Frequently Asked Questions about the M.A. in Psychology

PLEASE NOTE: Every attempt has been made to present current and accurate information in a format that is convenient. However, information and requirements may change any time without notice. The best way to insure the information is accurate is to contact the option chair or the graduate coordinator.

How do I apply?

Follow this Application Checklist:

Graduate Program Checklist

  • Once you've been accepted by the University and the Department, consult your graduate program director to create an academic plan.

  • File Application for Graduation with Admissions and Records during the third semester and/or upon completion of 18 units (form is available at Admissions and Records.

  • Thesis and graduation information can be obtained from Graduate Studies.Develop thesis proposal, secure thesis chairperson and committee. File Thesis Project and Planning Form with the Psychology Dept (available in the Psychology office).

  • In consultation with your thesis chairperson and committee members, complete the thesis process and final orals and obtain signatures on your "Thesis Signature Page" and Thesis Completion Form (latter is available in the Psychology office).

  • Make an appointment with your graduate evaluator at Graduate Studies to check the format of your thesis paper.

  • Submit original and copies of your thesis to Graduate Studies along with binding fees by the thesis deadline for the semester (see Graduate Studies).

What is involved in the thesis process?

PLEASE NOTE: This is a rough outline of the thesis process. Every thesis project and every committee is different, and therefore, every thesis process is tailored to the needs of the particular project and student.

The Thesis Process:

  • Download "Thesis/Dissertation Guidelines" PDF. It can be found on the Graduate Studies page, under the “Thesis/Dissertation” tab.

  • Develop a thesis idea rooted in research. Write a short proposal. This should include: What the experiment will address, why it is an important area to study, and how you intend to study it.

  • Secure a chairperson for your thesis committee by submitting your short proposal for their review, and setting up a meeting with them to discuss it.

  • Once you've secured a chairperson, secure your other two committee members in the same manner.

  • When you have chosen all members of your thesis committee, file the Thesis Project and Planning Form with the Psychology Dept (available in the Psychology office).

  • Before running your experiment, you must be approved by the Human Subjects Review Board, so file your Human Subjects Protocol Approval Form early while you are working on your formal proposal. Keep track of the review board submission deadlines and meeting dates. A few suggestions on these forms:Write a formal proposal (this usually includes the Introduction and Methods sections in APA format). Your thesis committee may ask you to conduct a pilot study to refine your experimental design and perfect your formal proposal.

    • You will be asked to give dates of your experiment. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the study, or you will have to file for an extension.
    • You will be asked for the total number of participants. Include participants for your pilot study and your full thesis study. You may want to consult your thesis chairperson or committee members for input on determining the number of participants you'll need.
    • If you have a question about filling out the forms, please contact Carolyn Pagan, Research Coordinator at (818) 677-2827 or by E-mail at
  • When your formal proposal is ready, in consultation with your chairperson, distribute your formal proposal to your full thesis committee and schedule a proposal meeting with your committee.

  • Once you've received approval from your committee and the Human Subjects Review Board, you may run your experiment. Be sure to follow all psychology dept. experimental procedures outlined in the Researcher's Information Packet. (Many research forms can be found on this site, click here to access all forms.) Contact Carolyn Pagan, Research Coordinator throughout your study, as needed.

  • In consultation with your chairperson, analyze your data and write the remainder of your paper. This is usually an iterative process. You may be asked to submit one section at a time, making changes as you go.

  • In consultation with your chairperson, distribute the final paper and schedule an oral defense presentation.

  • Make the final changes to your thesis and submit the paper to your chairperson. Obtain signatures from your committee on the"Thesis Signature Page" of your thesis (100% cotton), and on the Thesis Completion Form (available in the Psychology office).

  • Schedule a meeting with your Graduate Evaluator to check the format of your paper (818-677-4800). You should also ask your evaluator to check your file to make sure everything is in order during this meeting.

  • Make format changes and submit original and copies of your thesis to Graduate Studies along with binding fees by the thesis deadline for the semester (see Graduate Studies).

  • Contact your chairperson to make sure that your thesis grade has been converted on your transcript.


Graduate Student Advisement

Graduate students seeking advisement should contact their graduate program director:

Program Directors:

Financial Aid:

Graduate Students:

  • Visit the Financial Aid office.

  • File a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

  • Look for financial aid/scholarships on the Internet: For example FastWeb.

  • Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program (HNIP) exposes talented college students to a challenging set of professional and educational experiences in many different fields. It is a comprehensive program that provides travel expenses and a weekly stipend in Washington, DC.

  • Minority Biomedical Research Support (National Institutes of Health) - to increase the likelihood of diversity among biomedical researchers by providing students with an in-depth research experience. Now SCORE. (E-mail Dr. Wittig)

  • California Pre Doctoral Award seeks to provide undergraduate and graduate students with the financial means to enhance the likelihood of doctoral program entry.

  • American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellowships, Grants, Awards - for women and men who study issues relevant to women and girls.

Doctoral Students:

  • APA Fellowships - improve the quality of mental health on issues of concerns to ethnic populations by providing financial support and guidance to individuals pursuing doctoral degrees in psychology and neuroscience (multiple grants at the MA and PhD level). 

  • APS student grant program - provide research and other funding for graduate students.

  • Ford Foundation - to increase the presence of under-represented minorities on the nation’s college and university faculties.

  • National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Individual Pre-Doctoral Fellowships for Minority Students - to encourage students from minority groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to seek graduate degrees and thus further the goal of increasing the number of minority scientists who are prepared to pursue careers in biomedical and behavioral research. Telephone: (301) 496-9743

  • National Hispanic Scholarship Fund - to assist Hispanic American students in completing their higher education. Selection Committee, National Hispanic Scholarship Fund, PO Box 728, Novato, CA, 94948

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships - to improve the human resource base of science, mathematics, and engineering in the U.S. and to reinforce its diversity.

  • National Association of School Psychologists Minority Scholarship - to increase diversity in school psychology.

  • California State University: Forgivable Loan/Doctoral Incentive Program - to provide financial assistance to graduate students and to increase the number of CSU faculty members who are minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Forgivable Loan, Doctoral Incentive Program, The California State University, Office of the Chancellor, 400 Golden Shore, Suite 222, Long Beach, CA, 90802-4275