Psychological Science, MS

for the Master of Science in Psychological Science

head of department: Wendy Heller

director of graduate studies: Nicole Allen

director of admissions committee: Ashley Ramm


department website:

department faculty: Psychology Faculty

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

college website:

department office: 309 Psychology Building, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820

phone: (217) 333-2169

A two-year, research-based program designed for students who want research experience augmented by advanced courses in experimental techniques and professional development within a top-rated department at a world-class university. Each student admitted to the program is paired with a faculty advisor/mentor based on research interests. A Master’s thesis is not required.

Graduate Degree Programs in Psychology

Psychology, MS

Psychological Science, MS

Psychology, PhD

optional concentrations:

Developmental Psychopathology |  Second Language Acquisition & Teacher Education

The Department of Psychology offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. Doctor of Philosophy programs are offered in the following areas of psychology:

  • Attention & Perception
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical/Community
  • Cognitive
  • Developmental
  • Quantitative
  • Social-Personality
  • Industrial-Organizational

A Master of Science degree is awarded to students in the doctoral program as an intermediate degree.


The Graduate College admission requirements apply for all programs. All candidates for admission must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (or B) on a 4.0 scale in courses representing the last 60 hours of work completed for the bachelor’s degree. The candidate for admission to the graduate program should ordinarily have the following preparation: a minimum of 15 semester hours in psychology, a laboratory research methods course in psychology, and a course in statistics. Departmental committees also consider Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and letters of recommendation. Preference is given to students who have taken mathematics beyond college algebra and to those who have some research experience. Applications for admission to part-time study are usually not approved. Students are accepted only for fall admission. The application deadline for the Ph.D. program is December 10. The M.S. in Psychological Science application deadline is March 15.

In addition to the aforementioned criteria, applicants are evaluated on their supporting documents, career goals, career promise, and research interests. Substantial additional weight is given to the quality and extent of prior research and other relevant experience.

All applicants whose native language is not English or who are from any country other than the US, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand (even if they are native English speakers) are required by the University to submit the results of an English language proficiency test. The university will accept the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to determine admission eligibility.

  • The minimum total TOEFL iBT score for admission (including all four sections): 79
  • Minimum total TOEFL iBT score for exemption from the English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) for admission (including all four sections): 103
  • Minimum total IELTS score for admission: 6.5, including a minimum subscore of 6 on all four modules. Students receiving scores below 7 will be required to take the EPT for placement in English as Second Language courses.

In addition to the general requirement for English proficiency testing described above, the University of Illinois is also required by state law and University policy to give teaching appointments only to international graduate students who have more specifically passed an English language SPEAKING proficiency test. Applicants have the following options to satisfy this requirement:

  • Minimum score of 24 on the speaking section of the TOEFL iBT
  • Minimum score of 8 on the speaking section of the IELTS
  • Minimum score of 50 on the TSE
  • Minimum score of 5 on the EPI (English Proficiency Interview) test.

International applicants to the Ph.D. program must present documentation for one of the above-listed tests of spoken English at the time of application to the Psychology Department. The teaching English proficiency requirements do not apply to the M.S. in Psychological Science applicants.

Refer to (Graduate Program) for additional information about the Department of Psychology's admission requirements.

Graduate Teaching Experience

The department requires Ph.D. candidates to gain teaching experience as part of their academic work. Such experience is considered a vital part of the graduate program and usually takes the form of a teaching assistantship. Students have the option of teaching two class sections (50% TA) for one semester or one class section (25% TA) for two semesters in order to meet the requirement.

Faculty Research Interests

The program is designed to prepare students for academic and research-oriented careers. Students become actively involved in research during their first semester, devoting an increasing percent of time toward independent research throughout their graduate careers.

For the most part, we view graduate education as an apprenticeship. Our task is to provide an environment where mature young scholars can gain experience in research as they collaborate with faculty and with other graduate students. The program encourages interdisciplinary study both within psychology and between psychology and other fields. Faculty research interests can be reviewed here.

Facilities and Resources

Students have everything they need, including personal office space and full access to research, library, and computing services, as well as to a large pool of research participants. The excellent cooperation between program areas in the department and with other units in the University provides access to expertise and methodology in a variety of areas including but not limited to:

  • the Psychological Services Center
  • the Counseling Center
  • the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
  • the Center for the Study of Reading
  • the Institute of Communications Research
  • the School of Labor and Employee Relations
  • the Family Resiliency Program
  • the Neuroscience Program
  • the Institute for Genomic Biology
  • the Departments of Computer Science
  • Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology and Statistics
  • the Colleges of Law and Medicine

Financial Aid

Students generally complete the doctoral degree in 4-6 years, and the Psychology Department makes financial support available to all Ph.D. students in good standing for up to 6 years.  The University application form and supplemental application materials provide all the information that is required by the committees administering various funding sources, which include teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships.

The M.S. in Psychological Science is self-supporting. The program does not accept non-statuatory tuition waivers, and students enrolled in this program are ineligible to hold waiver-generating appointments.

for the Master of Science in Psychological Science

PSYC 500Professional Develop for Psych1 to 4
PSYC 501Best Psych Research Practices2 to 4
PSYC 506Statistical Methods I4
PSYC 507Statistical Methods II4
PSYC 590Individual Research0 to 16
Total Hours32

Other requirements1 

Other requirements may overlap.
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall 12
Minimum GPA 2.75