Psychology - Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences
The Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences graduate sequence emphasizes study in basic research content areas (e.g., behavioral neuropsychology, conditioning, perception, learning, memory, psycholinguistics, and cognitive development) and the development of quantitative and methodological skills. The sequence focuses on three content areas: behavioral, neuroscience, and cognitive science, which provide a critical foundation for advanced graduate study and can facilitate entry into research-related careers in non-academic settings. The objectives of this sequence include building a solid foundation of basic psychological research, which will help students understand and explain behavior.
The master's degree can be completed with two years of full-time enrollment on campus.
Point of Pride
Illinois State's Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences (CBS) Colloquium Series welcomes several scholars from around the world to campus each semester to present research colloquia, interact with our students and faculty, and share ideas related to the field of cognitive science.
Discover what life as a Illinois State graduate student is like with an Online Graduate Student Information Session.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a master's program must:
- Have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or university prior to fall admission
- Send official transcripts from each college or university, other than Illinois State, where graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts should be emailed from the school to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200
International students can learn more about specific application requirements and deadlines by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
Complete your application by January 1.
Admission is offered only for the fall semester and is very competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Admission offers are sent in February. The Council for Graduate Schools stipulates that an applicant has until April 15 to accept or decline an admission offer. Some admission offers may be delayed until applicants notify the department that they are declining admission.
Have a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or 3.0 GPA for 9 hours of graduate coursework.
Undergraduate Psychology Coursework
There are no specific undergraduate course requirements for students applying who are majoring in Psychology (or a related field such as Biology, or Cognitive Science) at an accredited US institution. All other students applying must have completed 21 hours of undergraduate psychology course work including:
- General Psychology
- Experimental Psychology or Research Methods
- Psychological Statistics
You should have proficiency in math. This can include:
- A passing grade in Finite Math or Pre-Calculus (MAT 120, MAT 144, or equivalent)
- A grade of B or better in Psychological Statistics (PSY 340 or equivalent), or a score of 144 or higher on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test
If you have not completed the required undergraduate courses, you may still be admitted. Missing courses will be added to your curriculum and must be completed during you first year of graduate study.
The GRE is not required for Fall 2021 applicants and will not be used to evaluate applicants. The GRE may be submitted to establish math proficiency. If you wish to submit GRE scores, use institution code 1319.
In addition to meeting general requirements, a complete application will need to include the following items:
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume
- Writing Sample
- Personal Statement
- Three Letters of Recommendation
Curriculum Vitae or Resume
Ensure your curriculum vitae or resume lists your experience. This can be paid or unpaid experience, internships, volunteer work, etc. Include the following information.
- Employer or organization
- Business addresses
- Nature of the experiences that are relevant to being admitted to the graduate sequence
- Received academic honors and awards
- Date received
- Explanation of what the honor or award recognizes
- Research experiences, skills, and accomplishments
Provide a scholarly writing sample (5-15 pages long).
In 2-3 pages double spaced, address the following:
- Your Professional and career goals
- Research interests and experiences
- Qualifications for admission to this graduate sequence
- How your interests and goals fit with this graduate sequence
Letters of Recommendation
The online application system will ask you to upload three letters of recommendation. You’ll also need to enter your recommenders’ names and email addresses into the system.
Applicant Interview Day – Friday, March 5, 2021
Some applicants may be invited to visit the department during the spring semester. The Applicant Interview Day schedule includes meeting with current graduate students and other invited applicants, interviews with faculty members, lunch, and a late afternoon social. Invited applicants will be contacted by the graduate coordinator.
- Fall (August) Term — January 1
- Spring (January) Term — No spring admission
- Summer (May/June) Term — No summer admission
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally:
- Be admitted as a degree-seeking student to a graduate program
- Be in good-standing
- Be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 graduate credits) during the fall or spring semesters
Graduate assistants receive:
- Monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- A waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- A waiver for up to 12 credits of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
The department awards graduate assistantships to applicants who accept admission. Graduate assistantships are subject to verification of employment eligibility under U.S. immigration laws and the receipt of anticipated state funding by the University.
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.