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MA Program

The mission of the graduate program in Psychological Science at CSU San Marcos is to provide graduate education of the highest caliber to qualified students from the local community and beyond, leading to the Master of Arts (MA) degree.  Our program is designed to accommodate students with a wide range of goals.  The active research programs of our faculty, and our recognition of psychology as a scientific enterprise, provide students with the intensive research training and course work in primary content areas that are central to preparation for more advanced graduate work.  Likewise, students who have aspirations for careers in community college teaching, community service, or business and industry, benefit from our program's emphasis on critical thinking, research methods, and advanced course work. 

Many students undertake graduate work in psychology in order to pursue careers in clinical psychology or psychological counseling.  Training specifically geared to those seeking licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Professional Clinical Counseling (LPCC)is not offered at CSUSM.  However, the psychology graduate program will prepare students to better compete for admission to doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology.

The M.A. in Psycological Science is guided by programmatic student learning outcomes associated with our curricular and co-curricular offerings.   

How to apply for our Master's Program (Deadline February 1, 2017) 

  1. Before you do anything else, read the FAQ page very carefully (Frequently Asked Questions).  It will help you determine if our program is right for you, and if you are right for our program.  Additional information can be found in the Graduate Handbook and course descriptions.
  2. If, based on the FAQ answers, you think our program is a good fit for you, look carefully at the Faculty Research page.  Can you identify one or more faculty from this list with whom you would like to do research?  Acceptance to our program requires a "match" between you and one or more of our faculty. You will be asked on the Psychology supplemental application to name the two faculty members with whom you would most like to work.
  3. Send an email to the faculty member(s) you have identified to introduce yourself and ask about her/his plans for accepting graduate students in the next cycle.
  4. A complete application will be due on February 1, 2017. Late applications are accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Other than the submission of transcripts, everything in the application is done online. A complete application will include the following elements:
  • The application to the CSU (“CSU Mentor”), which is completed and submitted online. (Graduate Application CSU).    
  • The Psychology Department supplemental application, completed and submitted online. A link to the supplemental application will be provided when you submit the CSU application. If you do not receive an email with this link within 3 business days, contact us at
  • Official copies of all college transcripts. These should be sent to the Office of Admissions, CSU San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road, San Marcos, CA 92096.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which are from professors you have had. The online application will ask you for the names and email addresses of your recommenders, who will be automatically contacted to upload their letters into the application portal. 
  • GRE scores (the general GRE is required; the subject test in Psychology is not required but is recommended in cases where the student was not a psychology major or where the GPA is marginal). GRE scores are sent electronically to programs selected by the applicant when signing up for the GRE.