Although course work is important, research and the resultant thesis are unique experiences of graduate study. Consequently, the design of a realistic and well-defined empirical research project is required by each student, in collaboration with a graduate faculty research mentor. Directed research optimally can provide the student with an opportunity to make a contribution to the field of psychology, and perhaps most important, to learn firsthand the objectives, hypotheses, methodology, data analyses and interpretations used in research.
Students are admitted only if they are matched with a member of the Graduate Faculty who will work closely with the student throughout the program. The writing of the thesis involves both presentation of research findings and evaluation of these findings concerning work done by others. Thus, the incorporation of the existing body of knowledge-relative to the research being reported-is very important. This usually involves the frequent and careful citing of work published by others in the body of scientific literature. Such citations should be carefully done and should conform to the principles set forth in the APA Publication Manual.
All candidates for the master's degree must pass a final comprehensive examination before graduation. This examination assesses the student's understanding of a core set of knowledge in the discipline of psychology. The structure of the examination is tailored to achieve the goals of each concentration. Please see the Graduate Handbook for more detailed information.