Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology


Master of Arts Degree: Research Option

The Research Option for the M.A. Degree is a rigorous program designed to develop research and conceptual skills for students whose primary interest is in continuing their education in a doctoral program. A key feature of the program is a close mentoring relationship with a faculty member who oversees the student's progress toward his or her individual research goals. All students begin their program in the fall quarter and take several core courses together. Students are required to attend biweekly faculty lectures that introduce them to the research interests and activities of the faculty.

Application Process

Students will need to submit an application for the Research Option by February 1st of any given year for consideration for the following September. Students are responsible for providing all materials to accompany their application and only complete applications will be processed. Applicants will be notified of their status by April 15th following their submission. In addition to materials required for admission to the University, students will need to submit (a) Two letters of recommendation, and (b) A statement of purpose. The application form for the Research Option is available from the Department.

Students are required to have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 to be eligible for the Research Option. Students with a GPA of 2.75 to 3.0 must present evidence that they are committed to and qualified for graduate work. This evidence could include (but is not limited to) relevant experience, or GRE scores with an Advanced Psychology Score of 550 or higher. Students with a GPA below 2.75 will not be considered.


Students who are admitted to the Research Option will be temporarily assigned to an advisor, for preliminary advisement and program planning. This advisor will not necessarily be their permanent mentor. During their first year of graduate study, students are encouraged to become familiar with all the faculty in order to identify a mentor. This may be accomplished through attending a faculty seminar series, taking classes, or meeting informally with faculty. At the end of the first year, the mentor is determined through agreement between the student and the faculty member. The mentor supervises the student's completion of the program, but mentors can be changed if a student's interests change and an alternate is available.

Requirements for Degree

Requirements include the general university requirements of 45 units, including 23 units of 500 levels courses. Students in the Research Option are required to attend the faculty seminar series. In addition, specific requirements to meet individual academic needs are developed in conjunction with the advisor. Minimal requirements for the seminar attendance and advanced courses in statistics and research methods to prepare students for completing a thesis are currently under faculty consideration.

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