department menu


Offerings: Bachelor | Master | Minor

Course Description

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior. In order to discover more about behavior, psychologists study both humans and animals. Psychology covers a wide range of topics, from the inner workings of our brains and bodies to the ways our social environment and culture influence us. This breadth is reflected in the psychology curriculum. Given that psychology is an empirical science, our program gives considerable emphasis to research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

The psychology undergraduate major is designed to provide each student with a comprehensive overview of the major fields of psychology and methods used in psychological research. The major also provides elective courses that allow the student to focus upon an area of special interest. These specialty areas might include social, developmental, cognitive, clinical, or biological psychology. Students majoring in other disciplines such as computer, health or clinical sciences, communication, business administration, or education will find that a minor or electives in psychology will provide them with knowledge of direct relevance to their chosen professions. Additionally, psychology has rich ties with other fields such as philosophy, history, literature, the arts, sociology, anthropology, linguistics, communication, and biology.


The mission of the graduate program in psychology at California State University San Marcos is to provide graduate education of the highest caliber to qualified students, leading to the Master of Arts degree. Our objective is to prepare students for continued study at the doctoral level, for a variety of positions in business, industry, and the public sector, or for academic careers at the two-year college level. It is our belief that excellent graduate education is best accomplished in an atmosphere in which graduate students are treated collegially, and are closely mentored by the faculty. We are committed to the study of psychology as a scientific enterprise, and our program encourages the development of skills that are consonant with the scientific spirit of inquiry in particular, and graduate-level study in general: critical thinking, articulate verbal expression, quantitative reasoning, and healthy skepticism.

In keeping with the mission of the University, we offer a curriculum that includes opportunities to enhance the professional development of our students and to contribute to the community around us. In addition, our program seeks to recognize the value of multicultural perspectives and to be sensitive to diversity concerns. Preparation and Training Offered by the Program The Master of Arts degree is traditionally seen either as a preparatory or terminal degree. Our program is designed to accommodate students with different goals. The active research programs of our faculty, and our recognition of psychology as a scientific enterprise, will provide graduate students with the intensive research training and coursework in primary content areas that are central to preparation for more advanced graduate work. Likewise, students who have in mind careers in community college teaching, community service, or business and industry, will benefit from our program’s emphasis on critical thinking, research methods, and advanced coursework.

Individual career goals will be served by allowing choice in the content of the thesis research. 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 or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors is not currently available within the program. However, the program will prepare students to better compete for admission to doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology. Students with interests in clinical or counseling psychology will find opportunities to pursue coursework and thesis topics at Cal State San Marcos that are related to their interests.

College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences (CHABSS)


  • Behavior intervention specialist
  • Career coach
  • Career counselor
  • Case manager
  • Clinical research coordinator
  • College advisor
  • Consultant
  • Counselor
  • Educational director
  • Human resources manager
  • Human resources specialist
  • Organizational development specialist
  • Outreach specialist
  • Patient care manager
  • Prevention coordinator
  • Program director
  • Psychologist
  • Psychometrician
  • Researcher
  • Shrink
  • Social services director
  • Therapist


  • Aba
  • Applied behavior analysis
  • Brain
  • Business
  • Case management
  • Clinical
  • Cognitive
  • Council
  • Counseling
  • Crisis management
  • Development
  • Direct care
  • Education
  • Higher education
  • Hpp
  • Human participant pool
  • Human resources
  • Human services
  • Medical
  • Organizational development
  • Pool
  • Psychoeducational
  • Psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychosocial
  • Psychotherapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Research
  • Research subjects
  • Schools
  • Student affairs
  • Student support services
  • Therapy
  • Trauma
  • Vocational rehabilitation


Aba, Applied behavior analysis, Brain, Clinical, Cognitive, Council, Counseling, Development, Hpp, Human participant pool, Medical, Pool, Psychoeducational, Psychology, Psychometrics, Psychosocial, Psychotherapy, Rehabilitation, Research subjects, Therapy, Vocational rehabilitation