Experimental Psychology Track

Experimental Psychology encompasses a variety of experimental research areas within psychology. Our faculty have background and current research interests in:

  • Human Sexuality
  • Cognition
  • Biopsychology
  • Social psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Perception and action
  • Child and adolescent development

Graduate students are prepared for doctoral-level programs in various areas of psychology, as well as careers in research and academic instruction.

The department houses a state-of-the art psychophysiology laboratory used by many students in the Experimental Psychology track.

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Admission Requirements

Please refer to the general admission requirements for all applicants to our program. The Experimental Psychology track does not have any additional requirements.

Course of Study

This is a two-year full-time program. Students in the Experimental Psychology track complete a 6 credit, thesis-like, Plan B Research Projectwhich involves conducting an empirical research project or meta-analysis under the direction of a faculty advisor. The project must be designed and conducted by the individual student; the topic, however, may be based upon the research program of the faculty advisor. Most students are involved in multiple research projects with faculty.

The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) for the MAPS Program provides general advising to newly admitted students during transition into the program. Students are assigned a faculty advisor within their own track within a few weeks of the start of their first semester.

Please view the Experimental Psychology track curriculum tab to learn more about the courses students in this track will take.

To maintain good standing in the program, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better, earn a grade of B or better in each course, and not have more than 8 credits (or two courses) with an incomplete for longer than two semesters

Experimental Psychology Track Faculty

For more information on faculty in this track, please click on the names below.
John Blanchar
Rebecca Gilbertson
Madeline Harms
Eric Hessler
Bob Lloyd
Ashley Thompson

Experimental Psychology Track Curriculum

Sample Schedule

Year 1 (18 credits)

5052 Advanced Statistics 1 (3)
5631 Biological Bases of Behavior (3)
8103 Introduction to Graduate Studies in Psychology (0)
Elective (3) 

5401 Advanced Social Psychology (3)
8021 Research Methods and Evaluation (3)
8052 Advanced Statistics II (3)

Year 2 (18 credits)

5621 Cognition & Emotion (3)
8099 Research Project in Psychology (Plan B) (3)
Elective (3)

5021 Advanced Developmental Psychology (3)
8099 Research Project in Psychology (Plan B) (3)
Elective (3)

Example Electives: PSY 5111 Advanced Personality, PSY 5131 Psychopathology, PSY 5130 Mind-Body, PSY 5131 Evolutionary Psychology

Course Descriptions

PSY 8103 - Introduction to Graduate Studies (0.0 cr) This course will orient new students to key facets of graduate studies in the Master's in Psychological Science Program. Program expectations, requirements, and timelines will be clarified to enable students to make progress in formulating goals in their chosen tracks. This course will provide students with a basis for academic collaboration and professional development by facilitating student interactions with peers and the faculty in psychology.

PSY 5052 - Advanced Statistics I (3.0 cr) Advanced statistics used for experimental and correlational research in psychology; analyze data from simple and complex research designs analysis of variance and linear regression techniques; hypothesis testing; nonparametric statistics; assumptions of tests and diagnosis of assumption violations; interpretations of results; use of common statistical software (e.g., SPSS or R).

PSY 5021 Advanced Developmental Psychology (3.0 cr) Course format involved reading and discussion of reviews and journal articles about theories, research methodology, and topics central to the scientific study of human development from conception through adulthood. The role of theory as a guide for research and practice, and classical as well as contemporary theories will be examined. Normative changes and individual differences will be examined. Theoretical frameworks in the domains of social, cognitive, language, and temperament/personality development will be examined.

PSY 5631 Biological Bases of Behavior (3.0 cr) Understanding how communication within the body (neuronal, endocrinological, immunological) affects behavior and psychological processes and how these systems interact to influence these processes. Examining how perturbations within these systems lead to mental illness and/or problematic behaviors. How psychoactive drugs affect these systems, with respect to clinical treatment and abuse. The neurological mechanisms of reward and drug dependence (withdrawal, cravings) will be investigated.

PSY 8021 - Research Methods and Evaluation (3.0 cr) Examination of quasi-experimental and experimental designs within psychological science. The course will provide comprehensive coverage of the assessment of reliability and validity of measures, methods, and research designs to facilitate the development of a research proposal. A wide variety of quantitative and qualitative research designs, measurement techniques, and methods will be described and evaluated in terms of internal, external, construct, and statistical conclusion validity.

PSY 5401 Advanced Social Psychology (3.0 cr) Examination of core content areas and topics within experimental social psychology with a focus on application within both clinical and industrial/organizational psychology. Topics include attitude formation and attitude change, attribution theory, the self, conformity, prejudice, aggression, and prosocial behavior.

PSY 5621 Cognition & Emotion (3.0 cr) Students in this course will read and discuss scholarly reviews and journal articles on theories, research methodology, and topics central to the scientific study of human cognition, emotion, and their applications. There will be discussions on the models of cognitive (perception, memory, language, thinking, and reasoning) and emotional processes and their interrelatedness. Consideration will be given to how these contemporary models are developed and evaluated through empirical studies. Finally, how these theoretical models can be applied to educational, clinical, legal, and workplace settings will be examined.

PSY 8052 Advanced Statistics II (3.0 cr) Advanced statistics used for experimental and correlational research in psychology; analyze data using advanced univariate, basic multivariate, and meta-analytic techniques; assumptions of test; diagnosis of assumption violations; interpretation of results; use of common statistical software (e.g., SPSS or R).

PSY 8099 Research Project in Psychology (6.0 cr) This course provides a capstone experience for students to integrate all they have learned in order to produce scholarly work. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, students will plan, design, conduct, and present an original project.