The Catholic University of America

M.A. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

 

1. What does a general MA degree do for me professionally?

About half of our graduates go on to pursue doctoral degrees in psychology. In this regard, they use the MA degree to improve their GPA, get research experience, and generally make themselves more competitive as doctoral applicants.  Many of the remaining graduates work as research associates i various public- and private-sector locations where they help doctoral researchers conduct studies and program evaluations.

2. Can I transfer from the General MA program to one of CUA's doctoral programs (i.e., in clinical, applied-experimental, or human development)?

The General MA is a terminal degree program; there is as such no internal transfer to a doctoral track. However, over the years a number of our MA students have applied to our Ph.D. programs and continued at CUA at the doctoral level. There is no rule against admitting MA students into a CUA doctoral program; similarly, there is no guarantee that a former MA student will be admitted to a CUA doctoral program.

3. I was not a psychology major in college; can I still apply to the General MA program?

Yes, we take students who were not psychology majors. In fact, many of our students use the MA program as means of getting into psychology in hopes of making a career change. It sometimes help to have a few psychology courses from college or taken since college, but such courses are not required to apply.

4. What are the main admission requirements?

Undergraduate grade point average and GRE's are seriously considered although there are no cut-off scores as such. Competency in English is required by a sufficient TOEFL exam score among students for whom English is not their first language. Letters of recommendation and essay statements are also considered.

5. Is there financial aid?

Financial aid is limited and typically linked to high GRE scores. Most students in the program take out loans and work part-time.

6. Can I get a meaningful research experience as an MA student?

Yes, one of the most important benefits of the MA program is affording students the opportunity to do research with CUA faculty and other students.

7. What are the degree requirements?

Students must pass 10 courses on various topics in psychology.  (See the online MA Psychology handbook for current requirements.)  All students must write a topic paper with the support of a faculty advisor, and pass comprehensive exams that are based on an individual student's coursework.

8. I am interested in the JD/MA program, how do I apply?

You must first apply apply and be admitted to the CUA Columbus School of Law, which has its own requirements including the LSAT. Once admitted into the law school, students may then apply to the JD/MA program and be admitted accordingly. The GRE requirement is waved for JD/MA applicants who have taken the LSAT and been admitted to CUA's law school.

9. I am interested in clinical psychology; can I take all clinical courses and get applied clinical experience in the MA program?

This is a General MA degree, therefore there is a limit of no more than three courses in any one area of specialization (e.g., clinical). There is no opportunity for supervised clinical training, but there are opportunities to conduct research on clinical topics with the faculty.  Many students work in applied settings while in the MA program. Washington DC has an extensive psychological community with employment opportunities in psychology related work.

10. How long will it take to get the MA degree?

While difficult, it is theoretically possible to complete the degree in three semesters. However, virtually all students take two (sometime more) years to really optimize their experience in the program. Over this two year period one can get a significant research experience and work in the field. Typically it is preferable to not rush through the program to really benefit from the opportunities that are created with the General MA program.

11.  Can I attend part time?

Yes, but keep in mind that most of our classes are taught during the day.