The Villanova Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has offered a Master of Science degree in general psychology since 1961. This MS degree program is research-oriented and particularly well suited to provide a strong foundation for individuals seeking entry into PhD programs in most subfields of psychology. In addition, the program serves the needs of students unsure of their future professional goals, of individuals wanting a more gradual transition between undergraduate and PhD level work, and for those seeking a terminal master's degree..


Prepare for a PhD Program in Psychology

The Villanova MS degree is particularly well-suited to provide a strong foundation for individuals seeking entry into PhD programs in most subfields of psychology. It also serves the needs of students who want to continue their education but who are unsure of their future professional goals as well as students who want a more gradual transition between their undergraduate and eventual PhD-level work. The program enjoys a strong national reputation, contributing to the success of a large proportion of our graduates in gaining admission to top PhD programs in psychology, including Brown, Columbia, Cornell, UC-Berkeley, UC-San Diego, Colorado, Johns Hopkins, Michigan State, NYU, Penn State, Penn, Rochester and Wisconsin.

Acquire Marketable Skills

Students who decide not to pursue doctoral training upon completion of their MS degrees find employment in the private sector in a variety of capacities, including working as science writers, lab technicians, data analysts and market researchers. The program is not specifically designed to provide terminal training for mental health professionals. Our MS students who are interested in clinical or counseling psychology typically continue on to doctoral level work following graduation from our program.

The two-year curriculum provides excellent training in research skills. Students gain expertise in the formulation of research designs and in the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data. Laboratory courses in cognitive psychology, statistics and biological psychology are complemented by electives in many of the other subfields of psychology. The elective courses allow students the flexibility to tailor the program to their particular goals. In addition, students may elect to take a graduate course in a department other than psychology to round out their area of special interest, such as biology, chemistry, computer science, human organization science or applied statistics.

Students are required to complete a total of eight courses, including statistics and at least two laboratory courses. In addition to coursework, students will conduct an original piece of research under faculty supervision in the form of a thesis. The master’s thesis is required and additional independent research is strongly encouraged. There is no comprehensive examination or foreign language requirement.

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences faculty has maintained a consistently strong record for productivity and scholarly research. Active research labs do cutting-edge work in a broad variety of subfields in Psychology (e.g., Animal Learning, Attention, Decision Making, Cognition, Developmental, Human Factors, Memory, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Organizational, Perception, Personality and Personality Assessment, and Social Psychology).

Graduate students frequently co-author the research published by their mentors, thereby enhancing the graduate education and preparation for a top-quality doctoral program. A number of our faculty hold or have held research grants from various government agencies (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA). Similarly, a number of our faculty serve or have served in important editorial positions (e.g., Associate Editor, Consulting Editor) for top journals in the field. 


Grace Gervino '23 MS

Villanova Psychology Graduate Student wins the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP)

The Villanova University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is pleased to announce that Grace Gervino '23 MS has won a prestigious NSF-GRFP for her research examining the neural bases of stuttering. The NSF-GRFP is the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Grace's application was selected out of a national pool of applicants as one of the best in her field. 

Grace reports that her work is inspired by her "interest[s] in impairments of speech motor control and how abnormalities of the motor and auditory system relate to the neurodevelopmental disorder stuttering.

My thesis examined the role of the corollary discharge during speech planning among adults who stutter and adults with typical speech production. In typical developing adults,  the corollary discharge allows the brain to predict the sensory consequences that are associated with the execution of the planned motor movements. Using the event-related potential technique, my thesis investigated whether a delay in the transmission of the corollary discharge may give rise to stuttering. Specifically,  we hypothesized that a delay in the corollary discharge may lead to an inaccurate prediction of when auditory feedback will occur.  This inaccurate prediction may disrupt the speech motor system and give rise to stuttered speech."

Grace developed the framework for this research under the guidance of her advisor, Dr. Joseph Toscano. We look forward to following Grace's career as she begins her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Delaware in Fall 2023. READ MORE

Allison Warner '22 MS

Psychology Thesis Award Winner Honored for Serotonin Deficiency Research

The Villanova University Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is pleased to announce Allison Warner '22 MS as this year's Ingeborg L. and O. Byron Ward Outstanding Thesis Award winner. This award honors one Psychology master's student each year for a particularly excellent thesis and thesis project. Warner conducted her thesis project, "The Effects of Brain Serotonin Deficiency on Antidepressant- and Anxiolytic-like Responses to Cardiovascular Exercise in Females", under the direction of Benjamin Sachs, PhD. READ MORE

Tolentine Hall 334
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Ave
Villanova, PA 19085

Graduate Program Dirctor: Irene Kan, PhD

Chair: Michael Brown, PhD
Staff: Eileen O'donnellLouise Carbone



Fall Admittance Only

Mid-January: Application reviews begin

March 1: Admission and funding decisions are made on a rolling basis. Complete your application by March 1 to receive priority consideration.

June 1: Rolling admission without funding for the fall

If you are applying after May 15, please contact Program Director Dr. Irene Kan.

Begin your application.



Shama Huq ’21 MS, a recent graduate of the master’s program in Psychology

Psychology Master’s Student Earns Fulbright, Publishes Depression and Anxiety Research

Shama Huq ’21 MS, was one of 11 Villanova University students and alumni to win a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program award for 2021-22. In addition, Huq recently had her first lead-author paper accepted for publication in Frontiers in Neuroscience.