Psychology, M.A. (Restricted to students in the Psychology, Ph.D. program)

The Masters Degree (MA) was established as a way to formalize courses taken and research experience acquired for students enrolled in our Ph.D. program in Clinical-Community Psychology. In addition, the conferring of this degree to students in their second or third year in the doctoral program increases opportunities for them for on-campus teaching, and for externships in community settings. The MA does not increase the course requirements which students will have to take to achieve their Ph.D. but rather specifies core courses and experiences students typically complete by the end of their second year, or by the end of first semester in their third year in the doctoral program, with the thesis requirement included in this degree.  Students will be required to defend the Masters thesis and jointly take an oral comprehensive examination on their knowledge based on coursework and experiences to date at the time of the defense. All students who enter the program without a Masters Degree must complete the requirements for a Masters. In rare cases, students not showing adequate progress toward the Ph.D. may be declined the ability to continue in the doctoral program, and may be guided toward completion of the MA as their terminal degree at the USC.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students show the ability to develop organized responses to basic questions related to psychopathology, developmental psychology, social psychology, diversity issues, history and systems of psychology, psychological intervention, community psychology, and biological bases of behavior or behaviorism/learning theory or cognitive psychology.
  • Students create and maintain appropriate professional relationships with peers, staff, faculty, and members of the community (e.g. punctuality, interpersonal and communication skills, professional dress and behavior). Students adhere to the APA ethical standards in applied work and research.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to critique and synthesize research, collect and analyze data, and present research questions and results in oral and written formats. Students demonstrate awareness of how biases influence research, use a systems perspective in research, and works effectively with other researchers and participants.

Degree Requirements (30 Hours)

Students will choose from one of the following concentrations: Clinical Community Psychology, School Psychology, Quantitative Psychology, or Cognitive and Neural Sciences. All concentrations require submission of a satisfactory thesis, a positive evaluation of the associated oral defense, and successful completion of at least 30 hours of coursework, specified below:

Core Methods Courses (6 Hours)

Course Title Credits
PSYC 709Basic Quantitative Methods in the Analysis of Behavioral Data I3
PSYC 710Basic Quantitative Methods in the Analysis of Behavioral Data II3
Total Credit Hours6

Note: (may be substituted by STAT 700 and STAT 701, or STAT 702 and STAT 703)

Thesis Preparation (3-6 hours required depending on concentration)

Course Title Credits
PSYC 799Thesis Preparation3-6

Additional Courses (18-21  hours)

Students in each concentration will complete additional required or elective courses to reach a total 30 credit hours of coursework.