College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Department of Psychological Sciences
Psychological Sciences, Master of Arts
The MA program in the Department of Psychological sciences provides graduate students with advanced disciplinary training which equips students for entry into doctoral training programs, employment in a burgeoning behavioral health field, and positions that require sophisticated training in methodological procedures and quantitative reasoning. From completion of core courses, all program students demonstrate proficient competencies in methodological design and intermediate-level statistical application; these skills are subsequently woven into 1) students' faculty-supervised research (including research dedicated to the completion of a thesis as well as additional non-thesis research), 2) opportunities for supervised applied experiences, such as program evaluation, field work/internship placements through local behavioral and mental health organizations, and 3) professional development experiences, such as teaching or statistical consultation, that benefit students in both employment and doctoral training programs.
Students who enter the program find a solid and expansive curriculum which is designed to be completed in two academic years. Foundational courses, such as those in research design and statistics, include closely-supervised theoretical and laboratory-based opportunities. Students are mentored in how to present and discuss research proposals and disciplinary-focused content relevant to coursework and their own research or applied interests. Students have a choice to complete either a thesis (under the direction and mentorship of a faculty member) or a nonthesis applied project, such as working with a faculty member and director of a local agency to complete a needs assessment or program evaluation. The majority of students who enter the program report an interest to doctoral psychology programs. Doctoral-bound students complete a thesis under the supervision of a faculty member and often collaborate with a second faculty member for additional research experience. Depending on students' interests, research skills and content mastery can be developed in disciplinary arenas that are individually focused (e.g., cognitive, perceptual, physiological), based on ecological models of self and other (e.g., social-connectedness, mental health and wellness), or targeted toward population-based behavioral health (e.g., social epidemiological approaches).
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:
View in Academic Catalog
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.