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Psychology | Master's Program

Psychology (MA)

Offered by the Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences.

Admission to the Program

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants must submit a completed graduate application form, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for the General examination (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytic), two letters of recommendation, and copies of all college transcripts. Admission is based on academic record, test scores, and two letters of recommendation.

Up to 6 credit hours of graduate coursework in psychology from another university or up to 12 credit hours of graduate course credit taken at American University may be transferred, provided that these credits were not counted toward another degree. These transfers of credit are subject to approval by the director of the MA program.

Completion of the degree does not necessarily lead to admission to the PhD program; students who wish to be considered for the PhD program must apply. Applicants with a BA who wish to obtain a PhD in Psychology from American University should apply directly to the PhD program. If they do not have an MA, students will earn one as part of the PhD program. See the description of the PhD program for more information.

Degree Requirements

  • 33 credit hours of approved graduate work
  • Written general comprehensive examination
  • Thesis option: The master's thesis involves an original research project. Students must prepare a thesis proposal, collect and analyze data, submit a written thesis, and give an oral defense. The thesis must be accepted by the thesis committee, the department chair, and the university.
    • Nonthesis option: available only in the General Psychology track (see course requirements below).
    • All coursework for the thesis and nonthesis options for fulfilling the research requirement must be completed with grades of B or better.
  • Tracks: General, Personality/Social, or Experimental/Biological

Course Requirements

Tracks

Complete one of the following:

General Psychology Track (33 credit hours)

Personality/Social Psychology (6 credit hours)

Complete two courses from the following:

Experimental/Biological Psychology (6 credit hours)

Complete two courses from the following:

Statistics (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate statistics course (3)
Thesis or Nonthesis Option (18 credit hours)

Students in the General Psychology track complete either the thesis or nonthesis option:

Thesis Option:
Required (3 credit hours) Thesis (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Electives (9 credit hours)
  • 9 credit hours of graduate elective courses with at least 6 credit hours from the Department of Psychology
Nonthesis Option (General Psychology track only):
Required (6 credit hours) Electives (12 credit hours)
  • 12 credit hours of graduate elective courses with at least 6 credit hours from the Department of Psychology

Personality/Social Psychology Track (33 credit hours)

Personality/Social Psychology (12 credit hours)

Complete four courses from the following:

Experimental/Biological Psychology (6 credit hours)

Complete two courses from the following:

Psychological Research (3 credit hours)
Thesis (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Statistics (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate statistics course (3)
Elective (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate elective course (3)

Experimental/Biological Psychology Track (33 credit hours)

Experimental/Biological Psychology (12 credit hours)

Complete four courses from the following:

Personality/Social Psychology (6 credit hours)

Complete two courses from the following:

Psychological Research (3 credit hours)
Thesis (6 credit hours)

Complete 6 credit hours from the following:

Statistics (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate statistics course (3)
Elective (3 credit hours)
  • Graduate elective course (3)