Jul 17, 2018  
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 
School of Graduate Studies Calendar, 2014-2015 [-ARCHIVED CALENDAR-]

Psychology, M.Sc.

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M.Sc. and Ph.D. Degrees

Graduate training in Psychology at McMaster leads to the Ph.D. degree and is strongly research oriented. The basic approach is that of a research apprenticeship, with the student assigned to one faculty member as the research supervisor. The Department provides excellent opportunities for research in Animal Behaviour/Learning; Behavioural Neuroscience; Cognition/Perception; Developmental Psychology; and Social/Evolutionary Psychology. No special training is offered in the applied areas such as Clinical or Industrial Psychology, and applications in these fields are discouraged. Students are not usually required to complete a M.Sc. en route to the Ph.D., but they may do so if they wish. The general requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy are described earlier in the calendar.


Applicants for graduate study in Psychology normally must have received, from a recognized university, either a Master’s degree in Psychology, or a Bachelor’s degree in Honours Psychology, with at least B+ standing. Occasional exceptions are made to the above requirements for students with a background in a related discipline. Students with strong backgrounds in biology, neuroscience, computer science or physics are encouraged to apply.

First Master's year

In the first Master’s year, all students take two courses. Students entering the program directly at the Ph.D. level usually are exempted from both courses. It is expected that at least one-half of the student’s time will be devoted to research on a topic to be chosen by the student in consultation with the faculty supervisor. Each student submits a report on research progress by May 15 of the first year. Continuation to the Doctoral degree in the graduate training program is determined by the student’s research progress and the student’s performance in Contemporary Problems, Statistics and any other courses completed. If these performances are acceptable, students who enter without a Master’s degree are permitted to proceed directly to Ph.D. studies.

Subsequent Years

In subsequent years, students complete:

The equivalent of an additional 1 1/2 full-year courses

Two quarter courses

Students must also complete

Students must also complete the following courses as well as a thesis to obtain a Master’s degree. A variety of courses is available each year for all interested students.

Additional Information

Aside from these courses, the major activities of the student beyond the first year fall into two categories. First, students are expected to carry out their thesis research and report the progress of this research by May 15 of the second and each subsequent year. For the student to continue in the program this report must show that satisfactory progress is being made. Second, to satisfy the comprehensive requirement the student, in consultation with the supervisory committee, must select one or more topics for intensive study. These topics must not be in the student’s thesis topic area, and must be approved by the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee. The study of these topics is then taken up under the guidance of the student’s comprehensive examining committee, which includes the student’s supervisory committee and up to two other faculty members with relevant expertise. After a period of about six weeks the student will be expected to demonstrate mastery of the material to the satisfaction of the examining committee, first in a written submission and then followed by oral examination. The comprehensive examination must be successfully completed within 24 months of entering the Ph.D. program.

Students entering at the Master’s level ideally complete the doctoral thesis and all other requirements for the Ph.D. degree by the end of four years of graduate training. Students admitted directly into the Ph.D. program ideally complete all requirements for the Ph.D. degree within three years. Doctoral students are strongly encouraged to give a departmental colloquium in their final year of study.

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