University Bulletin 2022-23

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Psychology (MS)

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Graduate Curriculum

Behavioral and Brain Sciences Concentration

Students admitted to the Master of Science in Psychology Behavioral and Brain Sciences concentration must complete the curriculum described below and appropriate electives. A minimum of 36 hours of graduate courses are required.

Psychology (MS) - Behavioral and Brain Sciences Concentration   Credit Hours
Curriculum   36
Research Methodology/Statistics    
PSY 500 4 hrs  
PSY 501 3 hrs  
PSY 502 3 hrs  
PSY 575 3 hrs  
PSY 520 OR PSY 522 OR 590 3 hrs  
PSY 514 OR PSY 586 3 hrs  
PSY 524 OR PSY 570 3 hrs  
Electives 8 hrs  
Thesis (PSY 599 - 6 to 9 hours) optional 6 hrs  

Clinical and Counseling Psychology Concentration

Only students admitted into the Clinical and Counseling Doctoral program with a Bachelor’s degree will complete the following courses as requirements for a Master of Science degree in Psychology. In addition, students must complete a master's thesis project (minimum of six hours required). Satisfactory completion of PSY 530 with a minimum grade of “B” is required before a student is allowed to enroll in any practicum course. 

Psychology (MS) - Clinical and Counseling Psychology Concentration   Credit Hours
Curriculum   47
PSY 500 2 hrs  
PSY 501 3 hrs  
PSY 502 3 hrs  
PSY 522 3 hrs  
PSY 524 3 hrs  
PSY 530 3 hrs  
PSY 532 3 hrs  
PSY 542 3 hrs  
PSY 544 3 hrs  
PSY 550 3 hrs  
PSY 556 9 hrs  
PSY 586 3 hrs  
Thesis (PSY 599 - 6 hours minimum)  6 hrs  

Department of Psychology website

Undergraduate Studies

The objective of psychology, as a science, is to understand, explain, and predict the behavior of organisms. The Department of Psychology has developed and organized its course offerings to meet three major goals:

  1. To provide a strong foundation for those students who plan to enter a graduate school of psychology after completing their undergraduate degree requirements.
  2. To assist those students who are planning careers in psychology or in related fields by providing a flexible curriculum that can be designed to meet the career goals of individual students.
  3. To meet the needs of those students who are taking psychology courses as part of their liberal arts education.

All first-time freshmen must successfully complete CAS 100: First Year Experience as a degree requirement. Students must enroll during their first term at USA, except for summer-entry students who must enroll in the fall semester following entry.

Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Program in Psychology (ABM)

See Graduate School Bulletin for rules for all Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Programs

Program Description

The USA accelerated bachelor’s to master’s (ABM) in Psychology provides exceptional undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree at an accelerated pace in Psychology. While still an undergraduate, ABM students may count up to 12 credit hours of graduate course work towards their graduate degree. ABM students typically complete the master’s degree within one academic year after completing the undergraduate degree.
Psychology majors are encouraged to apply for the Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s (ABM) Program in Psychology. This program is designed to allow the student to complete the Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and the Master’s degree in Psychology (Behavior and Brain Sciences program only) in five years.

Admission Procedures

Admission will be a competitive process. The minimum standards are:

  • Have completed at least 90 credit hours
  • Have completed at least 30 credit hours at USA
  • Must have at least a 3.3 GPA (Cumulative and Psychology)
  • Requires 2 letters of recommendation
  • Must have a verifiable score on either the ACT, SAT, or GRE

Admission will be based on characteristics of the applicant and research match to the Psychology faculty.  Applicants must transmit a personal statement and have two referees submit a letter of recommendation to the graduate program coordinator.
Once admitted into the ABM program, students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and remain in good standing to progress into the graduate program.

Program Procedures

ABM students may begin taking graduate courses after completing at least 90 hours of undergraduate credit.
Typically, during their senior undergraduate year, students will take 7 graduate credits per semester for 2 semesters (14 hours) while they are also taking undergraduate courses. Of these 14 graduate hours, 6 hours can count toward both degrees (Bachelor’s and Master’s) if the courses are completed with grades of at least B. Courses with a grade of C can count toward the undergraduate degree but not the graduate degree. Courses with a grade below C cannot count toward the undergraduate or graduate degree.

Upon completing the undergraduate degree, students will apply to the Psychology (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) Master's program. ABM students who are in good standing will be accepted into the Psychology Master’s program.

Completion of the Master of Science (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) requires successful completion of all requirements, including at least 36 graduate credit hours. Graduate credit taken while an undergraduate that is completed with at least the grade of B will be transferred into the Master’s program upon acceptance and will apply toward the 36 hours required for the Master of Science degree.

A student who withdraws or is dismissed from the ABM program may not count graduate coursework towards both degrees. Graduate courses for which an undergraduate student did not earn an “A” or “B” grade, may not be counted towards the graduate degree.

An ABM student must be a full time student and must complete all degree requirements for the master’s within three semesters of the semester in which they were admitted to the Graduate School.  An exception for a fourth semester may be granted where an additional semester is required for final revisions to and submission of a defended thesis. Exceptions to the ABM policy are at the discretion of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Graduate Study In Psychology

The Department of Psychology accepts applicants to the Master of Science program (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) and to the Doctor of Philosophy program in Clinical/Counseling Psychology (CCP). Students admitted to the CCP program with a Bachelor’s degree will complete the Master of Science program (Clinical and Counseling Psychology).

The Master of Science degree program in Psychology (Behavioral and Brain Sciences) is designed to provide individuals with knowledge of current theories, principles, and methods of psychology in preparation for future work toward a doctoral degree, employment in a research setting or employment in a college teaching position. The Department of Psychology currently accepts applicants to the Master of Science degree program, with an interest in one or more areas of concentration in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The available areas of concentration include: Behavioral Statistics/Computational Modeling, Personality and Measurement, Cognitive and Perceptual Processing, Psychophysiology, Social/Developmental Psychology, and College Teaching Preparation.

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology have the opportunity to earn a Master's of Science in Psychology as they progress towards completion of the doctoral degree. Students interested in a graduate degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology are encouraged to see the full program description of the doctoral program in Clinical and Counseling Psychology under the heading "The Graduate School" for more information

Requirements For Admission

Students are admitted Fall Semester only. Applications to the Doctoral CCP Graduate Program should be completed by December 15. Applications to the Masters program in Behavioral and Brain Sciences should be completed by February 15. Late applications will be considered only if there are still openings available. Please note that the Psychology Graduate Program is a competitive program with a limited capacity and admits students to begin in the Fall Semester only.

In addition to the Graduate School application form and required supporting documentation, the Department of Psychology Master of Science requires a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.  Applicants to the Psychology Master of Science concentration in Behavioral and Brain Sciences typically have a minimum GPA of at least a 3.0 on all undergraduate work and have completed at least 21 hours of psychology courses, including at least one course in statistics and one in experimental methods. In exceptional cases, applicants may be considered with at least a 2.5 GPA on all undergraduate work, or at least a 2.75 GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work. Applicants typically submit official GRE scores and have a minimum combined score of 300 (verbal + quantitative). 

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology should see  

Non-degree Students

Applicants for non-degree status in psychology are considered only in exceptional cases and will normally be admitted only if they meet regular admission standards. Following admission, non-degree students must have permission of the department chair and director of graduate studies of the college for each course they wish to enroll in. Enrollment will be approved on a space-available basis with preference being given to degree students. Non-degree students must satisfy the same prerequisites and corequisites as degree students.

Progress Toward Degree

All graduate students will be evaluated each semester to determine if they are making satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements. Students will be given written reports, including specific deficits, if they are not making satisfactory progress. Such students will have one semester to remedy the specific deficits listed or will be subject to dismissal from the program.

Graduate Assistantships

Each year the Psychology Department recommends qualified applicants to the Dean of the Graduate School for graduate assistantships.  Application forms for graduate assistantships may be obtained from the Graduate School. The deadline for receipt of completed doctoral assistantship applications is December 15.