Application deadline: December 15 of this year to be considered for Fall entry the following year. There is no Spring entry.

There is a separate page for FAQs for the MS program in Applied Psychology (Industrial-Organizational and Quantitative Methods tracks). Below are FAQs applicable to the MA program.

Do you need a degree in psychology to apply?
Most applicants have a degree in psychology, but it is not absolutely necessary. Please see the psychology coursework that is required for admission.

Do I need to send an official transcript for courses that I took at a community college?

The courses from community college appear on my university transcript.  Do I still need to send the community college transcripts? It was only one Spanish class!

Yes.  We need an official transcript from every college ever attended.

What are the GPA scores for currently enrolled students?
Mean GPA: 3.6

IMPORTANT NOTE: GRE scores are not required for the M.A. program, but are required for the M.S. program. Please note, carefully identify the appropriate Master’s program during the application process.

What are the admissions criteria?
The applicants’ entire file is considered in making admission decisions. Recent entering graduate students had a median grade point average (GPA) of 3.6.  Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 are considered only when other aspects of the applicants’ profile are compensatory. In addition to GPA criteria, the admissions committee considers previous research activities, letters of recommendation, and how well the student’s background and research interests match those of our faculty seeking new students.

What can I do to prepare myself before applying to the Master’s program?
Participate in research, and familiarize yourself with the ongoing faculty research in the Psychology department.

How many students apply for admission?
Over 200

How many students are admitted into the program each year?  
On average 30

What programs are available?
M.A. in Psychology
M.S. in Applied Psychology

What is the length of the program?
Both the MA and MS programs take 2 – 3 years to complete.

Do students typically work while enrolled in the program?
This is a full-time program; therefore students do not typically work while enrolled. Funding in the form of assistantships is typically available so that students can give their full attention to their graduate studies.

Are students admitted to work with a specific faculty member?
Yes, upon admission to the program, each student is assigned a faculty research mentor.  It is expected that the student will work in the mentor’s laboratory to gain research experience and to work toward development of a master’s thesis.

Are assistantships available to master’s students?
Yes, teaching and research assistantships have been typically available to most students.

What are the requirements for a master’s thesis?
All master’s students are required to complete and present a thesis project, involving the design of an original empirical study, data analysis, and a write-up of the study hypotheses and findings. The thesis must fulfill the requirements of the Graduate School, described in the Graduate Catalog.

What are examples of former students’ thesis titles?

  • “The Effects of Social Exclusion and Social Status on Aggressive Behavior”
  • “Attention and Executive Functions in Children with Heavy Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Non-Exposed Children with ADHD”
  • “Bisensory Integration in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Typically Developing Children: A Behavioral and Functional Magnetic Resonance Study”
  • “Customer Service Performance: The Effects of Support, Emotion Regulation Strategy, and Empowerment”
  • “The Influence of Gender and Leadership Style on Follower Preferences”
  • “Ambivalent Sexism and the Perpetration of Dating Abuse”
  • “Environmental Correlates of Physical Activity in Latina Women”
  • “Preferences for Transformational Leadership”
  • “Pragmatic Cues in Verb Learning: Communicative Intentions in Dynamic Human Action”
  • “A Comparison of Discrimination and Reversal Learning for Olfactory and Visual Stimuli in Aged Rats”
  • “Discrimination of Emotional Facial Expressions in Children with Perinatal Lesions” 
  • “Variability and instability of language comprehension in 12-month-old infants: Does level of word knowledge matter?” 
  • “Predicting early language comprehension through assessment of the home literacy environment.” 

I want to be a clinical psychologist. Is yours the right program for me?
The Master of Arts program does not prepare a student for practicing clinical psychology. Rather, it offers students the opportunity to pursue their study of Psychology at the graduate level and to prepare themselves for Ph.D. programs in a variety of areas, including clinical psychology. The program is particularly appropriate for students who need advanced work to strengthen their profiles in preparation for application to Ph.D. programs, or for those who wish to explore graduate level work before making a commitment to Ph.D. training. MA graduates who do not go to a Ph.D. program pursue careers in education, research, and consulting institutions, among others.
The Master of Science program prepares a student for jobs in a variety of work settings.

In what ways does the Master’s program prepare students for doctoral studies?
The Master’s program prepares students for doctoral studies by providing a strong foundation in research methodology and quantitative analysis through research involvement and course work

What percentage of students from the SDSU Master’s program go on to a Ph. D.?
54% of recent (2004-2007) MA students reported being accepted to a Ph.D. program at the time of their graduation. Because the MS is a terminal degree, typically MS students do not go into a Ph.D. program but enter the workforce.

What career(s) do most graduates from this program go into with their degree?

  • Pursuing Ph.D. or other doctoral level education (e.g., Ed.D.)
  • Employed as professor at a community college
  • Employed in a professional position in a educational institution
  • Employed as researcher in educational institution
  • Employed in research/consulting in the private sector
  • Employed in a community mental health/counseling center
  • Employed in business or industry – management