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Psychology

Program | Faculty | Courses

The department is organized into four divisions, each representing one or more areas of specialization. In Division I, biopsychological perspectives are emphasized, and graduate work may lead to a doctorate in either Psychology or Neuroscience and Behavior, an interdepartmental program with somewhat different requirements. Division II contains two specialty areas: cognitive and developmental. Division III provides training in personality and social psychology, and Division IV in clinical psychology.

The Neuroscience and Behavior Program also offers a five-year B.S./M.S. degree track that is designed specifically for University of Massachusetts students who are enrolled in either the Biology/Neurobiology or Psychology/Neuroscience concentration. For more information on this program, see the description of programs in the Neuroscience and Behavior section of this Bulletin.

Designed to train scientists and teachers who will pursue careers in one of the emphasized areas, the aim of the graduate program is achieved by a variety of course offerings as well as by experience in research and teaching. All students are required to take, directly or by examination, three courses outside their primary area of study in order to gain breadth of knowledge in psychology. Requirements also include two statistics courses. These “core” courses are complemented by specialized offerings, including field experience where applicable. A strong emphasis is placed on research, first with faculty, and then on individual student research which culminates in the doctoral dissertation. In addition, because a large percentage of our Ph.D.s pursue their careers in an academic setting, all students are required to obtain teaching experience.

All students are admitted to work toward the Ph.D. degree. However, the Master of Science degree is ordinarily earned after completion of 30 credits of study including a Master’s thesis. The M.S. should be attained in two years, and the Ph.D. in four, except for the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology for which an additional year’s internship is required. Students may complete these requirements in less time. Students are not admitted for a Master’s degree only, nor are they admitted for part-time status.

For admission, applicants should have 18 credits or semester hours of psychology courses beyond an introductory course. Included in these courses should be one in statistics and one in experimental psychology. The latter may be a laboratory course in either physiological, sensory, emotion and motivation, cognition, or learning. Applicants who have done outstanding work in other areas of study, but do not have the required undergraduate credits in psychology may also apply for admission.

Ordinarily, applications are accepted only for fall semester admission. Deadlines for receipt of applications are December 1 for the clinical area and January 2 for all other programs. In the clinical program, applicants are required to rank order two faculty with whom they would be most interested in working.