Psychology Department

MA in Psychological Science

The Master of Arts in Psychology: Option in Psychological Science

On this page you can find detailed information about the Psychological Science program. Specifically, you can find:


Program description

This program prepares students for doctoral work in psychology and/or for teaching at the community college level. Content course work is broad and encompasses major areas of academic psychology. Graduate content courses and seminars include human development, human learning, advanced general psychology, and contemporary issues. Methodology courses are required in psychometrics, research methods, and advanced statistics. A broad psychology background is the preparation most desired by doctoral programs. A broad psychology background is also the best preparation for teaching a variety of academic courses at the community college level. Research experience is emphasized in the research assistantship and in the required thesis or empirical research manuscript. Students acquire research experience with a selected faculty member, becoming part of their ongoing research activities. Teaching experience, including supervised teaching in the classroom, is invaluable for a teaching career, and most doctoral programs expect students to serve as teaching assistants. The research emphases and teaching interests of the faculty are diverse, encompassing both experimental and nonexperimental orientations, and representing areas such as biopsychology, cognition and learning, developmental, cross-cultural, perception, and social and personality psychology.


Our current students

Meet the students in the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 cohorts:

Psychological Science Students

Second-year students in the top row, from left to right: Kanvarbir, Donavan, Deja, Natalie, Raymond, and Jordan.
First-year students in the front row, from left to right: Pa, Kobi, Parnaz, Gelsey, Mika.

  • Gelsey
  • Name: Gelsey Aldana
  • Hometown: Rialto, California
  • Research interests: I am interested in understanding the role that social support plays on patients recovering from mental health disorders.
  • Future plans: Once I complete this program, I would like to pursue my PhD to reach my overall goal of becoming a Clinical Neuropsychologist.
  • Kobi
  • Name: Kobi Dale Bledsoe
  • Hometown: Seymour, Indiana
  • Research interests: Gender and sexual minorities, adolescents, self, preventative stress factors, positive life factors.
  • Future plans: I plan on continuing my education towards a PhD and further in order to become a professor while working with gender and sexual minority individuals in a clinical and research aspect.
  • Parnaz
  • Name: Parnaz Boroon
  • Hometown: La Crescenta, CA
  • Research interests: Eating disorders in adolescents and the brain.
  • Future plans: Once I complete the Psychological Science MA program at Chico, I aspire to obtain my PhD and become a neuroscience professor.
  • Mika
  • Name: Mika Popovic
  • Hometown: Rocklin, CA
  • Research interests: Exploring how traumatic events affect memory, decision making, substance abuse, and perception of self. I am also interested in exploring alternatives to incarceration of youth offenders, working closely with families and the justice system to implement effective interventions to promote positive life outcomes.
  • Future plans: After I complete the Psychological Science program, I plan to find a career within psychological research to begin my journey in this fascinating field.
  • Pa
  • Name: Pa Yang
  • Hometown: Oroville, CA
  • Research interests: I have interest in cognition, education, and religion. These topics may be different in their own ways but they do seem to connect in ways as well that I think are relevant to our society.
  • Future plans: When I am done with the program, I possibly want to get into a PhD program. Or, perhaps I may take a year or two off to gain some work experience related to the field and then continue on to a PhD program. I eventually want to teach at college level and work with students.
  • Donavan
  • Name: Donavan Cervantes
  • Hometown: Orange County, CA
  • Research interests: My interest areas are personality, LGBT relations and I have recently been becoming quite fond of industrial organizational psychology.
  • Thesis/ERM advisor and title: I am focusing my thesis, The Interrelationship Between Personality Factors and Sexual Identity Developmental Milestones, on personality and sexual minority identity development. For my project, I am working closely with Dr. Marie Lippmann and Dr. Lawrence Herringer.
  • Future plans: After this program, I hope to begin working with some organizations in order to get more experience and sharpen my research focus areas before entering into a PhD program.
  • Kanvarbir
  • Name: Kanvarbir Gill
  • Hometown: Yuba City, CA
  • Research interests: My research interests lie in the field of social cognition. In particular, I am interested in how people perceive themselves, other people and groups of people. Much of my research in my master’s program has focused on prejudice and bias. Specifically, I have been researching how implicit biases influence communication in the digital realm and how implicit skin tone bias can affect learning negatively.
  • Thesis/ERM advisor and title: My advisor is Dr. Marie Lippmann and my title is still TBD.
  • Future plans: I plan to apply to doctoral programs in Psychology with the goal of becoming a Professor.
  • Natalie
  • Name: Natalie Lawlor
  • Hometown: Sacramento, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in studying human sexuality, sexual behavior, sexual outcomes, and sexual education. Currently, I am working with my advisors on projects involving the outcomes of Only Fans use, student masturbation, and the COVID-19 pandemic's impacts on college students' sexual lives and health.
  • Thesis/ERM advisor and title: Dr. Christine Leistner, Dr. Marie Lippmann. Title: Only Fans Use and Associations with Sexual, Relational, and Mental Health Outcomes.
  • Future plans: I plan to pursue a doctorate degree in psychology once I graduate from the Psychological Science Master's Program. Once I have completed my education, I hope to begin a career in community college education or work as a sexual health educator.
  • Deja
  • Name: Deja Shevalier
  • Hometown: Upstate New York
  • Research interests: I am interested in using a combination of behavioral and biological perspectives to understand aspects of human behavior. I am interested in decision making and the neurological processes underlying decision-making, specifically as it pertains to substance use and substance use disorders.
  • Thesis/ERM advisor and title: Dr. Patrick Johnson and my working title is: Systematic replication of the effects of episodic thinking on past and future discounting.
  • Future plans: Following graduation, I plan to participate in an 8-10 week research program at a University of California Campus. I will be getting married and applying for PhD programs next year. I will be applying for programs in the areas of behavioral neuroscience and human behavioral pharmacology.
  • Jordan
  • Name: Jordan Stifle
  • Hometown: Yuba City, California
  • Research interests: I am generally interested in the effects of anxiety and trauma on psychological functioning, contributing factors to the development of anxiety disorders (specifically posttraumatic stress disorder), and the effects of comorbid anxiety and mood disorders. As of late, I have been interested in the effects of life trauma on both memory and decision making, and how these deficits relate to each other. I am also interested in studying potential cultural factors that may affect decision making, specifically decision making related to treatment-seeking behaviors.
  • Thesis/ERM advisor and title: Dr. Patrick Johnson. Title: Life Trauma and the Temporal Horizon
  • Future plans: After completing the Psych. Science program, I hope to be accepted into a clinical psychology Ph.D. program to continue my academic career and research. However, as the pandemic has uprooted most of our plans and added high levels of stress, confusion, and uncertainty, I am just hoping to take everything one step at a time and finish the program, with everything else being figured out and falling into place along the way.
  • Raymond
  • Name: Raymond Zhang
  • Hometown: Pittsburg, California
  • Research interests: My research interests generally focus on long term developmental trajectories for children with disabilities and how their environment can shape these outcomes. This has come from my clinical work with children with developmental disabilities as well as my interests in long-term development.
  • Thesis/ERM advisor and title: Dr. Matthew Withers and "Dimensions of Self Esteem as a Longitudinal Predictor of Depression".
  • Future plans: After this program, I hope to both work in psychology-related data analytics and assessment as well as apply for doctoral programs.

Interested in learning more about the MA in Psychological Science program? Contact this year’s Student Ambassador, Donavan Cervantes!

Donavan Cervantes, Psychological Science AmbassadorHey there! My name is Donavan Cervantes and I am currently a second year Psychological Science Graduate Student. I graduated from Chico State with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology in Spring of 2020. After being here for a couple years I have been able to gain so much insight into the department as well as the campus itself. Along with that, I have been a research assistant and teaching assistant for a few semesters under professors within the department. As a Latinx first-generation college student, I understand the hardships that stem from striving for higher education while not necessarily knowing exactly how to accomplish these goals or knowing who you can reach out to for assistance. My goal as the student ambassador is to aid in easing some of the stresses and help those who seek higher education accomplish and surpass their dreams. Don’t stress; let me help you get there. If you have any questions pertaining to the application process, the Psychological Science program, Chico State, or just graduate school as a whole, please contact me at psycscience@csuchico.edu! I would be happy to help!


Application information

Application Instructions

Interested in applying to the Psychological Science MA program?

We have prepared a separate page with complete application instructions(opens in new window).

Potential Mentors

The following faculty are open to the idea of possibly accepting new Psychological Science applicants into their research programs. We strongly suggest that you consider these specific faculty members as potential mentors when completing your application.

Dr. Sarah DeMartini

Shawn Bates

Email: mlbates@csuchico.edu

Dr. Bates is broadly interested in adolescent drug use and environmental factors that may contribute to it. More specifically, in his lab, students explore how social environment or stress affect the likelihood of using drugs in adolescence and how drugs change the adolescent brain. Feel free to reach out!

Dr. Sarah DeMartini

Sarah DeMartini

Email: sedemartini@csuchico.edu

My research focuses on coparenting across the transition to parenthood, and more recently, across the transition to having a second child. My work explores how coparenting quality is affected by individual parents’ behaviors within observed whole-family interactions. I am also interested in examining the relation of coparenting quality to young children’s socioemotional outcomes and the sibling relationship.

Dr. Andrés García-Penagos

Andrés García-Penagos

Email: ahgarcia-penagos@csuchico.edu

I have broad interests in the experimental analysis of human behavior including particularly the issues of behavioral rigidity and behavioral flexibility, decision making, choice, and symbolic behavior, particularly in social situations, both in the lab and in naturalistic settings. I also have interests in social cognition and social coordination and action. Finally, I have interests in the psychology of food and eating. In addition to this experimental areas, I am very fond of conceptual/philosophical work.

Dr. Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson

Email: psjohnson@csuchico.edu

I’m interested in the effects of economic variables (e.g., price, delay, probability, effort) on human decision-making. In many of our studies, my students and I focus on interactions between trait or state factors and environmental conditions that promote self-control or impulsivity with respect to different commodities (e.g., sex, drugs, food, technology). I’m ultimately interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying choice and applying this knowledge to prevention and treatment efforts for various maladaptive behaviors.

Dr. Marie Lippmann

Marie Lippmann

Email: mlippmann@csuchico.edu

I am fascinated by the ways we process information about the world and about each other. My research is at the nexus of educational, cognitive, and social psychology. Currently, my students and I are investigating informal online learning, prejudice and bias in digital communication, mindfulness in education, and predictors of student success and resilience. In addition, I am interested in non-normative relationship structures and comprehensive sexuality education.

Dr. Richard Tafalla

Richard Tafalla

Email: rjtafalla@csuchico.edu

I can supervise students in the area of psychophysiology, health psychology, and environmental psychology. I have done extensive research in stress, noise and violent video games.

Dr. Martin van den Berg

Martin van den Berg

Email: MvandenBerg@csuchico.edu

My interests are in cognitive/experimental psychology. I am trained as a cognitive psychologist, and my main area of expertise is visual perception, more specifically perceptual organization. However, I have a broad interest in cognitive psychology and I can get excited about lots of topics that involve the investigation of mental processes and the factors that influence how information gets processed. Additionally, with my interest in experimental psychology, I also enjoy research projects that require an interesting methodology. As such I have supervised topics in a variety of topics, from the effectiveness of a mindfulness program for the increase of working memory capacity to an investigation of the factors that promote adherence to an exercise program.

Dr. Alexander Wong

Alexander Wong

Email: aewong@csuchico.edu

I research topics on self, identity, and narrative. It interests me how people understand themselves. The identities, self-understandings, and stories people tell about themselves matter because they are not simply inert, descriptive objects. Rather, they are powerful organizers of everyday life. Identity shapes how people think and feel about themselves, how rich or empty life seems, and how goals are pursued. My research has examined topics of self-esteem, self-concept, wellbeing, personality, adverse childhood experiences, and goal pursuit.


Please see the  course catalog for course requirements, prerequisites for classified status, and more.

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