Master of Science in Psychology
Description and Outcomes
The Master of Science in Psychology program provides you with a unique opportunity to balance the rich tradition of the past with exciting contemporary applications of psychology. The curriculum focuses on the processes that underlie the individual human experience and behavior, and core knowledge, theories, and research in the discipline.
Refer to the Certification, State Board, and National Board Exams section for important program disclosure information.
You will select one of five areas of concentration: general psychology, addictions, applied behavior analysis, forensic psychology, or industrial/organizational psychology. You will complete both master's-level core courses and concentration courses, which provide a comprehensive education in psychological theory and practice, and work on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills to assist you in meeting your personal and professional goals in the chosen concentration area.
The general psychology concentration is designed to expose you to a generalist approach to the broad field of psychology. This concentration addresses current broad paradigms such as behavioral approaches, neuropsychological perspectives and technologies, issues in psychopathology, and current and historical information in the area of cognitive psychology. In addition, you will gain knowledge in the use of qualitative analysis, thereby building on your knowledge base of the basic “tools” involved in the scientific approach to understanding psychology.
The addictions concentration provides you with the opportunity to study the principles of addictions counseling, group counseling, psychopharmacology, and co-occurring disorders. Theories are taught with an emphasis on application so that you understand how to use your knowledge to help clients toward recovery.
The applied behavior analysis concentration emphasizes coursework that develops the understanding and application of applied behavioral theories and concepts. Content topics include behavioral assessment, treatment intervention and evaluation using a scientist-practitioner approach with a focus on ethical practice, and management and supervision processes. This verified course sequence is designed to prepare you to work in the field of behavior analysis as a clinician or supervisor with a diverse population of clients in a variety of community and educational settings. Successful completion of the concentration in applied behavior analysis will meet the educational requirements toward the Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) credential.
The forensic psychology concentration is designed to prepare you to work in a variety of forensic settings and with various populations within the criminal and civil legal systems. Courses are designed to provide you with the knowledge of theory, methods, training, and practice of forensic psychology. You will learn about the roles and responsibilities in forensic psychology, as well as legal, diversity, sociocultural, and ethical issues faced by practitioners in the field.
The industrial/organizational psychology concentration is designed for working professionals who seek to broaden their knowledge and apply the principles of industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology in business and organizational settings. The program offers a rigorous exploration of the theories, methods, and practice of industrial/organizational psychology. Specifically, you will explore workplace motivation and attitudes, employee training, evaluation and leadership, organizational behavior, and human resource management.
Tracks of Study
In any of the concentrations, you may elect to complete a thesis as the program's culminating experience or choose the comprehensive exam option. The thesis track contains two thesis development courses and extends the program by at least one term. A thesis is not required; however, you should consult with your Student Advisor to determine how the thesis option fits with your career goals.
The Master of Science in Psychology program consists of a minimum of 60, 65, 70, or 75 quarter credit hours, depending on your track of study. Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a master of science degree.
- Disciplinary Knowledge and Skills: Understand how contemporary theories relate to real-world situations in various psychology professions in the selected area of concentration.
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Critically evaluate and apply psychological theories, as well as theories from the selected area of concentration, and concepts to various client-based situations within the field of psychology.
- Research and Application:Apply theoretical and conceptual foundations of psychology as they relate to the selected area of concentration to arrive at evidence-based professional practice strategies.
- Professionalism and Ethics: Apply ethical, legal, individual, and sociocultural standards and guidelines set forth within the selected area of concentration and field of psychology.
In addition to the discipline-specific outcomes, professional competencies are integrated throughout your academic program. You can review the professional competencies associated with your academic program in the Professional Competencies section of this Catalog.
Applied Behavior Analysis, Addictions, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology Application Requirements
Prior to enrolling in the Master of Science in Psychology program with an applied behavior analysis, addictions, or industrial/organizational psychology concentration requiring a practicum or field placement rotation, you must:
- Pass a criminal background check.
- Provide notice of intent to enroll in practicum/field placement courses 3 months prior to the beginning of the term in which you wish to enroll. Notification must be submitted to the Behavioral and Social Sciences Clinical Placement Department using the appropriate application form. Applications that are not complete will not be accepted.
- The grade of “C” is the minimum acceptable grade for courses in the Master of Science in Psychology program. If you earn a grade of “F” in a course, you must immediately retake the course. You may only take a course twice and must earn the required grade of “C” or higher. Failure to earn the required grade will result in dismissal from Purdue Global after the second attempt.
- You can enroll in no more than three courses per term.
- You may not use transfer credit to replace the following courses:
Course List Code Title Credits PS501 Foundations of Professional Psychology 5 PS507 Ethics for Behavior Analysts 5 PS508 Ethics for Addictions Professionals 5 PS511 Chemical and Psychological Dependency Counseling 5 PS512 Research Design in Applied Behavior Analysis 5 PS516 Psychopharmacology 5 PS517 Advanced Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis 5 PS521 Group Counseling 5 PS522 Behavioral Measures and Interpretation of Data 5 PS526 Advanced Addictions Counseling 5 PS527 Implementing Behavioral Change 5 PS531 Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatments 5 PS532 Clinical Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis 5 PS535 Addictions Practicum I 5 PS536 Addictions Practicum II 5 PS545 Industrial/Organizational Field Placement 5 PS555 Applied Behavior Analysis Fieldwork 5 PS560 Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis 5 PS561 Concepts of Measurement and Experimental Designs 5 PS562 Assessment in Applied Behavior Analysis 5 PS563 Implementing Procedures for Behavior Change 5 PS564 Clinical Applications, Supervision, and Management 5 PS600 Comprehensive Exam 5 PS601 Master's Research and Thesis I 5 PS602 Master's Research and Thesis II 5
You must complete these courses at the University. If you are a graduate of the University's Bachelor of Science in Psychology program, you may substitute transfer credit to replace PS501 Foundations of Professional Psychology.
- You must declare your choice of thesis or comprehensive exam track by the end of the second term.
Comprehensive Exam Track
You must successfully complete PS600 Comprehensive Exam, a written course covering the core curriculum and concentration courses. You will have the opportunity to take the comprehensive examination course one time after successful completion of all academic program requirements.
The comprehensive examination course consists of three questions and shall be evaluated by three terminally degreed psychology instructors. A passing score must be earned from two out of three faculty members on all three questions. Should you not earn a passing score on any part of the three papers, you will receive grading feedback and be allowed to revise and resubmit the paper(s) one time during the term. If you fail any of the three revised papers, you will fail the comprehensive examination course and you will be academically dismissed from the program. If you experience extenuating circumstances, you may appeal to the Dean (or designee) to retake the course. Students who are approved to retake the comprehensive examination will only be allowed to retake the course one time.
You will be required to develop and submit, in writing, a formal proposal for research in psychology to your chosen thesis committee, which is made up of a chairperson and two additional members, all of whom must be terminally degreed psychology faculty members from Purdue Global. It is acceptable to have one terminally degreed faculty member from outside the University's psychology program or from an outside, regionally accredited institution of higher learning with the approval of the Chair of the Master of Science in Psychology program.
Subsequent to the proposal, you will submit the final draft of your research project to the thesis committee for review and orally present your results during a scheduled thesis defense hearing. The research report shall be prepared according to the University's guidelines and the final, approved product shall be submitted to appropriate personnel for binding and acquisition.
You will take PS601 Master's Research and Thesis I and PS602 Master's Research and Thesis II, 10-week courses designed to allow you to begin the first steps of your thesis design and complete your thesis. Should you feel you are unable to complete the prescribed requirements for either course in 10 weeks, you must contact your Student Advisor in order to gain an extension in the course. An extension is granted by enrolling in PS601A Master's Research and Thesis I or PS602A Master's Research and Thesis II, and enrollment in these courses will only be granted at the discretion of the Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Chair of your thesis committee.
If an extension is granted, the University will not charge tuition for PS601A Master's Research and Thesis I or PS602A Master's Research and Thesis II, but you will be required to pay the normal resource fee.
Practicum or Field Placement Requirements
If you are enrolling in a program that requires completion of a practicum or field placement, you are responsible for locating a site in which to complete those hours. You are also required to complete a practicum or field placement orientation. You must complete all prepracticum or prefield placement requirements and have permission of the Clinical Placement Team in order to enroll in a course that includes completion of practicum or field placement hours. A list of requirements is available from the Clinical Placement Team.
You should be aware that health care organizations may have specific requirements regarding vaccination against communicable diseases including COVID and Influenza. Failure to comply with requirements could interfere with the opportunity to complete a required practicum, fieldwork, or internship experience, may delay graduation or lead to an inability to complete your program, and could impact future employment opportunities.
If you are enrolled in the addictions concentration, you will take PS535 Addictions Practicum I and PS536 Addictions Practicum II. If you feel that you may not be able to complete the PS535 Addictions Practicum I prescribed requirements in 10 weeks, you must contact the Clinical Placement Team in order to receive an extension in the course. If an extension is granted, you will enroll in PS559 Practicum Field Placement Extension which will allow you 10 extra weeks to complete the requirements of PS535 Addictions Practicum I. Enrollment in this course will only be granted at the discretion of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
If you feel that you may not be able to complete the PS536 Addictions Practicum II prescribed requirements in 10 weeks, you must contact the Clinical Placement Team in order to gain an extension in the course. If an extension is granted, you will enroll in PS559 Practicum Field Placement Extension, which will allow you 10 extra weeks to complete the requirements of PS536 Addictions Practicum II. Enrollment in this course will only be granted at the discretion of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration
If you feel that you may not be able to complete the PS555 Applied Behavior Analysis Fieldwork prescribed requirements in 10 weeks, you must contact the Clinical Placement Team in order to gain an extension in the course. If an extension is granted, you will enroll in PS559 Practicum Field Placement Extension which will allow you 10 extra weeks to complete the requirements of PS555 Applied Behavior Analysis Fieldwork. Enrollment in this course will only be granted at the discretion of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology Concentration
If you feel that you may not be able to complete the PS545 Industrial/Organizational Field Placement prescribed requirements in 10 weeks, you must contact the Clinical Placement Team in order to gain an extension in the course. If an extension is granted, you will enroll in PS559 Practicum Field Placement Extension, which will allow you 10 extra weeks to complete the requirements of PS545 Industrial/Organizational Field Placement. Enrollment in this course will only be granted at the discretion of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Certain state certification and licensure boards have specific educational requirements for programs to lead to a license or nongovernmental certification that is a precondition for employment in a recognized occupation.
Unless otherwise specified, Purdue Global's programs are not designed to meet any specific state’s licensure or certification requirements. If certain licensed occupations, vocations, or professions are not explicitly listed, Purdue Global has not reviewed the licensure or certification requirements of those occupations, vocations, or professions, nor intended the program to meet such requirements. Licensure-track programs may limit enrollment to students in certain states; please see Purdue Global’s Program Availability Information to determine enrollment eligibility.
You are responsible for understanding the requirements of optional certification exams. Such requirements may change during the course of your program. You are not automatically certified in any way upon program completion. Although certain programs are designed to prepare you to take various optional certification exams, Purdue Global cannot guarantee you will be eligible to take these exams or become certified. Your eligibility may depend on your work experience, completion of education and/or degree requirements, not having a criminal record, meeting other certification requirements, or the program or the University itself having appropriate accreditation or licensure.
The professional practice of psychology is regulated by each state, and the degree requirements in Purdue Global's Master of Science in Psychology program do not guarantee or prepare you for state licensure in any state upon graduation.
Applied Behavior Analysis Concentration
The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified the Purdue Global course sequence as meeting the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) examination given by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, Inc. (BACB®).
It is important to note that students seeking BACB certification can only begin accruing supervision hours once they begin taking an ABA concentration course in the verified course sequence. Any supervision hours documented prior to taking their first qualifying course will not be recognized by the BACB.
The Master of Science in Psychology’s applied behavior analysis concentration meets educational requirements for the BCBA examination in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territory of Guam, and all states.
It is important to understand that the out-of-state requirements vary by state and can change with little to no warning. Students seeking licensure or certification in another state should inquire directly to the jurisdiction where employment is desired. The BCBA licensure requirements may be viewed at the following link:
Beginning January 1, 2023, applications for BCaBA or BCBA certification from candidates who live outside of the United States and other designated countries will no longer be accepted, per the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s (BACB) Global Certification policies. Specific information regarding this policy can be found on the BACB’s website at https://www.bacb.com/global-certification/.
The BACB can be contacted at:
Behavior Analyst Certification Board
8051 Shaffer Parkway
Littleton, CO 80127
The Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in addictions is accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC). The NASAC can be contacted at:
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 301
Alexandria, VA 22314
The NAADAC (Association for Addiction Professionals) has designated Purdue Global as an Approved Education Provider for meeting nationally approved standards of education for the alcoholism and drug abuse counseling field. Students who complete the Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in addictions program will meet the coursework requirements to take the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals’ Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) certification examination.
Note that additional requirements must also be completed to take the MAC examination, including degree, field experience, and licensure requirements. Refer to http://www.naadac.org/ncc-ap for full eligibility requirements.
The NAADAC can be contacted at:
44 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 301
Alexandria, VA 22314