Jun 02, 2023  
2016 - 2018 UTPB Graduate Studies Catalog 
2016 - 2018 UTPB Graduate Studies Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology, MA

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Administrative Unit

This program is administered by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research through the faculty of Psychology, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences.


The Master of Arts program in Psychology offers concentrations in either Clinical Psychology or Experimental Psychology. The programs provide advanced training both for recent B.A. and B.S. graduates, as well as for individuals who have been in the work force for a number of years. Our M.A. program provides students with instruction related to working in a wide range of settings, including mental health centers, juvenile detention centers, child service agencies, specialized school services, residential treatment facilities, family counseling agencies, governmental and community agencies, teaching in community colleges, or preparing for study at the doctoral level (Ph.D, Ed.D., or Psy.D.). Although some students subsequently enter doctoral programs and complete their doctorate, many immediately accept challenging positions in the public, private, or non-profit sectors. Students may complete the program on a full-time (at least 9 credit hours per fall and spring semester) or part-time basis. However, all program requirements must be completed within eight years from the date of admission.

Admission Requirements

  • Complete a post-bac/graduate application. The application may be found at: https://www.ApplyTexas.org
  • Request for official transcripts to be sent to the Office of Admissions.
  • Applicants must provide three letters of reference, two of which must be from past professors who are in a position to evaluate the applicant’s qualifications for graduate study, the third letter, if not also from a past professor, should be from someone knowledgeable of the applicant’s knowledge and skills in a work or volunteer environment.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination general aptitude test (GRE) and meet the minimum University requirements.
  • Submit a letter of “intent”. This should explain reasons for applying to one of the Master’s degree programs in Psychology. The applicant should also indicate their reasons for selecting UTPB and their preferred option of either clinical or experimental concentrations.
  • The letters of reference, GRE scores, and letter of intent should all be turned in at the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.

All application information should be completed by April 22 for admission to the subsequent summer or fall semesters, and by October 22 for admission to the subsequent Spring semester. Late applicants may be reviewed in July for enrollment the subsequent fall semester, providing sufficient faculty are present to constitute the “Graduate Acceptance Committee”. A letter will be sent noting whether or not an applicant has been admitted to the program. If an application is incomplete, the applicant may be contacted requesting the missing documents. However, it is the responsibility of the applicant to submit all required materials by the April 22 or October 22 deadlines. Failure to submit all necessary materials by the deadline will delay admission consideration.

Regular Admission

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in psychology or related discipline
  • GPA of 3.0 or better in the last 60 credit hours
  • GRE scores at average percentile or better
  • Entrance Score (ES): 1600 or above: ES = (GPA x 200) + [ (GRE Verbal + GRE Quantitative) X 3.44]
  • Three letters of recommendation (two must be from professors)
  • Statement of intent (this should be no longer than two typed pages and explain reasons for applying to the psychology program)
  • All necessary course prerequisites.

Conditional Admission

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in psychology or related discipline
  • GPA below 3.0 – 2.5 in the last 60 credit hours
  • GRE scores at average percentile or better
  • Entrance Score (ES): below 1600 but is above 1400: ES = (GPA x 200) + [ (GRE Verbal + GRE Quantitative) X 3.44]
  • Three letters of recommendation (two must be from professors)
  • Statement of intent (this should be no longer than two typed pages and explain reasons for applying to the psychology program)
  • All necessary course prerequisites
  • A written explanation describing extenuating circumstances that contributed to low GPA. Personal Interview (telephone or face-to-face)


Five undergraduate psychology courses (15 hours minimum) are required for admission to the M.A. program in Psychology.

  • Introductory Statistics (i.e., PSYC 3301)
  • Experimental Psychology (i.e., PSYC 3403) or Research Methods in Psychology
  • Theories of Personality (i.e., PSYC 3322)
  • Physiological Psychology (i.e., PSYC 4304), or the equivalent, such as Biological Foundations of Behavior, or PSYC 6306 Psychopharmacology  
  • An advanced, junior or senior level, course in psychology. Students interested in pursuing the M.A. in Clinical Psychology program are encouraged to take PSYC 4351, Tests and Measurement, as it is prerequisite or corequisite for two graduate testing courses required for the clinical concentration (PSYC 6351  and PSYC 6352).

Students with deficiencies in these prerequisites may be granted “conditional” admission status, and must take the specified prerequisite courses and earn a minimum grade of B during the first two semesters the student is enrolled conditionally in the program. Students may enroll in the necessary undergraduate courses (PSYC 3301, Statistics; and/or PSYC 3404, Experimental Psychology; PSYC 3322, Theories of Personality; and/or PSYC 4304, Physiological Psychology (or PSYC 6306 Psychopharmacology ) and in selected graduate courses concurrently. Note, all graduate courses are taught in the evening at UTPB. However, the undergraduate courses that are prerequisite courses may or may not be offered in the evening; we attempt to offer the undergraduate prerequisite courses at least once every two years in the late afternoon or early evening.

University policy permits some graduate coursework taken while students are classified as “provisional”. Specifically, students may apply six graduate credit hours without petitioning (and a maximum of nine with petition) toward the degree. Graduate hours in excess of nine cannot be applied to the Master’s degree. Further, courses in which students have earned a grade of less than “B” (i.e. a grade of “C” or less) are not transferrable to the degree program.

MA Thesis or Non-Thesis MA Project Requirement

Students in the Experimental Psychology concentration must complete a thesis. Students in the Clinical Psychology concentration may select either the thesis option or the non-thesis “project” option. Although there are differences between the thesis and non-thesis options, both are capstone courses which provide the student the opportunity to work with a graduate faculty member as supervisor.

The Clinical Psychology concentration allows a choice between the MA Thesis or the MA Project. Both emphasize core clinical/counseling content, basic research skills, and professional skills. Students who intend to proceed with doctoral work are encouraged to complete the MA Thesis. Students who want to practice in psychology and who will seek licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) or Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) after the award of the MA degree may consider the MA Project.

MA Thesis. Generally, a thesis is an empirical research study, written in APA-style, which includes an abstract, introduction, method, results, discussion, and reference sections along with relevant appendixes (refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) for instructions on formatting your thesis). The purpose of the thesis is to enable the student to demonstrate:

  • A thorough knowledge of some area of research
  • The ability to design, justify, and carry out a research project that has the potential for furthering the knowledge of the area of research
  • The ability to report research in a clear and concise manner using the guidelines set forth in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition). Henceforth referred to as APA style.

MA Project. Working under the direction of a graduate faculty member, the MA Project may take one of several forms: a review of the literature on a topic in clinical psychology; completion of a case study; participation in an off-campus clinical internship and culminating reflection paper; or the testing of hypotheses and the collection and analysis of data. A case study, as defined here, is a thorough investigation of a single person, specific social group, or social event, in which data are gathered.

The Concentration in Clinical Psychology Option

The Clinical Psychology concentration leading to the M.A. in Psychology degree is aimed at training students in the assessment and treatment of mental disorders through individual, family, and group therapies. The concentration offers training in child, adolescent, and adult disorders. This course of study is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model and thus involves training in theory, research design and statistics, and the application of principles to the provision of psychological services.

Successful completion of the M.A. in Psychology with the Clinical Psychology concentration is designed to provide students the education requirements needed to take the state examinations required for the Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) in the State of Texas (45 hours minimum; for additional information see http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/) or, with additional coursework, the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Texas (60 hours minimum; for more information see: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/couselor/default/shtm). In addition to completing the requirements for the M.A. degree, the Licensed Professional Counselor also requires an additional 3000 supervised hours after completing the MA degree. Both licensures, the LPA and LPC, require the successful passage of an examination called for by the licensing body after the completion of the M.A.

Course Requirements (60 sch minimum)

For about half of the courses listed below there are course prerequisites. If a course does not have a prerequisite listed, then there are none and the student may enroll in that course at any time.

Course Sequence

Students in the Clinical Psychology concentration should enroll in Personality Assessment and/or Intellectual Assessment their first year. Note, that a course in Tests and Measurement is prerequisite for both of these courses. Students in this program should discuss their thesis plans with their faculty advisor prior to or at the beginning of the second year.

The Concentration in Experimental Psychology Option

The Experimental Psychology program focuses on advanced psychological theory (i.e., developmental, cognitive, personality, and social psychological theory), research methods, statistics, and manuscript preparation. Students in this program receive one-on-one attention and class sizes rarely exceed 15 students. The small size of the program enables faculty to mentor and collaborate with students in research. Students will have the opportunity to publish and present their work at professional conferences or in academic journals.

Successful completion of the M.A. in Experimental Psychology will provide students with a broad background in psychological theory, research methods, and statistics. Further, students will gain analytical and critical thinking skills, oral and written communication skills, and they will have the ability to solve applied and theoretical problems. This training will allow students to pursue employment conducting research in university or national laboratories. Graduates may also be placed in hospital, mental health, and social service fields, in granting agencies, business settings, or at community colleges. The terminal master’s degree will also prepare students for continued study at the Ph.D. level.

Course Requirements (36 sch minimum)

For some of the courses listed below there are course prerequisites. If a course does not have a prerequisite listed, then there are none and the student may enroll at any time.

Elective Courses (12-15 sch)

These courses should be chosen in consultation with the faculty advisor and be consistent with a student’s overall goals. Up to 6 hours of undergraduate course work (as a graduate student) may count toward electives hours.

Master’s Thesis (3 sch)

Course Sequence

Students in the Experimental Psychology concentration should enroll in Research Methodology and Advanced Statistics ANOVA or Regression their first year. Students in this program should discuss their thesis plans with their faculty advisor prior to or at the beginning of the second year.

Independent Study/Directed Research

For students who are interested and able to benefit from such experiences, the Independent Study, 6391, course may be considered in consultation with your faculty advisor. These course options are reserved for students who have a demonstrated ability to profit from them. Activities from the following list should be consistent with the students’ long-range career goals, their topical interests, and the skills they intend to acquire. These hours are intended to help students gain additional marketable experiences, and they will be highly individualized.

Grade Achievement Policy

Students in the MA in Psychology program receive credit for only graduate (6000 level) courses in which a grade of A or B has been earned. Any 4000 level course taken as a requisite to regular status must also result in a B grade or higher. Continuation in the graduate programs in Psychology is contingent on maintaining a minimum grade of B in all courses counting toward the degree. Under no circumstances will a grade of C be counted for credit in the Psychology graduate program. Note, this criterion is higher than that printed in introduction of this Graduate Catalog. Students seeking the MA in Psychology must have an A or B grade in all courses counting toward the MA degree, not merely a B “average.”

A student who earns a C+ or lower in any course taken to apply to the MA degree in Psychology will, at a minimum, receive an academic review by the graduate program faculty, and will be monitored and placed on academic probation until the course is repeated with a B or better grade. Such notice will be made in writing by the department chairperson or the graduate program head. Any student placed on academic probation is limited to six credits per semester while on academic probation. Occurrence of a second C or lower grades in one’s graduate course work shall be grounds for dismissal from the graduate program.

Students should visit with his or her academic advisor at the beginning of each new semester to discuss any issues affecting progress toward the degree.

Student Professionalism

Throughout the program, the student will find that both academic progress (e.g., course grades) and professionalism is monitored. Professional behavior is an expectation. Sometimes students misinterpret the informal and personal atmosphere of the graduate programs in psychology as laissez faire, or “anything goes.” Although it’s true that the university environment is more informal than most corporate, nonprofit or for profit agencies, or government agencies, appropriate professionalism is expected. Clearly professionalism consists of a variety of behaviors, and although it is often difficult to exhaustively define, teach, and assess professional behavior, the graduate student is expected to demonstrate professionalism in the following ways:

  • coming prepared for class, having completed readings or other assignments;
  • regular attendance and participation in class, and other obligations (this includes practicum appointments and regular meetings with one’s Thesis Advisor during the thesis semester);
  • arriving for classes, thesis meetings, and practicum appointments at the scheduled time;
  • meeting the due dates established for class assignments (including Thesis deadlines; see below);
  • adhering to the American Psychological Association’s professional code of ethics (e.g., confidentiality; dual relationships) and university regulations (e.g., academic dishonesty; drug free environment, and so on);
  • maintaining appropriate dress, personal appearance, and hygiene, particularly in the practicum experience;
  • maintaining courteous, civil relationships with fellow students, faculty, and staff;
  • being psychologically sound, interpersonally effective, and able to engage with fellow students, faculty, staff, clients, and professionals in the community in a healthy and responsible manner; and
  • maintaining professional conduct in the community.

In both the clinical practicum and experimental independent research experience, a “zero tolerance’ policy is in effect to protect the welfare of clients and community collaborators as well as the integrity of the psychology M.A. programs. Examples of unprofessional behavior include, but are not limited to, the following: disorderly, aggressive, or threatening conduct on campus or in the community; behavior that endangers the safety, health, or welfare of others on or off campus (i.e., driving while under the influence); breaches of confidentiality, issues of test security, multiple relationships with clients, and so forth.

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