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Degree Requirements

To qualify for the Master of Arts degree in Psychology, students must

  1. Complete ten 3-credit courses as specified below, for a total of 30 credits, with a minimum GPA of 3.0*


  1. Complete an independent research project and present it as a master’s thesis (Thesis Track) or pass a written qualifying exam demonstrating competency in content areas studied in the program (Content Track).

*See the Psychology Department policy on academic standing.

Three research courses are required of all students:

  • Introduction to Psychological Science
  • Research Methods
  • Statistics and Research Design

In the first weeks of the program students pursuing the thesis track option are matched with a faculty adviser.  It is expected that students will pursue collaborative and independent research with this faculty mentor that results in a thesis. Those electing to follow the content track will have their progress monitored by the graduate committee. Students may switch from the thesis track to the content track during the duration of the program, but may have to take additional content courses. Students may also switch from the content track to the thesis track during the duration of the program, but may have to take additional research and independent study classes. 

Two Independent Study courses are to be completed by students pursuing a master’s thesis.  Students in the thesis track work with a faculty mentor as part of the Psychological Science course during their first semester in the program and will be evaluated by a committee (including the students’ potential thesis adviser and the Graduate Program Director) to determine students’ eligibility for Independent Study. Content track students do not work with a faculty mentor but will have an alternative assignment determined by the graduate committee to fulfill the requirements of the first semester Psychological Science course. Students will be notified in writing by the Graduate Program Director if they will not be permitted to pursue an Independent Study course or complete a thesis. 

All students must complete 3 of the following core content classes:

  • Graduate Developmental Psychology
  • Graduate Personality Psychology
  • Graduate Social Psychology
  • Graduate Abnormal Psychology
  • Graduate Cognitive Psychology
  • Graduate Physiological Psychology

Consistent with their individual interests, students also select two (if pursing the thesis track) or four (if pursuing the content track) elective courses from among those core and elective courses offered. For example, a student may take one of the advanced core classes as an elective or may wish to complete one of the elective courses listed on the course descriptions page to fulfill this requirement. With the program director’s approval, it may also be possible to include as one of these electives a course offered in a different graduate program, such as the Master of Public Administration or the Master of Business Administration.