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Master's in Psychology Requirements

Admissions Procedures

Prerequisites

To be admitted in the Master's in Psychology program, you should have completed 18 hours of undergraduate coursework in psychology. You are required to have completed coursework in statistics and in research methods.

We strongly prefer applicants who have broad experience in psychology as evidenced by a diversity in undergraduate psychology coursework. As such, preference in admissions will be given to students who have taken courses in developmental psychology, cognition and/or learning, physiological psychology, and social psychology.

Admissions Requirements

For admission into the psychology master's program, you must apply for and be accepted into the Graduate School. Visit the Graduate School's website for application information. You must also be accepted by the Department of Psychology's Committee on Acceptance and Retention.

In addition to the requirements for admission to the Graduate School, expectations for admission to the Psychology master's program include:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  • A GRE score of: 148 (Verbal); 147 (Quantitative); 295 (Verbal & Quantitative)
  • Prior coursework in statistics and research methods.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals able to speak to the student's professional development and preparation for advanced study.
    • The psychology department will evaluate the same letters required by the Graduate School; you do not need to obtain additional letters. But for admission in the Department of Psychology, make sure your letters fit the above guidelines.
  • A personal statement that comments on your career goals and discusses how the program would help you achieve those goals. You are encouraged to name faculty members with whom you would be most interested in working on research projects, and to mention why you think such member(s) would provide appropriate mentorship.
  • The following documents are optional, but encouraged:
    • (a) a curriculum vita (or professional resume)
    • (b) an APA-style writing sample

Potential applicants can also request information via Express Inquiry Form provide by the Graduate School.  

Graduation Requirements

Courses

You must complete 38 hours of graduate-level coursework in psychology. The curriculum includes 20 hours of core courses, 9 hours of extended core courses, and 9 hours of electives.

Please visit the curriculum page for more information about course requirements.

Research and Practicum Coursework

Directed Research (PSYC597, 2 hours total)

All students must be involved in research with a chosen faculty member and must register for 1 hour of credit in Psychology 597 (Directed Research) during your first 2 semesters enrolled in the program. The Directed Research provides you and your faculty member the opportunity to develop research ideas and methodology that will lend to a thesis proposal. You may change ideas and/or faculty supervision during this early stage of thesis development.

Thesis (Psychology 599, 6 hours total)

All students are required to fully engage in the thesis process of writing and defending a thesis proposal, conducting thesis research, and writing and defending a final thesis under the direction of a graduate faculty member within the Department of Psychology. The thesis should be conceived as publishable research and should meet Graduate School thesis guidelines, Department of Psychology guidelines, and APA-style guidelines.

Thesis hours are scheduled as variable credit, but a minimum of 3 hours must be scheduled each semester that a student chooses to schedule PSYC 599; you are required to schedule at least three hours of 599 credit within your final semester (i.e., the semester within which you plan to graduate).

Field Practicum (PSYC 595; variable)

The field practicum involves on-site practical experience related to the area of employment that you are considering. The types of experience will vary, but for most will include testing in psychological, education, and rehabilitation settings; and observations and experience in group counseling and psychotherapy. The field practicum is optional, but could be a good experience if you're seeking future employment in applied areas of psychology.

  • A number of agencies have been approved for practicum experience by the graduate committee of the Psychology Department, so you have a variety of options for gaining field experience. You should consult with the practicum coordinator to determine an appropriate location for their field practicum.
  • Permission of the Practicum Coordinator is required for any student to enroll in PSYC 595. Before permission can be granted, you must have completed PSYC 510 and PSYC 533 with a “B” or better, have completed the one-hour pre-practicum course (PSYC 594), and must have received a favorable evaluation by the practicum evaluation committee.
  • You are expected to provide approximately 83 hours of service to an organization for every one hour of PSYC 595 credit in which you enroll. Although you may schedule between 1 and 4 credits of PSYC 595 in any semester, it is expected that you will enroll in at least 2 hours of PSYC 595 for your first practicum experience (contributing approximately 167 hours of on-site service). The one-hour credit option is intended for students to remain at a site for an extra semester in a reduced capacity.

Additional Requirements

All students must successfully pass a comprehensive exam, a thesis proposal, and a thesis defense.

The Comprehensive Exam

Prior to beginning your second year in the program, you must pass a comprehensive exam. The exam will be completed as a take-home exam and will be submitted on-line. The exam will be based on your first-year core coursework and will include questions designed to encourage you to apply the skills and knowledge gained in preliminary coursework to you research and professional interests.

The Thesis Proposal

During your first semester, you must select a thesis chair from among the Department of Psychology faculty with graduate faculty status. You are expected to spend the first year working with your thesis chair on selecting a topic, writing a literature review, and designing a methodology conducive to investigating a meaningful research question.

You must form a thesis committee consisting of the chair and two other Graduate Faculty members, at least one of whom must be a member of the Psychology Department. Following your thesis chair’s approval, you will submit a written thesis proposal to your committee members and schedule a meeting to present the proposal to the committee. Committee members may suggest changes to the document or the proposed methodology. All committee members must formally approve of your thesis proposal before you can seek DRB or IRB approval to begin data collection. Ideally, you will propose your thesis project to your committee at the end of the first year or start of second year.

The Thesis Defense

Normally, students spend much of their second year collecting and analyzing thesis data, culminating in an APA-style thesis document including introduction, method, results, and discussion sections. Thesis documents must also include a complete reference list and often include various appendices.

Upon approval of your document by your thesis chair, you will submit the thesis document to your other committee members, and schedule an oral defense meeting. The written document and oral defense comprise your final examination. All committee members must approve of both the written document and oral defense presentation before you will be allowed to graduate. Written thesis documents must also be approved by the Graduate School prior to graduation.

To allow time for revisions and approval by the graduate school, you should plan on scheduling thesis defense meetings by mid-term of the semester in which you plan to graduate.