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Program: M.A., Psychology

General Experimental Psychology

Program Description

Notice: Effective Fall 2019, the General Experimental Psychology Option has been elevated to a standalone M.A. program in Psychological Science. For more information, please see the Department of Psychology website.

CSUN’s General Experimental Psychology graduate program option provides rigorous training in advanced statistical methods, research methods and design, and theory in psychology for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology in a research-focused program. The program option is comprised of faculty who are active researchers in their fields, and who are dedicated to training and mentoring students who plan to pursue academic and/or research careers in an array of basic and applied areas of psychology. The application requires applicants to indicate which faculty member they would be interested in working with as their thesis research advisor. A faculty member in the General Experimental program option must agree to accept a student into his or her research lab before the department can accept a student into the program option even if the applicant meets all of the other admission requirements. It is therefore advised that applicants review faculty research interests prior to submitting an application.

Program Requirements

A. Procedures and Requirements for Admission

Please contact the department for application deadlines.

In addition to University admission requirements, the Psychology department requires:

  1. Submission of a Psychology Department Graduate Program Application (available from the Psychology Graduate Office or the Psychology department website) to the Psychology Graduate Office by the above deadline.
  2. Transcripts.
  3. Letters of recommendation.
  4. GRE scores.

Note: General Experimental Psychology requires the consent of a faculty member to serve as a research advisor for admission.

Early application, careful study of the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook and of the University Catalog, and consultation with the graduate advisor of the graduate program option of interest are strongly recommended.

B. Classified Admission and Conditionally Classified Admission

Participation in any of the graduate programs offered by the Department of Psychology is limited to classified and conditionally classified graduate students. Conditionally classified admission, used sparingly by the department, is for students who have met all requirements for admission to the graduate program except for completion of a course or examination. The department specifies the conditions to be fulfilled before classified standing is awarded. Normally, these conditions must be met within the first semester of graduate training.

C. For Admission to Classified Graduate Status

  1. Admission to any Psychology department graduate program, except as noted in the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook, generally requires an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Applicants who do not have a degree in Psychology are required to complete certain undergraduate courses prior to acceptance to classified status. Those who do not have a degree in Psychology should study the Graduate Handbook and consult with the appropriate graduate option program coordinator about these requirements.
  2. A GPA of 3.0 is required except on approval by the Graduate Committee of the program option to which admission is sought. Enrollment is limited. It is not possible to admit all of the qualified students who apply.
  3. Completion of the General Test and the Advanced Psychology Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required, with satisfactory scores as prescribed by the Graduate Committee of the option in which degree work is to be taken. In certain options, persons with appropriate undergraduate preparation may request a waiver of the requirement for the Advanced Psychology Test.
  4. Personal interview, prior experience in applied work and satisfactory letters of recommendation are required by some programs. Consult the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook for more information.
  5. General University requirements also must be met. Carefully consult other sections of this Catalog for details. These requirements include passing the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) with a score of 8 or higher.

D. Prerequisite Course

PSY 420/L Advanced Statistical Methods and Lab (3/1)
or PSY 485US/S Advanced Inquiry in Research and Analysis Methods and Seminar: Univariate Statistics (3/2)

E. Program Requirements

1. Required Courses (23-24 units)

a. Professional Development/Research Internship (6 units)

PSY 500 Seminar in Professional Development (3-3)

b. Advanced Statistical Methods/Lab (8-9 units)
Select a minimum of 8 units from the following:

PSY 520/L Multivariate Statistical Methods and Lab (3/1)
PSY 524/L Multivariate Analysis Computer and Lab (3/1)
PSY 534/S Latent Variable Analysis and Seminar (3/2)

c. Advanced Research Methods (3 units)
Select 3 units from the following:

PSY 514 Advanced Experimental Psychology (3)
PSY 692A Seminar in Research Methodology (3)

d. Advanced Psychological Theory (6 units)
Select a minimum of 6 units from the following:

2. Electives (6 units)

Students must take a minimum of 6 academic elective units at the 400-, 500- or 600-level. Courses at the 400-level must be preapproved by the student’s graduate advisor prior to enrollment.

3. Culminating Experience (6 units)

PSY 696 Directed Graduate Research (3)
PSY 698C Thesis or Graduate Project (3)

Students are required to complete a master’s-level thesis or project as part of their degree requirements. Specific thesis formatting information and thesis deadlines are found in the Office of Graduate Studies, located in University Hall, Room 275.

4. Final Oral Examination

This examination is based primarily on the thesis and is scheduled 2 weeks after the final version of the thesis is presented to the student’s graduate committee.

Total time allowed for completion of the program is 7 years from the date of acceptance. Students who intend to interrupt their program are required to notify the department in writing to request prior approval. Those who fail to meet these requirements or who fail to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater are subject to being dropped from the program.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 35-36

More information

For more information about this program, please contact


Department of Psychology
Chair: Jill Razani
Sierra Hall (SH) 376
(818) 677-2827

Graduate Coordinator: Sara Berzenski
(818) 677-2814

Graduate Coordinator: Stefanie Drew
(818) 677-3503