Considering a graduate degree in the psychology department? The department of psychology supports high standards of scholarship to inform and improve a changing world. The graduate programs are distinguished by an emphasis on faculty-mentored basic research and the application of research to solving practical problems in families, schools, industry, government, and health care settings.
Research by faculty and students in the department has earned national respect as demonstrated by awards and, over the past several years, greater than $5.5 million in grants, over 185 conference presentations, and more than 180 articles and book chapters annually. The faculty are editors and associate editors for 11 different journals with new appointments annually.
The goal of the doctoral program is to train students in the principles and applications of psychology. The program provides knowledge of the basic content areas in psychology and practical experience in applying this knowledge to solving human problems in life, work, and school.
The PhD concentration in applied developmental psychology is concerned with enhancing developmental processes and preventing developmental disorders in individuals and families across the life span. It uses the knowledge base and methodologies of developmental science to assist the development of individuals who vary in cultural and ethnic backgrounds; economic and social opportunities; physical, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities; and conditions of living (e.g., families, neighborhoods, communities, and physical settings). The program's emphasis is on child development (infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence), and students may focus their studies on the cognitive, social, emotional, language, personality, or physiological aspects of development.
This concentration 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.
The clinical psychology concentration is committed to the clinical science model. Our goal is to train clinical psychologists who are capable of integrating research and applied clinical activities. Many of our faculty approach clinical psychology from social psychological and contextual perspectives. A social psychological approach uses theory and research from social psychology to understand emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal functioning. A contextual perspective stresses the impact of social and cultural factors on the individual and vice versa. Most of the faculty members employ cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal approaches to research and clinical practice, but students also receive exposure to humanistic, existential, and psychodynamic perspectives.
The Ph.D. program in Human Factors and Applied Cognition provides instruction and research training for students wishing to pursue careers in the academic, public, and private sectors. Across all areas, a strong emphasis is placed on students developing a good understanding of cognitive theory, acquiring advanced methodological and statistical skills, and learning how to apply these tools to real-world human factors problems.
The industrial/organizational psychology concentration focuses on multiple aspects of behavior in organizational settings, including personnel selection, quantitative analysis, teams, leadership, work and family issues, and organizational health issues. Mason’s graduate work in this area emphasizes research as the key to knowledge in both academic and applied settings.
The master’s degree in psychology has concentrations in applied developmental psychology, cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, human factors/applied cognition, industrial/organizational psychology, and previously, school psychology and the school psychology graduate certificate. 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).
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.
A focus of the program is on translational neuroscience-complementary study of neural systems in humans and animals, including the application of animal research to human behavior.
Students in our MA program can elect to focus on either professional training or preparation for a doctoral program. Both tracks stress the analytic and empirical methodologies that are used in all phases of interactive systems design (where this is broadly defined to include any human-machine system). The power and interpretation of these techniques reside in their close ties to cognitive theory. The professional training track emphasizes coursework and practical experience; the doctoral preparation track involves students in ongoing research projects.
The industrial/organizational psychology concentration trains students in the conduct and application of psychological research in work settings. Mason’s graduate work in this area emphasizes research as the key to knowledge in both academic and applied settings. The program fosters a peer-oriented environment whereby students collaborate on numerous projects in addition to engaging with faculty members in many different areas of industrial/organizational psychology.
George Mason’s online Master of Professional Studies in Applied Industrial and Organizational Psychology delivers the research-backed methods and understanding of data and analytics HR professionals and business professional need to foster a culture of innovation — where each employee feels empowered and motivated to contribute new ideas, effect change, and do their best work every day.
The accelerated MA in psychology is available only to students pursuing the MA in psychology with a concentration in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. Students must have completed no fewer than 75 and no more than 100 credits at the time of application. The degree is open to any major (Psychology, Neuroscience and Biology majors might find this program particularly appealing), provided that the appropriate prerequisite courses have been taken. Note that this is a joint undergraduate/graduate degree program.
The Psychology program offers a certificate in Applied Psychology under the auspices of the Human Factors/Applied Cognition program. With this program, students will choose a concentration in Usability or Transportation.
The Department of Psychology offers a graduate certificate in transportation human factors under the auspices of the program in Human Factors/Applied Cognition.
The Department of Psychology offers a graduate certificate in usability under the auspices of the program in Human Factors/Applied Cognition
The Department of Psychology offers a graduate certificate in cognitive neuroscience under the auspices of the program in Human Factors/Applied Cognition.
The graduate certificate in cognitive neuroscience may be pursued on a part-time or full-time basis.