Graduate Catalog 2021-2022 
    Mar 27, 2023  
Graduate Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology, M.A.

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Program Description

The Master of Arts degree in Psychology offered by the Psychology Department is accredited by the Council for Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychologies.  It is a unique psychology program in that it has a broadly humanistic orientation, with roots in phenomenological and existential thought, but is closely related to transpersonal approaches.  This leads to a holistic view on human beingness, which acknowledges particularly subjective and spiritual experiences.  Our students will develop self-awareness, critical and creative thinking, and sensitivities to cultural, interpersonal, and dialogical processes as well as social injustices.  Graduates have found these capacities valuable in a variety of contexts, including further graduate study, teaching, social service, public and private sector organizations, and community intervention.  We value self-inquiry and academic rigor, thus we urge self-reflection and radical personal exploration as well as sustained research and scholarship.

There is no provision for independent practice of psychology at the Masters level, as regulated by state licensing boards. There are, however, other options for Masters-level practice of mental health in related fields such as Licensed Clinical Social Work, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy, and Licensed Professional Counseling. Although we offer coursework corresponding to some content areas similar to those required for some of these mental health related fields, we are not accredited by CACREP or any other professional practice body, and our departmental curriculum is not organized around those licensure requirements.  Matters related to licensure in any professional field are between an applicant and a licensing board, and we encourage you to investigate thoroughly your areas of interest.

Students wishing solely to receive training as Licensed Professional Counselors, for example, will be better served pursuing specific training in that field, for example in the Department of Communication and Professional Counseling on campus.


Along with general Graduate School requirements, we require a minimum GPA of 2.5 and GRE Quantitative score of 140 and a Verbal score of 146.  Following initial screening, we invite selected applicants for graduate study in psychology to have an interview as part of the admission process. Considering the humanistic orientation of this program, the potential for self-awareness, exploratory research, and some knowledge of the humanistic tradition in psychology is given considerable weight in selection of applicants and program planning.


Program Requirements

There are two options to complete requirements toward graduation:

Under Option I, students must complete a minimum of 33 hours of course work plus an acceptable original thesis. Thesis will result in a minimum of 3 additional hours for a total of at least 36 credit hours. Up to 6 hours of course work can be taken in graduate courses in departments other than psychology without special permission.

Under Option II, students must complete a total of 36 hours of course work. Up to 6 hours can be taken in graduate courses in departments other than psychology without special permission.

Under both options, students may accumulate six hours of credit for Independent Study, available in areas for which there is no existing coursework and following the Graduate School guidelines for Independent Study.

Under both options, students must pass an oral comprehensive exam based on course work and individual research or projects developed over the student’s course of study.  This requirement is fulfilled under Option I through the student’s oral defense of their thesis.  Under Option II, students must submit a written document as directed by their committee. 

Thesis Proposal

The nature of the thesis proposal will reflect the type of thesis undertaken by the student as approved by the thesis Chair.  Please refer to the program website for additional thesis guidelines.

Thesis Defense

Following approval of the masters thesis by the thesis committee, the student will give an oral presentation followed by a question-and-answer period led by the student’s advisor. The thesis defense is open to the public.


Required Courses

There are two required courses: PSYC 6000 - Foundations of Humanistic Psychology, and PSYC 6021 - Psychology as Human Science. All other courses are elective, giving students the freedom and responsibility to develop their own plans of study.  Ideally, a student’s individualized plan is developed in collaboration with a faculty mentor.  We assign incoming students to a program faculty mentor at admission based on apparent compatibility of interests and approach, and we also encourage students to invite faculty members to serve in that capacity.

Within the broad generalist frame, some students may choose an informal area of emphasis, concentration, or focus.  We offer the following as examples of areas of interest pursued by students in our program. Descriptions are available on our program website. Note that many of these areas of focus are overlapping and are NOT intended to suggest exclusivity of emphasis: Applied Humanistic Psychology (Humanism and Praxis) Critical Psychology Consciousness Studies Dialogical Psychology Feminist Psychology Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Psychology Parapsychology Psychology of Mind and Body Community Psychology, Social, and Cultural Approaches to Social Justice Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology  Please refer to our program website for detailed examples of coursework corresponding to each area of emphasis.

M.A. Psychology Electives

In addition to the eight credit hours of the two required courses, the M.A. degree requires 28 additional credit hours. Twenty-two of these credit hours must be from Psychology coursework at the 5000, 6000, or 7000 level; six credit hours from outside the Psychology Department at the 5000, 6000, or 7000 level may be applied to the degree.

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