• State-of-the-art EEG lab highlights psychology testing facilities
  • At MTSU, students get involved in research throughout their enrollment
  • Experimental psychology faculty are experts in a wide array of topics

Psychology, Experimental, M.A.

The Experimental concentration for the psychology master's degree has the primary objective of preparing students for a Ph.D. program. However, many industries, clinical settings, and research universities are interested in students with the analytical and statistical skills of a research psychologist. Graduates with a master's degree in experimental psychology also may teach at the community college level. MTSU facilities include standard apparatus for human research, a library of many standardized psychological tests, and laboratories with one-way mirrors and videotaping equipment. The department hosts a state-of-the-art electroencephalography (EEG) lab equipped with a 128-channels EGI Geodesics System and a GPS sensor registration system for precise brain signal source localization. Computer software includes statistical software (SPSS and SAS) and software specific to the acquisition and analysis of human performance data (E Prime, Matlab). Graduate teaching and research assistantships are available.

’60 Minutes’ highlights Reeder’s PTSD work with veterans

’60 Minutes’ highlights Reeder’s PTSD work with veterans

Dr. Kevin Reeder (M.A., experimental psychology, 1996) was featured in a 60 Minutes report on innovative therapies being used to treat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. “The War Within” segment in November 2013 highlighted the PTSD program Reeder runs at the North Little Rock Veterans Affairs facility for veterans struggling with the aftermath of combat. “A big focus was how hard veterans worked at getting their lives back,” Reeder says. Methods at the Central Arkansas VA program are helping three out of four patients, who come from across the southern U.S. Prolonged exposure and other therapies used with victims of physical or sexual abuse are helping ease the similar symptoms of war veterans with anxiety disorder, Reeder says. One in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Reeder, whose late parents Glen and Ernestine N. Reeder taught at MTSU, joined the military mid-semester while at MTSU and served in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Professor's book looks at 'Extraordinary Memories'

Professor's book looks at 'Extraordinary Memories'

Dr. Stephen R. Schmidt, professor and coordinator of MTSU's experimental psych M.A. program, is considered one of a handful of experts of both distinctiveness and humor on memory. His book Extraordinary Memories for Exceptional Events (Psychology Press, 2012) examines how some occurrences are more memorable than others because they're emotional and/or unusual. The book summarizes theories and data that provide insight into these events that stand out in people's minds. Schmidt hopes the book helps people learn strategies to improve memory as well as understand their lives better. "Our lives are punctuated with these extraordinary memories," Schmidt says. "You think back on who you are and what you are, and it probably has a lot to do with these exceptional events you remember." Flashbulb memories, the influence of emotion on memory, and the bizarre imagery effect are among topics discussed. Critics have called it "a welcome contribution to the memory literature" and "invaluable for those involved in memory research."

MTSU's experimental psychology master's program trains students for careers as a research psychologist and for preparation toward a doctorate degree. Some professional options are 

  • Community college psychology instructor
  • Data analyst
  • Research psychologist
  • Statistician 

Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • APPLE Psychological Consultants (Maryville, TN)
  • Lee University
  • North Arkansas Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Vanderbilt University

Doctoral programs accepting recent graduates include

  • Mississippi State University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Tilburg University, The Netherlands
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Utah

Graduate

Department of Psychology programs lead to two graduate degrees:

A minor at the graduate level is also available.

Applicants to the Experimental Psychology program with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a composite GRE score of 291 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) on the combined Verbal and Quantitative sections, will be considered for unconditional admission. Other students may be admitted conditionally. Admission to graduate study in experimental psychology is competitive.

Experimental students need to have a strong background in the core areas of experimental psychology. Some of this background can be completed at the undergraduate level, but students must also complete a core of graduate experimental courses.

Students also should enroll in at least one hour of research (PSY 6600) or thesis work (PSY 6640) each semester.

For complete curriculum details, click on the REQUIREMENTS tab above.

Undergraduate

Three undergraduate majors lead to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology, Pre-Graduate Psychology, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. The department also offers an online psychology degree in conjunction with the University College.

Undergraduates can earn a minor in one of five psychology fields: Psychology, Lifespan Development, Mental Health Services, Industrial/Organizational, and Neuroscience. The department participates in an interdisciplinary minor in Behavioral Research.

Psychology, Experimental Concentration, M.A.

Dr. Stephen Schmidt, Program Coordinator
(615) 898-2556
Stephen.Schmidt@mtsu.edu

The Department of Psychology offers programs that lead to two graduate degrees: the Master of Arts with a major in Psychology and concentrations in Clinical, Experimental, Industrial/Organizational, Quantitative Psychology, and Pre-Specialist in Education: School Psychology and the Specialist in Education with a major in Curriculum and Instruction, concentration in School Psychology. The department also offers a minor at the graduate level.

A major goal of the Experimental concentration in Psychology is to prepare the student to be a research psychologist. The primary objective is to prepare the student to enter a Ph.D. program in psychology. However, many industries, clinical settings, and research universities are interested in students with the analytical and statistical skills of a research psychologist. In addition, students with master's degrees in experimental psychology may also be employed as faculty at the community college level as psychology instructors.

Please see undergraduate catalog for information regarding undergraduate programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission to graduate study in experimental psychology is competitive and not automatic for students meeting minimal admission requirements. Students are selected from a pool of qualified applicants. Each year the number of students admitted to the program depends on the availability of adequate faculty supervision.

In order to be considered for unconditional admission, candidates must meet two standards: an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher and a minimum score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). A minimum of 291 (current scale) or 900 (former scale) on the combined Verbal and Quantitative sections is expected for the Experimental concentration within the Master of Arts in Psychology.

Applications for Summer/Fall admission must be complete by March 1, and applications for Spring admission must be complete by October 1. Late applicants who meet the admission criteria may be considered on a case-by-case basis. (See admission standards under Admission to the College of Graduate Studies.)

Students who do not meet admission requirements may be admitted conditionally to the Experimental concentration. Students admitted conditionally must maintain a 3.25 GPA in their first semester (9 hours minimum) of required graduate courses in the concentration area.

Previous students seeking readmission to the Experimental program should contact the graduate program director and refer to the program handbook for readmission policy.

Experimental students need to have a strong background in the core areas of experimental psychology. Some of this background can be attained at the undergraduate level; however, students must also complete a core of graduate experimental courses. In addition, students are encouraged to become involved in research and to participate in research projects throughout their graduate enrollment. Toward this goal, the student should enroll in at least one hour of research (PSY 6600) or thesis work (PSY 6640) each semester.

Applicants must demonstrate knowledge of the core areas of psychology by completing the following courses at either the undergraduate or graduate level prior to entering the Experimental program or during enrollment in the program (relevant courses offered at MTSU are listed in parentheses):

  1. introductory/general psychology (PSY 1410);
  2. research methods (PSY 3070);
  3. social psychology or personality (PSY 2210, 3230/PSY 5230, 3590, PSY 6020, or PSY 6030);
  4. cognition or learning (PSY 4040, 4480/PSY 5480, or PSY 6190);
  5. developmental (PSY 2300, 4190, 4210/PSY 5210, 4610/PSY 5610, PSY 6120, PSY 6130PSY 6410);
  6. brain and behavior or sensation and perception (PSY 2190, 4030/PSY 5030, 4240/PSY 5240, or 4780/ PSY 5780);
  7. statistics (PSY 3020).

Application Procedures

All application materials are to be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Applicant must

  1. submit an application with the appropriate application fee (online at www.mtsu.edu/graduate/apply.php);
  2. submit official transcripts of all previous college work;
  3. submit three letters of reference;
  4. submit letter of intent stating goals and objectives;
  5. submit official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  6. submit a current resume or curriculum vitae.

Degree Requirements

The major in Psychology with a concentration in Experimental requires completion of 36 semester hours including at least 30 hours in graduate psychology courses. Only 30 percent of the total number of hours may be dually listed (5000-level meeting in conjunction with 4000- or 3000-level) courses.

Candidate must

  1. complete PSY 6280 and PSY 6290;
  2. successfully write and orally present a written thesis evaluated by a committee of psychology faculty in conjunction with PSY 6640;
  3. pass a written comprehensive examination prepared by the faculty in the student’s concentration (may be taken no more than twice).

Curriculum

 Candidate must complete 36 hours in the following course of study:

Core Courses (27 hours)

 

  • PSY 5080 - Advanced Research Methods

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 3070. Provides hands-on advanced psychological research experience. Students evaluate and critique their own and others' research projects. Research teams design, conduct, analyze, and present advanced experimental study and write final APA-style research reports of their projects. Thesis proposal draft also written.

  • PSY 5240 - Behavioral Neuroscience  3 credit hours  (or PSY 5780)

    PSY 5240 - Behavioral Neuroscience

    3 credit hours

    The role of the brain in those areas which are typically considered by psychology, such as sensory and motor functions, motivation, higher mental functions, and mental disorders.

  • PSY 6810 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Social  1 to 3 credit hours  (3 credit hours) OR

    PSY 6810 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Social

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6020 - Theories of Personality

    3 credit hours

    Examines traditional schools of personality theory and current developments within each.

  • PSY 6120 - Developmental Psychology: Child

    3 credit hours

    Reviews the major areas of child development. These areas include cognitive, emotional, and social development. Primary attention  will be devoted to the period of infancy through early adolescence. Covers both developmental theory and research.

  • PSY 6130 - Developmental Psychology: Adolescent

    3 credit hours

    Survey of research on adolescence from a biopsychosocial perspective. Student observation and study of developing adolescents from cognitive, biological, social, and psychological frameworks.

  • PSY 6190 - Advanced Cognitive Psychology

    3 credit hours

    Topic-oriented overview of cognitive psychology. Models of attention, perception, memory, language, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making. Issues in cognitive development and cognitive neuropsychology.

  • PSY 6280 - Psychological Statistics: Regression

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 3020 or equivalent or admission to Psychology graduate program. Corequisite: PSY 6281. Review of basic statistics; various correlation coefficients; multiple and partial correlation; simple and multiple regression. Laboratory included.

  • PSY 6290 - Psychological Statistics: ANOVA

    3 credit hours

    Prerequisite: PSY 3020 or equivalent or admission to Psychology graduate program. Corequisite: PSY 6291. Review of basic statistics. Scientific quantification, research design, and statistical analysis from the perspective of analysis of variance: one-way, factorial, repeated measures, and mixed designs. Laboratory included.

  • PSY 6600 - Independent Research in Psychology: General and Experimental

    1 to 9 credit hours

    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Individualized empirical research and library research approved by the instructor. (1-9 credits applicable to degree)

  • PSY 6640 - Thesis Research  1 to 6 credit hours  (3 hours total)

    PSY 6640 - Thesis Research

    1 to 6 credit hours

    Selection of a research problem, review of pertinent literature, collection and analysis of data, and composition of thesis. Once enrolled, student should register for at least one credit hour of master's research each semester until completion. S/U grading.

Literature Review and Reading in Psychology (3 hours)

 

  • PSY 6590 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: General and Experimental

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6660 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Quantitative

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6670 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Behavioral Neuroscience

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6680 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Cognitive

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6700 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Developmental

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6720 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Learning

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6730 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Personality

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6740 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Reading

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6790 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Sensation and Perception

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

  • PSY 6810 - Literature Review and Reading in Psychology: Social

    1 to 3 credit hours

    Supervised literature review and/or readings on a topic of current importance in psychology. Topics and requirements obtained from individual faculty members. Specific courses may be repeated to a total of 6 credits.

Electives (6 hours)

To be chosen with the approval of the student’s advisor.

Program Notes

Students must be able to meet the demands required for professional work in psychology. Therefore, students may be subject to dismissal from the Psychology Department if they (a) commit a serious breach of ethics or gross professional negligence or (b) present evidence of impaired psychological functioning that would present a danger to themselves or others in a professional role. Students who are dismissed may reapply and will be considered for readmission on a competitive basis. Students who reapply may be asked to provide evidence of improved ability to meet performance requirements.

Candidate must

  1. file a degree plan in the College of Graduate Studies prior to entry into the program;
  2. file a Notice of Intent to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies within the first two weeks of the term in which the student intends to graduate.

Application Process

Applications will be evaluated until all available slots are filled. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores, current transcripts, and three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement of your goals as a student in experimental psychology are required in order to be considered for admission. 

  • Deadline for Fall admission: March 1
  • Deadline for Spring admission: Oct. 1

Admission to the College of Graduate Studies is a dual process: The applicant first has to be accepted by the College of Graduate Studies, and then has to be accepted by the graduate degree program of their choice. The first step in applying to graduate school at MTSU is to apply online. If you have problems, contact the graduate coordinator in the College of Graduate Studies who oversees the discipline in which you are interested. 

For further information about the experimental program, contact Dr. Stephen R. Schmidt.

Information for Current Students

Contact and Student Information

Stephen Schmidt
Stephen.Schmidt@mtsu.edu
615-898-2556
Stephen Schmidt
Stephen.Schmidt@mtsu.edu
615-898-2556

Department of Psychology
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 87
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132


College of Graduate Studies
Middle Tennessee State University
MTSU Box 42
1301 East Main Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

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