Being an adjunct psychology professor can be a fulfilling and rewarding career choice for individuals who have a passion for teaching and a deep understanding of human behavior. If you are considering pursuing this path, you may be wondering what degree is required to become an adjunct psychology professor.

In this article, we will explore the educational qualifications needed to excel in this role.

What is an Adjunct Psychology Professor?

An adjunct psychology professor is a part-time faculty member at a college or university who teaches psychology courses. Unlike full-time professors, adjuncts typically do not have tenure and often work on a contractual basis.

They bring real-world experience to the classroom and provide valuable insights into the field of psychology.

Educational Requirements

To become an adjunct psychology professor, you will need at least a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Many institutions also require adjuncts to have some teaching experience or practical work experience in the field.

Master’s Degree in Psychology: A master’s degree in psychology is the minimum educational requirement for aspiring adjunct professors. This degree provides individuals with a solid foundation in psychological theories, research methods, and practical applications. It typically takes two years to complete a master’s program.

Doctoral Degree: While not always required, having a doctoral degree in psychology can significantly enhance your chances of becoming an adjunct professor. A Ph.D. or Psy. demonstrates advanced knowledge and expertise in your chosen psychological specialization.

Teaching Experience

In addition to holding the necessary degrees, having teaching experience is highly beneficial when pursuing a career as an adjunct psychology professor. Many institutions prefer candidates who have taught undergraduate courses or have worked as teaching assistants during their graduate studies.

Tips for Gaining Teaching Experience:

By gaining teaching experience, you will develop essential skills such as lesson planning, classroom management, and student assessment, which are crucial for success as an adjunct professor.

Specializations and Certifications

While not mandatory, specializing in a specific area of psychology can make you more marketable as an adjunct professor. Specializations can include areas such as clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, or industrial-organizational psychology.

Certifications: Some institutions may require or prefer adjunct professors to hold specific certifications. Examples include the Certified Mental Health Counselor (CMHC) certification or the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification. These certifications demonstrate expertise in a particular subfield of psychology.


Becoming an adjunct psychology professor requires at least a master’s degree in psychology or a related field. Additionally, having teaching experience and specialized knowledge can enhance your prospects.

Remember to continuously update your skills and stay abreast of developments in the field to ensure you provide the best education possible to your students.

With dedication and a commitment to lifelong learning, you can embark on a fulfilling career as an adjunct psychology professor.