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Academic Catalog 2020-2021

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Non-Thesis (MA)

All application materials for the Counseling Psychology Graduate Program are due by March 1 for Fall admission and October 1 for Spring admission . Students ordinarily begin their graduate studies in the Fall semester, however, with special permission of the Chair of the Department of Behavioral, Applied Sciences and Criminal Justice, the student may begin graduate studies during the summer session. To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program, the student must complete the following requirements before March 1 or October 1 .

Students accepted for admission to the Counseling Psychology Graduate Program will be notified of a general information and orientation meeting held during the month of August for the Fall admission and December for Spring admission. The purpose of this meeting will be to outline departmental expectations of students, to provide orientation to institutional and departmental procedures, and to provide other information that may be of use to graduate students.

Licensed Professional Counselor Exam

Completion of the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology allows the graduate to sit for the Licensed Professional Counselor Exam. Upon passing the exam and completion of additional required internship hours, the graduate is eligible to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. 

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Program Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.) Counselling Psychology (Non-Thesis): Project (60 credits)

For more information, see www.mcgill.ca/study/faculties/education/graduate/gps_edu_educational_cou... .

Required Courses (57 credits)

Offered by: Educational&Counselling Psych ( Faculty of Education )

Administered by: Graduate Studies

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Phenomenological, cognitive, behavioural and developmental theories that bear on the interventions of counsellors, psychologists, and other practitioners.

Terms: Fall 2022

Instructors: Wendt, Dennis (Fall)

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : History of psychological testing, theoretical aspects of individual and group testing, validity, reliability, and test construction, basic theories of intelligence, and ethical and legal issues in testing. An introduction to tests of cognitive abilities, aptitude, personality, and interests, including the acquisition of basic skills needed to administer and interpret individual tests of cognitive abilities. Students taking courses which access the ECP Assessment Materials Resource Centre are required to pay an access fee as well as the cost of all consumables required per course. The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period.

Terms: Winter 2023

Instructors: Appignanesi, Gus (Winter)

Prerequisite: Undergraduate-level course in psychological measurement and assessment

Students taking courses which access the ECP Assessment Materials Resource Centre are required to pay an access fee as well as the cost of all consumables required per course. The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period. The fee is $53.50.

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : An introduction to differential assessment and diagnosis for counsellors in educational and mental health settings. The clinical interview, the assessment process, the DSM-IV, relevant test instruments, diagnostic procedures, and development of treatment plans will be subjects of study. Models of record keeping and referral procedures will be reviewed.

Instructors: Stern, Melissa (Fall)

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : A focused survey of the research literature on a topic chosen in consultation with the research supervisor.

Terms: Fall 2022, Winter 2023

Instructors: There are no professors associated with this course for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Development of a rationale for a research project supported by the research literature, the articulation of a specific research question(s) related to the rationale, and write up of a method to collect data that will answer the question.

Terms: Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Summer 2023

Prerequisite: EDPC 619 .

Corequisite: EDPC 619 .

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Data collection based on the method proposed in Research Project 2.

Prerequisite(s): EDPC 619 , EDPC 620 .

Corequisites: EDPC 619 ; EDPC 620 .

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : A first level practicum in basic interviewing and helping skills and their application to a range of problems. Clients are seen in the McGill Psychoeducational and Counselling Clinic. Students taking courses which access the ECP Assessment Materials Resource Centre are required to pay an access fee as well as the cost of all consumables required per course. The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period.

Instructors: Langevin, Rachel; Korner, Annett (Fall)

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : A second level practicum in basic interviewing and helping skills and their application to a range of problems. Clients are seen in the McGill Psychoeducational and Counselling Clinic. Students taking courses which access the ECP Assessment Materials Resource Centre are required to pay an access fee as well as the cost of all consumables required per course. The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period.

Instructors: Langevin, Rachel; Korner, Annett (Winter)

Prerequisite: EDPC 625

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Data analysis based on data collected in Research Project 3.

Corequisites: EDPC 619 , EDPC 620 , EDPC 621 .

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Interpretation of data collected in Research Project 3 including its relationship to the literature and its implications.

Corequisites: EDPC 619 , EDPC 620 , EDPC 621 , EDPC 628 .

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : The development of a written report of the research project in the form of a manuscript suitable for publication.

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Contemporary career theories, and their relationship to career development, career assessment, career transition and workplace concerns are reviewed. Current issues related to career development across the life span with specific attention given to topics such as values, aptitudes, family, culture and societal contexts will be explored. Students taking courses which access the ECP Assessment Materials Resource Centre are required to pay an access fee as well as the cost of all consumables required per course. The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period.

Instructors: Tomaro, Jann (Fall)

The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period. The fee is $62.00

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Seminar and field practice in the administration and interpretation of tests that assess individual characteristic ways of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself . The course covers the selection and evaluation of personality and vocational instruments, ethical test use, test administration, report writing, and communication of results.

Instructors: Deault, Louise (Fall) Saykaly, Christine (Winter)

Prerequisite: EDPC 609 .

The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period. The fee is $205.

Ed Psych & Couns (Counselling) : Seminar and field practice in the administration and interpretation of instruments that assess cognitive functioning and psychosocial functioning as it relates to cognitive abilities and academic achievements. The course covers the selection and evaluation of instruments, ethical test use, test administration, report writing, and communication of test results.

Instructors: Appignanesi, Gus; Saykaly, Christine (Fall) Saykaly, Christine (Winter)

Students taking courses which access the ECP Assessment Materials Resource Centre are required to pay an access fee as well as the cost of all consumables required per course. The fee is dependent on the number of consumables/protocols used in each class and is refundable during the withdrawal with full refund period. The fee is $117.

Ed Psych & Couns (Psychology) : Multicultural, multilingual and gender issues as they relate to the practising school and counselling psychologist. Implications and their impact in assessment, research, training, and intervention.

Instructors: Wendt, Dennis (Winter)

Restriction: Open to School/ Applied Child and Counselling Psychology students only

Ed Psych & Couns (Psychology) : Ethics and the professional and governmental structures regulating the practice of psychology in Quebec, Canada, and North America and their relation to the work of psychologists. Required for licensing as a psychologist.

Instructors: Norton, Judith (Fall)

Prerequisite: EDPE 575 or equivalent

Restriction: Open only to students in M.A. (Thesis) Educational Psychology - School/Applied Child Psychology Stream Program, M.A. (Non-Thesis) Counselling Psychology - Project Program, and M.A. (Thesis) Counselling Psychology Program.

Ed Psych & Couns (Psychology) : Concepts and procedures of conducting basic descriptive and inferential statistics, including analysis of variance, correlation, and regression models. Provides experience with data-analysis tools.

Instructors: Robinson, Kristy (Fall)

Complementary Courses (3 credits)

3 credits from the following:

Ed Psych & Couns (Psychology) : General linear model as a unified data analytic system for estimation and hypothesis testing that subsumes regression, analysis of variance, and analysis of covariance for single dependent variables. Introduction to generalizations involving multiple dependent (criterion) variables. Applications oriented toward education, educational psychology and counselling psychology. Experience with data-analysis tools.

Instructors: Konishi, Chiaki (Winter)

Prerequisite: EDPE 676

Ed Psych & Couns (Psychology) : The logics of design and selection of phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, case study and mixed design methods with emphasis on data analysis in light of issues of research purpose, epistemology, reliability and validity.

Instructors: Ruglis, Jessica (Winter)

Department and University Information


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masters in psychology without thesis

Clinical Psychology (MA) – Applied Pre-Licensure/Non-Thesis

Program at a glance.

Learn more about program tuition and fees .

U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges - Most Innovative 2022-2023

The Master of Arts Clinical Psychology Program is a terminal master's program offered at the UCF Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. The Applied Pre-Licensure/Non-Thesis Track is designed for students interested in delivering clinical services in a variety of settings including community agencies and private practice. After completing the program and after two years of postgraduate supervised clinical experience, graduates are eligible to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) in the state of Florida. Please visit the program's website for more information, including a list of program faculty members and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs): https://sciences.ucf.edu/psychology/graduate/ma-clinical/faqs/ .

The Clinical Psychology Applied Pre-Licensure/Non-Thesis Track requires a minimum of 61 credit hours beyond the Bachelor's degree, including 49 credit hours of required courses and 12 clinical internship credit hours. This track is for students primarily interested in clinical practice at the Master's level upon graduation; however, some students in this track have applied to and gained admission into doctoral programs after graduation.

The primary areas of emphasis include assessment or evaluation skills and intervention or psychotherapy skills, and the program curriculum is consistent with the educational criteria for licensure as a mental health counselor in the state of Florida. Program graduates have been involved in mental health service delivery through individual, marital, family, and group psychotherapy, as well as crisis intervention and other specialized therapeutic procedures. Although research is not required in this track, students in this track do have the opportunity to engage in collaborative research with program faculty.

Total Credit Hours Required: 61 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Application Deadlines

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Track Prerequisites

Degree Requirements

Required courses.

Comprehensive Exam and Case Presentation

Grand Total Credits: 61

Application requirements.

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online . All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

Admission into the clinical master's program is competitive and meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Members of the program faculty review each student's credentials and invite competitive candidates for an interview. Final admission is based on submitted materials (e.g. GPA, letters of reference, personal statement, clinical experience, research experience) and performance on the interview. More generally, the program faculty consider the applicant's abilities, past performance, match between faculty expertise and the applicant's career/academic goals, and the applicant's potential to successfully complete the program.

Students are admitted to full-time status and complete the MA program in two calendar years (including summers).

Financial Information

Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.

Fellowship Information

Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student's graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

masters in psychology without thesis

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Thesis vs Non-Thesis Tracks

Non-Thesis Track - (60 Hours)

Students in the SHSU Clinical Psychology MA program who do not write a thesis must select the three clinical electives from the list of Supplemental Practitioner Courses below. No other courses may be used to satisfy the non-thesis option unless prior approval is received. 

General Core

These courses are usually offered once a year and include Advanced Social Psychology, Advanced Developmental Psychology, Cognition, Advanced Physiological Psychology, Experimental Design, and Statistics.

Clinical Core

Students will take Psychotherapy I, Assessment of Intelligence and Achievement, Assessment of Personality and Psychopathology, Psychopathology, Psychometrics I, Psychology of Diversity, Ethical Practice in Psychology, Techniques in Psychology and Practicum I, II, & III.

PSY 6391 is an "in house" experience involving role playing, individual supervision, discussion, lectures, and some volunteer work at various agencies in the community. In PSY 6392 and 6393, Practicum II and Practicum III, you will be assigned to a mental health setting where you will work with a variety of clients who are experiencing a wide range of problems in living. Additionally, you may be engaged in psychological assessment, group work, and interdisciplinary team functioning.

Supplemental Practitioner Courses

Three practitioner courses in addition to those above must be selected from the following clinical electives: PSYC 5340, Evidence-Based Child Therapy; PSYC 5361, Neuropsychopharmacology; PSYC 7339, Developmental Psychopathology; PSYC 5334, Theory and Research in Psychotherapy II, which might include Group Therapy, Couple and Family Psychology, Addiction Disorders and Treatment, Trauma, or other clinically-related topics. Periodically, other clinically related courses might be approved for this requirement.

Thesis Track - (60 Hours)

All general core courses are ordinarily offered once a year. The general core is comprised of advanced courses in Social Psychology, Development Psychology, Cognition, Physiological Psychology, Learning, and Statistics.

Core clinical courses consist of Psychotherapy I, Assessment of Personality and Psychopathology, Advanced Abnormal Psychology, Psychometrics I & II, and Practicum I, II, & III.

PSY 6391 is an "in house" experience involving role playing, individual supervision, discussion, lectures, and some volunteer work at various agencies in the community. In PSY 6392 and 6393, Practicum II and Practicum III, you will be assigned to a mental health setting where you will work with a variety of clients who are experiencing a wide range of problems in living. Additionally, you will be engaged in psychological assessment, group work, and interdisciplinary team functioning.

Thesis Courses - PSY 6098 - Thesis I and PSY 6099 - Thesis II. PSY 6099 may be repeated if necessary to complete the thesis defense. 

If the thesis is completed in 6 hours, students will need to select one practitioner course in addition to those above in order to meet the 60-hour requirement. Clinical electives include PSYC 5340, Evidence-Based Child Therapy; PSYC 5361, Neuropsychopharmacology; PSYC 7339, Developmental Psychopathology; PSYC 5334, Theory and Research in Psychotherapy II, which might include Group Therapy, Couple and Family Psychology, Addiction Disorders and Treatment, Trauma, or other clinically-related topics. Periodically, other clinically related courses might be approved for this requirement.

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Master of Arts (M.A.) Major in Psychological Research (Non-thesis Option)

Program overview.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with a major in Psychological Research is designed to foster competence in the methodological foundations and conduct of psychological research across a wide variety of settings. Students will gain expertise regarding the impact of biological, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral factors on psychological phenomena. Focus is placed on learning interpersonal/research skills and statistical competencies relevant to the responsible and ethical conduct of both basic and applied psychological research.

Evaluation of Student Fitness and Performance

Members of the faculty, using their professional judgments, evaluate student fitness and performance continuously. The criteria used by the faculty to make such judgments include instructors’ observations of student performance in class or in activities related to courses. Students who are not making satisfactory progress or who are not meeting program standards should consider withdrawing from the program.

In this context, the term “satisfactory progress” refers to an academic judgment made regarding the student’s fitness and performance. It is a judgment that the student has failed to meet program standards rather than a judgment made on the basis of the student’s violation of valid rules of conduct. Disciplinary matters are referred to Dean of Student’s Office.

Student Review Process

If a faculty member believes that a student is not making satisfactory progress or meeting program standards, he or she should discuss the situation with the student. If the faculty member believes that the student’s performance cannot improve to acceptable standards, the faculty member should refer the student to the Program Standards Committee of the appropriate department. The Program Standards Committee consists of three faculty members appointed by the Department Chair in consultation with the department’s senior faculty.

The Committee will notify the student of the reasons that he or she is not making satisfactory progress or meeting program standards and will give the student an opportunity to meet with the Committee to respond and to present information and witnesses to the committee. The Committee will also meet with the faculty member who referred the student to the Committee. After considering the matter, and within ten working days of meeting with the student, the Committee will report to the student and the Department Chair. The Committee will recommend that the student either be allowed to remain in the program or be removed from the program. The committee may make other recommendations, such as placing restrictions or conditions on the student’s continuing in the program. Within ten working days of receiving the Committee’s recommendations, the student will be notified of the Department Chair’s decision (acceptance or rejection of the committee’s recommendation).

Within ten working days of receiving the Committee’s recommendation, the Chair will make a decision as to the student’s continued presence in the program. Before making the decision, the student will have the opportunity to meet with the Chair and to offer information on his/her behalf. However, the Chair need not meet with the student before making a decision if the Chair has given the student a reasonable opportunity to meet, and the student has either failed or refused to meet. The Chair will notify the student of the decision.

If the student is dissatisfied with the Chair’s decision, he or she may appeal to the Dean of the Graduate College. However, in order for an appeal to be considered, the student must submit a written notice for an appeal to the Chair and to the Dean within ten working days of receiving the Chair’s decision. The Dean will consider the matter based on information compiled by the Chair and notify the student of his or her decision within ten working days of the Dean’s receipt of the appeal from the Chair. The Dean may meet with the student and give the student an opportunity to address the issues. The Dean’s decision is final.

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the current academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the current academic year can be found on The Graduate College's website . International students should review the International Admission Documents webpage for additional requirements.



Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

This program does  not  offer admission if the scores above are not met.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree with a major in Psychological Research requires 38 semester credit hours.

In addition to meeting the University standards, students are required to follow department policies. The policy of the department on grades is that a student must complete all required courses with a grade of "B" or better. Students who make a grade of "C" or worse in a required course will be required to retake the course. A student will be placed on probation for receiving two grades of "C" or worse in the program. A student whose current degree audit reflects 3 "C"s in required courses will be dismissed.

At the midpoint of each semester, faculty will be asked to provide information to the Graduate Director regarding any students having potential problems with grades. The Graduate Director or Designee will meet with students in danger of making "C"s or worse in their program courses.

The Graduate Director or Designee will review all students’ grades at the end of each semester and send written notification to those students who make grades of "C" or worse explaining their status and any required actions.

Course Requirements

Comprehensive examination requirement.

All students in the Psychological Research Program are required by the University to take and pass a comprehensive examination in order to graduate. Students will have their comprehensive examination administered orally and will be evaluated on the basis of their final project. If students fail the exam, they are allowed to repeat it until they pass.

Students who do not successfully complete the requirements for the degree within the timelines specified will be dismissed from the program.

Master's level courses in Psychology: PSY

Courses Offered

Psychology (psy).

PSY 5105. Practicum in Teaching Psychology.

This course will examine processes and strategies designed to improve the teaching and learning process. Students will be introduced to learning and instructional theory and selected concepts, issues, and strategies of instructional planning, delivery, management, and evaluation. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable with different emphasis. Prerequisite: Instructor approval.

PSY 5198. Research Seminar.

Taken in two consecutive semesters, this seminar provides an orientation to the graduate program and the steps required for thesis completion. Topics include the discussion of research interests, critiquing literature, and topic selection; developing and submitting a research proposal; selecting a thesis committee; and thesis completion and submission. Restricted to M.A. students in Psychological Research.

PSY 5199B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuous thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

PSY 5299B. Thesis.

PSY 5306. Psychological Development: Theories & Research.

This course is an advanced coverage of biological, social, and cognitive development throughout the lifespan. Topics include cognitive developmental theory, sensory/perceptual development, language development, infant attachment, the development of gender roles, moral development, and issues related to aging. Prerequisite: PSY 3300 with a grade of "C" or better.

PSY 5310. Advanced Psychopathology.

This course offers a critical analysis of the definition and classification of psychopathology and experiences and an in-depth study of theories and research on causes, remediation, and prevention. Prerequisite: PSY 3315 with a grade of "C" or better.

PSY 5311. Univariate and Bivariate Statistics.

This course introduces students to univariate and bivariate statistical concepts and techniques used in psychology research (e.g., probability, sampling distributions, t-tests, and analysis of variance, correlation). Emphasis is placed on developing skills in data analysis including the selection of appropriate techniques, using data analysis software, and interpretation of statistical results. Prerequisite: PSY 2301 with a grade of "C" or better.

PSY 5318. Assessment in Psychology.

The course will provide an overview of assessment instruments commonly used by psychologists and neuropsychologists in research and practice. Basic psychometrics such as validity and reliability also will be covered.

PSY 5320. Principles of Measurement and Statistics.

The course emphasizes classical measurement theory, including reliability and validity of measurement instruments commonly used in psychology, and reviews descriptive statistics with a focus on correlation and regression. Prerequisite: Course in undergraduate statistics.

PSY 5321. Multivariate Statistics.

This course introduces students to multivariate statistical techniques commonly used in psychological research such as analysis of variance and covariance, multiple regression, and factor analysis. Emphasis is placed on developing applied skills in data analysis: selection of appropriate statistical techniques, using data analysis software, and interpretation of statistical results. Prerequisite: PSY 5311 with a grade of "B" or better.

PSY 5324. Biological Bases of Behavior.

This course provides an overview of the nervous system structure and function appropriate to the overall field of Psychology in order to foster an appreciation of the biological determinants of behavior.

PSY 5326. Neuropsychological Assessment.

This course will introduce principles of neuropsychological assessment including assessment procedures, interpretation of results, neuropathology, and the range of neuropsychological functions to be assessed. This course will also cover the characteristics and administration of several neuropsychological assessment instruments.

PSY 5335. Foundations of Health Psychology.

This course will utilize a biopsychosocial approach to understand the psychology of wellness and disease. Topics include stress, coping, pain, social support, and chronic illness. Special emphasis will focus on physiological responses, psychoneuroimmunology, and somatization.

PSY 5345. Psychopharmacology.

This course explores: (1) the reasons that humans and animals consume mind altering substances called psychoactive drugs, (2) the neuronal, chemical, and hormonal mechanisms underlying drug action, and (3) the environmental factors that modulate the impact of psychoactive drugs on emotional, cognitive, perceptual and behavioral expression in humans and animals.

PSY 5348. Health Psychology: Prevention and Intervention.

This course will focus on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention and intervention strategies to enhance health and wellness. Topics will include health-promoting behaviors, risky health behaviors, theories of health behavior change, the process of medical care, and treatment adherence. Special emphasis will be on planning, implementation, and assessment of interventions. Prerequisites: PSY 5335 with a grade of "B" or better.

PSY 5352. Psychological Therapies.

This survey course on evidence-based psychological interventions focuses on the active mechanisms by which therapies work and their application to specific diagnostic categories and conditions. Interpersonal, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and dialectical behavior therapies will be highlighted along with newer empirically-based therapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and mindfulness approaches.

PSY 5360G. Forensic Psychology.

Examination of the relationships between psychology and the Criminal Justice system. Emphasis is placed on how psychology variables influence how individuals carry out their duties within the system. Sample topics include: (a) psychology and jury decision-making, (b) accuracy/impact of eyewitnesses testimony, and (c) how characteristics of defendants influence juries.

PSY 5360H. Psychology of Women.

The course includes an in-depth examination of the development of women's roles and gender differences as well as a consideration of women's relationships, sexuality, employment, and diversity. Special topics such as women and violence will also be covered. (MULT).

PSY 5360N. Advanced Statistical Methodology.

An overview of commonly used statistical methods in scientific research, with a core focus on generalized linear mixed models for individual studies and meta-analysis for study aggregation. Analyses will be implemented primarily in the R statistical programming environment.

PSY 5360O. Applied Biostatistics in Health Research.

This course will examine methodological approaches and applied biostatistics in health research. Emphasis on non-parametric univariate and multivariate statistical tests. Prerequisite: PSY 5311 with a grade of "C" or better or instructor approval.

PSY 5360P. Psychology of Culture and Diversity.

This course provides a graduate level introduction to psychological theories and methods that examine the links between culture and human behavior, affect and cognitions. The course explores the relevance of these links to life development, mental health, social and gender identity, and sexuality. The student is expected to gain critical thinking skills in evaluating the validity of psychological knowledge within a cultural context. More importantly, the students are expected to gain an appreciation and understanding for cultural variation in human behavior across different cultures and an enhanced awareness and ability to work with a culturally diverse and multicultural population.

PSY 5362. Cognitive Neuroscience.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to cognitive neuroscience: the study of the biological basis of cognitive processes such as perception, attention, memory, language, and decision-making. This is a seminar course that will cover theoretical constructs, methods, and current research findings in cognitive neuroscience. Prerequisite: PSY 3322 with a grade of "B" or better.

PSY 5366. Individual Study.

Students design and execute original research or engage in extensive fieldwork in the field of psychology under the supervision of a faculty member. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite: PSY 5391 with a grade of "C" or better and instructor approval.

PSY 5367. Research Seminar in Social Psychology.

The course provides an in-depth examination of selected topics in social psychology. The focus of student commitment and responsibility is learning about social psychology and actively producing psychological knowledge. The course covers the research process and concludes with each student developing a research proposal.

PSY 5370. Learning, Cognition, and Motivation.

Basic problems in the acquisition of responses, treating with such constructs as reinforcement, extinction, retention, forgetting, problem solving, motivation, and punishment. Major theories are treated through attention to classical experiments, but greatest emphasis is given to contemporary research. See Educational Psychology 5370.

PSY 5373. Human Memory and Memory Disorders.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of topics in human memory including different types of memory and the brain structures involved. Special emphasis will be given to problems with memory including aging memory, amnesia, and Alzheimer's disease. This course will cover current theories of memory with discussions of cutting-edge research.

PSY 5374. The Psychology of Language.

This course provides a grounding in the cognitive theories/models of the major areas of language research: acquisition, comprehension, and production. It also provides an overview of the cognitive processes involved in several specific topic areas in language, such as syntax, semantics, discourse, prosody, bilingualism, neuro-linguistics, sign language, and reading.

PSY 5381. Introduction to Psychophysiology.

This course will provide an overview of the principles, theory, and applications of using physiological measures to study mental processes. This course will illustrate how the use of psychophysiological measurements can enhance our understanding of brain/mind/behavior relationships.

PSY 5391. Research Methods & Experimental Design.

Problems in psychology, emphasis on research procedures. A research project is required of each student. Restricted to M.A. students in Psychological Research.

PSY 5398. Internship in Psychology.

Students engage in extensive field work in a professional setting related to psychology. Prerequisite: PSY 5311 and PSY 5321 and PSY 5391 all with grades of "C" or better.

PSY 5399A. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s initial thesis enrollment. No thesis credit is awarded until the student has completed the thesis in PSY 5399B .

PSY 5399B. Thesis.

PSY 5599B. Thesis.

PSY 5999B. Thesis.

2022-2023 Catalogs

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the 30 best psychology master's programs and how to pick.

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General Education


Regardless of whether you majored in psychology as an undergrad or are just now realizing you have an invested interest in the field, a psychology master's program could be a great fit for you, especially if you're not sure about pursuing a doctorate.

In this guide, we look at what kinds of psychology master's programs are out there and what the point of these programs is in terms of how they help you build a career. Moreover, we'll present you with a list of the best psychology master's programs for various kinds of psychology.

What's the Point of a Master's in Psychology?

What is the overall purpose of entering a psychology master's program and earning an advanced degree in psychology?

For one, many people choose to get a master's degree in psychology to learn more about a specific subfield or type of psychology. Whereas a bachelor's degree program in psych mostly provides you with a broad overview of the field, a master's degree program lets you concentrate on the particular area of psychology that interests you most.

The area you're interested in will likely vary depending on what kind of job you're hoping to get after you earn your degree (and also whether you want to continue on to get a doctorate ).

Here are some examples of the types of psychology you could study in a graduate program:

Secondly, a master's degree in psychology can be useful because many jobs in the field require or strongly prefer people with a master's degree. In short, a master's degree has the potential to advance your career.

Most counseling and therapy jobs, for example, require a master's degree in psychology, therapy, counseling, social work, or a related field. Therefore, by getting a master's degree, you're not only deepening your knowledge of a particular area of psych but also expanding your job prospects.

The chart below shows a variety of psychology-related jobs for master's degree holders and what kinds of salaries and job growth rates you can expect for them. All jobs listed require at least a bachelor's degree (typically in psychology), with some requiring a master's degree in psychology or a related field.

For each job, we give you its 2021 median annual salary and employment growth rate for 2020-2030. Jobs are listed in order of highest salary to lowest. All data is from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

According to the BLS, the current average employment growth rate is 10%, so any job with a percentage higher than this means that it's growing faster than average.

In general, an advanced degree will increase your earning potential. Even for jobs that only require a bachelor's degree, a master's degree could help you stand apart from other applicants and give you a better chance of nabbing a higher salary for that position.

But what if you want to become an actual psychologist?


Can You Become a Psychologist With Just a Master's Degree?

You might have noticed that the chart above doesn't include the job "psychologist" in it. This isn't a mistake—the reality is that in order to become a practicing psychologist, you will need to earn either a PhD in Psychology or a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). In other words, a master's degree, though impressive, simply won't cut it if your dream is to work full-time as a licensed psychologist.

I should clarify here that a psychologist differs from a therapist. Psychologists hold a doctorate and often work with psychiatrists to diagnose and treat disorders; they can also conduct research or offer therapy. By contrast, therapists can hold either a master's degree or doctorate and solely offer therapy services to support and guide patients. The word "therapist" is a broader term that encompasses not only psychologists who offer therapy services, but also counselors, life coaches, and social workers.

According to the BLS, the majority of research, clinical, and counseling psychologists are required to have a doctoral degree . That said, a master's degree could be sufficient for jobs as a school psychologist or an industrial-organizational psychologist.

In addition to a PhD or PsyD, you'll usually need to have a psychologist license. This applies to most jobs that include the title "psychologist." (Note that although therapists must be licensed as well, their license requirements differ from those required to become a psychologist.)

To get licensed as a psychologist, you'll typically need to have done the following:

Exact licensure requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your own state's policies and procedures to see what you must do to become a licensed psychologist.

Though not typically required by states, certain jobs might require psychologists to obtain board certification in a particular area of psychology, too.

Here are some examples of jobs you could get with a doctorate in psychology (ordered from highest median salary to lowest):


Best Psychology Master's Programs: Notes on Rankings

Before we take a look at our list of the best psychology master's programs, it's important that we are aware of the current state of these types of programs.

Because a doctorate is required to become a psychologist—the overarching goal of many people studying psychology— there aren't many terminal psychology master's programs in the US.

Indeed, most psychologists earn a master's in psychology on the way to their doctorate (students normally get an MA/MS in Psychology along the way to the PhD or PsyD after a couple of years of study). This means that it can be somewhat difficult to find psychology master's degree programs that are not part of doctoral programs.

Therefore, we've looked mostly at master's degree programs in fields related to psychology, such as social work, counseling, and therapy. These degrees range from a Master of Social Work (MSW), to an MA, to other specialized types of professional master's degrees.

For each category of master's degree, we'll be introducing you to our top four to five choices (unranked), which we have determined based primarily on the following criteria:

Now then, it's time to look at our picks for the best psychology master's programs!

The Best Psychology Master's Programs, by Category

Since there aren't that many terminal psychology master's programs (programs that don't require or expect you to continue on to get a doctoral degree), this list will mostly consist of programs that offer master's degrees in fields strongly tied to psychology.

Here are the seven categories we'll be looking at (feel free to click the link to jump straight to that category):

Social Work

Marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling/educational psychology, rehabilitation counseling, clinical psychology, industrial-organizational psychology.


The field of social work is largely connected to psychology, especially counseling and therapy, in that it's all about improving the lives of people and people within certain communities. Typically, social work master's degree programs lead to a Master of Social Work (MSW).

University of Michigan —Ann Arbor, MI

Ranked #1 by US News and many other top social work programs lists, U-M's MSW program offers many areas of specialization, including aging in families and society, children and youth in families, and community and social systems.

Many students attend U-M's MSW program to jump-start their careers as school social workers, juvenile justice workers, case managers, community organizers, or geriatric specialists.

The school offers 550 fieldwork locations so students can gain real-life experience and training. U-M also has made available several scholarships, such as the Geriatric Scholarship Program and the Child Welfare Scholarship.

Washington University in St. Louis —St. Louis, MO

Another top-ranked social work program based at the Brown School, WUSTL's MSW offers the opportunity to perform groundbreaking research with renowned faculty to create sustainable impact.

Nine concentrations are available, including mental health; American Indian and Alaska Native; children, youth, and families; health; and violence and injury prevention. WUSTL has connections with more than 500 organizations around the world for students to complete their practicum.

University of Chicago —Chicago, IL

If you'd prefer a more flexible approach to social work, UChicago's social work master's degree program might be a good fit for you. Equivalent to an MSW, the MA in Social Work, Social Policy, and Social Administration provides students with a broader foundation that combines research, theory, practical experience, and policy development.

Two concentrations are available: Clinical and Social Administration. In addition, students can take advantage of a handful of study abroad opportunities in India, China, and Hong Kong. (Note: due to COVID-19 restrictions, the study abroad programs in China and Hong Kong are currently on hold.) 

Columbia University —New York, NY

Home to the first social work school in the US, Columbia has a highly ranked MSW program . This rigorous program combines theory and practice to help students become leading professionals in the field of social work.

Four method concentrations are available across seven fields of practice, which are as follows:

Columbia's MSW is also available entirely online (for specific fields of practice) —perfect for those who aren't based in New York or who'd prefer the flexibility of an online program.

University of California, Berkeley —Berkeley, CA

Established in 1944, UC Berkeley's Master of Social Welfare (MSW) program is known for producing top-quality social work professionals who are able to work in multiple practice areas and assume a variety of leadership roles.

There are three specializations students can choose from:

Although UC Berkeley doesn't offer an online version of its MSW program, students have the option of earning their MSW degree concurrently with either a Master of Public Health or a Master of Public Policy. Working professionals or other students who can’t attend a full-time degree program can pursue the FlexMSW option as well. FlexMSW Advanced program allows students to complete the degree in one year; the FlexMSW Extended program allows students to extend the degree timeline over the course of three years.


These next master's programs specialize in marriage and family therapy, and offer degrees and practical experiences so you can become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in the state where you earn your degree.

Note that although many of these programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), MFT programs are not required to have this accreditation.

Northwestern University —Evanston, IL

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy program at Northwestern is a joint initiative between The Graduate School and the Family Institute at Northwestern—which boasts an impressive 40-year history of researching and teaching marriage and family therapy.

This COAMFTE-accredited program uses a 21st-century approach called Integrative Systemic Therapy. Students study topics such as intimate relations, treatment models, and methods of systems therapy; do an intensive clinical internship; and conduct at least 500 hours of therapy.

Brigham Young University —Provo, UT

Students can earn an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy in BYU's COAMFTE-accredited program, which aims to prepare students to pass the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards .

The aim of the program is to help students develop theoretical, research, and clinical competence, as well as the ability to understand cultural diversity. Students have the option to pursue either a research track (mainly for those intending to go on to doctoral study) or a clinical track.

The program is quite competitive, with a mere 20% acceptance rate.

University of San Diego —San Diego, CA

USD offers a highly regarded MA in Marital and Family Therapy program that is accredited by both COAMFTE and the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California .

This two-year program has a unique "biopsychosocial, systems approach" that focuses on how relationships influence our day-to-day lives. Class topics include human diversity, couples and sex therapy, ethical and legal issues in family therapy, and family violence.

Students enroll in a practicum for three semesters wherein they accumulate 500 hours of direct supervised contact with clients by working for a community agency.

Pepperdine University —Malibu, CA

At Pepperdine, students can get an MA in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy .

This program, which offers more than 130 clinical practicum sites, prepares students to become a licensed marriage and family therapist or a licensed professional clinical counselor in the state of California.

Classes teach students about human sexuality and intimacy, mental health systems, multicultural counseling, and preparing for the practicum.


The following master's programs in psychology focus on providing counseling services to people with psychiatric disabilities and/or problems with substance abuse and addiction (as opposed to rehabilitation counseling or career counseling, for example).

Many mental health counseling master's programs are accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) and/or the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

New York University —New York, NY

NYU, a consistently top-ranked private university, offers an MPCAC-accredited MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness program . In this program, students must complete a 600-hour internship and a 100-hour practicum over a 12-week period.

This program is available both on-campus and online , the latter of which lets you choose from among three start dates (January, June, or September). The online version also gives students the chance to visit NYU for three to four days of networking and hands-on training.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill —Chapel Hill, NC

UNC's Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling master's program is a unique, highly regarded program that combines two types of counseling and is also accredited by CACREP.

This program specifically aims to prepare students to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors (CRCs) and Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in North Carolina. In 2021, 100% passed the CRC exam on their first attempt, and the job placement rate of CRMH graduates who were actively seeking employment after graduation is 98% for the past five years.

Students can choose to concentrate on developmental disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, or both.

At the famed Columbia Teachers College, students can earn an MEd in Mental Health Counseling . Strengths of the program include its focus on cultural diversity and social justice, its commitment to experiential training, and its emphasis on providing students with adequate opportunities to conduct research.

Many graduates of the program go on to work in educational and health settings such as schools, colleges, hospitals, and clinics.

University of Wisconsin–Madison —Madison, WI

UW Madison's highly ranked MS in Counseling program is available through the Department of Counseling Psychology. Mandatory core courses include Abnormal Behavior and Psychopathology, Social and Cultural Foundations, Counseling Theories, and Crisis and Trauma Counseling. Students must complete a year-long practicum and also have the option to do a master's thesis.


These next counseling psychology master's programs are all about helping students in school settings. School counselors assist students with personal, social, and career development; they also offer guidance to students with academic problems.

Most school counselors work in schools (primary and secondary), though some instead work at community centers or youth centers. Like the mental health counseling programs above, many school counseling programs have been accredited by CACREP.

Vanderbilt University —Nashville, TN

Ranked #3 by US News in educational psychology programs, Vanderbilt offers a fantastic school counseling master's program: the MEd in Human Development Counseling with an emphasis in School Counseling (the other emphasis available is Clinical Mental Health Counseling).

Some of the program's biggest benefits are its small classes and the option to complete the school counseling track entirely online . Both tracks are accredited by CACREP.

What's more, over the past decade, 100% of school counseling students secured employment within four months of graduation.

University of Texas at Austin —Austin, TX

One of the nation's most renowned public universities, UT offers top-ranked MEd in Counselor Education and MA in School Psychology programs (the latter of which is geared toward those who ultimately plan to get a doctorate).

Two tracks are available for the MEd program: School Counseling (counseling students in K-12), and Higher Education Counseling & Student Affairs (which focuses on roles within colleges and universities). This program option emphasizes the importance of diversity training and lets students supplement their studies so they can eventually become an LPC.

Meanwhile, the highly competitive MA program prepares you to become a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology in Texas.

University of Maryland —College Park, MD

UMD's MEd in School Counseling is a high-quality psychology master's program that is currently ranked #7 by US News on its list of the best educational psychology schools.

Here, students learn how to work with diverse student populations, with special emphasis on the importance of social justice and inclusivity. Students must also complete a 100-hour practicum in addition to two 300-hour internships in urban public school systems. Courses cover research methods, school counseling, and special education, among other topics.

Ohio State University —Columbus, OH

Ranked #4 for school counseling programs and #12 for educational psych programs , OSU offers two reputable psychology master's programs: an MA in Educational Psychology and an MA in Counselor Education .

In the former, students can study alongside doctoral students and take advantage of the program's partnership with the Learning Technologies program to learn more about the intersection between psychology and technology.

The latter, which is CACREP-accredited, trains students to become professional counselors and to work at places such as public schools, community agencies, and health-care facilities.


Rehabilitation counseling is a type of counseling in which you work with people who have physical, emotional, mental, and/or developmental disabilities to help them achieve and maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle and career.

Many of the following master's programs in rehabilitation counseling are accredited by CACREP.

Michigan State University —East Lansing, MI

MSU's MA in Rehabilitation Counseling program is currently ranked #1 by US News .

In this CACREP-accredited program, students study disability management, ethical practices, and the social and psychological side of disabilities. Additionally, students must complete a practicum and internship. Evening classes are available to accommodate a range of schedules.

Upon completion of this program, graduates may sit for the national CRC exam and are eligible to apply for Limited Licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Michigan.

Tied for the #1 spot with MSU for best rehabilitation counseling graduate programs, UW Madison offers a top-ranked MS in Rehabilitation Counseling program through the school's Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.

In this program, which has been accredited by CACREP, students learn how to improve the quality of life for people with psychiatric and physical disabilities, alcohol/substance abuse problems, and learning disabilities.

Notably, UW Stout (another branch of the University of Wisconsin system) offers an online MS in Rehabilitation Counseling program that was ranked #4 in the country by US News . This part-time online master's program lasts three years and is geared toward those with at least two years of related work experience.

George Washington University —Washington, DC

GW's MA in Rehabilitation Counseling program is available both on-campus and online and is currently ranked #3 by US News on its list of best rehabilitation counseling programs.

This CACREP-accredited program consists of intensive coursework as well as an internship and practicum. One of the program's unique traits is the breadth of counseling theories and practices it covers, from multicultural counseling to the medical aspects of disabilities.

Furthermore, GW has a special mentorship program wherein current master's students are paired with graduates.

University of Alabama —Tuscaloosa, AL

UA offers a renowned, CACREP-accredited MA in Rehabilitation Counseling . In this wholly online program, students get to watch live class lectures and take classes in career development, ethics, research methods, life-span development, and psychopathology. Additionally, both an internship and practicum are required.

Several scholarships are available through UA's College of Continuing Studies.

University of Massachusetts Boston —Boston, MA

Through UMassOnline, the renowned distance-learning platform created by the UMass schools, including UMass Boston, students can earn an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling , which is ranked #15 by US News .

This CACREP-accredited, 60-credit program begins in the summertime and uses the cohort model wherein all students take the same program of study. Although all the classes are delivered online, students are required to be on-campus for two weeks in July to complete two mandatory clinical courses during their first summer of study.


Clinical psychology focuses on the science behind mental illness and disability. Although clinical psychology master's programs are usually far harder to find than doctoral programs, there are some terminal ones available.

Be aware that these master's programs do not lead to licensure as a psychologist (though they could prepare you for licensure as a therapist or counselor), as you'll generally need a doctorate to become a practicing clinical psychologist.

Note: For a list of the best clinical psychology doctoral programs, check out this one by US News .

Northwestern is known for its doctoral clinical psychology program, for which it's currently ranked #27 by US News , but it also offers a renowned master's program in clinical psychology .

This program is designed mainly for those who aren't decided about getting a doctorate in clinical psychology and who want to learn more about clinical psychology through an academic lens. As such, the program does not lead to licensure for clinical practice as a psychologist, nor does it include the clinical training required for clinical practice.

Classwork is mostly the same as that completed by the clinical psychology PhD students. Master's students must also participate in a Research Lab Experience for at least 10 hours a week and finish a capstone project under the guidance of a research mentor.

Ivy League member Columbia offers an esteemed MA in Psychology in Education program , which is geared toward students interested in clinical psychology and mental health occupations. It’s also designed to give students the academic preparation needed to apply to doctoral programs in psychology, though the master’s program is not a funnel into a specific PhD program.

Although the program doesn't prepare students to become a professionally licensed psychologist, it does serve those who wish to work in the field of mental health and psychology more broadly.

Students in the program are mentored by clinical psychology PhD students and can choose from among eleven concentrations:

Ranked #33 by US News for its doctoral clinical psychology program, UMD also offers a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Clinical Psychological Science . This program primarily targets those who are interested in clinical psychology but aren't sure where to begin or don't know whether a doctorate is the right path.

The MPS emphasizes the study of empirical scientific research in clinical psychology. Classes, which can be taken in the evenings, include Basic Foundations of Clinical Interventions, Research Methods in Clinical Psychology, and Child Psychopathology.

Boston University —Boston, MA

Tied for the #27 spot on US News with UMD for its doctoral program in clinical psychology, BU has an MA in Psychology program wherein you can specialize in clinical psychology specifically.

This master's program is rigorous, lasting only one year, and offers courses on a multitude of topics, such as behavioral medicine, social oppression, child therapy, and social anxiety. Students have the opportunity to work directly with a faculty member on a Directed Study project as well.


Industrial-organizational psychology—also known as I/O psychology—is an applied discipline in the field of psychology that involves using psychological principles to improve workplace settings, encourage efficiency, and foster teamwork.

While most I/O programs are doctoral ones, there's still a number of master's programs available around the country, mostly at state and tech schools.

Note: For a list of the best I/O psychology doctoral programs, check out the rankings by US News .

At NYU, students can enroll in the MA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program to learn about critical topics, such as work motivation, personnel selection, training in organizations, etc.

Based in NYU's eminent Department of Psychology, the I/O psych master's program offers small class sizes and provides students with a foundation in research, practice, and theory so they can pursue jobs in client interaction and solution development for corporate environments.

Students can choose from among six specializations:

Middle Tennessee State University —Murfreesboro, TN

Although MTSU isn't as well known as some of the other colleges on this list, it's home to the #4 I/O psych master's program , as ranked in 2018 by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). This makes MTSU an excellent choice for I/O psychology students.

This program emphasizes the real-world application of skills and knowledge through a required internship. Students must also complete several applied projects with local businesses.

Many graduates have gone on to work for large companies and corporations, including Walmart, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Target.

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis —Indianapolis, IN

IUPUI's MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program is well liked among students and a solid choice for I/O studies, especially if you're more interested in the organizational aspect.

Cohorts are small—around three students each year —ensuring that all master's students get tons of individualized attention and guidance. Students learn about the core content areas of I/O psychology and are required to write a thesis and conduct research with the assistance of faculty members. The program also offers the option to take part in a summer internship.

Several scholarships are available to MS students at IUPUI.

Florida Institute of Technology —Melbourne, FL

The MS in Industrial Organizational Psychology at Florida Tech is ranked #10 by SIOP and is famed for the strength of its faculty and mentoring.

The program utilizes a team-based research approach in small-sized classes, allowing students to conduct critical research with faculty members and their peers. MS students also have the option to participate in a 300-hour practicum in order to gain real-world experience.

Moreover, the program offers a concentration in international I/O psychology for students who hope to work in international business settings.

Recap: The Best Psychology Master's Programs

When it comes to psychology master's programs, at a first glance, it might not seem that there are that many programs available to those not seeking a doctorate.

But the truth is that there are a ton of quality, prestigious psychology master's programs out there —you just have to know what type of psychology you want to study and what kind of career you're hoping to get out of your degree.

Although you can't become a licensed, practicing psychologist with just a master's degree, you can enter related fields and work as a licensed counselor, therapist, or social worker.

To recap, here are the best psychology master's programs for each category above:

We hope this list will be useful as you search for the best psychology master's program for you!


What's Next?

Are you planning to take the AP Psych exam? Get tips and review what you need to know with our ultimate AP Psych study guide . For study materials, check out our picks for the best AP Psych prep books and get access to free official and unofficial practice tests .

Not sure if a master's degree is the right move for you? Then take a look at our in-depth guide on what grad school is and how to determine whether you should go .

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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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Top Master's Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

Psychology.org Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated January 11, 2023

Reviewed by

Megan Pietrucha

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Are you ready to discover your college program?

Finding the best master's in clinical psychology depends on your career goals and learning preferences. Discover other important factors to consider, typical application requirements, and some of the top programs.

What to Look For in a Master's Degree Program in Clinical Psychology

The top master's degree program in clinical psychology depends on a mix of factors, such as your career interests, program format, and your background. Other important things to consider are a program's accreditation status, admission requirements, and cost.

Primary Factors to Consider


Accreditation is the single most important factor in determining a program's value. An unaccredited degree may look like a bargain, but it will be a waste of your time and money, as most employers will not even consider a candidate from an unaccredited program. Similarly, most accredited programs will not accept unaccredited transfer credits.

Master's in psychology programs are accredited by The Master in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) and the Council of Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). This guide and website only include accredited programs.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements help you see a school's selectiveness and how likely you are to be accepted. For example, many schools require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and recommendation letters.

Cost and Financial Aid

Financial aid is a vital consideration, especially if you plan to go on to earn a Ph.D. Along with fees and tuition, consider any necessary travel expenses, books, and whether you can work while studying.

Hybrid and Online Options

You may take some or all of your courses in an online or hybrid format. This means more access to programs across the country, less time spent commuting, and more choice on where to live. However, you need to ensure you can find a local clinical placement for field hour requirements. It can be harder to get to know and network with students and staff in an online program.

Featured Online Psychology Programs

How to apply to a master's program in clinical psychology.

Give yourself plenty of time when applying to your top master's in clinical psychology programs. Ask a trusted teacher or mentor to review your application to make sure that it reflects your strengths and abilities.

Most schools require or prefer a 3.0 or higher GPA and a bachelor's degree. An undergraduate degree in psychology is not typically required. You may need to submit GRE scores, though some schools require it only for students below a certain GPA level.

You must include your undergraduate transcript, though many schools accept an unofficial transcript for application and require the official copy only after acceptance, and at least two references. Schools have different procedures for sending reference letters, so be sure to contact the program's admissions office for more information.

The Best Master's Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

#1 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

Northwestern University

Northwestern University is affiliated with Northwestern Memorial Hospital, one of the largest and highest-rated hospital systems in the Chicagoland region. It is one of relatively few clinical psychology master's programs based in a school of psychiatry within an academic medical center (AMC). 

The program prepares students for a career in academic clinical psychology. It emphasizes research and theory and does not include clinical training or other fundamentals for clinical practice. Students must complete at least 10 hours per week of research lab experience and a capstone project, such as a grant proposal, authorship of an article in a peer-reviewed journal, or an oral/poster presentation at a conference.

The program is embedded within Northwestern's Ph.D. program, and students participate in lab work and other projects with Ph.D. students. However, the master's program is not a "gateway" to the doctoral program. 

#2 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida's clinical psychology master's program offers two tracks. One is an applied pre-licensure non-thesis track that prepares graduates to meet Florida's licensing requirements for mental health counselors (after supervised postgraduate experience). This option takes two years and includes a practicum and an internship. 

The research/thesis track prepares students for careers in academia or research. The course load is lighter for this track because students spend more time conducting research, and this pathway does not lead to licensure. However, students can choose to complete a practicum. Please note this track only accepts five or six students per year. 

Tuition for in-state students is $370 per credit hour and $1,194 per credit hour for out-of-state students. 

#3 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

New York University

New York University's master's program in clinical psychology is an informal track within the master of psychology program, and it does not receive special designation on student transcripts. Applicants should apply to the psychology program and specify their interest in clinical psychology.

The program does not lead directly to licensing. Most graduates either pursue a Ph.D. track that emphasizes research or a Psy.D. that prepares them for clinical practice. 

The school recommends a specific group of core courses for the clinical psychology track, but students are allowed to take other core courses. It also recommends specific electives.

Students in the clinical psychology master's program are encouraged to take advantage of NYU's other schools and take cross-disciplinary courses, but an advisor must approve cross registrations. All students must complete either a thesis or a comprehensive examination.

#4 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

Harvard University

Harvard University's master's program in clinical psychology is integrated into its Ph.D. program. At the end of their second year in the Ph.D. program, students may be recommended for the master's degree, but this is not automatic. 

While the doctoral program emphasizes research, it meets licensure requirements for the state of Massachusetts and is accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) and by the American Psychological Association (APA).

During each of the first two years of the program (the two years that may lead to a master's degree), students propose and carry out a major research project that must be completed by the end of the year. 

Tuition is $52,456 per year, but the standard financial aid for Ph.D. students includes tuition, health fees, an academic year stipend, and a summer research award. 

#5 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

Boston University

Boston University's master's program in clinical psychology is one of the shorter courses on the list, taking just one year to complete. The school admits both psychology majors and students who have a basic undergraduate grounding in psychology. 

The degree program prepares students for a license, and clinical psychology is a potential informal specialization within the general master's in psychology rather than a specific degree. Most of the courses in the university's graduate school are open to master's-level students. Ph.D. program faculty are available for academic supervision. 

Students must complete a research paper and deliver a presentation at the level of a professional conference presentation.

#6 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

Divine Mercy University

Divine Mercy University offers a master's program in clinical psychology that centers around "a Catholic-Christian vision of the person." The program does not lead to licensing but provides clinical psychology education to professional ministers or others working within a religious framework. 

Students can specialize in marriage and family studies (based on "perspective of the Catholic-Christian teaching on marriage and family," leadership, human services counseling, a pre-Ph.D. track that emphasizes research, and a self-designed program in which students pick their own electives. 

Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, though a 2.75 or higher is considered competitive. The program can be completed in 16-24 months. 

#7 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley's master's program in clinical psychology has both a thesis and a non-thesis option. The thesis option benefits students who plan on earning a doctorate. The non-thesis option meets the educational requirements for licensing as a psychological associate or a licensed professional counselor (with three additional courses) for the state of Texas. Both programs require practicums and internships. The capstone for the thesis option is the thesis itself and a comprehensive examination for the non-thesis option. 

Unlike many programs, applicants must submit GRE scores from within the last five years. The preferred minimum verbal score is 153 and the preferred quantitative score is 144.

#8 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

CUNY City College

CUNY City College's master's program in general psychology offers a 40-credit non-thesis program or a 31-credit thesis program. All programs have a capstone project. The program does not lead to counseling licensing, though the Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) 40-credit track does meet New York state requirements to become a substance abuse counselor. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. 

Applicants do not need an undergraduate major in psychology, but must have had some psychology coursework, such as introductory psychology, statistics, and psychological research methods/experimental psychology courses. Performance in statistics and psychological research methods is an important factor for admission. Students whose curriculum did not include a course in research methodology must complete an undergraduate-level course during the first year of their master's program. All applicants must provide GRE scores. 

#9 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

DePaul University

DePaul University offers two tracks in its master's program in clinical psychology, a clinical-child and a clinical-community track. Please note that the master's program is part of the Ph.D. track, and students must complete the Ph.D. track. 

DePaul uses a quarter hours system. The master's program requires 76 quarter hours, while the Ph.D. requires at least 28 more quarter hours and a dissertation. The clinical psychology master's program has held American Psychological Association accreditation since 1976.

Students must complete three term-long practicums, which do not count for course credit. The master's program also requires a thesis and a defense. The minimum grade for every course is a B+.

#10 Top Master’s Degree Programs in Clinical Psychology

University of Houston-Clear Lake

The University of Houston-Clear Lake's master's program in psychology can lead to licensing as a professional counselor or as a psychological associate in Texas. Students focus on specialties, such as behavioral medicine, anxiety disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness and acceptance-based therapies, or behavioral parent training for childhood externalizing behaviors.

Students participate in a two-semester practicum onsite at the university's Psychological Services Clinic and then complete a 500-hour internship at designated sites within the Houston area. 

To apply, students must submit GRE scores from within the last five years, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a CV.  Learners must also participate in on-campus interviews, typically in March. 

Students must complete at least 15 hours in undergraduate psychology, with courses in introductory psychology and abnormal psychology and at least three upper-level psychology courses. Applicants who have already completed these courses will receive preference in admissions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's Programs in Clinical Psychology

Where do mental health counselors work.

Mental health counselors may work in independent practices, counseling centers, hospitals or health systems, government agencies, or in community-based organizations.

What's the difference between an MS or MS in clinical psychology?

A master of arts (MA) in clinical psychology typically has a broader focus and emphasizes skills required for practicing psychology, while a master of science (MS) is more focused on research and methodology. If you want to teach or conduct research, an MS may be more valuable, while if you want to practice, an MA may be better.

How much do you make with a master's degree in psychology?

Your salary will depend on how you use your degree. If you go on to earn a doctorate and become a clinical psychologist, the median salary is $81,040 annually. If you become a substance abuse, behavioral disorder, or mental health counselor, the median annual salary is $48,520, though salaries vary considerably.

What can I do with a master's degree in clinical psychology?

While many who earn a master's degree in clinical psychology go on to earn a doctorate and licensure become a clinical psychologist, you can also work as a therapist or counselor, mental health coach, in public health, or in the justice system.

Page last reviewed on October 21, 2022. This page's information — not including school descriptions — was reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by Psychology.org.

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Explore the Mind

The MA in Psychology will prepare you for a career in research,  a career in an  applied field or to enter a doctoral program in Psychology or a related field. We provide rigorous training to ensure you receive an advanced education in Psychology, research methods and skills, and relevant and effective pre-doctoral training.  

Whatever your goals, our program provides the flexibility to ensure that you earn the MA that is right for you. You can pursue thesis or non-thesis options for your degree and choose from three tracks of specialization : general psychology track, clinical science track, or cognition, learning, and neuroscience track. Together with your faculty advisor, you will tailor a program of study to fit your individual interests and needs.

With our small and intensive classes, you will receive one-on-one guidance from our faculty of innovative researchers and scholars . In the classroom and the laboratory, you will receive individual attention and mentorship to ensure that you get the most out of your education.

A Flexible Program with Solid Results

This 33-credit program provides rigorous graduate training in psychology and psychological research while providing you with the flexibility to pursue your academic interests . We offer three different tracks of specialization: general psychology, clinical science, or cognition, learning, and neuroscience.

The general psychology track provides a balance of coursework in different areas of psychology, together with training in research and statistics. This is the most flexible program , offering the most elective courses that can fit your interests.  

In the other two tracks, you will delve deeper into your chosen area of specialization while still receiving a solid foundation in general psychology, research, and statistics. 

See complete Admissions & Course Requirements and MA Handbook (PDF).

Knowledgeable Faculty Dedicated To Your Success

Our faculty consists of innovative researchers and prominent scholars in the field of psychology. Thanks to our small class sizes, you will work closely with and receive individual attention from your professors. Students are each assigned a faculty advisor, with whom they develop an individualized program of study . Upon admission, students interested in gaining research experience and completing a master’s thesis research project are matched with faculty mentors and research labs. Faculty research interests span the breadth of psychology, with particular strengths in areas related to our doctoral programs in clinical psychology and behavior, cognition, and neuroscience.

Start Your Career in the Capital City

Consistently ranked as one of the best cities for job seekers , DC offers access to an extraordinary array of professional and intellectual opportunities. You can get a head start on your career and gain hands-on experience with one of the area’s many clinical or research institutions. The psychology department has close working relationships with basic and applied research programs at the National Institutes of Health, where students can participate in programs on pain management, neuropsychological assessment, and brain mechanisms in learning and memory. Research opportunities are also available at Georgetown University Hospital and School of Medicine, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and other area institutions.

You can earn degree credit while working with autistic children, teaching self-management skills, or working at one of the area’s mental health facilities. Internships and field work opportunities are available in city, county, and private organizations such as the Montgomery County Department of Addiction, Victims, and Mental Health Services; the DC Rape Crisis Center; and patient care and rehabilitation programs at area hospitals.

Student Spotlight

Candace Moore

Candace Moore, MA/PhD Psychology

More about Candace

One day in 2019, Candace Moore went for a run. But instead of her usual four-to-six miles, she stopped after mile one, extremely fatigued. This marked the beginning of a long battle to manage a rare and debilitating health condition that has changed nearly every aspect of her life. 

Moore was born with a hemangioma at the base of her spine, which has grown into a large tumor. It has hollowed out her sacrum and placed pressure on nerves, which causes extreme pain and limits her movement. She has undergone two surgeries, and she travels to hospitals several times a week for radiation treatments, therapy, imaging, and follow-up exams. 

Remarkably, through all of this, Moore has successfully completed her first year as an MA candidate. She is the recipient of AU’s Barnard Scholarship, and she’s found many mentors at AU who believe in her. “I have dealt with so many obstacles while growing up; many people did not believe in me or think that I would reach the point where I am today. But I am an overcomer who wants to thrive, and not simply survive,” she says.

Moore is working towards completing her PhD in psychology and becoming a clinician-researcher. “Psychology is my heart,” she says. “In my opinion, a changemaker is someone who breaks down barriers that affect the least amongst us — the same barriers that I have had to overcome with great effort. I want to continue to be in service to others and use the knowledge I have gained from my experiences at AU for this purpose.”

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do i have to have been a psychology major as an undergraduate.

No. We have admitted students who had never taken a psychology course before enrolling in the program.

Is there funding available?

Funding for the MA program is limited. Students are sometimes funded by faculty grants. We encourage students to contact our office of financial aid for awards designated for particular purposes, such as the United Methodist Fellowship and Massey Award.

What is the standard course load?

Full-time students typically take three three-credit courses per semester. In addition, they are typically involved in research outside the classroom for some or all of their time in the program.

Can I be admitted to the American University PhD program after enrolling in and completing the MA program?

MA students often apply to our PhD programs. They are considered in the same pool as other applicants.

Still have questions? Send us an email: [email protected]

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