Psychological Sciences, Master of Arts

Department of Psychological Sciences

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The fundamental principle underlying the graduate program in psychological sciences at NAU is that all inquiry in psychology is structured by the scientific method. This inquiry is accomplished by proposing and testing theoretical explanations about human behavioral, biological and mental processes. Scientific rigor is essential to evaluate, disseminate, create and apply evidence in psychology. Students in our program take courses that are best suited for their professional goals such as preparation for doctoral programs, employment in health-related fields (including behavior analysis), teaching psychology, or other areas of employment that require research, methodology, and statistical skills. Students may also be able to combine the MA in Psychological Sciences with other certificate or degree programs. We train students to be scientific professionals, to be ethically responsible, to be committed to serving others, and to respect human diversity.

The NAU Department of Psychological Sciences has many faculty members with teaching and research expertise in the following areas: behavioral health, clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, learning psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology. Or master's program provides applied opportunities in health and community psychology, as well as an international exchange program for students with the University of Groningen, Netherlands, (additional international partnerships are under development). We also have a relationship with Coconino Community College that provides opportunities for second year students to gain teaching experience. We also offer advanced undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue a master's degree (our 3+2 program).

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master's degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 36
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate Required

An emphasis, minor, or certificate is required for this major.

Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Oral Defense Oral Defense may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Student Learning Outcomes

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers Master’s level graduate training in evidence-based science and application with the following opportunities:

  • Preparation for doctoral study or the workforce through advanced training in research design and statistics, incorporating effective oral and written communication skills.
  • Evidence-based experiences in one or more applied domains (e.g., research, teaching, field work, program evaluation, practice); these can be pursued with or without the completion of a thesis. 
Upon completion of a Master’s degree in Psychological Sciences, graduates will be able to:
  1. Identify, evaluate, and synthesize empirical, refereed scientific evidence. Graduates will demonstrate these skills through advanced coursework in psychological sciences.
    • Identify appropriate scope of primary source scientific evidence using bibliographic resources such as PsycINFO and PubMed).
    • Evaluate, contextualize, and make inferences about the quality of the evidence.
    • Synthesize by comparing and contrasting evidence across studies to create a defensible, systematic argument that supports the conclusions regarding the strength of the evidence in that domain.
  2. Demonstrate master’s level proficiency in research design and analysis.
    • Demonstrate technological literacy with analytic software (e.g., Excel, SPSS, SAS,
      NVivo, and other research-related software), data management (e.g., data cleaning, data screening, missing data), and data security.
    • Understand, apply, and evaluate quantitative and/or qualitative methodological approaches to a research problem.
    • Understand, apply, and evaluate statistical (e.g., ANOVA, regression models, meta-analysis, single-subject design) and/or other data analytic techniques (e.g., content-analysis, grounded theory, inductive thematic analysis, narrative analysis) including best practices with regard to statistical and analytical procedures and reporting.
  3. Understand, follow, and promote the highest disciplinary standards within the psychological sciences.
    • Incorporate ethical principles into research (e.g., treatment of human subjects, research
      integrity and transparency) and practice (e.g., teaching, community service, applied settings).
    • Demonstrate ongoing professional conduct (e.g., professional communication, academic honesty) with colleagues, mentors, students, and laypersons.
  4. Apply the skills developed through the program in professional development as well as one or more contexts (e.g., research, teaching, field work, program evaluation, practice) as listed below.
    • Demonstrate ongoing professional development.
    • Collaborate and contribute effectively in a research environment.
    • Develop, evaluate, and/or provide services to the broader community (e.g., promoting health, evaluating programs).
    • Develop and/or implement pedagogically sound teaching practices.

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • GRE® revised General Test
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Prerequisites (completed prior to enrolling in the program)
      • Minimum of 18 units of psychology credit including Introduction to Psychology (101); Statistics; Research Methods.
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Personal statement or essay
    • Responses to specific essay questions
Master's Requirements
  • Take 36 units from the following:

  • Statistics and Research Methods (6 units):
  • Area courses (minimum 18 units):
    Select from the following:

    The remaining 12 units needed to complete degree requirements of 36 units must be taken from one or more of the following categories: a) Research, b) Psychology Electives/Experiences, c) Approved Cognates, d) Area Courses that have not already counted toward the Area requirement. The total number of units for the degree must total a minimum of 36 units.

    a) Research (0-12 units):
    • PSY 685 (with a limit of 6 units toward degree)
    • PSY 699, for the research, writing, and oral defense of an approved thesis. Please note that you can only count 6 units of thesis credit toward your degree. However, you may end up taking more units because you must enroll for it each term while you are working on your thesis. (6 units)
    b) Psychology Electives/Experiences (0-12 units):
    c) Approved Cognates (0-12 units):
    Courses taken outside the Department of Psychological Sciences must be pre-approved by the Graduate Curriculum Committee.

    d) Area Courses (0-12 units) that have not already counted toward the Area Course requirements.

    Be aware that all classes are not offered every semester.

  • Please note that many of our graduate courses have prerequisites and must follow a specified sequence.

    Please be aware that if you earn more than 6 units with a grade of "C" or lower, you will automatically be terminated from the program.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.