The MSGP program was developed in 1981 to offer general training in the psychological
sciences. The program was initially intended for those who did not want to or could
not commit themselves to a Ph.D. program or to full-time graduate work, and for those
whose credentials were not yet sufficient for admission to a Ph.D. program. The admission
criteria for this program were intentionally set below those for Doctoral programs.
Therefore, those who felt that their academic records or their test scores were not
an accurate reflection of their capabilities had an opportunity, through this program,
to demonstrate that they could master the level of achievement necessary for doctoral
work. In recent years at least two other types of students have been admitted to the
- those with good academic credentials who have not yet selected a specialty area of
- students whose work or whose spouse's work requires them to remain in the area. The
gradual shift in the composition of graduate students has resulted in a consistent
rise in both GRE and GPA scores. During recent years these scores have not differed
significantly from students in the Ph.D. program.
The number of specific course requirements in this program has been kept to a minimum,
in order to maximize the amount of flexibility students have in adapting the program
to their particular interests and goals. Early applicants into the MSGP program were
interested in developing skills necessary for licensing as a psychological examiner,
however, recent changes in licensing and lack of availability of courses has limited
access to this area. The MSGP program might offer related courses but can in no way
assure the student that their training will meet the requirements. This can only be
determined by contacting the Tennessee State Board. The majority of current students
are involved in programs of study with a stronger affiliation with research areas
such as cognitive psychology, health psychology, and biopsychology, however, some
have developed joint programs with other departments such as business, counseling
and criminal justice.
An early limitation of the program was the lack of financial support for students,
however, in recent years there has been a sufficient demand for research and/or psychology
related services that some of the students have been supported. These students are
typically in their second year in the program.
In addition to offering advanced training for a large number of students, the MSGP
program has a number of clear benefits to the department. Perhaps most interesting
is the fact that these students are of the same academic quality as the Ph.D. students.
In addition, the program requires no special faculty or courses, thus, they receive
the same training as the Ph.D. students. These students are also involved in research
in many of the labs and work closely with Ph.D. students.