Master of Arts (M.A.) Major in Psychological Research

Major Program

The Master of Arts (M.A.) with a major in Psychological Research is designed to foster competence in the methodological foundations and conduct of psychological research across a wide variety of settings. Students will gain expertise regarding the impact of biological, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral factors on psychological phenomena. Focus is placed on learning interpersonal/research skills and statistical competencies relevant to the responsible and ethical conduct of both basic and applied psychological research.

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the 2017-2018 academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the 2017-2018 academic year can be found on the program’s web page. International students should review the International Admission Documents section of the catalog for additional requirements.

  • completed online ApplyTexas application
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • $50 nonrefundable international evaluation fee (if applicable)
  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts required from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in the following prerequisite courses:
    • Introduction to Psychology
    • Quantitative and Statistical Methods
    • Experimental and Research Methods
  • official GRE scores required with a preferred competitive minimum
    • The GRE may be waived if you hold a master's or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. If you hold a master's or doctoral degree (or the equivalent thereof) from an accredited international institution, the GRE may be waived on an individual basis.
  • research interest statement 
  • resume/CV 
  • statement of purpose
  • three letters of recommendation 

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts (M.A.) major in Psychological Research consists of 38 semester credit hours.

Course Requirements

Core
PSY 5198Research Seminar (Taken twice)2
PSY 5311Univariate and Bivariate Statistics3
PSY 5321Multivariate Statistics3
PSY 5324Biological Bases of Behavior3
PSY 5391Research Methods & Experimental Design3
Thesis or Individual Study
Choose one option:6
Thesis Option (6 hours minimum)
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Thesis
Individual Study Option
Individual Study (Taken twice)
Prescribed Electives
Choose 18 hours from the following:18
Psychological Development: Theories & Research
Advanced Abnormal Psychology
Attitudes: Assessment and Change
Group Processes and Interpersonal Dynamics
Assessment in Psychology
Principles of Measurement and Statistics
Health Issues in Diverse Population
Foundations of Health Psychology
Professional Ethics and Standards of Practice
Occupational Health
Psychopharmacology
Health Psychology: Prevention and Intervention
Psychological Therapies
Forensic Psychology
Learning, Cognition, and Motivation
Program Evaluation
Practicum I
Practicum II
Internship in Psychology
Total Hours38

If a student elects to follow the thesis option for the degree, a committee to direct the written thesis will be established. The thesis must demonstrate the student’s capability for research and independent thought. Preparation of the thesis must be in conformity with the Graduate College Guide to Preparing and Submitting a Thesis or Dissertation.

Thesis Proposal

The student must submit an official Thesis Proposal Form and proposal to his or her thesis committee. Thesis proposals vary by department and discipline. Please see your department for proposal guidelines and requirements. After signing the form and obtaining committee members’ signatures, the graduate advisor’s signature if required by the program and the department chair’s signature, the student must submit the Thesis Proposal Form with one copy of the proposal attached to the dean of The Graduate College for approval before proceeding with research on the thesis. If the thesis research involves human subjects, the student must obtain exemption or approval from the Texas State Institutional Review Board prior to submitting the proposal form to The Graduate College. If the thesis research involves vertebrate animals, the proposal form must include the Texas State IACUC approval code. It is recommended that the thesis proposal form be submitted to the dean of The Graduate College by the end of the student’s enrollment in 5399A. Failure to submit the thesis proposal in a timely fashion may result in delayed graduation.

Thesis Committee

The thesis committee must be composed of a minimum of three approved graduate faculty members.

Thesis Enrollment and Credit

The completion of a minimum of six hours of thesis enrollment is required. For a student's initial thesis course enrollment, the student will need to register for thesis course number 5399A.  After that, the student will enroll in thesis B courses in their field, e.g., ENG 5399AENG 5199BENG 5299BENG 5399BENG 5599B, and ENG 5999B, in each subsequent semester until the thesis is defended with the department and approved by The Graduate College. Preliminary discussions regarding the selection of a topic and assignment to a research supervisor will not require enrollment for the thesis course.

Students  must be enrolled in thesis credits if they are receiving supervision and/or are using university resources related to their thesis work.  The number of thesis credit hours students enroll in must reflect the amount of work being done on the thesis that semester.  It is the responsibility of the committee chair to ensure that students are making adequate progress toward their degree throughout the thesis process.  Failure to register for the thesis course during a term in which supervision is received may result in postponement of graduation. After initial enrollment in 5399A, the student will continue to enroll in a thesis B course as long as it takes to complete the thesis. Thesis projects are by definition original and individualized projects.  As such, depending on the topic, methodology, and other factors, some projects may take longer than others to complete.  If the thesis requires work beyond the minimum number of thesis credits needed for the degree, the student may enroll in additional thesis credits at the committee chair's discretion. In the rare case when a student has not previously enrolled in thesis and plans to work on and complete the thesis in one term, the student will enroll in both 5399A and 5399B.

The only grades assigned for thesis courses are PR (progress), CR (credit), W (withdrew), and F (failing). If acceptable progress is not being made in a thesis course, the instructor may issue a grade of F. If the student is making acceptable progress, a grade of PR is assigned until the thesis is completed. The minimum number of hours of thesis credit (“CR”) will be awarded only after the thesis has been both approved by The Graduate College and released to Alkek Library.

A student who has selected the thesis option must be registered for the thesis course during the term or Summer I (during the summer, the thesis course runs ten weeks for both sessions) in which the degree will be conferred.

Fee Reduction

A master’s degree candidate for graduation may be eligible for a one-time fee reduction under V.T.C.A. Education Code, Section 54.054. Please refer to the section titled Fee Reduction in the Additional Fees and Expenses chapter of this catalog for more information.

Thesis Deadlines and Approval Process

Thesis deadlines are posted on The Graduate College website under "Current Students." The completed thesis must be submitted to the chair of the thesis committee on or before the deadlines listed on The Graduate College website.

The following must be submitted to The Graduate College by the thesis deadline listed on The Graduate College website:

  1. The Thesis Submission Approval Form bearing original (wet) and/or electronic signatures of the student and all committee members.
  2. One (1) PDF of the thesis in final form, approved by all committee members, uploaded in the online Vireo submission system.  

After the dean of The Graduate College approves the thesis, Alkek Library will harvest the document from the Vireo submission system for publishing in the Digital Collections database (according to the student's embargo selection). NOTE: MFA theses will have a permanent embargo and will never be published to Digital Collections. 

While original (wet) signatures are preferred, there may be situations as determined by the chair of the committee in which obtaining original signatures is inefficient or has the potential to delay the student's progress. In those situations, the following methods of signing are acceptable:

  • signing and faxing the form
  • signing, scanning, and emailing the form
  • notifying the department in an email from their university's or institution's email account that the committee chair can sign the form on their behalf
  • electronically signing the form using the university's licensed signature platform.

If this process results in more than one document with signatures, all documents need to be submitted to The Graduate College together.

No copies are required to be submitted to Alkek Library. However, the library will bind copies submitted that the student wants bound for personal use. Personal copies are not required to be printed on archival quality paper. The student will take the personal copies to Alkek Library and pay the binding fee for personal copies.

Master's level courses in Psychology: PSY

Courses Offered

Psychology (PSY)

PSY 5105. Practicum in Teaching Psychology.

This course will examine processes and strategies designed to improve the teaching and learning process. Students will be introduced to learning and instructional theory and selected concepts, issues, and strategies of instructional planning, delivery, management, and evaluation. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable with different emphasis. Prerequisite: Approval of Graduate Advisor.
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1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Graduate Assistantship|Exclude from Graduate GPA
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

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PSY 5198. Research Seminar.

Taken in two consecutive semesters, this seminar provides an orientation to the graduate program and the steps required for thesis completion. Topics include the discussion of research interests, critiquing literature, and topic selection; developing and submitting a research proposal; selecting a thesis committee; and thesis completion and submission. Restricted to M.A. students in Psychological Research.
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1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5199B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuous thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: PSY 5399A and Instructor Approval.
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1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5299B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuous thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: PSY 5399A and Instructor Approval.
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2 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5306. Psychological Development: Theories & Research.

This course is an advanced coverage of biological, social, and cognitive development throughout the lifespan. Topics include cognitive developmental theory, sensory/perceptual development, language development, infant attachment, the development of gender roles, moral development, and issues related to aging. Prerequisite: PSY 3300 or equivalent.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5310. Advanced Abnormal Psychology.

Critical analysis of the definition and classification of abnormal behavior and experiences and an in-depth study of theories and research on causes, remediation, and prevention. Prerequisite: PSY 3315 with a grade of "C" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5311. Univariate and Bivariate Statistics.

This course introduces students to univariate and bivariate statistical concepts and techniques used in psychology research (e.g., probability, sampling distributions, t-tests, and analysis of variance, correlation). Emphasis is placed on developing skills in data analysis including the selection of appropriate techniques, using data analysis software, and interpretation of statistical results. Prerequisite: PSY 2301 with a grade of "C" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5314. Attitudes: Assessment and Change.

This course reviews social cognitive theories and research on attitudes and behavior change, and examines the principles of persuasive communication. Topics covered include individual differences in information processing, risk assessment, decision making and factors moderating attitude-behavior consistency.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5317. Group Processes and Interpersonal Dynamics.

Designed to train future professionals in both the cognitive and personal issues related to group behavior.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5318. Assessment in Psychology.

The course will provide an overview of assessment instruments commonly used by psychologists and neuropsychologists in research and practice. Basic psychometrics such as validity and reliability also will be covered.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5320. Principles of Measurement and Statistics.

The course emphasizes classical measurement theory, including reliability and validity of measurement instruments commonly used in psychology, and reviews descriptive statistics with a focus on correlation and regression. Prerequisite: Course in undergraduate statistics.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5321. Multivariate Statistics.

This course introduces students to multivariate statistical techniques commonly used in psychological research such as analysis of variance and covariance, multiple regression, and factor analysis. Emphasis is placed on developing applied skills in data analysis: selection of appropriate statistical techniques, using data analysis software, and interpretation of statistical results. Prerequisite: PSY 5311 with a grade of "C" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 1 Lab Contact Hour.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5324. Biological Bases of Behavior.

This course provides an overview of the nervous system structure and function appropriate to the overall field of Psychology in order to foster an appreciation of the biological determinants of behavior.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5326. Neuropsychological Assessment.

This course will introduce principles of neuropsychological assessment including assessment procedures, interpretation of results, neuropathology, and the range of neuropsychological functions to be assessed. This course will also cover the characteristics and administration of several neuropsychological assessment instruments.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5334. Health Issues in Diverse Population.

This course examines the influence of socio-cultural beliefs and perceptions on health behaviors and the use of health services. The various ways in which race, ethnicity, gender and social class are related to the delivery of health care and opportunities to facilitate health care to the most vulnerable are explored.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5335. Foundations of Health Psychology.

This course will utilize a biopsychosocial approach to understand the psychology of wellness and disease. Topics include stress, coping, pain, social support, and chronic illness. Special emphasis will focus on physiological responses, psychoneuroimmunology, and somatization.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5342. Professional Ethics and Standards of Practice.

This course will focus on the study of APA ethical principles and standards of practice with emphasis on their applicability to research. Ethical decision-making and research, landmark studies, legal cases, and controversies in the field will be covered.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5343. Occupational Health.

This course focuses on promoting and maintaining the physical, mental, and social well-being of workers by promoting positive health behaviors, controlling risk factors, and facilitating the adaptation of work to people and people to their jobs.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5345. Psychopharmacology.

This course explores: (1) the reasons that humans and animals consume mind altering substances called psychoactive drugs, (2) the neuronal, chemical, and hormonal mechanisms underlying drug action, and (3) the environmental factors that modulate the impact of psychoactive drugs on emotional, cognitive, perceptual and behavioral expression in humans and animals.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5348. Health Psychology: Prevention and Intervention.

This course will focus on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and intervention strategies to enhance health and wellness. Topics will include health-promoting behaviors, risky health behaviors, theories of health behavior change, the process of medical care, and treatment adherence. Special emphasis will be on planning, implementation, and assessment of interventions. Prerequisites: PSY 5335.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5352. Psychological Therapies.

This survey course on evidence-based psychological interventions focuses on the active mechanisms by which therapies work and their application to specific diagnostic categories and conditions. Interpersonal, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and dialectical behavior therapies will be highlighted along with newer empirically-based therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and mindfulness approaches.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360G. Forensic Psychology.

Examination of the relationships between psychology and the Criminal Justice system. Emphasis is placed on how psychology variables influence how individuals carry out their duties within the system. Sample topics include: (a) psychology and jury decision-making, (b) accuracy/impact of eyewitnesses testimony, and (c) how characteristics of defendants influence juries.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360H. Psychology of Women.

The course includes an in-depth examination of the development of women's roles and gender differences as well as a consideration of women's relationships, sexuality, employment, and diversity. Special topics such as women and violence will also be covered.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360I. Cognitive Neuroscience.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to cognitive neuroscience: the study of the biological basis of cognitive processes such as perception, attention, memory, language, and decision-making. This is a seminar course that will cover both the theoretical constructs and also recent research that pertain to each topic. Prerequisite: PSY 3322 with a grade of "B" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360J. Research Seminar in Social Psychology.

This seminar course provides an introduction to selected topics in social psychology. It covers the process of research planning: finding a topic, reviewing literature, designing a study, selecting measures, considering ethical issues, obtaining IRB approval, data collection, data analysis, manuscript preparation. It culminates with each student producing a research proposal. Graduate Standing in Psychology required.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360K. Human Memory and Memory Disorders.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of topics in human memory including different types of memory and brain structures involved. Special emphasis will be given to problems with memory including forgetting, aging memory, amnesia, and Alzheimer's disease. This course will cover both current theories and cutting-edge research.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360L. The Psychology of Language.

This course provides a grounding in the cognitive theories/models of the major areas of language research: acquisition, comprehension, and production. It also provides an overview of the cognitive processes involved in several specific topic areas in language, such as syntax, semantics, discourse, prosody, bilingualism, neuro-linguistics, sign language, and reading.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5360M. Introduction to Psychophysiology.

This course will provide an overview of the principles, theory, and applications of using physiological measures to study mental processes. This course will illustrate how the use of psychophysiological measurements can enhance our understanding of brain/mind/behavior relationships.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5366. Individual Study.

Students design and execute original research or engage in extensive fieldwork in the field of psychology under the supervision of a faculty member. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: PSY 5391 and permission of the instructor.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5370. Learning, Cognition, and Motivation.

Basic problems in the acquisition of responses, treating with such constructs as reinforcement, extinction, retention, forgetting, problem solving, motivation, and punishment. Major theories are treated through attention to classical experiments, but greatest emphasis is given to contemporary research. See Educational Psychology 5370.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5391. Research Methods & Experimental Design.

Problems in psychology, emphasis on research procedures. A research project is required of each student. Restricted to M.A. students in Psychological Research.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 3 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5392. Program Evaluation.

Introduces the theory and techniques of program evaluation. Addresses all phases of program evaluations, including: conceptualization, planning, implementation, methodological and ethical issues, and analyzing and reporting results. Emphasis is placed on experimental and quasi-experimental methods commonly used in the evaluation of health programs. Prerequisite: PSY 5320 or consent of instructor.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5395. Practicum I.

Structured practical experience in health psychology at private or public setting. Supervision will be provided by a member of the graduate faculty and by a key individual at the site. Prerequisite: Instructor approval.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5396. Practicum II.

Structured practical experience in health psychology at private or public setting. Supervision will be provided both by a member of the graduate faculty and by a key individual at the site. Prerequisite: PSY 5395.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5398. Internship in Psychology.

Students engage in extensive field work in a professional setting related to psychology. Prerequisites: PSY 5311, PSY 5321 & PSY 5391 with grades of "C" or better.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

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PSY 5399A. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s initial thesis enrollment. No thesis credit is awarded until the student has completed the thesis in PSY 5399B. Prerequisite: PSY 5321 and Instructor Approval.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5399B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuous thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: PSY 5399A and Instructor Approval.
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3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5599B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuous thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: PSY 5399A and Instructor Approval.
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5 Credit Hours. 5 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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PSY 5999B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuous thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding. Prerequisite: PSY 5399A and Instructor Approval.
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9 Credit Hours. 9 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

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