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Master of Arts in Psychology

The Department of Psychology offers a Master of Arts degree only to students concurrently enrolled in its Ph.D. program or to students currently pursuing Stanford B.A. or M.A. degrees. In exceptional cases, students concurrently enrolled in another doctoral or professional program at Stanford may also apply for the M.A. degree. Such applicants should consult with the student services office.

All applicants must satisfy University residency requirements for the degree and are responsible for consulting with their primary departments or the Financial Aid Office about the effects of the proposed program on their current funding. General University requirements for the master's degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Coterminal Program—Stanford undergraduates who would like advanced training in Psychology may apply for a coterminal M.A. degree in Psychology. To do so, students should consult with the student services office. Along with a coterminal program application, applicants must submit:

  1. a statement of purpose
  2. a preliminary program plan specifying the courses in which they intend to enroll to fulfill degree requirements
  3. at least two letters of recommendation from Stanford faculty members familiar with their academic work
  4. a current Stanford undergraduate transcript
  5. a written nomination by a member of the Psychology faculty willing to serve as the student's master's degree adviser

This program is limited in size and admission is selective. Applicants must have earned a minimum of 120 units towards graduation as shown on the undergraduate transcript. The department's deadline for the submission of an application to the coterminal program is traditionally in January.

University requirements for the coterminal M.A. are described in the "Coterminal Bachelor's and Master's Degrees" section of this bulletin. For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, see


Students must complete at least 45 units of Psychology courses for the degree. (For coterminal degree students, course work for the master's degree may not duplicate courses taken for the undergraduate degree.) Of these 45 units, at least 27 must be in Psychology courses numbered 200 or above. Units from research, teaching, practica, independent study, and lab courses, such as PSYCH 258, 269, 275, 281, 282, and 297, may not be counted toward these 27 units. Two of the graduate courses of at least 3 units each (one from Area A and one from Area B below) are required. In addition, at least one upper division statistics course is required. The course must be approved by the student's adviser. It is recommended that all coterminal students enroll in PSYCH 196, Contemporary Psychology: Overview of Theory, Research, Applications.

Courses to be counted toward the master's degree must be passed with a grade of 'B-' or better, unless the course is offered only on a satisfactory/no credit basis. Units from research, teaching, practica, independent study, and lab courses, such as PSYCH 258, 269, 275, 281, 282, and 297, may be counted toward the remaining required 18 units. Psychology courses numbered in the 100-level and courses from other Stanford departments may be used to satisfy the remaining 18 units. Courses specifically for undergraduates, such as undergraduate honors courses, and courses offered in the Summer Quarter may not be counted toward the master's program unit requirements.

Demonstration of competence in the design and execution of psychological research is also required for receipt of the master's degree. This demonstration entails completion of a master's thesis containing original research. If the student is currently writing a senior honors thesis, this honors thesis may be accepted as proof of research competence provided the honors thesis is judged to be master's level research by the student's adviser and the department's graduate program committee. If the student has completed an honors thesis in Psychology in the prior year, the student would be expected to continue independent research during the coterminal year and to submit this research in a written report which, together with the completed honors thesis, would constitute the master's thesis. All students are required to make an oral presentation of their research during the Spring Quarter, and to present their thesis or written report in June.

Applicants to the coterminal program must have an adviser in the department who agrees to supervise the student's research. Students in the program may be terminated if they do not have an adviser, or if they are not making satisfactory progress in research or course work.

Area A Courses—

PSYCH 202. Cognitive Neuroscience

PSYCH 205. Foundations of Cognition

PSYCH 210. Foundations of Memory

PSYCH 221. Applied Vision and Image Systems

PSYCH 228. Ion Transport

PSYCH 251. Affective Neuroscience

PSYCH 261. Emotion

PSYCH 261A. Learning and Cognition in Activity

Area B Courses—

PSYCH 211. Developmental Psychology

PSYCH 212. Social Psychology

PSYCH 213. Affective Science Seminar

PSYCH 215. Mind, Culture, and Society

PSYCH 217. Topics and Methods in Cultural Psychology

PSYCH 259. Emotions: History, Theories, Research

PSYCH 271. Applications of Social Psychology

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