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Graduate Program

Experimental M.A.

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 UTPA 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.