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Planning Your Program


Required Courses

The following courses are required for graduation, and we've included suggestions as to when you should take them.

  • Psych 702 - Proseminar: First or second semester
  • Psych 705 - Statistics: First semester
  • Psych 701 - Experimental: Second semester
  • Psych 707 - Thesis Research: Third semester

In addition, you must do the following:

  1. Satisfy the breadth requirement. You must take one course in each of three content areas: Applied and Evaluative Psychology (A), Social, Cognitive, and Developmental Psychology (S), and Biopsychology and Comparative Psychology (B).
  2. Write up your thesis in APA format. After the thesis research has been completed, the student should prepare a complete thesis draft (Title, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, References) in APA style, and submit a copy to each member of the thesis committee. After reviewing the draft and meeting with the student, the committee will decide to (1) approve the draft as presented, (2) approve with Minor Changes, and delegate the sponsor to supervise the recommended changes, or (3) not approve the draft as presented; major changes are recommended, and the committee will meet again to reconsider a modified thesis draft. Click here for more information.
  3. Take an oral examination on the thesis. Soon after submission of the completed thesis, the sponsor will schedule a meeting with the thesis committee and the student, to assess the student's knowledge of the literature related to the thesis topic, and to assess the adequacy of the student's preparation for the MA degree. This overall evaluation constitutes the Comprehensive Examination (Thesis-Area Defense) for the MA in Psychology. The results of this examination will be expressed as follows: (1) Pass, (2) Incomplete, requiring further study involving reading and/or course work, or modification of the thesis, (3) Fail, when the student is considered seriously unprepared for the MA degree. Note: A second failure on the Comprehensive Examination will terminate a student's degree candidacy. The sponsor will notify the Graduate Advisor, in writing, of the date and result of the comprehensive examination.


Recommended First Semester

Take the Proseminar and Statistics, along with an elective. The Proseminar is offered every semester, so you can wait a semester if your schedule is crowded. However, Statistics is only offered in the fall, so take it at your first opportunity.

The Proseminar is taught separately by three faculty members. Each professor takes 5 classes and usually has one or two guest lecturers from the Hunter College faculty. The fifth class in each third of the course is usually an exam. The course covers a broad variety of topics, including Cognitive Science, Social Psychology and Neuroscience. It is a good course to take right away because it introduces you to current work in psychology and introduces you to research and scholarship ongoing at Hunter. This will be helpful when you start planning your thesis work.

Statistics is only taught in the fall semester. It covers basic and advanced topics in data analysis and teaches some common statistical analysis via computer. This course is a prerequisite for Experimental Psychology, which is only offered in the spring. The Experimental Psychology course will help you design your thesis research so that your data can be properly analyzed.

In addition to the four courses listed above (Psych 702, 705, 747 and 707), you must also meet the breadth requirement (see above). Our goal is for you to have an excellent background in psychology so that you will be able to have maximum flexibility post-MA, whether that will be going on to a PhD program or finding a rewarding job.


Email, the Internet, and Computer Programs

If you already have an email account, feel free to stay with it, but all students are also entitled and required to check their Hunter College email account. Please be sure to check your email account frequently. More and more often, faculty and students use email to communicate. Some faculty send group messages to students in their courses. The MA office will also email you from time to time.

If you do not already know the basics of the Internet (uploading and downloading, sending and receiving attachments, using electronic spreadsheets, etc.), this is a good time to acquire that information.


Library and Computer Facilities

The Hunter College Library has a good selection of books, journals and online databases, which you will find very helpful in doing library research for your courses and for attaining background knowledge for your thesis. As soon as you have your Hunter Student ID, get to know the library. You might start by learning how to use InfoPsyc, the psychology article and book database. Also look up the faculty and see what they’ve written lately.


Research Opportunities

The Hunter College Psychology Department has a faculty who are actively involved in research. Many faculty welcome students into their research projects. This is a good experience for you, the student, because it helps prepare you for your thesis, for a PhD program, and for work that you might want to do after your MA. If you already have laboratory research experience, you might be able to get a job as a research assistant.

If you don't have any experience, think about enrolling in Psych 690, Independent Study. To do so, you need a written agreement from one of the faculty saying that they will sponsor you. Depending on the faculty member, course 690 might also be an opportunity for running an experiment that you have designed, serving as a member of the faculty's research team, or doing background library research in order to develop an experiment.Work this out ahead of time with the faculty member so that you both know what the expectations are in terms of what the end product will be as well as in terms of how much time you will need to spend on the project per week.

Don't let the fact that you've never done empirical research hold you back from trying it out. Visit our faculty listing and research pages to find current research opportunities.