Graduate Advising > Psychology MS

Psychology, M.S. - Advising

Welcome to Arizona State University's Master of Science program in Psychology. We have designed this program to give our students a strong, research-based foundation in the modern field of psychology. Our program emphasizes quantitative methodology, statistical analysis, professional development, and independent research. We further offer a variety of seminar courses on a wide range of psychology topics. The majority of our students' goals involve moving on to doctoral programs in psychology and related fields, and we have had great success with them attaining those goals. Many other of our students are looking for non-academic careers and have been extremely successful finding positions in government, education, behavioral health, and marketing.

Many of the answers to your questions may be on this website and in the MSP Program HandbookGraduate College Policies & Procedures, as well as the New College Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Please review these documents carefully. Also, please click here for the latest issue of our MS Psych Newsletter!

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About the Program

This is a two-year full-time program that requires 36 credit hours of research and coursework. A thesis is strongly recommended for students wishing to seek admission to a doctoral program. At the time of admission, students are matched with a faculty advisor who assists in designing the student's coursework and research activities. Our students receive training in advanced research methods and statistics, and can take elective seminar courses in several areas of psychology.

We expect that all students will participate in faculty-guided research, and we require that all students take three credits of supervised research work each semester of their first year. This will provide all students with hands-on experience on experimental design, laboratory instrumentation, data collection and analysis, manuscript development, and grant proposal writing. We also encourage our students to attend major national psychological conventions to present research findings.

How and When to Apply

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Curriculum and Course Requirements

Students in the MS program are admitted into one of two tracks: - Thesis Track: Students in the thesis track must complete 30 credits of coursework, 6 credits of Thesis research, pass a prospectus, and successfully propose and defend an original empirical research project that is acceptable to a committee of three supervising faculty. Applied Project Track: Students in the applied project track must complete 30 credits of coursework, 6 credits of Applied Project work, and produce a project (often a large paper or literature review) that is acceptable to a committee of two supervising faculty. No formal defense of the applied project is required.

Students must specify a track at the time of application. Depending on faculty interest and the number of applications received, applicants may be offered admission into a different track than the one which they had indicated. Only with approval of advisors and the program director may students change tracks once they have begun the program. Additional information as to the specific curricular requirements can be found in the graduation checklists below.

Graduation Checklist for Incoming Students (starting in Fall 2018 or later)

Required Courses (15 credits):

  • Professional Issues in Psychology (3 credits)
  • Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Analysis I (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Analysis II (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Analysis III (3 credits) - optional for Applied Project students

Supervised Research PSY592 (3 credits each semester of 1st year, 6 credits total)
Thesis PSY599 (3 credits each semester of the second year, 6 credits total)
Applied Project PSY593 (3 credits each semester of the 2nd year, 6 credits total)
Elective Courses (9 credits)

Funding Request Forms for Current Graduate Students

Innovations for Psych Research Grant Application

Travel Research Funding Information

Comprehensive Listing of Travel Research Funding

Additional Funding Information for MS Psychology Students

Request for Travel Funding

Request for Research Funding

Request for Poster Printing

Request for Doctoral Interview Funding

How to get reimbursements and use Concur (PPT)

My ASU TRIP | New/Updated Profile Request (only complete the parts highlighted in yellow and email to Gloria Sawrey:

Other Program Forms for Current Graduate Students

PDF icon brown_bag_policy.pdf

PDF icon changing-advisor-form.pdf

PDF icon grad_curriculum_2019_2021.pdf

 PDF icon major_timelines_for_ms_psychology_program.pdf

PDF icon ms_psych_student_progress_checklist_form_fillable.pdf

PDF icon prospectus_rubric_only.pdf

PDF icon prospectus_format.pdf

 PDF icon student_guide_to_preparing_a_master.pdf

PDF icon thesis_committee_replacement_form.pdf

PDF icon thesis_ap_comm_form_fillable.pdf

PDF icon thesis_rubric.pdf 

PDF icon transfer_to_online_ms_from_ground.pdf


Tuition is set by ASU and the Arizona Board of Regents every year. As an example, for 2014-2015, full-time in-state residents pay a tuition of $11,803 per year, and out-of-state residents pay $20,723. Through the Western Regional Graduate Program, out-of-state residents from participating states may be eligible to pay only in-state tuition rates. You can calculate your specific tuition costs by visiting ASU's tuition calculator.

Financial Aid 

Financial aid is available through several different sources: 

  1. Graduate College Scholarships: Each year up to FIVE $10,000 scholarships are awarded to first-year MS students upon their admission. Applicants are automatically considered for this scholarship and do not need to apply for it. Students who receive the scholarships are notified before the beginning of their first semester.
  2. Interdisciplinary Enrichment Fellowships: Each year up to TWO full support scholarships (i.e., tuition remission and stipend) are awarded to first-year MS students upon their admission. Applicants are automatically considered for this scholarship and do not need to apply for it. Students who receive the scholarships are notified before the beginning of their first semester.
  3. Merit Scholarships: Depending on program funds, a small number of merit scholarships may be available, ranging from full support (i.e., tuition remission and stipend) to $5,000 per semester for the first-year. Applicants are automatically considered for this scholarship and do not need to apply for it. Students who receive the scholarships are notified before the beginning of their first semester.
  4. CA (Course Assistant) Positions: The primary way that our students are funded is through Course Assistant (CA) positions. These positions typically assist with undergraduate courses that are offered online. These courses are 7.5 weeks long (half semester), and CAs are paid $2000 for each of these courses. These positions are  guaranteed for incoming MS Psych students, if they apply for a CA position. Following the first semester, students are hired as CA’s if their performance is acceptable. Most students who desire to serve as a CA have done so in one or more classes per year.
  5. Traditional Financial Aid (Loans & Grants): For information on general financial aid products, please visit ASU's Financial Aid office
  6. Research Funding: On occasion, faculty may have funds that could be used to hire MS students to be research workers. These would typically be advanced (second-year) students who are involved in grant-funded projects.
  7. Other Graduate College Fellowships: There are other fellowships that 2nd year MS Psych students may apply for or be nominated for that may cover part or all of the 2nd year (i.e., tuition remission and stipend).  The MS Psych Director will send out information regarding these fellowships as they arise.




ASU Mary Burleson



 Mary Burleson

Research Interests: emotion, stress, touch, co-regulation, & autonomic psychophysiology.

 Dr. Burleson's research focuses on how emotion, stress, and physical contact (touch) can affect psychological and physiological functioning. Current studies include the contribution of emotion regulation processes to stress responses and the stress-reducing effects of physical contact. She specializes in teaching physiological psychology, biology of human sexuality, biological bases of behavior, and psychopharmacology.

Biosocial Psychology Lab

ASU Kristin Mickelson



Kristin Mickelson

Research Interests: social relationships and health

 Dr. Mickelson's research is interdisciplinary, with special emphases on social and health psychology. Her research examines the role of stressors and psychosocial factors on relationship functioning and health. Specific areas of interest include how dimensions of stressors affect social support processes, as well as the role of socioeconomic status and gender on the stress-social support-health relationship. Her current research is focused on three questions: 1) gender differences in the risk and protective factors for postpartum distress in couples making the transition to parenthood; 2) the role of discrimination and resilience on race/ethnic differences in low birthweight; and 3) understanding the role of social media in coping and health.

Social Relationships & Health Lab

ASU Perla Vargas



 Perla Vargas

Research Interests: health-related decision-making, health disparities

 Using a behavioral epidemiology framework, she studies behavioral processes involved in the management of oral health, asthma, food allergy, sleep, obesity, depression and suicidal behaviors; and is interested in identifying effective methods to improve the management of these conditions among high-risk, underserved populations. Dr. Vargas' work is widely published and has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology; Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology; and Behavioural Processes.








ASU Deborah Hall

Deborah Hall

Research Interests: social and group identity, social relations, social media

Dr. Hall's research examines how aspects of social and group identities shape people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Specifically, her work explores ways in which social identities tied to social class, political ideology, and religion influence perceptions of and interactions with others..A central theme across her core research areas is that a more nuanced understanding of the social and group bases of identity can pave the way for positive change through the development of research-based tools and interventions.

Identity & Social Relations Lab

ASU Nicole Roberts



Nicole Roberts

Research Interests: emotion, culture, couple relationships, psychophysiology, stress

 Dr. Roberts' research focuses on the study of emotion and on the cultural and biological forces that shape emotional responses. For example, how ethnicity and culture influence emotional displays and experiences; how the daily hassles of life, such as job stress and sleep deprivation, impact emotion regulation among individuals and couples; and how the emotion system breaks down in patients with psychopathology or neurological dysfunction. Dr. Roberts uses both observational and psychophysiological measures in her work.

Emotion, Culture, and Psychophysiology Lab

ASU Lindsey Mean



Lindsey Mean (Affiliated Faculty from Communications) 

Research Interests: intersection of identities, sport, gender & sexuality, ideology & culture, discourses, language & representational practices across multiple sites and levels of enactment

Sport, Media, and Culture Lab



ASU Nick Duran



Nicholas Duran (also affiliated w/ RISE)

Research Interests: cognitive science, social perspective-taking, deception, collaborative problem solving

Dr. Duran studies complex cognitive processes as revealed in the dynamics of movement and language, both within  individuals and across dyads and groups. He uses a range of techniques such as computer-mouse tracking, motion capture, acoustic analysis, physiological sensing, nonlinear time series analyses, and discourse modeling.

Cognitive Dynamics & Communication Lab



Jose Nanez

Research Interests: cognitive neuroscience, bilingualism & cognition

Dr. Nanez conducts research in visual perceptual learning, neural plasticity/malleability, and cognition. He also studies cognitive processes in Spanish-English bilinguals. As Executive Director for Community Outreach, he creates and implements new strategies to enhance students' academic achievement and university life acculturation, with a strong emphasis on Hispanic, first-generation-university-going, and low SES students. 







ASU Zach Horne


Zachary Horne (also affiliated w/ RISE)

Research Interests: Cognitive science, big data, social psychology


Dr. Horne studies the cognitive mechanisms underlying belief formation and revision. Specifically, he examines how children and adults form and revise their beliefs in light of new evidence and the mechanisms that permit and prevent rational belief updating. His research has been published in top-tier journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Psychological Science., and has been covered in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, & Forbes.

Cognition Computation & Development Lab

Elias Robles-Sotelo


Elias Robles-Sotelo

Research Interests: learning, impulsiveness, decision making, health behavior

Dr. Robles studies fundamental behavior processes such as learning, choice, impulsiveness, risk taking, and decision making, as they relate to physical and psychological wellbeing. He seeks to understand how people make decisions about the future, what situations make people more likely to take risks, and how to make health behavior information clear and effective. His work has focused on addiction to tobacco, heroin, and prescription opioids.

Health Behavior Research Lab





Tess Neal

Research Interests: human reasoning, inference, & decision making; clinical and legal judgments; expertise development 

Dr. Neal's program of research weaves together the clinical, cognitive, and social traditions of psychological science with philosophy, ethics, and law. She conducts research on the way people think and reach decisions, and what can go wrong resulting in poor judgments. She focuses especially on expert decision making in the legal system, such as by forensic mental health professionals, forensic scientists, and judges.

Clinical & Legal Judgment Lab

ASU Nicholas Schweitzer


Nicholas Schweitzer

Research Interests: Legal decision making; mental disorders and punishment


Dr. Schweitzer's research focuses on the empirical study of the law and legal system, with a primary emphasis on how science is used by the judicial system. His lab studies focus on two particular areas: (1) How legal decision-makers use and understand scientific evidence, and (2) How advances in science and technology are affecting citizens' judgments of wrongdoers and legal authorities.

Law & Cognition Lab







ASU Jessica Salerno


Jessica Salerno

Research Interests: emotion, intergroup dynamics, and legal decision-making

Dr. Salerno's research interests include several lines of inquiry that apply social psychological theory and experimentation to legal contexts. For example, the effect of emotion and intergroup dynamics in legal decision making, how moral outrage drives biases against stigmatized groups in ambiguous legal contexts, and how jurors evaluate the quality of scientific evidence presented by expert witnesses in court. 

Social Judgment, Decision Making, & Law Lab

ASU Laura Smalarz


Laura Smalarz

Research Interests: Eyewitness identification and testimony; perceptions of the wrongfully convicted; police interrogation and false confessions; social biases in the criminal justice system

Dr. Smalarz's research is primarily concerned with social factors that affect the reliability of eyewitness identification evidence. Her work investigates the conditions under which eyewitnesses make errors, tests methods for reducing those errors, and examines how eyewitnesses are evaluated by legal system players such as judges and jurors.