Psychology M.A.

Human brain Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay
The Master of Arts in Psychology (M.A.) program is a research-oriented master’s program.

Graduate students will gain an understanding of psychological theory and principles and learn how to utilize the scientific method of inquiry including data analysis. They will develop the skills required to conduct independent research and to be critical consumers of psychological literature. The program prepares graduate students for research careers or for further academic study of psychology at the doctoral level (Ph.D. programs).

Summary of the Master of Psychology Program: 

  • Take a range of small, seminar style classes in research methods, statistics, cognitive, developmental, personality, and social psychology.
  • Receive mentored research experiences including hands-on training in research design, statistical analysis, academic writing, and professional presentations.
  • Complete an individualized master’s thesis research project on a specialized topic area of the student’s choice.
  • Students can complete the program in 2 years (4 semesters) if attending full-time. Part-time options are also available. All classes are offered in evenings.  
  • Financial aid is available, including graduate assistantships that include tuition remission. Due dates for graduate assistantship applications are generally in early March each year. Check here for info on RIC Graduate Assistantships. 

Where Our Alumni Go:

  • Some of our recent alumni have gone on to Psychology Ph.D. programs at institutions such as:  University of Notre Dame, University of Rhode Island, University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, and University of Kentucky 
  • Other recent alumni have gone on to a range of different careers such as:  Data analyst, Research lab manager, Psychometrist, Institutional researcher in higher education, and Workforce development specialist

Please Note: This is a research-oriented master’s program. If you are looking for training to become a licensed mental health counselor or therapist, please review the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program or M.S.W. Social Work program at RIC. These programs may be a better fit for your career goals.


Apply to the Graduate School at RIC

To begin the process you will need to sign up for an account with CollegeNET. Once you have a CollegeNET account, you will be able to log in any time and see your Activity Log which shows you a personalized status page.

Program Details

Important Information

Applications to the program are due March 1 for fall admission or November 1 for spring admission. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered if space is still available in the program. Applicants should have completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field, with an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants may apply to the program if they are currently in their final semester of a bachelor’s degree.

You must apply through the Rhode Island College Graduate Studies application system.

Required Materials for Application: 

  • Completed online application accompanied by $50 nonrefundable fee 
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate coursework 
  • Must demonstrate prior coursework in:
    • Research methods
    • Statistics
    • At least three of the following areas: Cognitive/brain science (includes physiological psychology or neuroscience), human development, learning, personality, or social psychology
  • Resume or CV
  • Three academic or professional letters of recommendation
    For more information, refer to the “Letters of Recommendation Information” tab under “Program Details”
  • Written statement describing why you are interested in completing the Master of Psychology program, your research interests, your past coursework and/or research experiences that have prepared you for this program, your career goals, and how the Master of Psychology program is a good fit for those goals.
    For more information, refer to the “Written Statement Information” tab under “Program Details”

Admission and Course Information

Required Coursework (30 credits)

  • PSYC 500: Research Design & Analysis I
  • PSYC 501: Research Design & Analysis II
  • PSYC 505: Professional Development Seminar
  • PSYC 538: Seminar in Child Development
  • PSYC 549: Seminar in Cognition 
  • PSYC 556: Seminar in Personality Theory
  • PSYC 558: Seminar in Social Psychology
  • PSYC 599: Master’s Thesis (2 semesters)
  • One elective course

Admission and Course Requirements

Course Descriptions

Written Statement

The written statement in your application aids the Graduate Committee in assessing your qualifications for the Master of Psychology Program. Statements should be approximately two double-spaced pages but there is no strict limit. Please address the following in your written statement:

  • Tell us why you are interested in completing Rhode Island College’s research-oriented Master of Psychology program. Be specific.
  • Describe the areas of psychology or specific concepts that you are interested in conducting research on while in the program. If you like, name one or two specific RIC professors you might want to work with or whose research aligns with your interests. You can find more information about the research interests of the professors in the Psychology Department or the Department of Psychology at RIC.
  • Graduate education requires sophisticated writing, research, and critical thinking skills. Discuss the reasons why you believe you will be able to meet the academic requirements of a rigorous graduate program, including any past coursework and/or research experiences that have prepared you for this type of graduate level work.
    If your grade point average (GPA) is below 3.0, please discuss.
  •  Describe your career goals and how the Master of Psychology program is a good fit for those goals. How does a research-oriented master's degree in psychology prepare you for your next steps? 

You can find more guidance on how to write a strong written statement for a research-oriented psychology graduate program at the following links:

Rutgers University, Department of Psychology: Writing a personal statement

Organizing a Personal Statement: An Outline to Get You Started

Letters of Recommendation

You need to include three letters of recommendation as part of your application.

  • They should be academic or professional letters of recommendation, which could include letters from college professors, academic advisors, research lab supervisors, supervisors from a workplace related to the field of psychology, or someone else who can write about your academic or professional work. 
  • At least one letter must be from a psychology professor or a professional within psychology or a related field.  More than one letter from individuals like this would be best. 
  • The letters should not be personal letters, such as from family, friends, your personal doctor or therapist, or those who you know socially. 
  • You can get more information about how to request letters of recommendation for graduate school and who to best ask to write you a letter from "You're Writing Your Own Letter of Recommendation," John C. Norcross, PhD, and J. Timothy Cannon, PhD, University of Scranton (PA)

Program/Learning Goals

Upon completion of this program, students will have gained:

  • Knowledge of the major concepts and theoretical perspectives in psychology
  • An understanding of research design and analysis in psychology
  • The ability to conduct independent research from project conception through data analysis and interpretation
  • The ability to write effectively and professionally about research
Rhode Island College entrance

Contact Us

Department of Psychology

The Department of Psychology focuses on the study of mind and behavior.