Graduate Study in Experimental Psychology

Program Director - Dr. Janett Naylor-Tincknell

Master’s Degree (MS) in Experimental Psychology

The Psychology Department at Fort Hays State University offers a Master's Degree (MS) Program in Experimental Psychology. This program provides maximal flexibility to the student in terms of both breadth and depth. It can be a stepping stone to a more specialized doctoral degree program, or used as a terminal degree for those who would like to pursue a teaching career at the two-year college level.

The mission of the Experimental Graduate Program is to provide graduate level training in psychology as a foundation for doctoral studies or for employment in such careers as education, community college instruction, or research. The purpose of obtaining a MS in Experimental Psychology is related to a particular student's career goals. First, the program is a great stepping stone to a doctoral program. The MS in Experimental Psychology allows students to obtain a strong foundation in psychology, to explore various areas of psychology to determine a concentration area for doctoral work, and to develop skills and abilities that are necessary for graduate level work. Second, the program helps prepare students for teaching at the community college level or helps extend the education and training of current educators. Third, the program trains students for research positions in a variety of organizations and work settings, such as research institutes, program evaluation, management, and non-profit organizations.

Working with a mentor, students build a plan of study that suits their career interests and future goals. All students take coursework that provides a strong foundation in research methods and statistical analysis which culminates in the completion of a master's thesis. Multiple opportunities to pursue individual research interests, as well as to conduct collaborative research with faculty are available. Students also are able to pursue research experience at the Docking Institute of Public Affairs, an applied research institute affiliated with Fort Hays State University. Graduate Teaching Assistantships are available. Students are able to tailor a portion of their coursework to their individual career plans.

Graduates from the MS program in Experimental Psychology at FHSU have gone on to doctoral programs in psychology at institutions such as the University of Oklahoma, Kansas State University, and Texas Tech University. In addition, graduates now work at businesses or with non-profit organizations, have attended medical school and law school, and have sought advanced degrees in other related fields. Faculty involved with the MS program in Experimental Psychology conduct research in various fields and are able to help students develop a specific program of study and research.

The program consists of 33 graduate credit hours, split between the requirements of research methodology, content breadth and depth, and research experience. Although 33 hours is the minimum requirement, students are allowed to take more credits as necessary to meet their long-term career goals.

Course Requirements

  • Experimental Methods (3 credits)
  • Inferential Statistics (3 credits)
  • Thesis (6 credits)
  • Developmental Psychology 3 credits)
  • Cognitive Psychology 3 credits)
  • Neuropsychology 3 credits)
  • Service to the Discipline (IDS) 3 credits)

Additional credits (9 credits) are based on tracks and are selected based on students' interests.  Examples of tracks:
Clinical Research

  • Test and Measurement (3 credits)
  • Appraisal of Adults (5 credits)
  • Advanced Abnormal (3 credits)


  • Child Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • IDS of Aging, Human Sexuality, Evolution, or Adolescence (6 credits)


  • IDS of Perception or Evolution (3 credits)
  • History and Systems (3 credits)
  • Linguistic based course from English, SLP or Biology (3 credits)


Additional credits (9 credits) are based on tracks and are selected based on students' interests.  Examples of tracks:


Research Methodology (6 Hours)

The program requires all students to take a year-long sequence of two courses in research methodology. The first course, Experimental Methods, focuses on the broad process of conducting research, while the second, Inferential Statistics concentrates on the application of statistics to this process.

Research Experience (6 Hours)

The program requires all students to complete a master's thesis. This will be an empirical study, requiring the student to design, conduct, and analyze the results of their own research project. From initial hypothesis generation to final write-up, this will typically span two semesters in time. Faculty guidance will be provided throughout the entire process in the form of a thesis committee selected by the student.

Service to the Discipline (3 credits)

The program requires activities that are focused on research, service and teaching to prepare students for the structure of most PhD programs.  These activities are to be conducted throughout 2 year sequence.

  1. Research:  Students are required to present at several conferences.  In their first year, students are required to present at a state level student oriented conference.  In their second year, students are required to present at a regional conference.  Attendance at regional conferences is also expected in their first year.
  2. Reviewer:  Students are also required to serve as a reviewer for a journal with their mentor.
  3. Teaching:  Student are also required to attend teaching workshops and other activities that expand the student's teaching skills.

View downloadable application materials here.

For more information concerning the MS program in Experimental Psychology, please contact:

Dr. Janett Naylor-Tincknell, Director of the Experimental Psychology
Department of Psychology
Fort Hays State University



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