Experimental M.A. Program


Graduates of our general experimental psychology program are prepared to pursue a doctorate in one of the areas of experimental psychology or provide research support to ongoing public or private projects. The experimental psychology option is designed to help a student advance to a Ph.D. program. The graduate could teach at the post-secondary level. With work experience gained in one’s already-established career path, the M.A. in experimental psychology may lead to enhanced career opportunities.

The Experimental Psychology option has the objectives of:

  1. providing a core knowledge of psychology and specialized areas of research that interest the student,
  2. developing the ability to conduct research in psychology at the master's degree level, and
  3. preparing students with the necessary background to support continuation of graduate psychology in doctoral programs emphasizing research competencies.

If one's goal is to teach psychology at a regional university which offers baccalaureate degrees, or degrees higher than the baccalaureate, however, one will eventually need to earn a Ph.D. in psychology to be able to have the opportunity to become tenured and promoted.

If one's career goal to earn a Ph.D. in psychology, it is more efficient to directly apply and be accepted into a Ph.D. granting program. Ph.D. granting institutions often will allow little transfer credit for those students accepted into their Ph.D. programs with an M.A. One would obtain an M.A. in psychology from UTRGV in order to enhance the likelihood of entering a Ph.D. program, because one did not meet the admissions requirements to the Ph.D. from the baccalaureate level. (This may occur, for example, if one’s GRE score, grade point average, and work/research experience are limited. Many Ph.D. programs in psychology will, however, grant preferential admission to applicants who hold an M.A. in psychology.)

The department also offers a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology with a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) concentration. Details about this specialized degree are provided on the “BCBA Training” page of our website.

Experimental Psychology – General (MA) Program Requirements

Thesis Option:

Required Courses (15 hours)

  • PSYC 6344: Memory and Cognition
  • PSYC 6303: Inferential Statistics
  • PSYC 6304: Multivariate Statistics
  • PSYC 6332: Research Design
  • PSYC 6325: Conditioning and Learning

Elective Courses (15 hours; select 5 courses)

  • PSYC 6306: Social Psychology
  • PSYC 6341: Group Dynamics
  • PSYC 6307: Developmental Psychology: Adolescence
  • PSYC 6308: Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • PSYC 6310: Teaching in Behavioral Sciences
  • PSYC 6313: Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC 6321: Contemporary Topics in Psychology
  • PSYC 6342: Ethics in Psychology
  • PSYC 6335: Current Issues in Psychological Perception
  • PSYC 6345: Psychology of Language
  • PSYC 6337: Psychological Measurement
  • PSYC 6338: Human Factors Psychology


Capstone Requirement

Thesis (6 hours)

  • PSYC 7300: Thesis I
  • PSYC 7301: Thesis  II
  • Oral Defense of Thesis

Total graduate hours for degree: 36 hours



30-Hour MA Experimental Psychology - BCBA Emphasis

Required Courses (24 hours)

  • PSYC  6303: Inferential Statistics
  • PSYC  6332: Research Design
  • PSYC  6315:  Applied Behavior Analysis
  • PSYC  6325: Conditioning and Learning
  • PSYC  6334: Single Subject Design
  • PSYC  6350:  Behavior Assessment
  • PSYC  6363: Contemporary Professional Issues and Ethics in Psychology
  • PSYC  6174: Special Topics in Psychology: Journal and BCBA Review (Taken for a total of 3 credit hours)


Capstone Thesis Requirement (6 hours)

  • PSYC 7300: Thesis I
  • PSYC 7301: Thesis  II
  • Oral Defense of Thesis