Research Psychology (MS)

SPFC faculty
206-281-2091 and 800-601-0603 (toll free)
Marston Hall, first floor
SPFC graduate programs website


About the program

The Master of Science (MS) in Research Psychology program allows students to earn a master’s degree by completing 33 quarter-based credits. This master's degree is intended for completion in three academic quarter-based terms and one summer term, focused on completion of a thesis or alternative final project and related oral defense. 

The Research Psychology degree includes coursework in advanced statistics and methods, grant writing, Christian faith and scientific worldview, skills relevant to doctoral program preparation and/or applied practice, and choices among electives in related SPU graduate programs. 

This program begins in Autumn Quarter and admits students once a year.


The MS in Research Psychology provides high quality, rigorous coursework and laboratory experiences to students preparing for career trajectories in research laboratories, research-focused corporate/industrial settings, or agencies prioritizing research and program evaluation to enhance service effectiveness and capacity for increased grant funding. 

The MS in Research Psychology also provides important research preparation and mentoring for students with doctoral program goals by allowing more focused laboratory work, opportunities to develop a final master's thesis, and contribute to professional peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. 

Seattle Pacific University is especially well suited for this program due to its maintenance of state-of-the-art research laboratories, extensive faculty research involvement, and capacities of existing undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs to support new masters-level students.

Faculty, students, and staff in the School of Psychology, Family, and Community strive to become a community of learners:

  • Guided by faith. Exploring the implications of vital expressions of Christian faith for the human condition, as well as for emotional and relational healing and health.
  • Rooted in academic discipline. Fostering rigorous and creative learning environments, as well as contributing primary scholarship to the scientific study of psychological and social processes.
  • Committed to service. Grounding our learning community in the theory, research, and application of our disciplines in order to produce skilled graduates who can serve with character and competence in a broken world; nurturing creative partnerships with our local community and beyond in order to serve in and learn from socially and culturally diverse settings.


The MS is a 33-unit program (21 credits required, plus 12 elective credits) and is designed to be taken over a one-year/four-quarter sequence.

  • Core courses for the MS in Research Psychology degree are focused on advanced research methods, statistics, and lab experience in preparation for doctoral programs and/or research careers in scientific, corporate, or non-profit settings. Additional units include a research writing course appropriate for students planning to enter doctoral programs or employment, a faith integration/scientific worldview course, research lab participation credits, and degree capstone credits. 
  • The final capstone project for the MS in Research Psychology degree can take the form of a traditional research thesis, but possible alternatives include a NIH F31 or F32 grant proposal or an applied project that draws upon advanced psychological research to support the work of an organization.
  • Integrated into all courses within the MS in Research Psychology is discussion of the role of diversity in research and the need for more diverse participants, studies attentive to difference, and other approaches to better understanding ways race, ability, gender, and other areas of diversity may influence psychological phenomena. 
  • Electives within the MS in Research Psychology program include courses in Clinical Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Information and Data Management, and doctoral preparation courses. Graduate teaching assistantships may also be available for elective credit. 

Students in the MS program will work with their academic advisor to select elective courses and a capstone project that will support either pre-doctoral preparation (academic focus) or masters-level employment in research psychology or related practice (applied focus).

Admission requirements

  • Online application and $75 application fee. 
  • Bachelor’s degree
    • From a regionally accredited institution in the field of psychology with coursework in statistics and research methods.
    • From a regionally accredited institution in a non-psychological field with the ability to demonstrate strong competency in statistics and research methods.
    • Students must have graduated with good academic standing with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.
    • Preference will be given to students with strong experiences in research and writing.
  • Prerequisites
    • Completion of a course comparable to three quarter-based credits in descriptive or inferential statistics, with a grade of at least C+ (2.3). 
    • Completion of a course comparable to three quarter-based credits in research methods, with a grade of at least C+ (2.3). 
  • No GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is required for this program.
  • Letters of recommendation
    • Three letters of recommendation are required. Two (2) should come from academic references (e.g., professor, instructor) and one (1) from a professional (e.g., employer, internship supervisor).
    • Letters of recommendation are not required for Seattle Pacific students or alumni from the School of Psychology, Family, and Community. 
  • Personal statement, typed and addresses the following
    • Future career or graduate school objectives
    • Rationale for seeking a degree in research psychology and why you are seeking to attend Seattle Pacific
    • Description of how this experience would differ from undergraduate courses or experiences
    • Area of research or questions you are interested in pursuing for a thesis/grant/capstone project 
    • Mention your professional and personal strengths as they apply:
      • Related research experiences
      • Relevant knowledge of and use of statistics
      • Personal values 
      • Awareness of SPU's faith identity and related openness to faith discussions as well as faith-related course requirements
      • Any other insights deemed appropriate by the applicant


  • January 29

Admissions process

The Admissions Committee of the Master of Science in Research Psychology program will conduct a preliminary screening process.

  • Finalists may be invited to an on-campus or virtual interview day.
  • Admission to the master’s program depends upon recommendation by the Research Psychology faculty and approval from the Research Psychology chair.
  • The entire process is usually completed within twelve weeks after the final deadline date for applications.