Master of Arts in Psychological Sciences

Program information

The Master of Arts in Psychological Sciences at USF St. Petersburg campus provides study of biological, social, developmental and cognitive bases of health and human behavior, with concentrated emphasis on how adjustment in these realms serves as the platform for later health and chronic disease outcomes. The program also cultivates advanced competence in research methodology required to interpret and evaluate applied research data. For students in both thesis and non-thesis options, elective courses in the domains of experimental and applied psychology, data analysis, infant-family mental health, ethics and cultural competence, and other basic and applied areas round out coursework requirements for the degree. Students on the thesis track also complete an empirical master’s thesis.

Our program is designed to advance your study of Psychology if you were a strong undergraduate major in psychology or a related field or if  your undergraduate major was in a field other than psychology and you seek re-specialization coursework. Our graduates will demonstrate a conceptual understanding of advanced psychology and contribute intellectually to the field.


As a program graduate with a M.A. in Psychological Sciences, you will be:

  • Positioned to assume human service and health research positions demanding advanced competencies in research methodology; data tracking, collection, and analysis; and grant writing associated with graduate training
  • Eligible for teaching positions at high schools and colleges or universities at (1000/2000 level coursework)
  • Competitive for admission to top doctoral programs because of your exceptional, research-based education in a nationally-recognized program of faculty research


Our program also has a unique opportunity for training in Risk, Resilience, and Prevention (RRP) by completing coursework in the Infant Family Mental Health graduate certificate program. With the competencies promoted in this program, we seek to reinvigorate the workforce with professionals who are able to promote human capital and reduce risk of both untoward health outcomes and behavioral and community problems like school dropout rates, youth aggression, and violence. Prevention and early intervention are key; instead of waiting for undesired behaviors to occur and then reacting (with accompanying costs) investments are made proactively to cultivate protective social, academic, and health-promoting behaviors and skills required for success in school and life. Our state is in critical need of professionals with these skills. To see more on the state of Florida, see the article "Report says recession hurts more Florida children."


Admissions Requirements


Although some of our students will continue with their studies to obtain a Ph.D. in psychology, it is important to understand that the M.A. in Psychological Sciences at USF St. Petersburg campus is not designed to train licensed practitioners; it is not a counseling degree. Because we are not offering a counseling degree, it is important that students understand that our program does not afford opportunities to amass the supervised clinical hours that are required to obtain a license to practice in the state of Florida as a Master-level clinician. Those students who aspire to do so are advised to seek out a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), Mental Health Counseling (MHC), Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), or other degree where supervised clinical experience is an explicit component of the training program. We have created a program that is both applied in nature, but has a strong research design and analysis component. As with all graduate programs, it is best to look over the faculty and decide if their specialties are in line with your own interests.


Degree Program Requirements

The M.A. in Psychological Sciences requires 36 hours of course work, including either a thesis for six (6) credit hours or a non-thesis project for three (3) credit hours. All students are required to take a set of core courses and qualifying examinations during the first year of study.

USF Graduate Catalog

Certificate Credit Towards Graduate Degree

Up to 12 hours of certificate courses can be applied to a graduate degree with department approval. The Infant-Family Mental Health Graduate Certificate and Data Analysis Graduate Certificate are ideal certificate to apply to this program as long as all grades received in the courses were B or better and no older than seven (7) years.

For information about graduate credits, contact the Office of Graduate Studies.



Marketa Teal-Whitehead, M.A.
Graduate Recruiter, Office of Graduate Studies
(727) 873-4770

Wendy Rote, Ph.D.
Graduate Program Director, M.A. in Psychological Sciences Program
(727) 873-4957