Master of Arts in Psychology
Important: Only students who have been admitted to the doctoral program in psychology may elect to earn this master's degree; hence all candidates are considered as doctoral applicants.
The study of psychology at a master of arts level is dedicated to recognizing and understanding the nature and behavioral characteristics of human beings. Ultimately, combining relevant information with usable techniques, skills, and experiences provides a comprehensive program that can help one work with people who need help mastering mental capacities and emotional abilities.
The M.A. in psychology programs provide students with laboratory and classroom experience to prepare them to work in specialized research and applied fields within psychology or entry into experimental doctoral and clinical programs. These programs usually examine the application of psychology to various cognitive, behavioral, and societal issues. (Source: Keystone Masterstudies)
Plan of work
To earn an M.A., a student must complete 32 credits, with an average grade of B (3.0) or better. Included in the 32 credits must be the following:
- Thesis (eight credits) (PSY 8999)
- Quantitative Methods I (PSY 7150)
- Multivariate Analysis (PSY 8150)
Each student must submit a master's plan of work by the end of the second semester (winter semester). The form should be filled out by the student and signed by their advisor, then submitted to the Department of Psychology graduate advisor along with a copy of the student's pipeline transcript. Once the plan of work is approved by the college, the student will be advanced to the rank of 'Candidate.' In preparing the plan, the student and advisor should evaluate with care the personal and professional objectives of the student as well as all degree and departmental requirements. The above-named coursework must appear on your plan of work.
Note: Certain areas of concentration have additional requirements to obtain a master's degree, please consult your advisor or area chair for these additional requirements.
If changes need to be made to an already approved plan of work, you must fill out a Change to Plan of Work Form and submit it to the Department of Psychology graduate advisor.
More information about
- Thesis committee
The master's thesis committee must consist of at least three Department of Psychology faculty members with graduate faculty status. Requests for exceptions to this committee composition should be emailed to the Department of Psychology Graduate Office, Alia Allen, with an explanation of the deviation.
- Thesis requirements
The student should prepare a detailed thesis proposal that meets the approval of the advisor. When this is done the student should prepare the Master's Thesis – Outline and Record of Approval Form, and have it signed by their advisor at the proposal meeting. Once signed by the advisor, the student should submit the form to the Department of Psychology graduate advisor.
An acceptable thesis must involve the use of laboratory or field data obtained by the candidate, or the use of data available from acceptable sources. No thesis proposal will be accepted that is an entirely theoretical, critical or essay-type study. All theses must conform to editorial usage in the journals of the American Psychological Association, as detailed in the publication manual of the APA. The student should consult the dissertation/thesis format guidelines published by the Graduate School.
- Final exam
Each candidate for the master's degree must pass a final oral examination. This examination will normally cover the thesis and related topics. It will be evaluated by the student's thesis committee (see above). The thesis chair or co-chairs must be present at the thesis defense. Approval for other committee members to phone or Skype should be obtained from the Department of Psychology Graduate Office by contacting Alia Allen.
At least two weeks before the oral examination/defense, the student must submit their thesis for format check to the Graduate School. At this time the student should also download and prepare the Master's Final Report Form (PDF) in order to have it signed at the oral defense by the advisor and committee. After the oral examination/defense, the signed Final Report Form and two copies of the signed title page must be returned to the psychology department graduate office. Lastly, the student is responsible for submitting the thesis in its final form to the Graduate School.
- Financial aid
Students may apply for thesis support after their proposal is approved. Students can request up to $1000 with half coming from the Graduate School and half from the psychology department. Application instructions and forms are located under the Graduate School scholarships and awards and should be submitted to the associate chairperson.
Each candidate for a degree (M.A. or Ph.D.) must file apply for graduation no later than the fourth week of classes for the semester in which they expect to complete the requirements for the degree. If an application for a degree was filed for a previous term in which the student did not graduate, the form will have to be resubmitted. It is necessary to pay the fee again. Students can register for graduation on Academica.
- Time limits
Students have a six-year time limit to complete all requirements for the master's degree. The six-year period begins with the end of the semester during which the student has been admitted to the program.
- Checklist for the master's degree
- Student: File a plan of work and transcript during the second semester
- Student: File a Master's Thesis – Outline and Record of Approval after your thesis proposal
- Student: File an application for degree no later than the fourth week of classes
- Student: Submit a copy of your thesis to the Graduate School at least two weeks before defense date for format check
- Student: File a Master's Final Report for Certifying Fulfillment of Degree Requirements (PDF) form after your thesis defense
- Advisor: Submit change of thesis (8999) credit grades to Department of Psychology graduate advisor
- Student: Submit thesis in final form to the Graduate School
This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.