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 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 cohorts:

Psychological Science Students

First-year students in the top row, from left to right: Recamier, Emily, Daniel, Rocci, Daniel, and Arely.
Second-year students in the front row, from left to right: Pa, Gelsey, Parnaz, Kobi, and Mika.

  • Berumen
  • Name: Daniel Berumen
  • Hometown: Rialto, CA
  • Research interests: I'm interested in the concept of spirituality and how it defines and affects us.
  • Future plans: After achieving my Masters, I plan to continue my education and attend a PhD. program. My overall Plan is to become a professor and continue my research.
  • Jauregui-Ocampo
  • Name: Recamier Jauregui-Ocampo
  • Hometown: Oroville, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in studying the role of stress, social environment, and substance abuse in mental health from a behavioral and biological perspective, especially the resulting neurobiological response and behaviors in the developing brain.
  • Future plans: Once I complete the Psychological Science program, I aspire to pursue a PhD to achieve my goal of becoming a Clinical Neuropsychologist and/or neuroscience/psychology professor.
  • Mansilla
  • Name: Emily Mansilla
  • Hometown: Chico, CA
  • Research interests: I am currently interested researching decision making and its influence on maladaptive behaviors, as well as exploring how various mental illness interact with decision making and self-control/impulsivity. I’d like to work with researchers interested in identifying interventions to target maladaptive decision making.
  • Future plans: After completing my Master’s degree, I plan to apply to PhD programs to further my teaching skills and continue my research career. I’d like to take advantage of predoctoral research programs to prepare me for the shift to a PhD program. Overall, I’d like to be a professor at a university teaching social and behavioral psychology while completing research with my students.
  • Papasergia
  • Name: Daniel Papasergia
  • Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in studying the influences of memory and environment on drug abuse and withdrawal.
  • Future plans: After my MA in Psychological Science, I plan to begin my career teaching Psychology at the Community College level.
  • Saldana
  • Name: Arely Saldana
  • Hometown: Jalisco, México
  • Research interests: Perception, memory, and cognitive bias in criminal trials, the effects of media on the legal system, and prison reform based on scientific evidence. I’m also interested in the effects of experiencing natural disasters on academic performance.
  • Future plans: After I graduate from the Master’s Program, I plan to apply to doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology or joint Ph. D/J.D. programs. I want to conduct research relevant to the criminal justice system while teaching at a university level.
  • Vizzusi
  • Name: Rocci Vizzusi
  • Hometown: Modesto, CA
  • Research interests: I am primarily interested in variables related to the self and their implications for psychopathology or well-being. I am also fascinated by the application of dynamical systems theory to topics in social psychology.
  • Future plans: Following the completion of this program, I plan to pursue my doctorate in social psychology with the goal of becoming a researcher and professor.
  • Gelsey
  • Name: Gelsey Aldana
  • Hometown: Rialto, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in understanding the impact that social isolation has on depression, anxiety, and vulnerability to drugs of abuse.
  • Future plans: Once I complete this program, I would like to pursue a PhD to reach my overall goal of becoming a Clinical Psychologist.
  • Kobi
  • Name: Kobi Bledsoe
  • Hometown: Seymour, IN
  • Research interests: Gender + Sexual Minority research, personality characteristics, wellbeing.
  • Future plans: Starting and finishing a PhD program.
  • Mika
  • Name: Mika Popovic
  • Hometown: Rocklin, CA
  • Research interests: My research interests involve exploring the process of posttraumatic growth, a process in which individuals discover meaning in their existence and foster positive outcomes in the aftermath of traumatic event(s). In particular, I am interested in understanding how the interrelated factors of trait mindfulness, engagement in contemplative practice, and religion, spirituality, and/ or secular worldviews can contribute to enhancing greater outcomes of posttraumatic growth.
  • Future plans: Once I graduate from Psych. Science program, I plan to begin working in a psychology-related field, possibly for non-profit organizations or careers involving research and data. However, I would also love to spend time travelling abroad and exploring the unique diversities among other cultures.
  • Parnaz
  • Name: Parnaz Rezaie Boroon
  • Hometown: La Crescenta, CA
  • Research interests: Eating disorders, especially binge eating disorder, in female adolescents and its effect on the brain.
  • Future plans: Once I complete the Psychological Science MA Program at Chico State, I aspire to enter a PhD program in Neuroscience and eventually become a professor who mentors students and conducts research in the field.
  • Pa
  • Name: Pa Yang
  • Hometown: Oroville, CA
  • Research interests: My current research interests generally include social cognition and perception, with an emphasis in family and inter to generational contexts.
  • Future plans: When I am done with the program, I possibly want to go on into a PhD program. Or, perhaps I may take a year or two off to gain some work experience related to the teaching or research field and then continue on to a PhD program. I eventually want to teach at college level and work with students in academia.

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

Pa Yang, Psychological Science AmbassadorHello! My name is Pa Yang and I am a current second year Psychological Science graduate student. In May of 2021, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Chico State. Throughout my time here at Chico State, I have been able to meet some great department faculty mentors. I have been a teaching assistant for some semesters now and have some research experience within the department. Being a first-generation student, I do understand some of the struggles first hand, in terms of navigating academia and higher education. I believe that with a mind willing to learn, perseverance, and the support of good mentors, it is possible to achieve your academic goals. As the current Psychological Science program student ambassador, I am here to help support you should you have questions regarding the program and or application process. I can also help direct you to certain resources for support about this program and or graduate school in general. Feel free to reach out to me through 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. Bo Yeong Won

Bo Yeong Won

Email: bywon@csuchico.edu

My research program integrates experimental and cognitive psychology approaches to address fundamental questions about attention, perception, and memory. One of my broad scopes of research interest is the selective mechanisms of visual attention and working memory in search behavior. For example, to find Wally in a “where’s Wally” book, we should maintain the information about Wally in memory (i.e., a template in working memory) while looking for Wally in the book to compare the “Wally” template to each visual object on the book. We repeat this process until we finally find the one. In my lab, I study the whole cognitive processes (working memory, attention, and decision making) using online and offline behavioral experiments.

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.

Useful links: