Degree Requirements: Optional Master of Arts Degree

The Psychology Department does not offer a terminal master’s degree program. However, doctoral students in the Department of Psychology may opt to pursue a Master of Arts degree en route to the doctoral degree. A student who already has a Master’s degree (or equivalent degree) in Psychology may not apply for an M.A. degree in Psychology at UC Berkeley.


Specific requirements are outlined below.


The Psychology Department falls under Plan I for the Master of Arts degree. This plan requires at least 20 semester units of upper division and graduate courses, and completion of a thesis. At least 8 of the required units must be from Psychology courses in the 200 series. Courses in the 300, 400, or 600 series do not count toward the unit requirements for Plan I. A maximum of 6 units of 299 coursework may be used toward the degree.


A minimum of two semesters of academic residence is required for the M.A. degree. One semester of academic residence is defined as a semester in which registration fees and, if applicable, nonresident tuition have been paid in full and the student has enrolled in at least 4 units in 100 or 200 series courses. One Summer Session may count toward academic residence if the student was registered in the preceding or following regular term. Degrees are not awarded for coursework completed during Summer Session only.


The Psychology Department requires completion of Psychology 292, Psychology 293, Psychology 375 (formerly 300), and the two-semester statistics course sequence for the M.A. degree. Additional requirements for each area are below. The overall grade point average must be at least 3.0, computed on the basis of all upper division and graduate courses undertaken up to the time of the awarding of the degree. Two-thirds of all coursework (excluding courses numbered 299 or those in the 300, 400, or 600 series) must be letter-graded.


The student is required to complete a significant research project and write a thesis for the project. A thesis committee of a minimum of three members is required to review the thesis (two of these members must be Academic Senate Representatives from within the Department of Psychology). Each member of the committee must approve the thesis before the student may submit the thesis to Graduate Division.


Graduate Division provides detailed information on writing and submitting the thesis in its Thesis Filing Guidelines for Master's Students. The filing deadline for each semester is the last business day of that semester. The specific deadline date for each semester is available in Graduate Division's Filing and Form Submission Deadlines.


Complete the Application for Candidacy for the Master's Degree The application is a Higher Degree Committees e-form. Go to CalCentral > My Dashboard > Student Resources > Submit a Form

Please note: The university charges a $90 advancement fee; students are encouraged to seek faculty mentor support if help is needed to pay this.