Feb 25, 2020  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Science in Psychology

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Department of Psychology
111 Pryale Hall (map)
(248) 370-2300 • Fax (248) 370-4612

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Director of Graduate Training:
Virgil Zeigler-Hill
212A Pryale Hall
(248) 370-2676


Program Description

The Master of Science in Psychology program will provide graduate students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to become successful producers of research, investigating the structures, processes, and products of the mind. Psychology is a broad discipline that interfaces with the biological and social sciences. This graduate program is organized around two concentrations that together comprehensively cover psychological science: (1) biological and basic processes, and (2) social and behavioral sciences. These concentrations represent two broad areas that focus on psychological phenomena from different orientations in moderately overlapping but distinguishable content areas. Graduate students will have broad exposure to both concentrations.

Admission Terms and Deadlines

Students enter the program in the fall semester. Applications received after the due date may be reviewed, depending on space availability. Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be received in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning by the semester deadline listed below. Incomplete applications will not be sent to the department for admission review.

  • January 15 for fall semester
Readmission and program transfer

Requests for readmission and program transfers must be completed and approved prior to the beginning of a semester.

International application deadlines

International applications are reviewed for fall. To ensure adequate time for review, international applications must be completed at least six months before the desired date of intended enrollment in the University. All international application materials must be submitted by May 1 for fall admission. International applicants are not eligible for Special Graduate classification.

Special Graduate classification

Applicants who are seeking a graduate degree or graduate certificate, but are unable to meet the deadline for filing all required application materials or credentials for graduate admission, may contact the department and request Special Graduate temporary admission.  The applicant must submit an Application for Admission to Graduate Study, plus a copy of a transcript providing evidence of a bachelor’s degree awarded and any specific evidence concerning their qualifications for graduate study as required by the department.  Up to 12 credits may be earned in the Special Graduate classification. Admission as a special graduate student in no way assures subsequent admission to a degree or graduate certificate program.

Students may request special graduate classification beginning  with the dates below.

  • August 1 for fall semester
  • December 1 for winter semester
  • April 1 for summer semester

Note: Special Graduate classification will not be granted after the first week of classes in a semester.

Application Requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all of the following University and Program application documents by the published application deadlines:

University graduate application requirements
  • Application for Admission to Graduate Study     
  • Official transcripts providing evidence of an earned baccalaureate degree from an accredited U.S. institution, OR a degree equivalent to a four-year U.S. baccalaureate degree from a college or university of government-recognized standing.
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned a degree (beginning with the first baccalaureate) and for all enrollment in graduate-level coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree. International university transcripts must be evaluated by a professional credential evaluation service.
    • As part of the admission requirements, graduate programs may require official transcripts from post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned an associate’s degree and all enrollment in coursework both pre- and post-bachelor’s degree.
  • Two official and original Recommendation for Graduate Admission forms.
  • Proof of English language proficiency
  • International supplemental application and supporting documentation must be submitted before international applicants can be issued the Certification of Eligibility (I-20). This certificate is required to apply for a student visa from the U.S. embassy or consulate.

Program application requirements

  • One additional Recommendation for Graduate Admission form.  All must be from faculty members who can evaluate the scholarly achievement and potential of the applicant
  • An essay (i.e., statement of purpose) describing the applicant’s interest in the program, research interests, and career goals
  • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate study at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, goal statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department.

Transfer Credits

Official transcripts must be on file in Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning. The credits earned must be from a regionally accredited institution and must carry a grade of 3.0 (B) or above. Courses graded Pass/Fail or Credit/Non-Credit are not transferable. Only courses designated graduate may be transferred. The total number of credits transferred may not exceed 9, and no more than 1 credit will be awarded per week of instruction (i.e., a 4-credit course must meet a minimum of 14 hours per week for four weeks–a minimum total of 56 class hours or 47 clock hours of instruction.

Degree requirements

The Master of Science (M.S.) in psychology degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of 36 credits in an approved program of study, and successful completion and oral defense of an M.S. project as determined by the student’s advisory committee. The M.S. project must result in a written product (e.g., literature review, publication submitted to a professional journal, grant proposal). With the permission of the student’s advisory committee, a student may complete an M.S. thesis (PSY 691) rather than an M.S. project (PSY 690). Acceptance of the M.S. thesis by Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning requires a favorable recommendation by the advisory committee. All theses must conform to university standards (see Thesis and Dissertation). Courses in which a student receives a grade below 3.0 cannot be used to meet degree requirements. One course grade below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. A student with two course grades below 3.0 is subject to dismissal from the program.

Course requirements

The total credits required to obtain a Master of Science in psychology degree is 36. Students may also take graduate courses from other departments with the approval of their advisory committee.

c. Master of Science Project/Thesis (4 credits)

  • PSY 690 - Master of Science Project (4 credits)
  • or

  • PSY 691 - Master of Science Thesis (4 credits)
  • The successful completion of original research–demonstrating competence in design, conduct and analysis, the creation of an M.S. thesis–effectively and accurately characterizing the research, communicating the findings and placing the research in context, and the oral defense of the thesis are major features of the M.S. degree. The advisory committee will approve and grade (P or F) the student’s M.S. thesis and will be responsible for guiding this process and approving the products (i.e., the research, the thesis, and the defense of the thesis). Acceptance of the thesis by Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning requires favorable recommendations by the advisory committee. All theses must conform to university standards (see Thesis and Dissertation ).

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of 3.0.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University.

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University. 

Department requirements: In the Master of Science in Psychology degree program, credit will not be awarded for courses in which a grade less than 3.0 is earned. All numerical grades earned are used in computing a student’s grade-point average.

Graduate students who are not in good academic standing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Related program information

Academic advising and advisory committee

Upon admission, students will work with the Director of Graduate Training to plan their coursework for the first semester. After fall registration, the role of academic adviser will be assumed by the major professor, who will serve as the mentor and academic adviser for the student as well as the chair of the M.S. project or M.S. thesis committee. Within the first term of study, the student is required to select an advisory committee consisting of their major professor and one additional faculty member. The advisory committee will (1) assist the student in developing and implementing a plan of study, (2) meet at least annually to evaluate the student’s progress, (3) and approve and grade the student’s M.S. project or M.S. thesis.

Plan of Study

Upon admission, students must develop a plan of study in consultation with their major professor and the Director of Graduate Training. As soon as the student forms an advisory committee, the committee will review and update the plan of study. The plan of study must be submitted to Graduate Study and Lifelong Learning.


All students are required to register for at least one credit every fall and winter semester in every academic year, after their admission to the program.

Additional Requirements

Students will be encouraged to participate in research teams involving faculty researchers, other graduate students, and undergraduates. Although the major focus will be on increasing the quality and variety of research experiences available to undergraduates, this activity is designed to provide graduate students with directed mentoring experience.



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