Department Chair: Steve Bacon
Program Coordinator: Tonya Boone
Program Office: Dorothy Donahoe Hall, D110
Telephone: (661) 654-2366
Faculty: M. Abramson, M. Allahyar, S. F. Bacon,
T. L. Boone, J. F. Deegan II, A. Duran, K. L. Hartlep,
R. Howell, T. K. Ishida, M. Leon, H. Mitchell, C. D. Raupp,
B. M. Rienzi, E. H. Sasaki, I. C. Sumaya, S. E. Suter,
C. Tate, L. A. Vega
Emeritus: M. J. Allen, D. C. Cohen, R. C. Noel
Psychology can be considered from a variety of perspectives such as a natural or biological science, a behavioral or social science, an applied or professional field, or a set of experiential or humanistic concerns. The MA in Psychology Program is designed to 1) prepare students seeking community college or high school social science teaching positions, and 2) provide appropriate research experience for students wishing to enter a doctoral program elsewhere.
Interested students must request application materials from the Department of Psychology and apply directly to the department for admission in addition to applying to the University as a post-baccalaureate student.
Master of Arts in Psychology
This 45-unit MA Program is designed to prepare students to pursue admission to a psychology doctoral program or to prepare students to seek a community college teaching position. The first year of the program emphasizes the breadth of psychological knowledge, and includes proseminar courses in the following major areas of psychology: biopsychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology, developmental psychology, sensation and perception, and contemporary topics in psychology. The first year’s work culminates in a comprehensive exam focused on proseminar content, research methods, and statistics. The comprehensive exam must be passed to continue in the program.
The second year is devoted to developing skills necessary for both teaching and research. Coursework in the second year includes an Ethics and Practice in Teaching and Research course. The rest of the year’s curriculum entails practice in research and teaching, and the preparation and defense of an empirical thesis.
Research for the master’s thesis or project that involves data from/about human subjects may be required to be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research (IRB/HSR). Likewise, research projects that involve data from/about non-human animals must be reviewed and approved by the CSUB Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). For additional details, see page 360.
Application and Admission Requirements
Students seeking admission to the Master of Arts in Psychology Program should first secure application materials from the Department of Psychology. Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee of the Department of Psychology. Students must also apply to the Office of Admissions and Records for admission to the University; this application for general admission at the post-baccalaureate level will be processed by the University. Offers of admission by the Department are made on an annual basis. The deadline for applications is April 1. Information about the program and the application process is available from the Department, the Psychology Graduate Program Coordinator, and the departmental Home Page at www.csub.edu/psychology.
To be considered for admission to the MA program, the student must fulfill the following minimum requirements:
- 1. Complete the following undergraduate prerequisite courses with a combined GPA of at least 3.0 and no grade lower than a “C” (2.0):
- a. Introduction to Statistical Methods in Psychological Research (PSYC 200 or MATH 140)
- b. Understanding Psychological Research (PSYC 300A and PSYC 300B)
- c. At least five additional upper division courses (25 quarter units) in Psychology providing diversity of preparation, including at least one psychology laboratory course. Students may also be required to take additional undergraduate courses that are prerequisite to courses in the MA in Psychology Program.
- 2. Earn a 3.0 GPA in the last 90 quarter units of undergraduate coursework.
- 3. Submit GRE General Test scores. Students with scores of 1500 or higher (V+Q+A) will be given preference for admission to the program.
- 4. Provide three letters of recommendation attesting to capability and promise for success in the areas of research and teaching.
Admission to the M.A. in Psychology Program is limited to the number of students for whom the Department can provide appropriate research and teaching experience. Department faculty reserve the right to admit those applicants they deem most qualified. In making this decision, the faculty may take into consideration applicants’ previous training in psychology, relevant work experience, and special skills and knowledge that provide evidence of potential.
Student Classification Levels
The Department of Psychology determines the student’s initial classification level prior to admission as well as all subsequent changes in that level. Some 500-level and all 600-level courses are not available for undergraduate credit. Students enrolled in the MA in Psychology Program may enroll in any course on the approved Plan of Study for which they have met the prerequisites. Anyone else must obtain the instructor’s permission prior to enrollment.
Classified - Students who meet all of the requirements for admission will be admitted at the classified level. Classified graduate students may take any graduate level course meeting the requirements of their Plan of Study as long as the appropriate prerequisites have been met.
Conditionally Classified - Students who have completed most but not all of the requirements for admission at the classified level and show promise of success may be admitted at the conditionally classified level. Students admitted at the conditionally classified level who complete all admission requirements or alternate requirements specified in the offer of admission will be moved to the classified level but may take no more than 15 units applicable to the MA degree prior to achieving classified standing. Students at the conditionally classified level are not allowed to begin a thesis or take a comprehensive exam.
Candidate - Classified level students will be advanced to candidate level in the term in which they intend to graduate and must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in the Plan of Study and have completed the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students must also receive positive faculty evaluations concerning their effectiveness and responsibility in interpersonal relationships and in meeting academic and professional responsibilities.
Year 1 Courses
- BEHS 500 Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences (5)
- PSYC 501 Advanced Research Design and Methodology in Psychology (5)
- PSYC 502 Proseminar I-Biopsychology & Cognitive Psychology (4)
- PSYC 503 Proseminar II-Sensation and Perception & Contemporary Topics (4)
- PSYC 504 Proseminar III-Developmental Psychology & Social Psychology (4)
- PSYC 575 History & Systems in Psychology (5)
Year 2 Courses
- PSYC 601(formerly PSYC 574) Ethics and Practicein Teaching and Research (5)
- PSYC 681 Directed Graduate Research in Psychology* (variable)
- PSYC 688 Practicum in Teaching Psychology* (variable)
- PSYC 695 Empirical Master’s Thesis (5)
- Electives (variable)
Students must satisfactorily pass a Comprehensive Exam during the summer after their first year in the program. The exam will test students’ knowledge of material covered in the courses taken during Year 1 of the program. This exam must be passed in order for students to continue into the second year of the program.
Additional Requirements for the MA Program in Psychology
The California State University requires demonstration of writing ability either by passing the university-wide Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR) examination or by achieving a grade of “C” or better in COMM 304, 306 or 311, ENGL 305, 310 or 311, HIST 300, ADM 510 or other courses approved by the English Department. Brochures with more information the GWAR are available in the Testing Center, the Department of English, and in all deans’ offices.
Selected courses in Counseling Psychology may be appropriate for graduate degree credit. Selection must be done with permission of the Graduate Program Coordinator in accord with the individual’s Plan of Study.
A student’s Thesis or Comprehensive Examination Committee Chair will serve as the academic advisor. An advisor will be assigned to each student upon admission to the program. Unless that assignment is changed by the student, and the change is approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator, the advisor will continue as the student’s academic advisor throughout the program. The student and academic advisor will prepare a Plan of Study and submit it for approval by the Graduate Program Coordinator.
To graduate with the MA degree, a student must meet the following requirements:
- 1. Complete the 45-unit program in accord with the approved Plan of Study. Students may take no more than 10 units on a non-optional credit, no-credit basis.
- 2. Be in Good Standing in the MA in Psychology Program. To be in Good Standing, a student must maintain at the end of each term of enrollment a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in courses taken for the Plan of Study. Students must also receive a favorable first-year review from the Graduate Committee. First-year reviews will be completed at the end of the first Spring quarter. Students not in Good Standing must formally request permission (and receive written approval) to enroll in additional graduate courses. The Psychology Graduate Committee will review the explanations and plans set forth in the petition and make a decision whether to permit continued enrollment and what conditions must be met for a return to Good Standing.
- 3. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination at the end of the first year, with passing scores on all sections.
- 4. Be advanced to Candidate level by the Department.
- 5. Receive an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher for the entire 45-unit program.
- 6. No course with a grade of B- (2.7) may be counted toward the Plan of Study.
Note: Most 500-level and all 600-level courses are not available for undergraduate credit. Students enrolled in the MA in Psychology may enroll in any course on the approved Plan of Study for which they have met the prerequisite. Anyone else must obtain the instructor’s permission prior to enrollment.
BEHS 500 Quantitative Methods in the Behavioral Sciences (5)
An examination of the major techniques used for quantitative analysis in contemporary behavioral science, including basic tests of significance, measures of association, bivariate and multiple regression, factor analysis, analysis of variance, nonparametric statistics, and computer techniques of data compilation and analysis. Prerequisite: a college-level course in statistics. Carries credit in Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology.
PSYC 501 Advanced Research Design and Methodology in Psychology (5)
Advanced examination of research designs and methods in psychological research. Conducting literature reviews, analyzing research studies, designing research strategies, selecting appropriate data analysis techniques, and interpreting research results. Ethical considerations in the conduct of human and animal research. This is a required course in the MA in Psychology Program. Prerequisites: PSYC 300A and PSYC 300B and BEHS 500.
PSYC 502 Proseminar in Cognitive and Biological Psychology (4)
The first half of the course focuses on the biological basis of behavior with an emphasis on the interaction between neurochemistry, pharmacology and the environment as it relates to psychological phenomena. Current findings in the area of neuroscience that have major relevance to the general field of biological psychology will be discussed. The second half of the course focuses on theory, research, and applications within the study of mental processes. Emphasis is on comparison between models and an understanding of the major themes underlying cognitive research. Lecture/Discussion and Student Projects. This is a required course in the MA in Psychology Program. Prerequisites: Enrollment as a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program, or approval of both instructors.
PSYC 503 Proseminar in Sensation and Perception and Contemporary Topics in Psychology (4)
The first half of the course will cover an introduction to vision and assigned readings dealing with three topics in visual neuroscience: (a) the relationship between visual perception and visual imagination; (b) the mechanisms of visual awareness; and (c) visual anomalies of the brain. Students will be responsible for organizing and conducting one of the class meetings on each topic. The second half of the course will cover popular contemporary topics in psychology. These topics will vary from quarter to quarter. Lecture/Discussion and Student Projects. This is a required course in the MA in Psychology Program. Prerequisites: Enrollment as a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program, or approval of both instructors.
PSYC 504 Proseminar in Social and Developmental Psychology (4)
The first half of the course familiarizes students with research within Social Psychology, past, present, and future directions. Topics will include different research techniques used to study social psychological principles and the interaction of social psychology with other fields of study (e.g., biology and cognitive psychology). The second half of the course focuses on the study of human development across the life span, with special attention paid to current knowledge of developmental psychology theories, research methods, and research trends. In this course, the interrelationships among biological, cognitive, social, and cultural factors that influence human development will be examined. Lecture/ Discussion and Student Projects. This is a required course in the MA in Psychology Program. Prerequisites: Enrollment as a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program, or approval of both instructors.
PSYC 575 History and Systems in Psychology (5)
Historical analysis of the development of modern psychology as a science and the examination of its many strands - the evolution of research and theory, important figures and systematic positions, methods of thought and work, social and intellectual contexts - which have contributed to its pattern of development. Lectures/discussion, and special student projects. Prerequisite: This is a required course in the MA in Psychology Program. Prerequisite: Enrollment as a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program and passing of the Comprehensive Examination, or with instructor approval.
PSYC 577 Special Topics in Psychology (1-5)
Offered periodically as announced. Topics of special interest to graduates and senior students. May be repeated for different course content. Specific prerequisites will be indicated with each announced course. Prerequisite: Enrollment as a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program or approval of instructor.
PSYC 601 Ethics and Practice in Teaching and Research (4) (formerly PSYC 574)
This course is designed to support students in their research and teaching practice. In regard to teaching, students will have the opportunity to create syllabi, goals and evaluation tools for classes, all with hands-on experience. In doing so, students will consider ethics as they relate to boundaries with students, plagiarism, and students’ learning abilities. In regard to research, students will examine ethical principles in both human and non-human research including handling data, confidentiality of and responsibility to research participants and subjects, and reporting of research results. Lecture/ Discussion and Student Projects. This is a required course in the MA in Psychology Program. Prerequisites: Three upper division courses in Psychology and must be a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program who has passed the Comprehensive Examination.
PSYC 680 Directed Graduate Research Seminar in Psychology (5)
Elaboration of principles of research design. Student conducts and writes up an individual or group study under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: Enrollment as a graduate student in the MA in Psychology Program.
PSYC 681 Directed Graduate Research in Psychology (1-5)
Student designs and conducts a research project and writes a final report under faculty supervision. Prerequisite: consent of instructor who will serve as a sponsor, approval by chair of Department of Psychology. Offered on a credit, no-credit basis only. [By Petition]