Graduate students are offered "student affiliate" or membership status in various professional organizations. One national organization for psychologists, with over 100,000 members, is the organization that provides our accreditation, the American Psychological Association (APA). Student membership in APA enables the student to receive the APA Monitor and the American Psychologist each month at no additional charge. The Monitor addresses political, financial, and social issues facing psychologists and publishes a national listing of jobs for psychologists. The American Psychologist contains APA archival documents such as yearly lists of accredited programs and internships, and also publishes articles on broad aspects of psychology. Student affiliates of APA are also entitled to discounts on journals and books. To join APA as a student affiliate go to the American Psychological Association (APA). In addition to becoming a student affiliate of APA, students may choose to join a more specialized group within the organization. There are over 40 divisions, divided according to specialty area (e.g., Division 12: Clinical Psychology). Several divisions are further subdivided into "sections" (e.g. Section I, Division 12: Clinical Child Psychology). Students can join as many divisions and sections as they wish, at a small charge over and above APA dues.
Many members of our clinical community belong to the Association for Psychological Science (APS; http://www.psychologicalscience.org/). APS has a structure quite similar to APA but its membership is more focused on research and the empirical nature of psychology as a discipline. APS also has student memberships (see http://www.psychologicalscience.org/join/).
There are local psychology organizations within most states that have student memberships (e.g. Massachusetts Psychological Association) and regions (e.g. Eastern Psychological Association), all of which are affiliated with APA. In addition to these general associations, there are special interest organizations (e.g. Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies) that are not affiliated with APA or APS and have a more focused membership and purpose. Each of these organizations has its own dues, generally lower for students than for full members.
All of these organizations have annual or biannual conferences at which student attendance is welcome, and where members pay lower registration fees. Most offer journal subscriptions at reduced rates to members. Generally, student membership in these associations facilitates the development of professionalism, as well as affording students greater opportunity to make professional contacts within their future areas of specialization and employment. Further, early affiliation with other professional or academic psychologists exposes students to a much wider range of professional influences and interests than can be available within a single university training program.
Talk to your mentors about the professional organizations most likely to be of interest to you while you are at UMass.