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USF Psychology Graduate Programs

USF Psychology Graduate Programs

The PhD in psychology provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to explore the biological, social, and cognitive underpinnings of human behavior. Students work closely with faculty under a research apprentice training model; upon graduating with their PhD they possess extensive knowledge in theory and research methods.

Master of Arts in Psychological Sciences

The Master of Arts in Psychological Sciences is a research-oriented program that equips students with advanced knowledge and skills needed to pursue doctoral programs or establish careers as researchers in the field. Students take courses covering various areas of psychology while being assigned a faculty advisor who oversees their research interests and acts as their mentor. Students must complete a Master’s thesis, with publication or presentation at professional conferences being encouraged throughout their tenure in this program.

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Students enrolled in the USF Department of Psychology program can select from an extensive array of research offered by its faculty, such as laboratory courses, fieldwork and research internships. Their areas of expertise span behavioral neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental psychology, social psychology clinical psychology and health psychology – which students can focus their research upon or combine into an interdisciplinary area of study.

Apart from coursework requirements, the MA in Psychology also features an intriguing feature: real-world experience at the Psychological Services Center at Tampa University. This clinic provides low-cost mental health services to Tampa’s community while giving students a great way to put what they learn into practice.

Another advantage of this program is its strong connection with the local community and numerous opportunities for students to engage in outreach events and educational activities. Furthermore, its supportive campus atmosphere encourages strong bonds among both faculty and students.

The MA in Psychology is a non-terminal degree that can be completed in three to four years. Accredited by the American Psychological Association, students receive comprehensive instruction across clinical and research domains of psychology. Individual students can develop their research interests via elective classes selected through elective selection; additionally they benefit from close mentoring relationships between their faculty adviser and them as they navigate their own research journeys. They’re also given ample opportunities for community involvement via volunteerism or service learning projects.

Master of Science in Psychology

If you already possess an undergraduate degree in psychology or another related field and wish to further explore it, pursuing a master’s degree may be worth your while. A graduate degree typically lasts two or three years and can open many career doors. When considering your options it’s essential that you conduct adequate research about which degree types are offered at each of your prospective schools as well as your desired time spent studying as well as career goals and timeline.

The University of Southern Florida offers a Master of Science in Psychology designed for those interested in clinical or mental health occupations. It enables students to receive advanced training in biological, social, developmental, cognitive bases of behavior and human experience as well as cultivate expertise in research methods – plus both thesis and non-thesis tracks are offered within this program.

As part of their MS in Psychology studies, MS students must also complete at least nine months of research on an area of interest under faculty mentor supervision – typically laboratory work – under their direction. This provides invaluable experience in both psychology and research methodologies and allows you to build your resume before applying to doctoral programs.

The University of Southern Florida offers an MS in Psychology with an emphasis in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. This program emphasizes evidence-based practices to strengthen learning, communication and behavioral abilities of children and adults with developmental disabilities such as autism. Furthermore, this course prepares you for research careers related to autism and developmental disabilities. An advanced degree may seem costly, but financial aid options exist that can help cover its expense. Scholarship programs, fellowships, grants and loans may all offer support; and it’s also wise to follow best practices when budgeting for graduate school – such as spending some of your study time socializing with family and friends to reduce stress levels while improving concentration and increasing overall academic performance.

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Doctoral programs typically last five to seven years to complete and may include conducting a dissertation as part of their studies. They’re best suited for graduate students interested in creating new scientific knowledge through conducting experiments, gathering and analyzing data, teaching classes or both; usually on campus study offers more hands-on research experience as well as hands-on teaching practice than online programs do.

Admission requirements to PhD in Psychology programs differ between schools, but usually consist of a bachelor’s degree with good grades and admission directly from your bachelor’s program. Some PhD programs also require applicants to have already earned their master’s degree, while other allow direct entrance with applicants directly entering from their bachelor’s program. Furthermore, candidates should demonstrate an interest in scientific research while being able to communicate findings effectively; some programs even offer funding packages including tuition waivers and stipends for these individuals.

Some PhD programs offer online study while others only provide classroom instruction. Both types of programs may provide flexible and convenient education options, though online study will likely take more time to complete than an on-campus course. Students can attend classes full time or part time, with some courses even being available remotely or regionally.

PhD in Psychology can equip graduates to work as college professors or researchers, using their expertise to explore more about human behavior and basic psychological processes as well as assist patients experiencing psychological issues.

PhD graduates who pursue careers as psychologists often qualify for loan forgiveness programs offered by various states and federal agencies, which can be invaluable assistance when trying to manage debt. To qualify, one typically must work in an underserved field and make certain repayments.

A PhD and PsyD differ significantly in terms of time spent on research and clinical practice, respectively. While a PhD may be better suited for academic or laboratory settings, PsyDs tend to prefer working directly with patients.

Doctor of Psychology

Doctorates in psychology are designed for those interested in expanding their knowledge through scientific research (through conducting experiments, collecting data and applying statistical and analytic methods). Most programs take five to seven years, including an internship yearlong.

USF’s Doctor of Psychology program goes beyond traditional research-oriented degrees to offer clinical training as part of its traditional scientist-practitioner training model, admitting a select group of students each year who will become scientists-practitioners who work at the forefront of their respective fields through teaching, research or clinical practice or some combination thereof.

Learn the biological, social, developmental and cognitive bases of human health and behavior as well as current theoretical models of mental illness from our world-class faculty who conduct groundbreaking research on topics like infant-family mental health; severe behavioral disorders; child and adolescent development; relationships and marriage as well as gender and sexuality.

Graduates holding a PsyD are likely to possess extensive experience working with clients, conducting psychological assessments and offering empirically-based services to individuals or groups. Unlike MA or BA degrees, which focus on theory rather than clinical practice, the PsyD degree provides more of a platform for clinical psychology careers.

PsyD program requirements consist of four academic training years and one full-time year of clinical internship. Our esteemed psychologists offer invaluable mentoring, helping you develop invaluable clinical and therapeutic skills in real world settings.

Attracting applicants to PsyD programs typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and letters from professors or professionals attesting to your academic and research prowess.

Gainful employment in psychology-related positions outside the University is permissible, provided they have been approved in advance by the School of Psychology program director. Furthermore, any community employment must directly relate to academic and professional goals while not exceeding 20 hours weekly during program participation and pay no more than Florida’s minimum wage rate.

Psychology Graduate Programs at USF

Florida State University is one of the premier research universities in the nation, offering hundreds of degrees at both undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels – many including psychology specialization.

The PhD in Clinical Psychology program adheres to national accreditation guidelines. Meanwhile, our Educational Specialist in School Psychology program can lead to state certification as a school psychologist.


Students enrolled in our Clinical Psychology program work closely with faculty on a range of projects, including lab-based studies, survey research and community fieldwork studies. Alongside fulfilling their 106-hour doctoral degree requirements and at least two 9-12 month practicum experiences for each doctorate degree they earn, our Clinical program is accredited by Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), an organization which promotes superior research-oriented education while simultaneously creating clinical scientists.

Psychology careers require empathy, leadership and spiritual maturity – traits honed at USF through transformative Christian education, hands-on experience and strong connections to top graduate programs. Our graduates go on to find employment at nonprofits and governmental agencies, marketing firms and research corporations, medical and educational institutions – even competing for top spots in Ph.D programs specializing in Clinical, Experimental or Social Psychology!

USF graduate degrees have been named among the nation’s best, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 rankings. 31 graduate programs from USF are featured among these 100, led by industrial and organizational psychology at No. 3 and public health at No. 16.

Psychology programs can be found both at the master’s (MA, MS) and doctoral (PhD, PsyD) levels. Master’s programs generally emphasize application while doctoral degrees place more of an emphasis on research – making them attractive options for people looking to become researchers or professors.

Applying to a PhD in psychology program requires submission of transcripts, personal statement and letters of recommendation from academics. Your statement should outline your academic background, specific scholarly interests and which faculty members you would like to work with; while the letter from someone able to vouch for your research-intensive skills should come from someone outside your family and close circle.

Each student in a PhD program will have their thesis committee comprised of three full-time faculty members from their chosen concentration area. Furthermore, every student will have a primary supervisor who will assist in writing and defending the dissertation; final defense typically occurs shortly before completion.


USF is home to numerous graduate programs considered among the best in America, such as industrial and organizational psychology (ranked third nationwide for this specialization in 2024 rankings). USF climbed 30 spots since last year; making this its fastest ascent within top 100 public institutions since 2024 rankings were released; additionally ten of their graduate programs made the cut for top 50 rankings!

USF’s PhD in Clinical Psychology program follows a Scientist-Practitioner model of training and education, placing great emphasis on scientific research, clinical observation experience, real world clinical applications and collaboration among various clinical researchers across campus; including specialists in network science, evolutionary psychology, psychophysiological functioning and developmental change.

The doctorate in clinical psychology program equips students to understand and address psychological disorders in real-life contexts. It features a rigorous academic curriculum and hands-on research experience; with opportunities for clinical experience placements under supervision. Graduates leave this program prepared for careers spanning research to clinical practice or postdoctoral fellowships across academia, industry or government.

PhD in Clinical Psychology is considered the premier degree for those seeking careers in mental health and psychology. It requires at least five years of full-time academic work that culminates in the defense of a dissertation, teaching students to conduct psychological science as part of a team effort, while simultaneously equipping them with leadership qualities necessary for leading roles within clinical psychology.

Applying to graduate school in clinical or counseling psychology takes courage, compassion, and spiritual maturity – three qualities taught at USF where transformational Christian values will help prepare you to serve society as a psychologist. There are various helpful websites dedicated to finding suitable clinical and counseling psychology graduate programs; bookstores in Gainesville or online retailers also carry books with tips on applying and choosing an excellent graduate program.


No matter which of our master’s or doctoral programs you select, you’ll gain experience in clinical, experimental, social cognitive development psychology – with expert faculty guidance and ample research opportunities at hand – leaving you ready to make an impactful difference in the lives of others upon graduation.

Our Master of Arts in Psychology program consists of 36 credits and offers both thesis and non-thesis tracks. For those pursuing the thesis track, a six-credit thesis course must be taken during which you conduct your research and write your empirical master’s thesis to be presented before a faculty committee for approval. Non-thesis students take three-credit research courses before conducting an applied problem-based internship related to their field of interest.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD) program is an intensive, four-year education experience designed to meet national accreditation standards for Doctoral Programs in Psychology. This process requires coursework on leadership development, specialization and coursework related to your area of emphasis, advanced practicum training, 2,000 clock hour internship, as well as your dissertation project.

As a USF graduate student, you will have the exciting opportunity to collaborate with faculty members across campus in collaborative research projects in a range of laboratory settings – such as REACH Youth Center, Family Study Lab and Motivated Attention and Perception Lab among many others. USF School Psychology Program also maintains strong connections with school districts throughout Pinellas, Pasco, Polk and Hillsborough counties through strong ties with REACH Youth Center, Family Study Lab and Motivated Attention and Perception Lab among many others cutting-edge research areas; additionally it hosts Institute for School-Community Partnerships Integrated Services Child Mental Health Policy which serves school districts with preventive services to maintain student wellbeing.

As well as receiving national accreditation through Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), our PsyD Program is fully approved by Florida Department of Education. As such, graduates from our program are eligible for provisional certification as school psychologists in Florida as well as professional reciprocity in other states where possible. Our faculty of PsyD Program members are dedicated to helping prospective graduate students navigate through this important process successfully and can offer more information. Learn more now about what awaits prospective graduate students!


USF is a uniquely diverse university offering hundreds of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs at each level – undergraduates through doctorals. Students come from around the country and world (146 nations!) which adds richness to our educational experience. Many graduate and master’s degree options at USF offer concentrations in psychology with areas spanning experimental social cognitive developmental health psychology being just some examples.

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The USF School Psychology program stands out as a comprehensive solution, training candidates to become licensed school psychologists both locally and nationally. School psychologists specialize in mental health services for school districts nationwide; thus this degree program meets both Florida school district needs as well as national accreditation standards.

Students pursuing either thesis or non-thesis tracks complete additional requirements by participating in research training at various labs on campus such as REACH Youth Center, Motivation and Perception Lab, iCARE Lab, Parent-Adolescent Relationships Lab. These opportunities allow motivated students to make significant contributions to psychological science.

In order to be considered for a McKnight Fellowship, applicants must submit two separate applications – one to the program and another one directly to the university. You must meet both deadlines – December 1 for priority consideration by the program and January 2nd from universities respectively.

To be considered for admission, applicants are required to submit a statement of professional goals which details immediate, intermediate and long-term objectives as well as your research interests that match with those of our faculty members. Three letters of recommendation must also be submitted from individuals familiar with your scholarship and work. Letter writers should vouch for your ability to excel in research-oriented programs, describe your observations of it, as well as address its character as well as writing skills (if applicable). Ideally they come from professors that you have studied under or worked closely with on scholarly projects in the past or have worked closely together on scholarly projects with you – they should include reference to how well written professionally your letters may be.

The University of South Florida (USF) offers several graduate programs in psychology, each with a range of courses designed to equip students with both theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Here’s an overview of the key programs and their courses:

Ph.D. in Psychology

USF’s Ph.D. program in Psychology includes several concentrations:

Clinical Psychology

Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

School Psychology

Courses in these programs cover a wide range of topics such as:

Advanced Research Methods

Quantitative Methods

Cognitive Psychology

Behavioral Neuroscience

Social Psychology

Developmental Psychology

Health Psychology

Ethics and Professional Issues

Students engage in both coursework and extensive research, often culminating in a dissertation.

M.A. in Psychological Sciences

The M.A. program focuses on the biological, social, developmental, and cognitive bases of health and human behavior. Key courses include:

Advanced Statistics

Research Methods


Cognitive Psychology

Social Psychology

Developmental Psychology

Professional and Research Ethics

Students must complete either a thesis or a research-based project as part of their degree requirements​ (University of South Florida)

Ph.D. in School Psychology

This program is specifically designed to train students in both psychology and education within a scientist-practitioner model. The curriculum includes:

Assessment and Intervention

Organizational Development

Pediatric School Psychology

Problem-Solving and Response to Intervention (RTI)

School-Based Mental Health

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)

Graduates are prepared for roles as school psychologists, university faculty, and researchers​ (Catalog USF)

For more detailed information on the specific courses offered within these programs, you can visit the USF Department of Psychology’s graduate programs page.


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