Psychology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Requirements

The master's degree in psychology has six concentrations:

  • applied developmental psychology
  • clinical psychology
  • cognitive and behavioral neuroscience
  • human factors/applied cognition
  • industrial/organizational psychology
  • school psychology

The department does not offer a master's degree in clinical or counseling psychology, but a master's degree in psychology with a concentration in clinical psychology is available for students who have been admitted to the doctoral program concentration in clinical psychology.

An accelerated master's option with a CBNR concentration is available to students in the psychology bachelor's program (BS or BA).  See listing for specific requirements.

For policies governing all master's degree, see Academic Policies.

Provisional Admission

Students who are admitted provisionally are required to take 12 credits in psychology and earn a minimum GPA of 3.25 in those courses to qualify for removal of the provisional qualifier. Programs may add other conditions to provisional admission. Individualized study courses cannot be used toward the 12 credits.

Degree Requirements (Catalog Year 2015-2016)

In addition to satisfying the requirements for all master's degrees, students pursuing a master's degree in psychology must successfully complete 30-46 credits of required course work.  They complete this coursework in one of six concentrations.

A maximum of 6 credits of thesis proposal and thesis research (PSYC 798, 799) may be applied to the master's degree. A maximum of 9 credits of thesis courses (798, 799), Directed Reading and Research (PSYC 597), and Practicum (PSYC 792) may be applied to the degree. 

Concentration in Applied Developmental Psychology (APD)

The concentration in applied developmental psychology focuses on child development. It provides basic knowledge about normal development, skills for assessing developmental level, and techniques for planning and evaluating programs that foster optimal development. Graduates are prepared for employment at agencies concerned with educational and health programs for children, enrichment programs for infants and preschoolers, and education programs for parents.

Two core courses (6 credits) chosen from:

Social psychology

PSYC 667 - Behavior in Small Groups and Teams

PSYC 668 - Personality: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches

PSYC 703 - Social Bases of Behavior

Biological psychology

PSYC 558 - Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory

PSYC 559 - Behavioral Chemistry

PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior

Cognitive psychology

PSYC 701 - Cognitive Bases of Behavior

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science (except when this course is exclusively methodological)

Two courses (7-8 credits) of quantitative methods

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics and eitherPSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics or PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

Three courses (9 credits) of specialized content

Two courses (6 credits) chosen from the following:

PSYC 566 - Cognitive and Perceptual Development

PSYC 615 - Language Development

PSYC 630 - Developmental Disabilities

PSYC 648 - Developmental Psychopathology

PSYC 669 - Social and Emotional Development

PSYC 704 - Life-Span Development

PSYC 780 - Applied Developmental Psychology

PSYC 592 - Special Topics (when the content is developmental, with approval of advisor)

Other developmental courses chosen with approval of advisor

One course (3 credits) chosen from the list above or the following:

PSYC 614 - The Psychology of Aging

PSYC 617 - Child Psychopathology

PSYC 619 - Applied Behavior Analysis: Principles, Procedures, and Philosophy

Thesis research or practicum experience (4 credits) chosen from one of these options:

Thesis (4 credits)

Students should be aware of the policies governing theses. They must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PSYC 799, maintain continuous enrollment. See Academic Policies.

PSYC 798 - Thesis Proposal

PSYC 799 - Master's Thesis (minimum of 3 credits)

Practicum (4 credits)

PSYC 792 - Psychology Practicum (take 3 credits)

PSYC 597 - Directed Reading and Research (take 1 credit)

Professional seminar (2 credits)

Students should take 1 credit in fall and 1 credit in spring of their first year.

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology

Electives (3-4 credits)

Students complete the 32 credits required for this concentration through a content course, directed reading and research, or additional credits of practicum or thesis.

Total: 32 credits

Concentration in Clinical Psychology (CLN)

The clinical psychology concentration trains students to have flexibility to fill the evolving functions of clinical psychologists, including research, direct provision of clinical services, supervision, program development and evaluation, and consultation.

The clinical psychology MA concentration is not a terminal degree. Students who have been admitted to the doctoral program with a concentration in clinical psychology may apply to receive the MA in psychology on completion of 30 credits of course work. Students must also be in good standing in the program, as determined by the director of clinical training.

Four foundation courses (14 credits)

PSYC 810 - Psychological Assessment I

PSYC 811 - Psychological Assessment II

PSYC 822 - Scientific Foundations of Clinical Psychology I

PSYC 860 - Introductory Helping Skills and Motivational Interviewing

Two practicum courses (6 credits)

PSYC 861 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Youth

PSYC 862 - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Adults

Three or more courses in advanced statistics and research methods (10-11 credits)

Note: For doctoral quantitative emphases B and C, both PSYC 754 and PSYC 756 must be taken, but only one of these courses is required for the MA.

PSYC 644 - Methods for Social Research

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics

A choice of:  

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics

PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques

PSYC 756 - Quantitative Methods IV: Multivariate Techniques in Psychology

Total: minimum 30 credits

Concentration in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience (CBNR)

The concentration in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience focuses on studying biological substrates of behavior. Core and affiliated faculty study areas as diverse as neural control of behavioral development; brain systems in substance abuse; animal models of learning and memory and their disorders (such as Alzheimer's); human brain systems involved in cognition, perception, human error, decision making, and movement; the relation of neural activity to human performance; and cognitive aging. A focus of the program is on translational neuroscience-complementary study of neural systems in humans and animals, including application of animal research to human behavior.

Two courses (5 credits) of specialized content

PSYC 527 - Introduction to Neurobiology

PSYC 558 - Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory

One chemistry course (3 credits) chosen from:

PSYC 556 - Chemistry and the Brain

PSYC 559 - Behavioral Chemistry

PSYC 592 - Special Topics (when topic is Biological Bases of Mental Illness and Drug Abuse)

Two courses (7-8 credits) of quantitative methods

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics OR PSYC 652 - Quantitative Methods II: Analysis of Variance Credits: 3

Professional seminar (1 credit)

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology

Elective courses (at least 9 credits)

Students complete the 32 credits required for the degree through additional credits of course work or research. They can choose from courses below or other courses with the approval of their advisor. Students intending to pursue a doctorate are strongly advised to take PSYC 531.

PSYC 531 - Mammalian Neurobiology

PSYC 552 - Histology/Histochemistry of the Brain

BIOL 583 - General Biochemistry

PSYC 561 - Behavioral Biology of Substance Abuse

PSYC 702 - Biological Bases of Human Behavior

PSYC 704 - Life-Span Development

Thesis (6 credits)

A thesis is normally required, but 6 credits of PSYC 792 - Practicum may serve as a substitute if approved by the advisor and program coordinator.

Students should be aware of the policies governing theses. They must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PSYC 799, maintain continuous enrollment. See Academic Policies.

PSYC 798 - Thesis Proposal

PSYC 799 - Master's Thesis (minimum of 3 credits)

Total: 32 credits

Concentration in Human Factors/Applied Cognition (HF)

The human factors/applied cognition concentration trains students in the application of cognitive science to real-world problems. Students gain expertise in such areas as human/computer interaction, cognitive system engineering, cognitive ergonomics, and transportation. Faculty members help place students who do not have real-world experience in a part- or full-time practicum before completing the degree.

One core course (3 credits) chosen from:

PSYC 701 - Cognitive Bases of Behavior

PSYC 759 - Applied Decision Making

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science

Two courses (8 credits) of quantitative methods

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics

Two courses (6 credits) of specialized content

PSYC 530 - Cognitive Engineering: Cognitive Science Applied to Human Factors

PSYC 645 - Research Methods in Human Factors and Applied Cognition

Two courses (6 credits) which may be repeated, chosen from:

PSYC 734 - Seminar in Human Factors and Applied Cognition

PSYC 737 - Psychology of Human-Technology Interaction

PSYC 768 - Advanced Topics in Cognitive Science

Electives (0-9 credits)

Students complete the 32 credits required for this degree through additional course work, including courses not listed above, within or outside the department, with prior written approval of the graduate director.

Optional Practicum (6 credits)

Students need an advisor's approval to register for practicum.

PSYC 792 - Psychology Practicum

Optional Thesis (6 credits)

Students need the chair's approval to register for thesis. Students should be aware of the policies governing theses. They must follow the thesis enrollment policy of the university and once enrolled in PSYC 799, maintain continuous enrollment. See Academic Policies.

PSYC 798 - Thesis Proposal

PSYC 799 - Master's Thesis (minimum of 3 credits)

Total: 32 credits

Concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (IO)

The industrial/organizational psychology concentration trains students in the conduct and application of psychological research in work settings. Expertise can be developed in a variety of areas, including personnel selection, training, leadership, motivation, and human performance assessment.

One core course (3 credits)

PSYC 703 - Social Bases of Behavior

Three courses (at least 10 credits) of statistics

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics or PSYC 754 - Quantitative Methods III: Psychological Applications of Regression Techniques Credits: 3

PSYC 557 - Psychometric Methods Credits: 3  or PSYC 633 - Evaluative Research in Psychology

Two courses (6 credits) of survey of content

PSYC 636 - Survey of Industrial Psychology

PSYC 639 - Survey of Organizational Processes

Three courses (9 credits) of specialized content chosen from:

When their topic is relevant, other courses, including sections of PSYC 592, may be applied to this requirement.

PSYC 638 - Training: Psychological Contributions to Theory, Design, and Evaluation

PSYC 640 - Techniques in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

PSYC 733 - Issues in Personnel Psychology

PSYC 741 - Psychology of Work Motivation

PSYC 667 - Behavior in Small Groups and Teams

PSYC 631 - Industrial and Personnel Testing and Evaluation

PSYC 739 - Seminar in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

1 credit of professional development chosen from:

Practicum (Students need and advisor's approval to register for practicum.)

PSYC 890 - Seminar in Professional Psychology

Electives (0-3 credits)

Students complete the 32 credits required for this degree through additional course work in statistics or specialized content.

Total: 32 credits

Concentration in School Psychology (SCH)

The School Psychology program is committed to preparing graduate students to practice psychology in educational and clinical settings that serve children, adolescents, and their families. The program employs an instructional model that combines a sound understanding of psychological theory and research with outstanding practicum and internship experiences. The curriculum imparts foundational knowledge in psychology, education, intervention and problem solving, statistics and research methodology, and professional school psychology, along with supervised experiences in educational and clinical settings.

Students admitted to the MA in psychology concentration in school psychology are expected to complete also the School Psychology Graduate Certificate . Students must apply for admission to both the master's program concentration and the certificate.  Students in the combined master's concentration-certificate program must complete a one-year full-time internship along with a 6-credit internship course during their third year of study: PSYC 790 - School Psychology Internship

Students who are admitted to the MA in psychology concentration in applied developmental psychology who wish also to pursue additional training in school psychology must apply for admission to the school psychology program. These students should consult with the director of the school psychology program to develop an individual program of study that fulfills the requirements for licensure or certification.

The MA concentration and graduate certificate make up a program designed to prepare graduates for professional practice in school psychology. The program is approved by School Psychology Training Programs of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Students completing this concentration in the master's degree and the certificate will be eligible for licensure in Virginia by the state Board of Education and certification or licensure in other states as a school psychologist. Certification or licensure as a school psychologist typically requires all course work for both the master's degree and the certificate. (Students seeking licensure for independent practice as a school psychologist must meet the educational, residency, and exam requirements of the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Psychology.)

Students in the school psychology concentration are required to enroll full time unless an alternative arrangement is made with the permission of the director of the concentration.

Non-Mason students enrolled in a school psychology training program at another institution who are completing an internship in the local area and wish to enroll in PSYC 790 - School Psychology Internship may do so by enrolling in nondegree status with approval by the director of the program.

The number of credits required for the concentration may be reduced by a maximum of 18 credits on the basis of graduate course work completed before admission with approval of the school psychology faculty, director of the graduate program, and dean.

Satisfactory Performance

Students pursuing combined master's concentration-certificate program must receive a minimum grade of 3.00 in each course. An unsatisfactory evaluation at any time by the School Psychology Committee may result in termination from the program.

One required counseling course (3 credits)

EDCD 603 - Counseling Theories and Practice

One required EDSE course (3 credits) chosen from:

EDSE 628 - Elementary Reading, Curriculum, and Strategies for Students who Access the General Education Curriculum

EDSE 629 - Secondary Curriculum and Strategies for Students with Disabilities who Access the General Curriculum

One course (3 credits) chosen from:

PSYC 506 - Theories of Personality

PSYC 669 - Social and Emotional Development

PSYC 704 - Life-Span Development

Additional required psychology courses (37 credits)

PSYC 592 - Special Topics (when topic is Diversity; at least 3 credits)

PSYC 611 - Advanced Statistics

PSYC 612 - Advanced Statistics

PSYC 617 - Child Psychopathology

PSYC 619 - Applied Behavior Analysis: Principles, Procedures, and Philosophy

PSYC 671 - Role and Function of the School Psychologist

PSYC 673 - Prevention, Intervention, and Consultation in Schools

PSYC 709 - The Measurement of Intelligence

PSYC 710 - Psychological Assessment

PSYC 750 - School Psychology Practicum I

PSYC 722 - Advanced Child Assessment

Total: 46 credits

Graduate Certificate in School Psychology (15 credits)

All students completing the MA concentration in school psychology are expected to complete the Graduate Certificate in School Psychology.

Total for Concentration and Certificate in School Psychology: 61 credits

Requirements may be different for earlier catalog years. See the University Catalog archives.

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