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The MA in Psychology will prepare you for a career in research, a career in an applied field or to enter a doctoral program in Psychology or a related field. We provide rigorous training to ensure you receive an advanced education in Psychology, research methods and skills, and relevant and effective pre-doctoral training.  

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 two tracks of specialization: psychological science track and clinical science track. 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.

Washington, DC

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 two tracks of specialization: psychological science and clinical science.

The psychological science track provides a balance of coursework in different areas of psychology, together with training in research and statistics. This is the most flexible program, offering the most elective courses that can fit your interests. The clinical science track enables you to delve deeper into clinically relevant topics while still receiving a solid foundation in general psychology, research, and statistics. 

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. Upon admission, some students may be assigned to a specific lab in which they develop an individualized program of study. Other students with a research focus are encouraged to join a research lab during their first semester, especially if they hope to choose the thesis option. Students with an applied focus are encouraged to do internships, with academic supervision given by our faculty. Faculty research interests span the breadth of psychology, with particular strengths in different areas of psychology. 

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.

Recent placements of American University Master's in Economics graduates include the World Bank, the BLS, the Federal Reserve, the Interamerican Development Bank, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and Booz Allen Hamilton. In addition, many of our graduates have gone on to pursue PhDs in Economics.

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Student Spotlight

Candace Moore


Candace Moore, MA/PhD Psychology

One day in 2019, Candace Moore went for a run. But instead of her usual four-to-six miles, she stopped after mile one, extremely fatigued. This marked the beginning of a long battle to manage a rare and debilitating health condition that has changed nearly every aspect of her life. 

Moore was born with a hemangioma at the base of her spine, which has grown into a large tumor. It has hollowed out her sacrum and placed pressure on nerves, which causes extreme pain and limits her movement. She has undergone two surgeries, and she travels to hospitals several times a week for radiation treatments, therapy, imaging, and follow-up exams. 

Remarkably, through all of this, Moore has successfully completed her first year as an MA candidate. She is the recipient of AU’s Barnard Scholarship, and she’s found many mentors at AU who believe in her. “I have dealt with so many obstacles while growing up; many people did not believe in me or think that I would reach the point where I am today. But I am an overcomer who wants to thrive, and not simply survive,” she says.

Moore is working towards completing her PhD in psychology and becoming a clinician-researcher. “Psychology is my heart,” she says. “In my opinion, a changemaker is someone who breaks down barriers that affect the least amongst us — the same barriers that I have had to overcome with great effort. I want to continue to be in service to others and use the knowledge I have gained from my experiences at AU for this purpose.”


Alice Coyne was named the 2024 recipient of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy Early Career Award in recognition of “accomplishment and achievement related to psychotherapy theory, practice, research, or training.”

Psychology faculty and students in a courtyard with awards.The Third Annual Psychology MA Research Fest was held at Kay Spiritual Center, showcasing wonderful posters, followed by a reception in Asbury courtyard. Prizes were given in different categories of posters. 

Jonathan Tubman published two articles: “Multivariate Relations Between Lifetime Adversity and Substance Use Involvement: Comparisons Between Gay and Bisexual Emerging Adult Men” in the Journal of Bisexuality and “Factors Associated with Sexual Victimization Among Transgender Emerging Adults” in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

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.

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