Available as a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS), degree programs in experimental psychology equip students with the theories, concepts and hands-on training needed in the field. These programs are typically offered on campus and may have thesis and non-thesis tracks. Learn more about the programs and common requirements below.
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Information for Master's Degree Programs in Experimental Psychology
Master's degree programs in experimental psychology prepare students for several different careers and/or study at the doctoral degree level and may offer students additional concentration areas, such as cognitive neuroscience, data visualization, behavioral sciences and more. Specific course requirements may vary by school and/or concentration, but here we explore some of the common courses for these programs.
Often offered as a seminar course, courses in cognition examine the historic and current literature in cognition. Some of these courses may pair research in cognition with behavior, learning, development, neuroscience and other topics. Students generally read research in the field and participate in class discussions of various theories in the subject.
Courses in behavioral neuroscience examine the biological basis of behavior, typically in humans, but they may also touch on animals as well. Students compare the biology behind normal behavior and emotions compared to neurological and psychological disorders. Specific topics may include cellular electrophysiology, brain diseases, anatomy of the nervous system and more.
Students in developmental psychology courses generally receive a broad survey of theories of human development throughout the life cycle. Students examine development from cultural, cognitive, social, emotional, psychological and biological perspectives. These courses also discuss and equip students with the analytical skills needed for performing developmental research.
Similar to courses in developmental psychology, students in these courses survey theories in social psychology that explore the relationships between individuals and groups. Students study how the influence of other people affects the behaviors, thoughts and feelings of an individual. Students may discuss specific topics in conformity, attraction, violence, attitude change, inter-group relations, aggression, self-perception and more.
Students in these programs generally take at least one research methods course that discusses the research methodologies in psychology. These courses teach students about experimental design, analysis and report writing. Students may get hands-on experience with statistical software, evaluating published literature and develop testable hypotheses and research studies.
Common Entrance Requirements
Applicants to master's degree programs in experimental psychology typically need to include their official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal statement with their application. It is common for these programs to have a minimum GPA requirement of 2.75 or higher and/or minimum GRE scores. Applicants to the program are also generally expected to have a set amount of undergraduate credit hours in various areas of psychology. Although it is not required, students are encouraged to contact faculty in the program that have similar research interests in order to find a match for mentors and research.
Students may pursue an MA or MS in Experimental Psychology from various institutions across the country. Students in these programs can usually choose a thesis or non-thesis track, but still acquire hands-on learning experience in the field.