MA in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology with Emphasis in Educational Psychology

The Educational Psychology program is committed to the dissemination and development of knowledge and skills in human learning and cognition, development, and motivation. We use quantitative and qualitative methods to study how people's thinking, motivation, and behavior change across time. We study how different social settings like classroom, family, work, and peers affect people's well-being, learning, and behavior. The study of educational psychology is relevant to teachers, coaches, athletes, nurses, counselors, software developers, trainers, social workers, program evaluators, and administrators. 

Educational psychologists attempt to understand how:

  • to improve learning, academic achievement, and motivation to improve human performance
  • development influences learning and well-being
  • society influences learning and behavior
  • school influences students' development in other settings

Degree Requirements

The master’s degree program requires at least 33 credit hours. Students enrolled in the MA do a thesis or research manuscript that demonstrates research competence and includes an oral defense of the paper. The MA is the preferred degree for students who intend to pursue a PhD.

Master’s students must have completed or plan to complete 15 hours of prerequisite course work as listed below. The prerequisite coursework is over and above that required for the master’s degree itself, and thus cannot be counted on the Program of Study for the master’s degree. Many students will have completed these prerequisites in their undergraduate programs.

  1. Statistics: A course in statistics covering descriptive statistics, correlation, t-tests, and chi-square. If undergraduate coursework does not include an introductory level course in statistics, ESC_PS 4170/ESC_PS 7170 must be taken to satisfy this prerequisite, but it then cannot count on the Program of Study.
  2. Psychological Theory: Two courses in psychological theory (not including the introductory course in psychology), for example, personality, social, developmental, or learning.
  3. Additional courses: Two additional courses in education, psychology, or sociology.
Required Coursework
Overview of Research Methods
Quantitative Foundations in Educational Research
Foundations of Educational and Psychological Measurement
Psychological Foundations9
Lifespan Development
Advanced Human Learning
Cognition and Emotion
Human Diversity3
Relevant Course
General Electives12
For MA with thesis or manuscript, 6 hours of these courses must be ESC_PS 8090. Elective courses can be taken from Educational, School, & Counseling Psychology or from other departments such as Human Development and Family Studies, Psychological Sciences, or Information Science and Learning Technology.

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Sample Plan of Study

The plan of study will depend on the student’s career goals and research interests and should be completed in consultation with the advisor.

Thesis/Non-Thesis Requirements

After working with the academic advisor on developing a thesis proposal, the student meets with the thesis committee to obtain approval. This happens before data collection begins. After the project is completed, the student submits a written thesis and defends the thesis to the committee. The defense can occur only when MU is officially in session.


Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the MA in Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology program and the minimum requirements of the Graduate School. Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility, and application process. Your application materials will be reviewed by both the Graduate School and the degree program to which you’ve applied before official admission to the University of Missouri.

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