2023-24 Catalogs

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Columbia, MO 65211
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MA in Psychology with Emphasis in Social/Personality Psychology

Social/Personality psychology offers training in the traditional areas of social and personality psychology, as well as their relevance for several applied areas including health psychology. This Social/Personality area integrates the psychology of the person and the situation, with the goal of understanding the psychological processes that underlie people's emotions, motivations, beliefs, actions and decisions.

Training focuses on the multi-faceted view of social behavior from three levels:

  1. the individual level;
  2. the contextual level (or social level); and
  3. the interaction of the individual and the contextual levels.

All three levels are vital to fully understanding human psychology. Particular research focus in the area include the sources of motivation, both individual and social; the nature of meaning-making, both existential and interpersonal, the determinants of optimal and destructive functioning, both within and between groups and in relationships; and the causes and consequences of psychological well-being, growth, and defense.

The MA degree is typically completed as part of  student's normal progress through the doctoral program. Students are accepted in the to MA program under the expectation that they will continue to doctoral study in our department. We do not admit students seeking a terminal master's degree in this emphasis area.

Degree Requirements

The requirements are (1) 30 credit hours, including research credit and the student's distribution courses, (2) a thesis, and (3) a final oral examination on the thesis research.  Although only 30 hours are required to earn the master's degree, MA students are expected to successfully complete a subset of courses that will meet the PhD requirements of 9 hours of distribution courses, 11 hours in statistics and 24 hours in the area of concentration.

More detailed information about the rules and regulations for degree completion can be found in the Department of Psychological Sciences Graduate Student Handbook.


Please refer to the admission requirements for the MA in Psychology. Students are only accepted for the PhD in Psychology and the MA is earned as a secondary degree en route to the PhD.