Nov 27, 2021  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology, MA


Administrative Unit

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

Objectives

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 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.
  • Meet the minimum University requirements.
  • Submit a statement of intent indicating their reasons for selecting UTPB, their interest in graduate education in Psychology, their preferred option of either Clinical or Experimental concentration, and their preferred mentor, if known.
  • The letters of reference and statement of intent should all be turned in at the Office of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • A writing sample with preference for research proposals, theses, or literature reviews written recently as an undergraduate student. If no recent undergraduate work has been done, candidates may write an essay regarding their educational journey to the master’s degree.

Note: Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program. All application information should be completed by March 15 for admission to the subsequent Summer or Fall semester, and by October 22nd for admission to the subsequent Spring semester. Late applicants may be reviewed on July 1 for enrollment in the subsequent Fall semester, providing sufficient faculty are present to constitute the “Graduate Acceptance Committee.”

Regular Admission

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in psychology or related discipline.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better for all hours of undergraduate work.
  • Three letters of recommendation (two must be from professors).
  • Statement of intent (no longer than two typed pages) indicating their reasons for selecting UTPB, their interest in graduate education in Psychology, their preferred option of either Clinical or Experimental concentration, and their preferred mentor, if known.
  • A writing sample with preference for research proposals, theses, or literature reviews written recently as an undergraduate student. If no recent undergraduate work has been done, candidates may write an essay regarding their educational journey to the master’s degree.
  • All necessary course prerequisites.

Conditional Admission

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in psychology or related discipline.
  • GPA of 3.0 – 2.5 for all hours of undergraduate work.
  • Three letters of recommendation (two must be from professors).
  • Statement of intent (no longer than two typed pages) indicating their reasons for selecting UTPB, their interest in graduate education in Psychology, their preferred option of either Clinical or Experimental concentration, and their preferred mentor, if known.
  • A writing sample with preference for research proposals, theses, or literature reviews written recently as an undergraduate student. If no recent undergraduate work has been done, candidates may write an essay regarding their educational journey to the master’s degree.
  • One of the following:
    • A GRE test score
    • Scores from Psychology ACAT test
  • All necessary course prerequisites.
  • Other evidence: A written explanation describing extenuating circumstances that contributed to low GPA. Personal Interview (telephone or face-to-face).

Prerequisites

Four undergraduate psychology courses (12 hours minimum) are required for admission to the M.A. program in Psychology.

  • Introductory Statistics (i.e., PSYC 3301)
  • Experimental Psychology (PSYC 3304 and 3104) or Research Methods in Psychology
  • An advanced, junior or senior level, course in psychology. Students interested in pursuing the M.A. in Psychology with the Clinical concentration are encouraged to take Tests and Measurement (PSYC 4351), as it is required before or concurrently enrolling in two of the graduate courses required for the Clinical Concentration (PSYC 6350 and PSYC 6351).

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 3304and 3104, Experimental Psychology; PSYC 3322, Theories of Personality) 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 (7th edition) for instructions on formatting your thesis). The purpose of the thesis is to enable the student to demonstrate:

  • The ability to argue that a hypothesis is empirically based and logical, and fills a gap in the existing literature.
  • 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 (7th edition, henceforth referred to as APA style).

MA Project. Generally, the MA project takes the form of a critical review of the literature on a topic relevant to clinical psychology. Although there is often no testing of hypotheses nor the collection and analysis of data, outcomes from prior studies may be evaluated and synthesized to recommend future research or make a claim about a controversy. Methodological reviews, meta-analyses, and theoretical projects may also be entertained.

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 state examinations required for the Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) in the State of Texas (60 hours minimum; for additional information see http://www.tsbep.state.tx.us/) or the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Texas (60 hours minimum); for more information about the LPC, see: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/counselor/default.shtm. In addition to completing the requirements for the M.A. degree, both the LPA and LPC require additional supervised hours after completing the MA degree. Both licensures, the LPA and LPC, also require the successful passage of an examination called for by the licensing body after the completion of the M.A in Psychology. 

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 Tests and Measurement (PSYC 4351) as soon as possible if they did not have this course as an undergraduate, and begin by taking one of the PSYC 6350 and PSYC 6351 testing courses their first semester. Students should also take the nine prerequisite courses to PSYC 6392 Practicum course, so they are prepared to take Practicum in a timely fashion. Students in this program should discuss their course-taking plans with their faculty advisor prior to or at the beginning of the first semester.

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.

When students finish the Experimental Psychology concentration they will be able to: 

  • Evaluate research methods, statistical analyses, and theory.
  • Integrate knowledge about psychological theories and empirical findings to justify research.
  • Use theoretical, methodological, statistical, ethical, and APA style knowledge to develop hypotheses, design research, collect and analyze data, integrate findings, as well as to write and orally defend an empirical report.

To reach these objectives, students are expected to be involved in research activities throughout their graduate program. Research activities are coordinated with faculty members depending, in part, on the student’s interests. During the first year, students in consultation with their major advisor, develop a plan of study for their graduate program. The plan specifies students’ long-range goals, the field of Psychology in which they will become proficient, the kinds of research skills they intend to acquire, the sequence of courses, research, and professional experiences they hope to follow, and an approximate timetable for accomplishing these ends. The degree plan is to be completed during the first semester after admission and should be submitted to the Graduate Studies office prior to the end of the first year. 

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.

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.

Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP)


The Psychology Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) allows academically qualified students to complete a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology on an accelerated timeline, graduating sooner than in traditional programs. Qualified undergraduate students will be able to complete a portion of the required graduate coursework for the Psychology master’s degree while studying for their Psychology bachelor’s degree. Upon completion of all undergraduate degree requirements, the student is admitted to the Psychology graduate program, where the remaining master’s degree requirements will be fulfilled.

 

Psychology AMP Requirements

(In addition to the general AMP requirements)

  • Before joining the program, students must meet with both their undergraduate advisor and the AMP coordinator to determine their eligibility and discuss their options. Students must discuss their options with their undergraduate advisor and AMP coordinator before enrolling in classes each semester. Final decision on which courses to take and how many hours to complete each semester will be determined with the student’s academic advisors based on factors like transfer credit, academic history, courses offered, etc.
  • To be considered for the program, students must write a letter of intent, including a description of their interest in the program, their career goals, and the faculty member they wish to work with.
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and 3.25 in all undergraduate psychology courses.
  • Once accepted, a minimum average graduate GPA of 3.0 must be maintained for continuation in the program.

 

Psychology AMP Withdrawal and Dismissal Policies

(In addition to the general AMP withdrawal and dismissal policies)

  • A student may withdraw from the program at any time by informing the AMP coordinator, office of graduate studies, and registrar in writing.
  • AMP students who earn less than a ‘B’ in a graduate course will be put on probation for one semester. If they earn less than a ‘B’ a second time, they will be dismissed from the program.