Master of Arts in Psychological Science

Requirements (51 units)

Program Code: PYSC

The objective of the Master of Arts in Psychological Science is to provide a program of study with courses selected from a variety of basic areas in general experimental psychology. The program provides a broad background suitable for entry into doctoral programs in any area of psychology (e.g., social, cognitive, developmental, neuroscience, or clinical); or for employment requiring a Master of Arts degree in Psychology.

Admission to the M.A. Program

In addition to the general requirements of the university, specific requirements for admission to classified graduate status are:

  1. A baccalaureate degree with a major in psychology; or with any other undergraduate major;
    1. Score at least at the 50th percentile on the GRE advanced test in psychology;
      OR
    2. Satisfy the graduate admissions committee of the Department of Psychology that a satisfactory course of study has been pursued in preparation for graduate study in psychology;
  2. A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") overall and in the major;
  3. Submission of scores for the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination (for the Psychological Science program only);
  4. Completion of the graduate entrance writing requirement;
  5. A brief statement describing preparation for graduate study (e.g., research experience, academic accomplishments), the goals of graduate study and professional aspirations, to be submitted to the department;
  6. Three letters of recommendation, with at least two from former professors. Letters should come directly from the writers or be included in a placement file. (It is the applicant's responsibility to determine if letters have been received.);
  7. Satisfaction of the prerequisites or their equivalent:
    PSYC 100Introduction to Psychology4
    PSYC 210Psychological Statistics5
    PSYC 311Introduction to Experimental Psychology6

Students who meet the general requirements of the university for admission to graduate study, but who do not meet the Psychology Department's specific requirements for admission to classified status or who wish to take course work prior to spring quarter consideration of their application for classified status, may be admitted to the university in the unclassified postbaccalaureate status. Unclassified postbaccalaureate students may enroll, with consent of the Psychology Department, in selected graduate courses.

Advancement to Candidacy

At the end of the spring quarter, all first year graduate students will be evaluated to determine whether or not they will be advanced to candidacy for the Master of Arts degree. Students will be reevaluated each quarter until they are either advanced to candidacy or declassified.

To be formally advanced to candidacy, a student must, to the satisfaction of the chair of the department, have:

  1. Achieved classified status;
  2. Successfully completed 16 units of course work in the program and maintained a 3.0 ("B") grade point average in the course work;
  3. Selected a graduate advisor to supervise the course of study;
  4. Satisfied the ethical requirements of the American Psychological Association;
  5. Filed an approved graduate program which must have the approval of the student's advisor, the department chair or the graduate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies;
  6. Demonstrated successful research participation with a faculty advisor. Success will be determined by a passing grade in PSYC 611B (2 units). PSYC 611C (3 units) will be reserved for the completed thesis proposal after advancement. This requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways:
    1. Student will be required to become familiar with the literature in a research area which will be related to their thesis research. This could take the form of a partial literature review, an annotated bibliography and/or a presentation of the literature of interest to faculty/student groups.
    2. Student will be required to become familiar with several related research literatures if their area of interest is currently undeveloped or if specialized knowledge of particular methodologies requires further investigation for the development of a thesis project.
    3. Student will be required to become skilled in certain specialized research methods which will pertain to their abilities to gather data for the thesis. Examples of such activities could include gathering pilot data to acquire interview skills, knowledge of survey procedures, assessment skills, advanced statistical skills, understanding of content analysis, skills to work with a special population, or advanced physiological measurement skills.

Requirements for Graduation

  1. A minimum of 51 quarter units of approved graduate-level work, with 38 completed in residence at this university;
  2. A grade point average of at least 3.0 ("B") in all courses taken to satisfy the Master of Arts degree, grades of "B-" (2.7) or better in each required course in the program, and grades of "C" (2.0) or better in each elective course;
  3. Successful completion of the course work listed below, including a culminating experience consisting of the completion and defense of an original master's thesis;
  4. The graduation writing requirement is met upon successful completion of the thesis;
  5. Any additional general requirements not cited above and listed in Graduate Degree and Program Requirements.

Classified graduate students in the Master of Arts program must complete their degree requirements within seven years of admission to that program. Students in classified status who fail to register for at least one course in the Psychology M.A. program each quarter will automatically be declassified. PSYC 698 (Continuous Enrollment for Graduate Candidacy Standing) must be taken if another course is not taken during a given quarter.

Degree Requirements (51 units)

PSYC 611B-EAdvanced Independent Study (2-5 units for a total of 5)5
PSYC 640Advanced Methods in Psychological Research4
PSYC 641Analysis of Variance5
PSYC 642Regression and Nonparametric Statistics4
PSYC 650Advanced Cognitive Psychology4
PSYC 652Advanced Learning and Motivation4
PSYC 654Advanced Life-Span Developmental Psychology4
PSYC 656Advanced Biological Psychology4
PSYC 658Advanced Personality and Social Psychology4
PSYC 699Thesis5
Eight units of PSYC 500- or 600-level courses, excluding PSYC 595, PSYC 611, PSYC 612 and PSYC 689. 8
Total Units51