UNF Nutrition & Dietetics department.   


In just 2 years in the program, I was able to present at multiple conferences, work in different research labs, serve as an Academic Coach/Graduate Teaching Assistant, hold a leadership position in the Graduate Psychology Organization, and co-author a publication. My time in the MSPS program was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in my academic/professional career. I entered the program unsure of what I wanted and graduated with accomplishments that exceeded my own expectations.   


Although I was set on pursuing a PhD, I learned that I didn't need to limit myself to achieve my goals of conducting community-based research. During graduate school, I sought experiences to specifically curate my path to a PhD but quickly realized that these same skills are still applicable beyond academia in which I continue to draw upon in the workforce today. The MSPS program equipped me with a variety of skills such as project management, statistical analysis, manuscript writing, public speaking, and translational research.   


To all prospective and/or incoming students, I encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and pursue any and every opportunity that sparks your interest. As Sarah and Jenny mentioned, graduate school is what you make of it so build relationships with faculty and your fellow cohort members because it will make all the difference in your short time as a graduate student!  


 Jenny Barton, Class of 2016


My name is Dr. Jenny Barton, and I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I received my PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin where I worked with Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff. I graduated from the MSPS (formally MAGP) program in summer 2016 and entered the PhD program directly after.


My research career started while I was an undergraduate at UNF, and I knew that I was interested in pursuing a research career, but I wasn’t sure if a PhD program was for me. The MSPS program was a logical next step for me, and the program served as an invaluable steppingstone in helping me determine if I wanted to pursue a PhD while also gaining experience and expertise, honing my existing skills, and creating connections with professors and peers.


I came into the MSPS program as a project manager for Dr. Jody Nicholson’s Healthy Habits intervention which we implemented with local Head Start centers. In this role, I communicated with Head Start families and staff, orchestrated data collection with families, children, and staff, managed research assistants, and conducted data analysis. This was a challenging yet rewarding experience that resulted in research skills that helped me succeed in my PhD program and are highly transferable for non-academic settings.


The mentorship that I received while in the MSPS program was unparallel. It’s hard to quantify just how much I learned from Dr. Nicholson. I learned the importance theory and ethics, how to manage a project and a team, how to analyze data in two programs, provided the appropriate amount of scaffolding, and sought opportunities for my professional development. No matter who you work with, you can expect a similar experience. The professors are knowledgeable and approachable and can help you determine those next steps – whether you choose a PhD program or joining the workforce after the MSPS program.


The MSPS coursework was helpful in providing a base knowledge in statistics, research methods, and theory. As Sarah mentioned, the MSPS coursework was similar to the coursework in my PhD program, and I found that much of the material was review for me. I was also able to have some of my PhD coursework covered by my MSPS coursework, which allowed me to take more electives in my content area.


Finally, I formed so many meaningful connections with people while in the MSPS program. Graduate school can be challenging, and your cohort can be a source of support, either instrumental and/or emotional. I encourage prospective and current students to seek out these connections with their peers and professors as well as networking with others outside of the department and UNF.