Master of Arts in Psychology
Whether you complete this program in one year or two, you will come away with a solid understanding of the scientific foundations of psychology, as well as rigorous training and direct experience in conducting research, from experimental design to data collection and analysis.
Recent graduates of our master’s program have gone on to pursuits such as doctoral programs, research assistants, clinical research coordinators, education administrators, consultants/ advisors and project managers, as well as to careers in marketing, finance, government, tutoring and law.
Please note that acceptance into this program, which leads to a terminal master of arts degree in general psychology, is separate from the PhD program. To pursue a doctoral degree, you must apply separately to that program.
Given our small faculty’s impressive number and scope of research agendas and the relatively small number of admitted students, opportunities for meaningful and collaborative work abound. In keeping with the Brandeis tradition, our faculty are dedicated mentors that guide students in doing original research while taking courses alongside Ph.D. students. This direct mentorship sets our Master’s program apart.
MA students are trained by faculty in our small, research-intensive program. That relationship can start as early as the time of admission. Our department spans a number of research topics, ranging from clinical to cognitive neuroscience. The fact that our small department has graduate programs at both the MA and PhD levels enriches the training environment and opportunities for students.
Our program requires a MA thesis, which serves as substantive evidence of your independence and development as a researcher. This could involve conceptualizing a research proposal and/or data collection and analysis. Conducting thesis-level research serves as critical preparation for students who wish to use the program as a stepping-stone to apply for PhD programs. Even for those MA students who do not have the goal of applying to PhD programs, a thesis represents an intellectual challenge that is, in most cases, far beyond the coursework-focused programs completed at the undergraduate level. In consultation with advisors, MA students can apply for departmental and university funds to support their research or conference travel.
In addition to the flexibility in research topics and reasons for completing a MA degree, the coursework is flexible, including drawing from programs such as Neuroscience and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, as well as a Consortium agreement with some other Boston-area schools. The timeline of the program is also flexible; students can complete the program in as little as 9 months of full-time study, or extended over two years (part- or full-time). You are encouraged to discuss timelines with your prospective faculty mentor. We occasionally have Course Assistant positions available to provide teaching experience and partial financial support. Given the demands of completing the program in one year, we discourage first-semester students from applying for these, though they can be a good option for students extending the program.
As a master’s student, you will need to complete eight courses, including advanced psychological statistics, research methodology and the master's project readings course that culminates in a master’s thesis.
Your thesis, which you will develop in consultation with your adviser, can be either an empirical research project or a literature review with a research proposal.
You will also be encouraged to attend a weekly Psychology Research Seminar with other members of your cohort. You may take advantage of the Boston Area Graduate Consortium and enroll in graduate courses at Boston College, Boston University or Tufts University.
Careers and Alumni
Many of our graduates go on to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology or a related field. Others embark on careers as research assistants, research analysts, clinical research coordinators, education administrators and consultants. Many pursue rewarding careers in marketing, finance, government, tutoring and law.
Refer to our News and Events section for a list of current graduate student achievements, including publications, conference presentations, and awards.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Brandeis offers generous scholarships and financial aid; for more information please visit Financial Aid. We occasionally have Course Assistant positions available to provide teaching experience and partial financial support. Given the demands of completing the program in one year, we discourage first-semester students from applying for these, though they can be a good option for students extending the program.