The Master of Arts in General/Experimental or Clinical Psychology is aimed at students who wish to pursue a doctorate and want to strengthen their credentials to be competitive for doctoral programs, students who wish to pursue careers that require research skills, or students who wish to gain an understanding of research as it pertains to intervention and prevention. A thesis-based and a non-thesis based option is offered. For students who wish to pursue research-related careers and/or increase their competitiveness for PhD programs, the thesis option is recommended. For students who need a Master’s degree for a non-research related career, for example in education, law, or business, the non-thesis option is recommended.

For the thesis-based option, applicants are required to identify a thesis mentor among the faculty in the Department of Psychological Science.

NOTE: Our goal is not to train licensed therapists pursuing a career in clinical practice. Hence, this program’s curriculum does not provide any supervised practicum or internship hours necessary for licensure. Students interested in a career as a licensed therapist should pursue that goal via the Master’s program in Counseling through the College of Education and Social Services.

Learning goals for Master of Arts in Psychology students are:

  • Development of a foundational understanding in the area of research specialization.
  • Development of strong research skills.
  • Development of effective skills in communicating Psychological Science.
  • Thesis option: Development of strong research skills

NOTE: Our goal is not to train licensed therapists pursuing a career in clinical practice. Hence, this program’s curriculum does not provide any supervised practicum or internship hours necessary for licensure. Students interested in a career as a licensed therapist should pursue that goal via the Master’s program in Counseling through the College of Education and Social Services.

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Arts

A major or its equivalent in undergraduate psychology is recommended, with a recommended minimum overall GPA of 3.3 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. For the thesis-based option, applicants to the concentration in General/Experimental Psychology should have coursework in experimental psychology, and applicants to the concentration in Clinical Psychology should have completed abnormal psychology. Three letters of recommendation are required, and letter-writers should comment on the readiness of the applicant for a graduate program. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination are required. Subject scores (Psychology) are not required but are strongly recommended for students applying without a psychology major. An interview is required of top applicants.

Minimum Degree Requirements

Students pursue the thesis-based option with either a General/Experimental Psychology or Clinical Psychology concentration. The non-thesis based option does not have a concentration. For students pursuing the thesis-based option in General/Experimental Psychology, 9-15 credits must be accumulated in Master’s Thesis research, in addition to successful defense of an empirical Master’s Thesis.  For students pursuing the concentration in Clinical Psychology, 9 credits must be accumulated in Master’s Thesis research, in addition to successful defense of an empirical Master’s Thesis. Detailed information on courses of study is available on the department website.

Thesis-based option 1: General/Experimental Psychology concentration

Category A: Research (6 credits).  One of these combinations is required:

Advanced Statistical Methods I (PSYS 304) – 3 credits

Advanced Statistical Methods II (PSYS 305) – 3 credits

                        OR

Seminar in Psychological Research Methods (PSYS 303) – 3 credits

Advanced Statistical Methods I (PSYS 304) – 3 credits

Category B: Experimental (minimum of 6 credits).  At least two of the three courses below:

Biobehavioral Proseminar (PSYS 315) – 3 credits

Proseminar in Experimental Social Psychology (PSYS 330) – 3 credits

Developmental Proseminar (PSYS 350) – 3 credits

Category C: Electives (minimum of 3 credits).  At least one additional PSYS 300 course.

Master’s Research (PSYS 391) – 9-15 credits

Thesis-based option 2: Clinical Psychology concentration

Category A: Research (6 credits).  One of these combinations is required:

Advanced Statistical Methods I (PSYS 304) – 3 credits

Advanced Statistical Methods II (PSYS 305) – 3 credits

                        OR

Seminar in Psychological Research Methods (PSYS 303) – 3 credits

Advanced Statistical Methods I (PSYS 304) – 3 credits

Category B: Clinical (minimum of 9 credits).  At least one course from each pair below is required:

Child Psychopathology (PSYS 370) or Adult Psychopathology (PSYS 371)

Child Behavior Therapy (PSYS 374) or Adult Cognitive and Behavior Therapy (PSYS 375)

Child & Adol Psych Assess (PSYS 372) or Adult Psychological Assessment (PSYS 373)

Category C: Electives (6 credits).  Two additional PSYS 300 courses.  Students may substitute one of the following three courses for one of the additional PSYS 300 courses:

Advanced Behavior Change (PSYS 274) – 3 credits

Advanced Fit Kids: Applied Research (PSYS 281) – 3 credits

Advanced Fit Kids: Special Populations (PSYS 282) – 3 credits

Master’s Research (PSYS 391) – 9 credits

Non-thesis option

Category A: Statistics and Research Methods (6 credits).  One of these combinations is required:

Advanced Statistical Methods I (PSYS 304) – 3 credits

Advanced Statistical Methods II (PSYS 305) – 3 credits

                        OR

Seminar in Psychological Research Methods (PSYS 303) – 3 credits

Advanced Statistical Methods I (PSYS 304) – 3 credits

             Category B: Electives (24 credits). Eight additional PSYS 300 courses. 

Comprehensive Examination

For the thesis-based option, a written thesis proposal and an oral examination serves as the comprehensive examination. For the non-thesis option, a written examination based on coursework serves as the comprehensive examination. The Comprehensive Examination requirement should be completed by the end of the first semester of the second year in the program. 

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Arts

Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination.