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Program: M.A., Psychology

Clinical Psychology

Program Description

Clinical Psychology emphasizes theory and practice in psychological assessment and psychological interventions, together with the study of research methods and program evaluation. Students participate in fieldwork placements in clinical settings in our on-campus Community Services Center in Monterey Hall as well as in off-campus placements. In addition, students may opt to engage in independent research programs leading to graduate theses. 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.)

Program Requirements

A. Procedures and Requirements for Admission

Please contact the department for application deadlines.

In addition to University admission requirements, the Psychology department requires:

  1. 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.
  2. Transcripts.
  3. Letters of recommendation.
  4. GRE scores.

Note: Clinical Psychology requires personal interviews for admission.

Early application, careful study of the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook and of the University Catalog, and consultation with the graduate advisor of the graduate program option of interest 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

  1. 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 Graduate Handbook and consult with the appropriate graduate option program coordinator about these requirements.
  2. 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.
  3. Completion of the General Test and the Advanced Psychology 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. In certain options, persons with appropriate undergraduate preparation may request waiver of the requirement for the Advanced Psychology Test.
  4. A personal interview, prior experience in applied work and satisfactory letters of recommendation are required by some programs. Consult the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook for more information.
  5. 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 (33-34 units)

a. Clinical Psychology (6 units)

PSY 595A-Z Experimental Topics in Psychology (3)
PSY 605 Introduction to Health Psychology (3)

b. Advanced Psychopathology (6 units)

PSY 610A Advanced Psychopathology—Child (3)
PSY 610B Advanced Psychopathology—Adult (3)

c. Psychological Assessment (8 units)

PSY 625C/L Child/Adolescent Psychological Assessment and Lab (3/1)
PSY 625D/L Adult Psychological Assessment and Lab (3/1)

d. Advanced Psychotherapy Techniques (6 units)

PSY 628 Fundamentals of Psychotherapy (3)
PSY 629 Concepts and Clinical Application of Behavior Analysis (3)

e. Advanced Statistics and Research Design (7-8 units)

2. Fieldwork (9-15 units)

PSY 655A-Z Fieldwork in Psychological Services (1-5)*

Students must enroll in a minimum of 9 units of PSY 655A-Z as shown in the course sequence. This requires participation in on-campus or off-campus clinical fieldwork placements. Students electing not to complete a master’s-level thesis must enroll in an additional 6 units of PSY 655 Fieldwork beyond the 9-unit minimum for a total of 15 units of fieldwork.

*May be repeated (up to four semesters) and taken for a varying number of units (1-5).

3. Culminating Experience (3-6 units)

Students must complete a Thesis/Graduate Project or a Comprehensive Examination.

a. Thesis or Graduate Project (6 units)

PSY 698C Thesis or Graduate Project (3-3)

Students may elect 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. Students who elect not to complete a master’s-level thesis or project are required to enroll in an additional 6 units of fieldwork beyond the 9-unit required fieldwork experience.

Final Oral Examination (Thesis Only)

Students electing to complete a master’s thesis will take an area examination in their second year and will have their thesis defense as their culminating experience. Candidates for the M.A. degree must pass an examination in the area of their specialization. This exam is primarily based on the thesis and is scheduled two weeks after the final version of the thesis is presented to the graduate committee.

b. Comprehensive Examination

Students opting out of a research Thesis or Graduate Project will enroll in PSY 697 Directed Comprehensive Studies (3) and will complete a comprehensive examination in their second year of study as their culminating experience. The examination is conducted by the graduate committee of the area in which the student specializes. For further information, consult the Department of Psychology Graduate Handbook or graduate advisor.

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 7 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 or who fail to maintain a GPA of 3.0 or greater are subject to being dropped from the program.

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 48


Department of Psychology
Chair: Jill Razani
Sierra Hall (SH) 376
(818) 677-2827

Graduate Coordinator: Alyssa Arentoft
(818) 677-2809

Graduate Coordinator: Jonathan Martinez
(818) 677-4265