MSGP Program

Gina Caucci, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Teaching
Cognitive Psychology
Psychology Building, Room 308
901.678.2579 (telephone)

NOTE: To apply to any of the Psychology Department Graduate Programs, familiarize yourself with the material at: 
Important Information for Applying to Psychology Graduate programs.

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 MSGP program:

  • those with good academic credentials who have not yet selected a specialty area of study
  • 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.