Explore the Mind

The MA in Psychology will prepare you for a career in specialized research and applied fields within psychology or to enter a clinical, experimental, or neuroscience doctoral program. We provide rigorous training through a combination of coursework and labwork to ensure that you receive relevant and effective pre-doctoral training as well as an advanced education in psychology and psychological research methods.

Whatever your goals, our program provides the flexibility to ensure that you earn the MA that is right for you. You can pursue thesis or non-thesis options for your degree and choose from three tracks of specialization: general psychology, personality/social psychology, or biological/experimental psychology. Together with your faculty advisor, you will tailor a program of study to fit your individual interests and needs.

With our small and intensive classes, you will receive one-on-one guidance from our faculty of innovative researchers and scholars. In the classroom and the laboratory, you will receive individual attention and mentorship to ensure that you get the most out of your education.

A Flexible Program With Solid Results

This 33-credit program provides rigorous graduate training in psychology and psychological research while providing you with the flexibility to pursue your academic interests. We offer three different tracks of specialization: general psychology, experimental/biological psychology, personality/social psychology, and general psychology.

The general psychology track provides a balance of coursework in experimental/biological and personality/social psychology, together with training in psychological research and statistics. This is the most flexible program, offering thesis and non-thesis options as well as the most elective courses.

In the experimental/biological and personality/social psychology tracks, you will delve deeper into your chosen area of specialization while still receiving a solid foundation in general psychology, research, and statistics. You will apply what you've learned to your master's thesis, in which you will complete an original research project in your chosen area of interest. 

See complete Admissions & Course Requirements and MA Handbook (PDF).

Knowledgeable Faculty Dedicated To Your Success

Our faculty consists of innovative researchers and prominent scholars in the field of psychology. Thanks to our small class sizes, you will work closely with and receive individual attention from your professors. Students are each assigned a faculty advisor, with whom they develop an individualized program of study. Upon admission, students interested in gaining research experience and completing a master’s thesis research project are matched with faculty mentors and research labs. Faculty research interests span the breadth of psychology, with particular strengths in areas related to our doctoral programs in clinical psychology and behavior, cognition, and neuroscience.

Start Your Career in the Capital City

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers, DC offers access to an extraordinary array of professional and intellectual opportunities. You can get a head start on your career and gain hands-on experience with one of the area’s many clinical or research institutions. The psychology department has close working relationships with basic and applied research programs at the National Institutes of Health, where students can participate in programs on pain management, neuropsychological assessment, and brain mechanisms in learning and memory. Research opportunities are also available at Georgetown University Hospital and School of Medicine, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and other area institutions.

You can earn degree credit while working with autistic children, teaching self-management skills, or working at one of the area’s mental health facilities. Internships and field work opportunities are available in city, county, and private organizations such as the Montgomery County Department of Addiction, Victims, and Mental Health Services; the DC Rape Crisis Center; and patient care and rehabilitation programs at area hospitals.

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Frequently Asked Questions

No. We have admitted students who had never taken a psychology course before enrolling in the program.

Funding for the MA program is limited. Students are sometimes funded by faculty grants. We encourage students to contact our office of financial aid for awards designated for particular purposes, such as the United Methodist Fellowship and Massey Award.

Full-time students typically take three three-credit courses per semester. In addition, they are typically involved in research outside the classroom for some or all of their time in the program.

MA students often apply to our PhD programs. They are considered in the same pool as other applicants.

Still have questions? Send us an email: psychology@american.edu