Master of Science in Psychology With a General Psychology Emphasis

Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in General Psychology

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Make an Impact in the Lives of Others With a Master’s in Psychology

At Grand Canyon University (GCU), the Master of Science (MS) in Psychology degree with a general psychology emphasis is a graduate-level program designed to help you become a more impactful and effective teacher, practitioner or researcher. Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this graduate program aligns with the standards established by the American Psychological Association (APA). You will be encouraged to develop your leadership qualities, sharpen critical thinking skills and enhance your communication abilities as you gain insights into human behavior and thought patterns. 

The master’s in psychology program is available online or during the evening and will teach you to apply the Christian worldview and the principles of servant leadership to your professional career.

With GCU’s flexible learning options, you can earn your MS in Psychology degree in a way that fits your lifestyle. The general psychology emphasis is offered through on-campus evening courses or through a digital online learning platform. The program requires a total of 36 credits for completion and most online general psychology classes are eight weeks in length.

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General Psychology Topics Covered in This Program

GCU seeks to transform you into an analytical thinker and ethical leader, capable of communicating complex information to a range of stakeholders. As you work through the master’s in psychology curriculum, you will be taught relevant general psychology topics in human development, health psychology, social and cultural psychology, psychopathology and cognition.

In the general psychology classes such as Contemporary and Ethical Issues in Psychology, Human Development and Research Methods, you will explore the following core competencies in psychology:

  • Ethical issues pertaining to animal research, forensic psychology, psychotherapy, research and writing
  • The physical, social, cognitive, personality, spiritual and moral developments of a person throughout all stages of life
  • Theoretical and applied aspects of experimental design and research methodology, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed designs
  • The interaction of biological, psychological and social factors with health-promoting and illness-preventing behaviors

The online MS in Psychology with a general psychology emphasis does not require the completion of a thesis. Instead, you are required to complete the Professional Capstone. This course allows you to explore and present your original research ideas. Through this occupational research, you will have the opportunity to build a roadmap for your future career or continued academic pursuits.

Career Opportunities for Master’s in Psychology Graduates

An understanding of how people think and why they behave the way they do can be valuable in many fields or industries. Knowledge of general psychology can support meaningful interactions with colleagues, clients and family members, and it may also encourage personal growth. As a graduate of the Master of Science in Psychology with a general psychology emphasis program, you may wish to work in the behavioral and mental health field, which has a variety of options available for you to pursue. You may apply for positions at the following types of organizations:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • For-profit companies
  • Governmental agencies
  • Social service agencies
  • Educational institutions
  • Community outreach organizations

Family services worker, group home coordinator and health project coordinator are a few of the jobs that may be related to this degree. Other MS in Psychology job possibilities may include compliance manager, employee trainer and research assistant.

The Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in General Psychology does not lead to professional licensure. This means that there is no course requirement for field experience or an internship. Different states have varying requirements, but all states require a specified amount of field experience in order to obtain licensure as a psychologist.

Master of Science in Psychology With an Emphasis in General Psychology FAQs

If you are interested in pursuing a master’s in psychology with a focus in general psychology, read our answers to these commonly asked questions and get started on your advanced degree.

If you have a desire to help people but are also looking to step into a specialized field of psychology, pursuing a master’s degree is required. Psychology is a field with a variety of specialized professions, each having their own requirements. Specializing in psychology can provide opportunities to gain further certifications, if pursuing a program that leads to this, which may help you meet your career goals in your area of interest.1

There are many different types of online master’s in psychology programs to choose from. The one you do choose is based on your interests and what specialized field you wish to go into. For example, this general psychology emphasis teaches a broad scope of psychology practices so you can help make an impact in different fields.

Depending on the program, the individual classes you take in your chosen psychology emphasis can range from topics about health and wellness, cultural psychology or life coaching. Conduct in-depth research to find the degree that is right for you.

An MA in psychology will include a more research-based curriculum. Many courses may overlap between the two, but an MS in psychology program, like this one at GCU, has a deeper focus on the science and behavior of the human brain.

Earning a PhD takes time and effort, but it can be a worthy addition to your education and practice, showing your dedication and expertise in your field. GCU offers a few different PhD in psychology programs, which you can take after you earn your MS in psychology degree.

Applicants to GCU’s master’s in psychology with general psychology emphasis are required to have a bachelor’s degree from an approved accredited college or program, with a minimum 2.8 GPA. For those who do not meet the GPA requirement, you may be eligible with an approved, accredited graduate degree and passing GMAT and GRE test scores. For more details on GCU’s admission requirements, please visit our admissions page.

1 Staff. (2022, December 15). Master’s in Psychology Degree Overview. Retrieved June 5, 2023.

Total Credits: 36
Online: 8 weeks
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Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)
Online: $590 per credit
[Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid]

Cost of Attendance

Course List

36 credits
Degree Requirements:
36 credits

Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the liberal arts. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course serves as the foundation for advanced graduate study in the field of psychology. Professional skill development, such as critical thinking, scholarly writing, and literature reviewing are covered, as well as contemporary ethical issues in the field of psychology, including issues in research, writing, psychotherapy, forensic psychology, and animal research.

Course Description

This course is a study of social, group, and multicultural factors affecting individual behavior. Attention is given to the development of attitudes, leadership roles, group thinking, sources of conflict, altruism, attraction, effects of competition and cooperation, analysis and evaluation of propaganda techniques, and the influence of mass communication on social awareness and control.

Course Description

This course offers advanced theory in human cognition and learning, including attention, memory, consciousness, decision making, problem solving, motivation, cognitive mapping, and schemata.

Course Description

This course in developmental psychology emphasizes the physical, social, cognitive, personality, spiritual, and moral developments within an individual. The course is designed to provide an understanding of the transitions of life from conception to death.

Course Description

This course provides a study of theories of probability, descriptive and inferential analyses of data, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Practical experience is provided in the application of statistical methods. This course requires the use of SPSS software via the Citrix Workspace to complete assignments, please ensure your device is compatible with this software prior to the start of your course.

Course Description

This course emphasizes both the theoretical and applied aspects of experimental design and research methodology at the graduate level, including qualitative, quantitative, and mixed designs. Prerequisite: PSY-520.

Course Description

Using the biopsychosocial model of health, this course examines how biological, psychological, and social factors interact with health-promoting and illness-preventing behaviors. Personality factors and the medical community’s role in health promotion are also covered.

Course Description

This course offers students a deeper understanding of current issues in adult psychopathology, including personality disorders, psychological disorders, and co-occurring disorders. Students gain advanced knowledge of clinical assessment and treatment planning and engage in in-depth research in the field related to the symptoms, etiology, epidemiology, and treatment of psychological disorders.

Course Description

This course prepares students to enter their prospective career and/or continue their education in psychology. Students will explore occupations and leaders in the various psychological fields, formulate and compile their experiences and achievements, and construct a roadmap for success. Original research ideas will be solidified and presented. Prerequisite: PSY-550.


GCU Online Student

Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student

Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.