Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Studies

Home » Academics » Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Studies

The Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Studies provides a solid foundation in psychoanalytic theory. The program offers historical and contemporary perspectives on human development, psychological health and psychopathology, and therapeutic applications of psychoanalysis. Students who may benefit from this course of study include those whose goal is to pursue clinical training to practice psychoanalysis as well as those who seek to apply psychoanalytic knowledge to other academic disciplines, such as literature, history, philosophy, or the arts.

Program Objectives

In this program, students:

  • Learn the fundamentals of classical and contemporary psychoanalytic theories
  • Trace the development of psychoanalysis from its inception to the present
  • Gain an understanding of normal and pathological development
  • Develop the ability to observe how early emotional experiences are repeated in adulthood
  • Learn how psychoanalytic treatment facilitates psychological development throughout the lifespan

Course of Study

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of 42 credits of coursework
  • Writing a master’s thesis
  • Engagement in an approved individual psychoanalysis throughout the program totaling a minimum of 80 hours

Program Catalog

Please refer to the Academic Bulletin for exact graduation requirements


To access the the current semester’s registration information packet, visit the administrative materials page.

The curriculum covers five main areas:

  • Maturation:  In the maturational sequence, courses examine normal and pathological development and theories of regression and fixation.  Students learn how repetition of various developmental phases is enacted in the transference.  Neurophysiological maturation sequences are related to emotional development.
  • Theory:  Courses in the theory sequence provide a solid foundation in classical and contemporary psychoanalytic concepts.
  • History:  This sequence traces the origins of psychoanalysis, its language, growth, and development.  The courses consider the widening scope of psychoanalysis from Freud and his contemporaries through present-day psychoanalytic thinkers.
  • Research:  The research curriculum introduces students to methodological issues and guides them through the formulation of questions of study, one of which becomes the basis for the master’s thesis.
  • Pre-Clinical Studies:  This sequence examines the psychological and biological roots of psychopathology, delineates diagnostic features of primitive mental states, and develops the ability to listen to and observe the manifestations of unconscious processes.

Instructors are all practicing psychoanalysts, so the theory is brought to life with clinical examples that illustrate key concepts.


The research curriculum introduces students to research methods in the human sciences and facilitates students’ completion of the master’s thesis.  The thesis demonstrates the ability to integrate theory with empirical data.  The project entails examining one’s own observations in light of the literature in the area of study.

Personal Psychoanalysis

Personal psychoanalysis is an integral part of the educational process. It deepens the student’s understanding of course material and helps the student tolerate the feelings aroused by the study of the human mind.  It promotes understanding of one’s own emotional states and psychodynamics, which is critical to understanding others. Each student is required to complete a minimum of 80 hours of personal psychoanalysis over the course of the program.

Time to Completion

The program is flexible, allowing students to proceed at a pace suited to their previous experience and current circumstances.  Full-time students may complete the program in two years, but many students find it beneficial to slow their pace of study to a part-time schedule, which allows them to more fully integrate the course material, thesis-writing, and personal analysis as well as to accommodate their work schedules.  


For those whose goal is to become a practicing psychoanalyst, the Master of Arts in Psychoanalytic Studies program fulfills the New York State requirement of earning a graduate degree prior to acceptance by a licensure-qualifying psychoanalytic training program.  In conjunction with the licensure-qualifying psychoanalytic training program of our sister school, the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, qualified students may benefit from an accelerated path to psychoanalytic certification and New York State licensure.  Because the curriculum of the New York Graduate School of Psychoanalysis provides the same foundational knowledge as the first two years of coursework of the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies, graduates who are accepted by the Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies enter as advanced candidates at the level of clinical training.

Admissions Criteria

Applicants are required to have earned a baccalaureate degree from an approved undergraduate institution.  They must describe their academic and applied interests and must demonstrate their motivation to learn, capacity to understand themselves and others, and readiness to engage in the study of unconscious processes.

Applicants must submit the online application, two letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.  They must arrange for their undergraduate institution to send an official transcript.  Those who meet the academic criteria will be invited for two admissions interviews.

International applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English as measured by the TOEFL or IELTS, their writing samples, and their performance during the admissions interviews.