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Psychology, Academic Research Concentration, M.A.

Cal Poly Humboldt’s M.A. in Academic Research is a highly specialized program that provides a foundation in methodology and statistics, as well as in the theoretical frameworks for the major disciplines in psychology. It’s an excellent program for students interested in research and data analysis in key areas of psychology, or for those interested in pursuing a Ph.D. Led by supportive faculty, our rigorous program is grounded in the practical experiences and theoretical backgrounds students need to be prepared for academia and the modern workforce.

Why this Program

Choose from four options–Behavior Analysis, Neuroscience, Developmental Psychology, and Social/Cognitive Psychology.

Enroll in the Academic Research program as a Psychology senior at Humboldt and earn your M.A. in Psychology—Academic Research in only one year as part of the Blended program.

Work side-by-side with faculty conducting research.

Student interview

Academics & Options

Complete at least 30 units in psychology or supporting courses as defined in the core and emphasis requirements or as approved by the graduate committee. At least half of the units must be at the graduate level. Complete a thesis or project as a culminating experience.

While we do offer some courses online, we are not an online program.

Program Emphasis

Behavior Analysis is the design, implementation, and evaluation of instructional and environmental modifications to improve human behavior through skill acquisition and by reducing challenging behavior. This option allows students to develop skills in clinical evaluation research, conducting visual analysis of behavioral data collected from service delivery to inform subsequent treatment decisions, and more broadly, providing applied behavior analysis services for children and adults in areas including education, intellectual disabilities, major neurocognitive disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. This program provides the coursework that is required to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Developmental Psychology examines social, emotional, and cognitive developmental processes within social and cultural contexts and their relationships with public policy and education. This program prepares graduates to work directly with children, youth, adults, families, and communities in diverse settings and for Ph.D. programs.

Neuroscience is the study of the physiological bases of behavior, particularly how the brain affects behavior. This option provides an extensive background in the biological bases of behavior and numerous research opportunities. This option prepares students for research and analysis in neurological and biological fields and for Ph.D. programs in biological psychology and neuroscience.

Social/Cognitive Psychology focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others and the processes underlying these influences. In particular, our faculty focus on group processes and intergroup relations and social influence. This option prepares students for related Ph.D. programs and careers in applied research.

Blended Program

Earn your M.A. in Psychology in just one year after completing the undergraduate Psychology program at Humboldt. This pathway is not available for the Behavioral Analysis option. You may earn a 5th year M.A. with an emphasis in Social/Cognitive, Neuroscience, or Developmental Psychology.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Pursue your bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Cal Poly Humboldt
  • Enroll in our M.A. program as an undergraduate during your Senior year  
Psychology students in class

Did you Know?

Work side-by-side with faculty conducting research in one or more of our 11 research labs.

Each year, dozens of Psychology students present their work at professional conferences, such as the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the International Society for Political Psychology, and the Western Psychological association conferences. 

Facilities include research labs for neuroscience, social, developmental, and cognitive psychology; and research rooms with video equipment and one-way mirrors

Psychology students in class


A broad field comprising more than 50 different specialties, Psychology can also be applied to nearly any career. When you graduate from our program, you leave with more than a degree. You enter the workforce prepared with knowledge and highly marketable skills that are essential in today’s world. 

  • Research Analyst
  • Behavior Analyst
  • College Instructor
  • Data Analyst
  • Evaluation Specialist
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Neuroscientist
  • Program Evaluator
  • University Faculty

Ready to find what
your future holds?