Department of Psychology

Headshot of Marcia Pasqualini


Marcia Pasqualini, Ph.D., Chair of School of Psychology and Professor of Psychology
P: 816-501-3664 / E:

MS in Psychology

The Master of Science in Psychology from Avila University is a 36-credit degree program that provides students with a solid foundation in psychology. The degree program offers students an in-depth survey of the diverse research, theory, and practice of psychology’s many sub-disciplines. The program is designed for students preparing to apply for doctoral programs and for students interested in working in non-clinical settings.

The MS in Psychology degree program has three tracks: research, mental health, and general. The degree programs require a set of core courses that cover foundation components of psychology and statistical research design.

The mental health track enables students to better understand human behavior by studying the psychological science of typical and atypical behavior. The capstone for this track involves a project in the community to address issues related to mental health.

The research track includes hands-on research to prepare students planning for advanced study in psychology. Students complete a master’s thesis with a faculty research mentor as the capstone.

The general track is for students who desire maximum flexibility in coursework.

The MSP program is ideal for anyone wanting a better understanding of the psychology of human beings. This degree is customizable for those working in the fields of education, law enforcement, human resources, business or the helping professions.

Mission of the MSP Program

Avila University’s Master of Science in Psychology Program is committed to the education, training, and development of graduates who will understand the foundations of knowledge in psychological science, critically examine the content of that knowledge across subdomains of psychology, and apply the scientific methods of psychology to address basic and applied questions about human behavior from a biopsychosocial perspective.

Program Requirements – 36 credit hours

Core Courses – 18 Hours

  • PY 612 Advanced Cognitive Processes
  • PY 617 Research Design and Analysis I
  • PY 621 Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • PY 627 Research Design and Analysis II
  • PY 650 Biological Bases of Behavior
  • PY 655 Advanced Social Psychology

Research Concentration

  • PY 637 Research Design and Analysis III
  • PY 647 Research Experience (2 hours)
  • PY 697 Master’s Thesis (6 hours)
  • Electives 7 hours

Mental Health Concentration

PY 687 / PY 689 – Community Project I and II (capstone experience)

12 hours from the following courses: 

  • PY 622 Addictions
  • PY 623 Drugs and Behavior
  • PY 630 Theories of Counseling
  • PY 641 Abnormal Psychology of Children and Adolescents 
  • PY 647 Research Experience I 
  • PY 656 Multicultural Counseling
  • PY 680 Special Topics as approved
  • PY 681 Human Sexuality

General Concentration
PY 687/PY 689 – Community Project I and II (capstone experience)

Electives: 12 hours

For course descriptions, please view the graduate catalog.

Non Degree / Enrichement College Credits
Students needing additional college credits or specific coursework for transfer or licensure can take 9 credits (more with approval) through the Avila Department of Psychology non degree / enrichment college credit option. Contact the Enrollment and Retention Manager at 816-501-0419 or

Master of Science in Psychology Accelerated 4+1 option

The Department of Psychology offers a 4 + 1 accelerated program to outstanding undergraduate Avila psychology students allowing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Psychology to be earned in as few as five years. Through admission to the 4 + 1 program, undergraduate students with senior standing may earn up to 12 credit hours at the graduate level to be counted toward both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. 

Interested students should submit an application for admission to the Department of Psychology.  The admission process should be started early to ensure timely consideration.  Students may consult with the department chair and the graduate psychology enrollment and retention manager prior to applying. More information available.

Alumni Profile: Braeden Hall

Braeden Hall

Q: Why Avila? There are a lot of places to get your degree, why here?
A: I chose Avila’s Masters Program because of its research focus. As someone striving for an eventual doctorate in Experimental Psychology, it was important to me to be able to focus on the research aspects of Psychology. I absolutely do not regret my choice.

Q: What makes Avila special/unique/inspiring to you?
A: I really appreciate the atmosphere of collegiality and inclusion present throughout every interaction I have had at Avila, with staff, faculty, and students alike. The small size of Avila breeds a supportive and caring environment, and I will miss it when I move on to a doctoral program.

Q: What do you want to do with your MSP degree?
A: I have applied to several Social Psychology PhD programs and hope to continue the research I started at Avila in my academic career.

Q: What is your favorite part about the graduate psychology program at Avila?
A: My favorite part about the graduate Psychology program at Avila is hands down the research experience. During my lab experience, I have really enjoyed working alongside both graduate and undergraduate students to study topics that interest those involved. The atmosphere of support and rigor have made these experiences both challenging and rewarding as well as fun and fulfilling.

Q: Anything else you would like to share?
A: Coming to Avila University has been one of the greatest decisions in my life. I am forever grateful to the faculty who have supported me in achieving my dreams.

Alumni Profile – Mallika Chakrabarti

Mallika Chakrabarti

Q: Why Avila? 
A: I was able to find exactly what I wanted to study when I was looking for a masters’ program, and felt this course encompassed a great deal being a 60-credit program. It was a counseling psychology program, not only counseling or only psychology, and I wanted that overlap. Also, after I started corresponding with Avila, I felt people were nice. I also read on the website that they had good support for international students, which was important to me, since I was stepping out of India for the first time on my own.

Q: What makes Avila special/unique/inspiring to you?
A: I like that everyone, including the Psychology department, are understanding and accommodating of cultural differences, and warm towards each other. I was able to meet many interesting and diverse people, who turned out to be good friends. I felt safe and at home at Avila while living on the campus for close to three years .

Q: What do you want to do with your degree?
A: I want to pursue a doctoral program and/or practice as a counselor with multicultural and underserved populations, mostly families, children and adults.

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