hero_Graduate Program

Graduate Program

General Information

The faculty of the Department of Psychology at Wake Forest University affirm their commitment to three interrelated goals in their roles as teachers, scholars, and members of the Wake Forest community: excellence in the education of Wake Forest students, an ongoing contribution to the field of psychology, and service to the University and community.  The Department of Psychology stresses both the commitment to classroom teaching characteristics of the liberal arts college and the commitment to scholarship characteristic of the research university.  Such a dual emphasis is consistent both with the University’s identity as a small comprehensive University and with the faculty’s philosophy that education and science are intimately related ventures, each of which benefits from cross-fertilization by the other.

The Graduate Program

The Department of Psychology offers graduate work leading to the research-oriented general MA degree.  The MA program at Wake Forest is appropriate for students with a variety of goals.

First, well prepared students who plan to continue to the PhD may wish to receive a broad training before the specialization required at the doctoral level.  The Master’s program often gives them a better basis for selecting a PhD program as well as a stronger academic foundation for their doctoral work.
Second, students who wish to better prepare themselves for application to a PhD program will benefit from the Master’s program.  The general MA program allows them to strengthen their backgrounds with a high degree of individual attention from graduate faculty (student/faculty ratio is 2:1) before applying to PhD programs.  The department has an excellent record of placing graduates in doctoral programs in all major areas of psychology, including clinical.
The department adopts a mentorship model of graduate education in which students work closely with a faculty advisor during their two years in our program.  Typically there is a 2:1 graduate student-faculty ratio that provides the student with individualized attention and, therefore, superior training.  Because our program is designed to prepare students for entry into doctoral programs, there is a strong emphasis on research.  Students conduct both a first-year research project and a thesis.  These projects typically result in conference presentations and/or publications.


The Master’s program includes coursework in small seminar classes and firsthand research experience.  A student will become familiar with the content and the methods of psychology at an advanced level.  Two years are usually required to complete the program.



  • Research Design and Analysis I
  • Human Cognition
  • Seminar in Social Psychology
  • Directed Thesis Research


  • Research Design and Analysis II
  • Seminar in Developmental Psychology
  • Seminar in Personality Research
  • Directed Thesis Research


  • Current Topics in Psychology: Self-Regulation I: Social, Personality, and Developmental*
  • Current Topics in Psychology: Self-Regulation II: Emotion, Cognition, and Neuroscience*
  • Biological Research
  • Thesis Research

* Topics to change each academic year.


  • Thesis Research

A Professional Issues course that helps orient students to a variety of professional issues is also required and meets several times a semester. In special circumstances, courses may also be taken in other departments, such as physiology, education, and health and exercise science.


All students work closely with individual faculty members on research during both years. The first-year apprenticeship program provides basic research experience. In the second year, students write a major literature review paper and complete a research thesis. Students are encouraged to attend and present their research at regional and national psychological conventions.


In Fall of 1999 the department occupied over 30,000 feet of space for offices, classrooms, and labs in Greene Hall, a brand new beautiful and high tech classroom building. Space in Winston Hall was also renovated for animal research. There is generous office and lounge space for students. Wake Forest is one of the most “wired” campuses in the United States. In the department, students have ready access to new computers with the latest integrated office and statistical software, a graphics lab, and connection to the campus mainframe.

Financial Aid

There are numerous assistantships and scholarships available for students. No special application need be made for financial aid; all applicants will be considered and awards will be made on a competitive basis.

Assistantships require an average of 15 hours of work per week. The assistantship includes a tuition waiver and a stipend. Scholarships require no service and carry a tuition waiver.