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Department of Psychology


Master of Science Degree in Psychology

The Master of Science degree in Psychology is designed to address the needs of two groups of students: students who wish to pursue doctoral studies and desire additional coursework and research experience in order to be more competitive for admission to doctoral programs, and students who need graduate-level training in order to be competitive for jobs in behavioral, psychological, and related research settings. The program is designed to give students extensive research experience and coursework in research methodology, statistics, and the content areas of research-based psychology (e.g., social, personality, cognitive, developmental, clinical).

Program Admission Requirements. All application materials must be submitted using the University’s online application system and received by the program-specific Fall deadline (June 1). Degree-seeking students normally are not admitted for the Spring or Summer semesters due to course-sequence requirements in the program. Applicants for unconditional admission must meet University-wide admission requirements in addition to the following psychology admission requirements:

  1. Scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be received before the application is considered complete and will be used as part of the selection criteria for admission to the program.

  2. Completion of a minimum of 18 undergraduate semester credit hours in psychology (12 of which must be at the upper-division level). These hours must include at least one course in statistics and one course in experimental psychology. A single course that combines instruction in statistics and experimental methodology may be accepted, pending the approval of the Graduate Committee in Psychology.

  3. A grade point average of at least 3.2 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework and a grade point average of at least 3.2 in all psychology courses taken.

  4. A grade of “B” or higher in a statistics for psychology course (equivalent to PSY 2073) and a psychological research methods course (equivalent to PSY 3403).

  5. A description of research experience (e.g., independent study/internship, employment, etc.) in basic or applied settings must be provided before the application is considered complete. Amount and nature of experience will be considered as part of the selection criteria for admission to the program.

  6. A statement of professional goals and reason for interest in pursuing a Master’s in Psychology and interest in this program specifically must be provided before the application is considered complete. These statements will be evaluated and considered as part of the selection criteria for admission to the program.

  7. Two letters of recommendation from behavioral researchers in a position to evaluate the candidate’s academic or research potential (e.g., undergraduate instructors, research advisors) must be submitted and will be evaluated as part of the selection criteria. Recommendation forms are included in the online application materials.

The highly individualized nature of the program dictates that a limited number of students be admitted each year. As such, students who meet the minimum requirements are not necessarily guaranteed admission, and early submission of application materials is strongly encouraged. Applicants who do not meet requirements for unconditional admission may be considered for conditional admission if there are indications of unrealized potential. General information on successful applicants (grade point averages, GRE scores, etc.) can be found on the Department’s Web site (http://colfa.utsa.edu/psych/).

Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove admission deficiencies, is 36. Typically, students complete the program in two years (taking three courses a semester, excluding summers) or three years (taking two courses a semester, excluding summers).

Degree candidates must complete the following requirements:

  1. 15 semester credit hours of core courses:

    PSY 5113    Professional Ethics and Standards
    PSY 5213    Research Design
    PSY 5413    Inferential Statistics
    PSY 6113    Psychological Measurement
    PSY 6213    Correlation and Regression Analyses

  2. 9 semester credit hours chosen from the following:

    PSY 5303    Developmental Psychology
    PSY 5313    Seminar in Psychopathology
    PSY 5323    Individual Differences and Assessment
    PSY 5333    Social Psychology
    PSY 5343    Human Cognition
    PSY 5353    Industrial/Organizational Psychology
    PSY 5363    Health Psychology
    PSY 5383    Biological Psychology
    PSY 5393    Cross Cultural Psychology

  3. 6 semester credit hours of electives chosen from the following:

    PSY 6513     Research Internship
    PSY 6951-3  Independent Study
    PSY 6973     Special Topics in Psychology

  4. Option 1 (with thesis): A master’s thesis and 6 hours of PSY 6983 Master’s Thesis.

    or

    Option 2 (without thesis): 3 additional hours must be completed from the course options listed in Section B and PSY 6513 Research Internship must be completed for an additional 3 hours of credit from the electives listed in Section C. Students seeking this option must notify the Psychology Graduate Program Committee of their intent at least one semester prior to their anticipated graduation date. Students should expect to take the comprehensive examination required for this option during the semester in which they plan to complete the degree. The comprehensive examination can be attempted twice but only once a semester.

Students admitted to the program should consult the Graduate Advisor of Record for specific program requirements.

The program does not require proficiency in a foreign language. A written thesis proposal, approved by the student’s thesis committee, is required before the student may register for PSY 6983 Master’s Thesis.

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Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Psychology

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology is designed for students who have completed a master’s degree and are interested pursing advanced doctoral training in topics related to health and mental health, statistics, and research methods. Graduates will have a reputation for research excellence and make contributions to applied areas of knowledge, especially in settings related to military health. Graduates are expected to have strong skills in conducting research including data analysis and interpretation, using the most advanced research methods and statistical techniques. Graduates are also expected to be able to implement practical applications of psychological theory in military environments and to have the communication skills necessary to convey their theoretical and methodological expertise to others. In order to meet these objectives, the program provides students with the opportunity to acquire a strong conceptual background in Psychology and gives them opportunities for advanced training in quantitative and research methodologies. The program also provides students with opportunities to develop their scientific writing and oral communication skills and to apply their knowledge and skills in both laboratory settings and in ecologically-valid settings pertaining to military health.

Program Admission Requirements. All application materials must be submitted using the University’s online application system and received by February 1. Degree-seeking students normally are not admitted for the Spring or Summer semesters due to course-sequence requirements in the program. Applicants for unconditional admission must meet University-wide admission requirements in addition to the following psychology admission requirements:

  1. Hold a 36-hour Master’s degree in Psychology that required completion of a research-based master’s thesis and courses comparable to those required by the UTSA Master of Science in Psychology program. Applicants who have not completed a Master’s thesis, and/or did not take courses comparable to those required by the UTSA Psychology M.S. program, may be considered for admission with conditional status pending successful completion of all deficiencies.
  2. Submit a master’s degree transcript documenting a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher. If a master’s degree has not been completed, a transcript documenting a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the last 60 hours of coursework will be required for students seeking conditional admission to the program.
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores no older than five years, which will be weighed in conjunction with the other material in the applicant’s file.
  4. Three letters of recommendation indicating the applicant has the necessary academic and personal attributes for success in the program and has the potential for making significant contributions in the field of psychology.
  5. A 3-page statement of career goals, research interests, and purpose for pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology at UTSA. This statement will be evaluated and considered as part of the selection criteria for admission to the program.
  6. Documentation of prior research experience. A completed master’s thesis is the most common form of document submitted. Acceptable alternatives include a published research article, a manuscript prepared for publication, or a research paper submitted for credit in an independent or honors study project.
  7. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum scores must be 550 on the paper version or 79 on the Internet version.

For consideration of conditional admission into the Ph.D. program in Psychology, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher, and must have completed at least 18 upper-division and/or graduate hours in Psychology, including Experimental Methods and Statistics, with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. All other requirements for admission, listed above, must be met. Students who do not possess a master’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline are required to complete a program consisting of a minimum of 72 semester credit hours at UTSA. The Doctoral Program Committee will determine courses and/or research experience required in addition to the doctoral coursework for each conditionally-admitted student, which will normally include master’s-level courses in Ethics, Research Design, Psychological Measurement, Inferential Statistics, Correlation and Regression, and a thesis-level research project, before the student is allowed to enroll in doctoral-level courses.

Degree Requirements. The degree requires a minimum of 48 semester credit hours beyond the master’s degree, passing of qualifying written and oral examinations, and acceptance of the Ph.D. dissertation. The 48 hours of doctoral coursework include 9 hours of core courses, 12 hours of Advanced Topics seminars, 6 hours of Prescribed Electives, 9 hours of Doctoral Research, and 12 hours of Doctoral Dissertation. Students must maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 to remain in good standing academically and to graduate. Degree requirements beyond the master’s degree must be completed within six calendar years from the date on which the student enters the doctoral program.

Degree candidates admitted unconditionally to the program must complete the following requirements:

  1. 9 semester credit hours of core courses:

    PSY 7003    Multivariate Statistical Analysis
    PSY 7013    Advanced Research Design
    PSY 7023    Military Health Psychology
  2. 12 semester credit hours chosen from the following Advanced Topics seminars:

    PSY 7103    Advanced Topics in Biopsychology
    PSY 7113    Advanced Topics in Clinical Psychology
    PSY 7123    Advanced Topics in Applied Social Psychology
    PSY 7133    Advanced Topics in Applied Cognitive Psychology
    PSY 7143    Advanced Topics in Diversity and Health Disparities
  3. 6 semester credit hours of prescribed electives chosen from the following:

    DEM 7233    Applied Forecasting Methods in Demography
    KAH 5083    Epidemiology
    PSY 7203    Grant Development
    PSY 7213    Program Evaluation
    STA 5253    Time Series Analysis and Applications
    STA 5413    Nonparametric Statistics
    STA 6113    Applied Bayesian Statistics
    STA 6853    Categorical Data Analysis
  4. 9 semester credit hours from a combination of the following research activities:

    PSY 6513       Research Internship
    PSY 7911-6    Doctoral Research
  5. 12 semester credit hours of Doctoral Dissertation:

    PSY 7921-6    Doctoral Dissertation

Qualifying Examination. Students may take the qualifying examination upon successful completion of a minimum of 18 hours of organized coursework that includes 9 hours of core courses and 6 hours of Advanced Topics seminars. The written examination will be constructed, administered and evaluated by a committee selected from the doctoral program faculty and approved by the Doctoral Program Committee. The written portion of the examination will cover the areas of the program’s core courses and other specialized courses taken by the student, and will include a written grant proposal. The oral examination will be conducted by the same committee and will be administered after a student has passed the written examination and before the student begins dissertation research. If a student does not pass one or both portions of the qualifying exam, he or she may be given a second attempt to take the failed portion(s) with permission of the Doctoral Program Committee. No more than two attempts to pass either portion of the qualifying exam will be allowed.

Doctoral Dissertation Committee and Proposal Defense. Following successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student and the Supervising Professor will select a Dissertation Committee, the membership of which requires approval by the Dean of the College and the Dean of the Graduate School (see Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations, for further information on requirements of committee composition). Following the approved selection of a Dissertation Committee, students will be expected to write a dissertation proposal for a project that contributes original knowledge to the existing body of research. Students will be required to pass an oral defense of their dissertation proposal, conducted by the student’s Dissertation Committee, which addresses the contribution to scholarly research as specified by University-wide requirements. Students must successfully defend the proposal in order to qualify for doctoral degree candidacy.

Advancement to Candidacy. Doctoral students can apply for admission to candidacy (ABD status) once they have met all requirements for the Doctoral degree other than their dissertation research. The requirements include successfully completing all coursework, passing the qualifying examination, submitting and successfully defending the dissertation proposal, and forming a Dissertation Committee approved by the University.

Dissertation and Final Defense. Following admission to candidacy, students must demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research by writing and successfully defending an original dissertation that makes a significant contribution to the field. The student, in consultation with his or her Supervising Professor, determines the research topic. The student’s Dissertation Committee will help guide and critique the candidate’s research. Students should be continually registered in Doctoral Dissertation (PSY 7921-6) each semester the dissertation research is in progress. The completed dissertation must be defended publicly before the Dissertation Committee and approved by the committee. The Supervising Professor must notify the Graduate School in writing at least two weeks prior to the final scheduled oral defense. Awarding of the degree is based on the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the acceptance of the Graduate School. The Dean of the Graduate School certifies the completion of all University-wide requirements (see Chapter 5, Doctoral Degree Regulations, for further information).

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