The M.A. program in General Psychology is designed primarily for those students who seek to improve their knowledge, skills and research experience in psychology in order to strengthen their educational background for application to doctoral programs. A strong focus on student research experience helps to prepare students for continuing graduate study at the doctoral level. The program may also prepare students for a range of occupations in business, government, and other non-academic research settings, as students learn critical thinking and data analysis skills that are attractive to both public and private research firms. A mentorship model, in which students are accepted into the program only with an established agreement with a faculty member, ensures that students are involved in a program of research from their first semester. Course work for the General Psychology program is designed around a core curriculum of statistics, research design, substantive areas of psychology, and a research-based thesis. Thus, students enrolled in this program are expected to develop an understanding of the fundamental areas of psychology, to acquire a high level of sophistication in statistics, experimental design, data analysis, psychological measurement, and quantitative methods, and to conduct research in a specialized area of study. The General Psychology M.A. program does not, however, provide clinical preparation. Students interested in a career that includes clinical preparation should consider the Clinical PsyD program.
The General program requires 15 semester hours of required course work (Foundations in Research): PSY501, 502, 524, 600, and 610. Students will choose 9 semester hours of Core Foundations in Psychology course from the following: PSY506, 509, 512, 517, 540, 560, 562, 568, 464, 470. In addition 12 semester hours of electives must be taken. Core Foundations Courses and electives must be chosen in consultation with the advisor. Electives may include courses outside of Psychology.
Students must file for Degree Candidacy after completing 15 hours of the required course work (Foundations in Research and/or Core Foundations in Psychology courses). This typically occurs after the first academic year of study. Students must have at least a 3.2 GPA in the required courses. Students falling below the 3.2 GPA may repeat up to 9 hours. Failure to achieve 3.2 after repeating 9 hours will result in termination from the program. Forms to apply for Degree Candidacy are available from the Graduate Coordinator, from the Graduate Studies Office, or on the WCU Grade Office web page.