UMass Psychology


Full details of our graduate program requirements can be found in Policies and Procedures on this website. Requirements for the Neuroscience and Behavior Program can be found on its website. Some important highlights are found below.


  • Statistics: First year graduate students enroll in Psychology 640 and 641 (Statistical Inference) and must pass both courses with a grade of BC or higher. Some areas of the Deparment have additional quantitative requirements
  • Core courses: Each student must take three "core" courses outside his or her major field of concentration. These courses should be taken in the first two years, and are listed in Policies and Procedures. Waivers may be granted for equivalent graduate level courses, and breadth options may be approved for individual students.
  • Additional courses: Each Area has its own additional requirements for coursework. They appear at the bottom of this page.
  • A Masters degree in Psychology must be earned before going on to the Ph.D.. A minimum of 30 credits is required (at least 21 in Psychology). A Masters thesis must be submitted and approved by a Masters Committee, comprising at least three members of the Graduate Faculty representing at least two Areas of the Department (or another department). The student's GPA must be above 3.0. Please see Policies and Procedures for information about when Masters degrees earned elsewhere can satisfy the UMass requirements.
  • A Preliminary Comprehensive Examination must be passed after the Masters thesis has been completed. Each Area has its own format and procedure for the Comps.
  • A dissertation must be completed, and at least 10 credits of dissertation credits earned. The student's GPA must be above 3.0. A dissertation committee comprising four or more members of the Graduate Faculty representing at least two different Divisions plus one member of a different department must approve the dissertation in an oral examination.
    The Graduate School regulations should be consulted for other requirements.

Milestones: a quick guide (note, this schedule is optimal; Areas and Divisions may impose their own schedule)

  • Year 1: Complete Statistics 640, 641, participate in research, develop topic for Masters thesis
  • Year 2: Complete Core Course requirements, complete Masters thesis (submit proposal 4 months before oral exam; schedule and publish time and place of oral exam 2 weeks before exam)
  • Year 3: Complete Comprehensive examination
  • Year 4: Complete dissertation (submit proposal 7 months before oral exam; schedule and publish time and place of oral exam 3 weeks before exam)

Divisional requirements (added to basic requirements):

Division 1 Neuroscience: See NSB requirements

Division 2 Cognitive: ABCD I and II (Psych 617 and 618); Cognitive Research Seminar (Psych 893) each term in residence; Cognitive Seminar (Psych 891) each term after the first year until passing the Comprehensives exam; conduct a first year research project the first year in residence

Division 2 Developmental: Psych 791A Human Development and Psych 791AB Cognitive and Affective Development in the first year, Developmental seminar all semesters, and five developmental courses.  See link  for detail.

Division 3 Social: Psychology 660, Social Psychology; Psychology 643, Research Methods; Psychology 642, Correlation and Regression; 3 upper-level Div III seminars; Div III brownbag (891) each semester

Division 3 Concentration in the Psychology of Peace and Violence: Basic Division 3 requirements, plus two core courses in the Concentraion (Fall, Core Course I, Roots of Group Conflict; Spring, Core Course II: Improving group relations); upper-level seminar in the concentration (or, with permission, in a relevant area in psychology or another discipline; internship in a field setting (see the Peace Concentration website)

Division 4 Clinical (see the Clinical Area website for more details)
Course Work
    Research Methodology and Data Analysis (9 credits)
    Foundations of Psychology (21 credits across the following)
        Social Bases of Behavior
        Cognitive Bases of Behavior
        Biological Bases of Behavior
        Individual Differences
        Ethics & Professional Development
        Racial/Ethnic Bases of Behavior
        History and Systems of Psychology (1 credit)
    Assessment and Diagnosis (9 credits)
    Intervention (6 credits)
    Electives: You are required to take 6 credits
Clinical Practica (14-20 credits)
Colloquium (6 semesters, 1 credit each year)
Research Requirement (19-30 credits)
Comprehensive Exam (1-3 credits)
Internship (18 credits)
    An APA-approved internship is required of each clinical student.

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