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MA Program

Welcome to the website for the Master’s Program in Psychological Science at CSU San Marcos! If you are a potential applicant, please start by reading the mission statement, and then read the FAQs that are linked on the left. The FAQs answer many of your questions and will help you decide if our program is right for you. 

Mission statement

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 psychological science 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 currently offered at CSU San Marcos. However, the psychological science graduate program will prepare students to better compete for admission to doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology. Similarly, we do not offer course work or training that is specifically aimed at preparing students to deliver ABA-based services, nor do we offer the courses that are required for becoming a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). However, our curriculum and research opportunities may be of interest to students who are interested in a research-based Master’s program as part of their preparation for the BCBA. Of note, we are currently developing a graduate program in Clinical/Counseling Psychology that will prepare students to pursue licensure as an LPCC. It is anticipated this will be offered through our department starting Fall 2026. Information about this new program will be posted on the main Psychology website ( as soon as such information becomes available.     

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


Fall 2025 Application Period Opens: October 2024
We will begin accepting applications for Fall 2025 in October 2024. The deadlines for applications will be February 1, 2025.

We will not begin reviewing applications until that deadline has passed.

Please read the FAQs before you make the decision to apply to our program. The FAQs will answer many of your questions and will help you decide if our program is right for you.

Applications will be submitted via the Cal State Apply website (see link below).  

A complete application will include:  

  • Transcripts
    You will find the mailing address for transcripts on the Cal State Apply application form. You will need to send official copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities you attended to that address.  You will also need to attach an unofficial transcript from the university from which you graduated, or will graduate, to the Cal State Apply application itself.   
  • GRE scores (optional)
    GRE scores are optional. You may submit GRE scores if you choose to do so. Applicants will not be penalized for failure to take the test or report the scores. If you do opt to take and report GRE scores, please be sure you have taken the GRE in time for the February 1st deadline. Late scores may not be accepted.
  • Three letters of recommendation
    At least two letters must be from college professors who know you. You will provide the names and email addresses of your recommenders on the application. The recommenders will be automatically contacted to submit their letters to us online.
  • Personal Statement (also known as a Statement of Purpose)
    • No minimum or maximum length.
    • Describe your goals, interests, and relevant academic skills and accomplishments. 
    • Include the names of one or two CSUSM tenure-track faculty members with whom you would like to do research, and why. It is critical that you make it clear how your interests, experiences, and training make you a good match for the research our faculty do. A list of faculty and their research interests is linked on the left.

    • Résumés or CVs are optional. 


If you have questions that are not answered by the FAQs, write to us at and we will be more than happy to help. 

Cal State Apply