Program Director: Bernice Marcopulos
Concentration Coordinator: Michael Hall
- Completion of a baccalaureate degree with a satisfactory grade point average.
- Undergraduate course work in psychology, including at least one statistics and one psychological research methods course.
- GRE is optional.
- Three letters of recommendation from faculty members familiar with previous academic performance and potential for graduate work.
- A curriculum vitae.
- Transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate programs attended.
- Completed application forms, including a statement of research interests, goals for graduate study and beyond, and how the psychological sciences program will help achieve these goals.
The mission of our program is to provide students advanced empirical research training in the psychological sciences.
The psychological sciences program at James Madison University is a shared program between the Department of Psychology and the Department of Graduate Psychology that fosters the development of students interested in improving their research skills and preparing for doctoral education. The primary function of the program is to develop students’ knowledge, skills and abilities in scientific inquiry, methods and analysis and to equip students to apply their research-based training as researchers, consultants and/or practitioners.
At the core of the program is course work in multiple content areas within psychology; course work in statistics, measurement and research design; a research apprenticeship; and a thesis. The culture of the program is consistent with that of doctoral programs, including expectations that students will develop a portfolio of scholarly accomplishments (e.g., publications and conference presentations) and participate in various extra-curricular activities related to their discipline. Regular attendance at program-wide roundtable discussions and concentration-specific meetings is expected and required.
Students develop expertise in a specialty area through selected course work and closely mentored experiences with a faculty adviser. Faculty advisers provide regular support and consultation regarding progress in the program and professional development.
The primary goal of the program is to prepare students to pursue doctoral work; another goal is to prepare students for master’s level employment in research-informed occupations.
While enrolled in this program students will:
- become familiar with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, methodologies and empirical
- findings in fundamental areas of psychological science.
- develop the skills necessary to independently conduct and critique psychological research.
- acquire communication, information literacy and technology skills at a professional level.
- develop a professional identity that reflects the values of research scientists in psychology.
Master of Arts Degree Requirements
The concentration in experimental psychology is designed for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in various areas of research psychology with an emphasis on basic science such as cognitive psychology, sensation and perception, learning theory and behavioral neuroscience. It also provides a foundation for employment in settings such as in the federal government or private sector.
Experimental psychology is the area of psychology that utilizes experimental methodology in the science of behavior and mental processes. It is an umbrella term that encompasses the efforts of researchers in several areas of psychology, including biological, perceptual, cognitive, developmental and social psychology. Experimental psychologists seek to identify and understand the structures and processes that underlie behavior, and examine topics such as vision, audition, attention, performance, learning, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning and decision making. Students will work throughout their two years on course work, scholarly studies, and research in their mentor’s specific area of experimental psychology. Students may also gain valuable experience as a teaching assistant (e.g., experimental methods) or in comparative approaches to research using our animal research facility.
In addition to course work and other requirements of the psychological sciences program (e.g., apprenticeship, research roundtable), students participate in a monthly concentration meeting where faculty and students discuss published research and professional issues related to the various topics in experimental psychology. See the psychology website to view representative scholarly work for students in the program.