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Experimental Psychology MS

Program overview

The master of science degree in experimental psychology builds on the strengths of faculty research and student interests in experimental psychology broadly defined. The program has two tracks: experimental psychology and engineering psychology.

The experimental psychology track embraces the application of the scientific method to the study of behavior. Faculty are experts in a variety of fields including addiction, attention, cognition, development, evolutionary psychology, forensic psychology, perception, psychopathology, and social psychology, among others.

The engineering psychology track examines human capabilities to sense, perceive, store, and process information and how these human factors impact interactions with technology. This knowledge is applied to the design, use, and maintenance of human-machine systems. Courses emphasize the role of human behavior and performance in both simple and complex human-machine systems. Students are trained in both research methods of experimental psychology and application of the results to contemporary problems in industry. This track prepares students to function as effective engineering psychologists in industrial, governmental, or consulting organizations.

The program as a whole provides a foundation for further advanced academic study in human factors and/or experimental psychology.


The program includes 30 credit hours of core courses, elective courses, and a thesis.

Experimental psychology, MS degree, typical course sequence

CourseSem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
PSYC-640 Graduate Statistics 3
Choose one of the following: 3
   PSYC-714    Graduate Engineering Psychology  
     PSYC Elective  
PSYC-751 Graduate Research Seminar 0
PSYC-642 Graduate Research Methods 3
PSYC-752 Thesis Proposal 3
  PSYC Elective 3
  Free Electives 6
Second Year
PSYC-753 Thesis 3
  PSYC Elective 3
Choose one of the following: 3
     PSYC Elective  
     Free Elective  
Total Semester Credit Hours 30


Any graduate course at RIT can be taken as an elective, assuming prerequisites are met. Students in the engineering psychology track must select two electives from the following (students should check for course prerequisites or if permission of the instructor is required):

HCIN-610 Foundations of Human-Computer Interaction
HCIN-620 Information and Interaction Design
HCIN-630 Usability Testing
HCIN-700 Current Topics in HCI
HCIN-705 Topics in HCI for Biomedical Informatics
HCIN-715 Agent-based and Cognitive Modeling
HCIN-720 Designing User Experiences for Internet-enabled Devices
HCIN-722 Human Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices
HCIN-730 User-Centered Design Methods
HCIN-735 Collaboration, Technology, and the Human Experience
ISEE-730 Biomechanics
ISEE-731 Advanced Topics Human Factors
ISEE-732 Systems Safety Engineering


Students select a thesis adviser during the first year. Selection of an adviser, thesis topic, and research proposal must be completed in the second semester of the first year of the program. Ongoing research activity is expected through the summer term of the program. At the completion of the thesis, students will publically present their findings and defend their research before a thesis committee.

Admission requirements

To be considered for admission to the MS in experimental psychology, candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Have a minimum of 15 semester hours of course work in undergraduate psychology or a related field (e.g., engineering, computer science, information technology), including one course in experimental psychology and one course in statistics,
  • Submit official transcripts (in English) for all previously completed undergraduate and graduate course work,
  • Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (for undergraduate work),
  • Submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE),
  • Submit at least two letters of reference from professors or supervisors,
  • Submit a personal statement describing the applicant's goals for the program focusing on their research interests and possible thesis research (including possible thesis mentors), and
  • Complete a graduate application.

Additional information

Cooperative education

The program includes an optional cooperative education component. Co-op is generally completed in the summer after the first year of the program. The co-op experience provides experiential learning that integrates with classroom education. It allows students to apply psychological principles to problems in a variety of work environments. Co-op may be completed in any business or industrial setting.

Career Outcomes

Recent Employers

Lockheed Martin, Compeer, RIT, Kodak (Human Factors Lab)

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