Program: M.A., Psychology
The M.A. in Psychology (with options in Clinical Research or Clinical Fieldwork) emphasizes research and practicum training, along with theory and practice in psychological assessment and psychological interventions. Students in the Clinical Research option engage in independent research projects, under the guidance of a faculty mentor, leading to graduate theses. Students in the Clinical Fieldwork option participate in fieldwork placements in clinical practicum settings under the guidance of a faculty mentor leading to the completion of comprehensive examinations. Clinic practicum options include our Child and Adolescent Diagnostic Assessment Clinic and the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Clinic. This program is designed for students aspiring to enter doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology and for those seeking master’s-level clinical and research skills. Taken alone, it is not intended as preparation for the independent, unrestricted private practice of clinical psychology, which requires a doctoral-level license in California and in most other states. (Note: The Clinical Psychology program is not a Marriage and Family Therapy [MFT] program. CSUN’s MFT program is offered by the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling.)
A. Procedures and Requirements for Admission
Please contact the department for application deadlines.
In addition to University admission requirements, the Psychology department requires:
- Submission of a Psychology Department Graduate Program Application (available from the Psychology Graduate Office or Psychology department website) to the Psychology Graduate Office by the above deadline.
- Letters of recommendation.
- GRE General Test scores. The GRE Psychology Subtest is optional and only required for non-psychology majors.
Note: The M.A in Psychology program requires personal interviews for admission.
Careful study of the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook and of the University Catalog are strongly recommended.
B. Classified Admission and Conditionally Classified Admission
Participation in any of the graduate programs offered by the Department of Psychology is limited to classified and conditionally classified graduate students. Conditionally classified admission, used sparingly by the department, is for students who have met all requirements for admission to the graduate program except for completion of a course or examination. The department specifies the conditions to be fulfilled before classified standing is awarded. Normally, these conditions must be met within the first semester of graduate training.
C. For Admission to Classified Graduate Status
- Admission to any Psychology department graduate program, except as noted in the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook, generally requires an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Applicants who do not have a degree in Psychology are required to complete certain undergraduate courses prior to acceptance to classified status. Those who do not have a degree in Psychology should study the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook and consult with the appropriate graduate option program coordinator about these requirements.
- A GPA of 3.0 is required except on approval by the graduate committee of the program option to which admission is sought. Enrollment is limited. It is not possible to admit all of the qualified students who apply.
- Completion of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required, with satisfactory scores as prescribed by the graduate committee of the option in which degree work is to be taken. The Advanced Psychology Test of the GRE is optional and only required for non-psychology majors.
- A personal interview, prior experience in research and/or applied work, and satisfactory letters of recommendation are required. Consult the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook for more information.
- General University requirements also must be met. Carefully consult other sections of this Catalog for details. These requirements include passing the Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam (UDWPE) with a score of 8 or higher.
Students admitted as classified graduate students must complete all required prerequisites before enrolling in a graduate program.
D. Program Requirements
1. Required Courses (21 units)
PSY 485US/S Univariate Statistics and Lab (3/2)
PSY 620 Advanced Psychopathology (3)
PSY 624/L Advanced Psychological Assessment and Lab (3/1)
PSY 628 Fundamentals of Psychotherapy (3)
PSY 655BC/CC Fieldwork in Psychological Services (3)
PSY 692A Seminar in Research Methodology (3)
2. Clinical Research Option Courses (10 units)
*PSY 534/S Latent Variable Analysis and Seminar (3/2) may be substituted with permission.
3. Culminating Experience (6 units)
Students in the Clinical Research option complete 6 units of PSY 698C. Students are required to complete a master’s-level thesis or project as part of their degree requirements. Specific academic, formatting and oral-defense requirements are found in the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook.
Final Oral Examination (Thesis Only)
Students electing to complete a master’s thesis will have their thesis defense as their culminating experience.
4. First-Year Evaluation
An evaluation will be made at the conclusion of the first year encompassing all aspects of a student’s work to determine eligibility to proceed into the second year of the program.
E. Deadlines and Grade Requirements
Total time allowed for completion of the program is seven years from the date of acceptance. Students who intend to interrupt their program are expected to notify the department in writing to request prior approval. Those who fail to meet these requirements, who fail to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater or who receive lower than a “C-” in any given course are subject to being dropped from the program.
Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 37
Department of Psychology
Chair: Jill Razani
Sierra Hall (SH) 376
Graduate Coordinator: Alyssa Arentoft
Graduate Coordinator: Jonathan Martinez
Student Learning Outcomes
- Students should demonstrate broad knowledge of psychology’s core domains, knowledge of psychology as a science and advanced knowledge in clinical psychology. Students should be able to articulate historical and contemporary issues and apply scientific principles in Psychology. Students should demonstrate the ability to analyze and integrate information across the major domains of psychology.
- Students should apply appropriate techniques to identify and answer research questions and make informed decisions as knowledgeable consumers of the research literature. Students should be able to evaluate literature sources with informed skepticism; integrate concepts, principles and theories to formulate plausible explanations for behavior; engage in problem-solving; and carry out their roles in science and practice with appropriate attention to cultural diversity and intersecting identities.
- Students recognize that serving in the psychological profession involves recognizing and embracing the ethical standards of the discipline and requires managing complex ethical circumstances in both research and practice contexts. Students strive to respond to ethical challenges by actively considering how characteristics, dimensions, identities, worldviews and traditions influence successful outcomes by considering factors such as culture, race, ethnicity, social class, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religious affiliation and others. Students exhibit cultural humility about potential limitations that may transpire from their own background and worldview. Students are prepared to be effective change-agents who can successfully strategize and seek consultation when necessary.
- Students should demonstrate competence in written oral and interpersonal communication skills in multiple formats and contexts. They express psychological concepts clearly and with appropriate adaptations for different audiences. Students interact effectively and collaborate collegially with professional peers. Students use technology ethically and effectively in professional and personal communication.
- Graduates will show a level of professional performance that is distinct in level of independence for the baccalaureate level. Graduates effectively evaluate and monitor their own performance. They should be knowledgeable about professional opportunities for which they are qualified and develop plans to pursue a professional career. Students should establish and communicate a clear professional identity and demonstrate a level of sophistication in adhering to professional standards. They should be not only knowledgeable but skilled in the application of psychology-specific content and skills, effective self-reflection, project-management skills, teamwork skills, and career preparation. Foundation-level outcomes concentrate on the development of work habits and ethics to succeed in academic settings. The skills in this goal at the baccalaureate level refer to abilities that sharpen student readiness for post-baccalaureate employment, graduate school or professional school. These skills can be developed and refined both in traditional academic settings and in extracurricular involvement. In addition, career professionals can be enlisted to support occupational planning and pursuit. This emerging emphasis should not be construed as obligating psychology programs to obtain employment for their graduates but instead as encouraging programs to optimize the competitiveness of their graduates for securing places in the workforce.