Philosophy of the Psychological Science Track
The Psychological Science track of the Master of Arts in Psychology provides the student with a solid foundation in psychological research. The program includes coursework in Psychological Science design, research methodology, and statistics. The student will also develop an area of specialization that will serve as a basis for elective coursework and the Master's thesis.
The program is primarily designed to prepare students for doctoral degrees in psychology or related fields. Consistent with this goal, a majority of our Master's students have been subsequently accepted into Ph.D. programs. The program is also relevant to non-traditional students who do not plan to pursue a doctoral degree but wish to become more knowledgeable about psychology and its applications to their particular interests.
The applications for the MA Psychology Programs in the Clinical and Psychological Science Tracks are the same.
All application materials are due on the 1st of January for Fall admission.
Application requirements for the MA Psychology Programs in Clinical and Psychological Science Tracks are as follows:
- Complete the online application and pay the application fee.
- Obtain four letters of recommendation from professors or employers through the online application.
- Submit a statement describing your interests, background, and reason for applying to our program as part of the online application.
- Submit official transcripts from EACH college or university attended.
- Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) so that official scores are reported before the January 1st application deadline. The Institution Code for UCCS is R4874. The Department Code for Clinical Psychology is 2001 and the Department Code for Psychological Science Psychology is 2007. The general GRE is required of all applicants. The advanced psychology subject test is strongly recommended. For more information about the GRE, please visit ETS.
- Optionally, you may upload a vita or resume as an attachment in the online application.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is strongly recommended for all applicants. Applicants do not need to submit the original application to the department. Instead, have your results sent to UCCS at school code 004509. Please keep in mind that the FAFSA you will need to complete will not be made available until after the January 1st application deadline.
How to Submit Official Transcripts
For transcripts from outside institutions:
Electronic Submission: Transcripts can be submitted electronically if the issuing institution is contracted with a secured server. Electronic transcripts should be sent directly to email@example.com.
Any application materials that need to be mailed in should be sent to the following address:
Office of Admissions & Records
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-3733
- A BS or BA degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university
- An overall grade point average of 3.0 ("A" is equivalent to 4.0) or above in all undergraduate courses.
- Our most competitive applicants have Graduate Record Exam scores of the 50th percentile or higher on both the verbal and quantitative sections. The advanced psychology subject test is strongly recommended.
- Four letters of recommendation from professors and employers.
- An adequate undergraduate program in psychology including college-level mathematics, statistics, experimental psychology, and some background in the biological, physical, and social sciences.
- Applicants to the clinical psychology track should also have course work and/or community experience in applied psychology.
Promising students who do not meet all the requirements may be considered as applicants. Admission to the program is competitive and applications are reviewed by the Psychological Science admissions committee.
In order to be considered for the MA program, one needs to have an undergraduate major in Psychology or an "adequate background" in Psychology. For people who have only had general psychology, we recommend the following additional courses:
* PSY 2100 Introduction to Psychological Statistics
* PSY 2110 Introduction to Psychological Research and Measurement
* PSY 3130 Learning and Cognition
* PSY 3270 Introduction to Biopsychology
* PSY 3280 Abnormal Psychology
* PSY 3400 Social Psychology
* PSY 4510 Seminar in History of Psychology
* Course numbers are from UCCS
The Psychology Department offers two tracks within its Master's program: Clinical and Psychological Science. Upon completing either of these programs, a student is conferred a general MA degree in Psychology. But MA students also have the option to gain experience within one of four specialized sub-fields, formally called "sub-plans," in the discipline. The sub-plans include trauma psychology, psychology and law, cognition, and developmental psychology. These more narrowly-focused programs specify required courses within the MA program, completion of a research thesis under the direction of a faculty mentor with expertise in that particular sub-discipline of psychology, and for students in the Clinical track, a practicum at a setting in that domain. Students who enroll in an optional sub-plan glean the benefits of a more concentrated focus of study that is reflected in their transcripts.
Applicants to the Psychology MA Program will be asked at the time of application whether they wish to pursue a sub-plan. The sub-plans are optional and the desire to pursue a sub-plan will not affect the likelihood of admission into our MA program.
Sub-Plan in Cognition (available only to students in the Psychological Science MA track)
Sub-Plan in Developmental Psychology (available only to students in the Psychological Science MA track)
Sub-Plan in Geropsychology (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)
Sub-Plan in Psychology and Law (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)
Sub-Plan in Trauma Psychology (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)
The program of study has three components that are common to both the Clinical and the Psychological Science tracks:
(a) coursework in research and the scientific method;
(b) coursework in the knowledge base of psychology: the core courses series; and
(c) a research thesis.
The following research and methods courses are required of all graduate students:
PSY 5810 Research Statistics and Methodology I
PSY 5820 Research Statistics and Methodology II
PSY 6030 Research Practicum
The Psychological Science track requires a minimum of 36 credit hours. The required courses can be completed by a full-time student in 2 years if the following course sequence is followed:
Fall: Research Statistics and Methodology I, Contemporary Issues in Psychology, and a Core Content Course
Spring: Research Statistics and Methodology II, a Core Course, Contemporary Issues in Psychology, and Research Practicum or an optional Core Content Course
Fall: Applied Multivariate Techniques I, Contemporary Issues in Psychology, and Research Practicum or a Core Content Course
Spring: Methods and Design for Analyzing Change or Research Practicum, Masters Thesis,Contemporary Issues in Psychology, and a Core Content Course
This shows 43 credits, so student should adjust where it works best while fulfilling the general requirements.
A. MA Psychological Science students must take at least two of the following core content courses:
1. PSY 5210 Psychology of Aging I*
2. PSY 5220 Psychology of Aging II*
3. PSY 6100 Developmental Psychology
4. PSY 6110 Cognition
5. PSY 6120 Neuroscience
6. PSY 6130 Social Psychology
7. PSY 6140 Personality
8. PSY 6150 Psychology and Law
9. PSY 6160 Trauma Psychology I **
10. PSY 6170 Trauma Psychology II **
* Note: MA students may count either PSY 5210 or PSY 5220 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.
** Note: MA students may count either PSY 6160 or PSY 6170 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.
B. MA Psychological Science students must take the following three courses:
1. PSY 5810 Research Statistics and Methodology I
2. PSY 5820 Research Statistics and Methodology II
3. PSY 5830 Applied Multivariate Techniques I
C. MA Psychological Science students must take one additional course (and more may be taken) from the Core Content Courses listed above or from the following courses:
1. PSY 6410 Aging Seminar (Special Topics)
2. PSY 5840 Methods and Design for Analyzing Change
3. PSY 5860 Reproducible Research
4. PSY 6813 Advances Research Design and Statistical Methods Seminar (Selected Topics)
D. The following courses are required for MA Psychological Science students:
1. PSY 6030 Research Practicum
2. PSY 7000 Masters Thesis (6 credits)
3. PSY 6430 Contemporary Issues in Psychology (4 semesters)
The core content courses are required of all Master's students. Students in the Psychological Science track take at least three of the core content courses. The particular core content courses chosen will vary from student to student depending on their sub-plan, and course availability. The core content courses available are as follows:
PSY 5210 Psychology of Aging I*
PSY 5220 Psychology of Aging II*
PSY 6100 Developmental Psychology
PSY 6110 Cognition
PSY 6120 Neuroscience
PSY 6130 Social Psychology
PSY 6140 Personality
PSY 6150 Psychology and Law
PSY 6160 Trauma Psychology**
PSY 6170 Trauma Psychology II**
*Note: MA students may count either PSY 5210 or PSY 5220 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.
**Note: MA student may count either PSY 6160 or PSY 6170 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.
A research based thesis is required of all master's students. The psychology faculty are all actively engaged in research. Master's students are encouraged to establish a mentorship relationship with a faculty person and to develop a thesis from an ongoing program of research. The research and scientific method coursework is designed to help the student formulate a research proposal, analyze the data collected, and write up the results for scholarly publication. In addition to those courses, students take 6 credit hours of PSY 7000 Thesis. Students are encouraged to present their work at regional and national meetings and to write up their research for publication.
The MA applicant pool is national in scope. Our graduate students have earned undergraduate degrees from a wide range of institutions and we have a significant proportion of non-resident students. Of the students who have matriculated in the MA program since its beginning in 1978, about 20% earned their undergraduate degrees from UCCS. The others earned their BA or BS degrees at over 100 different undergraduate institutions across the United States, Canada, Japan, India, and Romania. In the past decade, about 50% of our students have been non-residents of Colorado.
Admissions to the MA program are based on Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores, undergraduate grade-point average, letters of recommendation, and applicant descriptions of their background and academic goals. The applicant pool for the past several years has ranged from 80 to 100 completed applications per year. During those same years we matriculated from 8 to 12 students per year. Our selection ratio is small enough so that the scholastic characteristics of the students who have matriculated are excellent. The means for GRE scores and undergraduate grade-point averages are shown below.
What happens to the students who matriculate in the MA Program?
Overall, we have a graduation rate of about 70% and a very low academic failure rate of less than 5%. The remainder withdrew from the program. The reasons for withdrawing from the program are varied. Several of the students withdrew from the program in order to continue their studies in a PhD program. For some, family and business considerations led to their withdrawal. it should be noted that the program is designed so that it can be completed in two years by a full-time student. Some of our students attend part-time and some take longer than expected to complete their thesis research.
What happens to our graduates?
About half of our graduates choose to go on to doctorate programs and the other half choose to enter the work force. The percent of students who get accepted for doctoral level programs is very high. Nearly 90% of those who have applied for PhD level programs have been accepted. Our graduates have gone on to places such as University of Houston, University of Miami, Kent State University, University of Nebraska, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, Purdue University, University of Alabama, Washington University, University of Arizona, CU-Boulder, Denver University, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, University of Montana, Nova Southeastern University, and Pacific University. Nearly all of the graduates who choose not to go on to doctoral level programs are working in areas that are relevant to their degrees. However, we are NOT a licensure program and it is possible that licensure at the MA level will no longer be possible in the state of Colorado for graduates of our clinical program.
The external review team very positively evaluated the Master of Arts program during the 1989 Academic Program Review of the Psychology Department. After interviewing graduate students in the program the external review team reported that the students "expressed high regard for their training." They report that "students felt that their professors were quite competent, readily accessible to them, and eager to involve them in interesting thesis research projects," and that most professors "served as good mentors." They summarize their findings about the master's program with the following observations:
The external review for 1996 was equally positive. It reads, in part:
Our external review for 2003 provided superb results as well. It reads, in part:
The Psychology Department has a history of offering master's level education of the highest quality. All markers suggest that this 2-year program has been and continues to be one of the very finest master's degree programs in the country.
There are two forms of housing available for graduate students: 1) off-campus housing in apartments and houses and, 2) on-campus dormitories.
A recently completed housing survey of graduate and undergraduate honors students in psychology found that 50% of the students lived within 5 miles of campus (range = 1-12 miles) and that it took them 10 minutes or less to commute to campus (range 3 to 25 minutes). The mean rent was $750/month for a one-bedroom apartment and $800/month for a 2-bedroom apartment, not including utilities.
On-campus housing is available. See the Housing Village page for more information including information on the new apartment-style dorms.