Requirements for a Master of Arts Degree in Psychology

Students must complete 10 three-credit courses as specified below, for a total of 30 credits, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (See the Psychology Department policy on academic standing).

They must also complete all requirements for one of two tracks:

  • Complete an independent research project and present it as a master’s thesis (thesis track). This involves proposing a thesis project before a committee of 3 faculty members and later defending the finalized project before the same committee.
  • Pass a written qualifying exam demonstrating competency in content areas studied in the program (content track).

Both tracks lead to the same degree. The only difference is the focus on completing a specific research project or survey a broader set of core courses. Many students in the content track work with faculty on research projects but are not required to write a thesis based on this research. 

Download a PDF of the MA in Psychology Program Worksheet.


Three research and statistics courses are required of all students:

  • Research Methods
  • Statistics and Research Design
  • Statistics Elective (Psychological Data and Hypothesis I strongly recommended)

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 the thesis track.  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 two of the following core methods and/or statistics classes:

  • Psychological Data and Hypothesis I (strongly recommended)
  • Psychological Data and Hypothesis II (strongly recommended)
  • Program Evaluation
  • Survey Research Methods
  • Special Topics courses designated as core methods/stats

Consistent with their individual interests, students also select three (if pursing the thesis track) or five (if pursuing the content track) core or elective courses from among the graduate 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. 

In rare instances, graduate students can take an undergraduate class as a graduate class (and do additional work above and beyond the undergraduate class by arrangement with the instructor). To do this, students need to fill out a G Prefix Form

Visit the Graduate Program’s page about graduating, including the deadlines and forms that must be filled.