Psychology Master's Degrees in California (D-N)

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Northwestern
Online Master of Arts in Counseling - No GRE req.
Pepperdine University
Online Master of Arts in Psychology - No GRE req.
Pepperdine University
Online MFT Master’s Program - No GRE req.
Pepperdine University
Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis - No GRE req.
NYU
Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness Online - No GRE req.
Capella University
Online BS, MS, PhD, PsyD in Psychology with over a dozen specialty options.
Southern New Hampshire University
Online BS, MS in Psychology with many different focus options.

Psychology students who wish to further their education beyond the undergraduate level have great Master’s in Psychology degrees in California available to them, at schools that range in size from very small to quite large. This allows students to choose a program that caters to their desire for individual attention, a broader network, a research-heavy program, or a program that is focused more on the practical use and application of advanced psychological concepts.

This article is the third in our series of Master’s Degrees in California. For the first two articles, click here and here.

Carefully review each of the state’s accredited programs to get an idea of just how competitive, and how ideal a fit, each program is for considerations that range from size to affordability and much more.

Fielding Graduate University

School of Psychology

Fielding was established by its co-founders specifically to serve mid-career professionals who were looking to build on the skills they obtained during an undergraduate course of study. To that end, the institution offers only graduate programs and makes sure that its full course lineup can fit into evening and weekend schedules when working professionals are available. Unlike many more traditional universities, Fielding Graduate University pairs each student with a career and course mentor who will help them progress through the psychology program from start to finish. This unique pairing gives students a de facto advisor and network connection, giving them a unique advantage in the job market as they approach graduation from the program. The School of Psychology’s media psychology program has used this unique pairing to produce many notable alumni who work in Hollywood and throughout the country.

MA Media Psychology

Fielding’s Master of Art in Media Psychology is a very unique program, focusing largely on the intersection of human psychology and the various forms of media that society has come to take for granted. In fact, there is no other program quite like this one anywhere else in the state of California. Graduates will pair traditional psychology courses, including advanced studies of human behavior and conditioning, with a look at the psychological effects of media consumption and how it influences behavior. Courses in global media, social and psychological research, psychoanthropology, media symbols and imagery, and applied statistics, will all prepare graduates for a rewarding career in this emerging field. Students can choose between a final capstone project or a comprehensive thesis, based on whether they wish to practice professionally or enter academia with their graduate degree.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Fielding Graduate University
School of Psychology
2020 De la Vina St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Phone: (800) 340-1099
Program Website

Fresno Pacific University

Department of Psychology

Founded in 1944, Fresno Pacific University has grown considerably over the past two decades and has transitioned from an undergraduate institution to a comprehensive university with graduate degrees in several key fields. The school offers a “four-year graduation guarantee” to undergraduate students, while offering sound networking and career placement to its graduate students in psychology and other fields. Students studying school psychology at FPU will master both the advanced psychological skills needed for success across the industry, and psychological concepts that are unique to today’s elementary, middle, and high school students.

School Psychology PPS Credential and Master of Arts Degree

Classes offered primarily during weeknight events will focus on school safety, bullying prevention, advanced psychological concepts, applied psychological research, applied statistical concepts, leadership and change in both schools and school counseling, and the laws and ethics of the school counseling profession. A required practicum experience will ensure that graduates can become fully licensed school counselors in the state of California, and will help students build a professional network by linking them with existing school counselors and school administrators throughout the state. Student may also opt to complete a comprehensive graduate research project prior to graduation, preparing them for potential doctoral candidacy at a later stage in their career.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Fresno Pacific University
Department of Psychology
1717 S. Chestnut Ave.
Fresno, CA 93702
Phone: (559) 453-2000
Program Website

Golden Gate University

Department of Psychology

Perhaps best known for its evening programs in financial management and accounting, Golden Gate University is a comprehensive institution with a growing and prestigious Department of Psychology. Currently, the school offers a generalized M.A. in Psychology that prepares students for a career in academia or in private practice in a number of areas. Professors who teach in the school’s psychology department all have at least one doctorate in psychology, giving students access to a large volume of professional experience, academic experience, and research that may help them develop their own prerogative on this field. Research and internship opportunities are made available to all graduate students, with many opportunities to network for future success in professional and academic institutions throughout the state of California.

Master of Arts in Psychology

The graduate program in psychology at GGU can be one of the most extensive in the state, depending largely on which concentration a student chooses at the time of enrollment. The program ranges from just 33 credits to more than double that, with a concentration that requires 72 credits in order to be completed. All students will take a number of broad courses that are designed as a psychology “core.” These courses include a required statistics proficiency course, applied research and advanced psychological concepts, advanced human behavior, counseling, and family psychology.

Students can choose from concentrations in organizational psychology, family and marriage counseling, general counseling, and a combined concentration in marriage counseling, family counseling, and organizational psychology. This combined concentration is the one that requires 72 credits for completion. All counseling programs require a practicum experience, while the organizational psychology option requires a capstone course or a graduate thesis.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Golden Gate University
Department of Psychology
536 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 442-7800
Email: info@ggu.edu
Program Website

Holy Names University

Department of Psychology

Holy Names University markets itself as California’s “newest Catholic university,” serving San Francisco and surrounding areas via its campus in Oakland. The school’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology is highly regarded throughout the state and adequately prepares students for a broad variety of counseling position in schools, hospitals, or private practice. The university is known for its small class sizes and embrace of hands-on learning experiences, and makes sure to give all students the opportunity to pursue a graduate internship experience, academic research alongside university professors, or a teaching assistantship that will guide students toward a career in academia. The Department of Psychology at Holy Names features an all-doctoral faculty with experience in the field, giving students a valuable way to learn from real experiences in a counseling setting.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Counseling is one of the most highly regulated psychology professions in California, and universities must make sure that they are living up to those requirements through a combination of rigorous coursework and required practicum experiences. Holy Names certain adheres to California’s state requirements for counseling licensure and practice. This commitment starts with the school’s counseling core, which teaches professional ethics and law, psychopathology, community mental health issues, diversity issues, substance abuse counseling, family counseling, group therapy, the trauma of loss and grief, and much more. All students must undertake three separate practicum experiences in a counseling capacity prior to graduation, and students aspiring to a more academic role will need to complete and present a graduate thesis before receiving clearance to participate in commencement.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Holy Names University
Department of Psychology
500 Mountain Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619
Phone: (510) 436-1000
Program Website

Humboldt State University

Department of Psychology

Humboldt State stands out as the northernmost university in the large and highly regarded California State University system. The school serves students from all across the state, though its expertise is in serving students spread throughout the more rural reaches of far northern California. The school offers several perks to graduate students, ranging from evening and hybrid classes to rigorous coursework and refreshingly affordable tuition prices for its psychology program. As part of the CSU system, Humboldt offers students access to excellent, doctoral professors in psychology who blend industry experience with hands-on learning and technological tools. The school’s general program prepares students for psychological research, teaching, and professional practice in several venues.

M.A. in Psychology

The core graduate psychology program at HSU includes two courses in applied research and research methods, courses in statistics and advanced psychology, and both a pro-seminar and seminar in current psychological issues. A thesis course is also required, since all students must write and defend a thesis in order to be moved from degree candidacy to conferral. Students must choose from one of the school’s three concentrations, in either biological psychology, developmental psychopathology, or social and environmental psychology. An internship in one of these areas of concentrations is also required, as are at least six courses that focus solely on the student’s chosen area of concentration.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Humboldt State University
Department of Psychology
Behavioral and Social Sciences Building (BSS) #410
1 Harpst St.
Arcata, CA 95521
Phone: (707) 826-3755
Program Website

John F. Kennedy University

College of Graduate and Professional Studies

JFKU was founded in 1964 as one of California’s “non-traditional” universities. The school focuses on working adults who are seeking an undergraduate, graduate, or professional education in areas like business, law, and even psychology. The sport psychology program at the school is a recent addition, but it brings with it the prestige and academic rigor that JFKU has been known for over the past five decades. With convenient evening and online classes, a doctoral faculty, and opportunities to pursue both practical internships and academic research, students will have no shortage of opportunities to advance both their understanding of psychology and their future career in the field.

Master of Arts in Sport Psychology

The sport psychology program at JFKU requires a traditional core group of graduate-level courses, including applied statistical methods, research methods, an introduction to sport psychology, and advanced psychopathology. Students then choose electives from the list of sports psychology classes offered at the university, ranging from professional ethics to counseling and therapeutic psychology. At least one internship is required by the program, though many students opt for as many as three such internships prior to finishing the coursework.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

In addition to a standard psychology core, which includes research and statistics classes as well as an introduction to counseling psychology and the professional ethics required of counselors, this program requires no less than three internships of all students. The counseling program also requires advanced research and a series of electives in both counseling and ethics courses. The program typically takes students between two and three years to complete.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology Program – Holistic

A holistic approach to psychology involves more than the basic theories and methods of psychological practice, and that’s where this concentration comes in. The holistic counseling program teaches students about the types of psychology that extend beyond the traditional, caring for the “whole person.” The program involves three practicum placements and significant research work, eventually resulting in a final capstone course that will allow students to blend both traditional and holistic methods in a team-oriented, classroom setting.

MA in Sport Psychology – MBA Dual Degree

College and professional sports represent major industries, and many aspiring sports psychologists therefore find it useful to have a background in both psychology and business. The dual degree MA / MBA degree program at JFKU allows students to receive a rigorous, graduate-level business education alongside the full sport psychology program mentioned earlier. Typically completed in four years, this joint program and its required internships can give graduates a major competitive advantage upon completion.

MA in Sport Psychology-Clinical PsyD Dual Degree

The sport psychology program can be combined with a doctorate in psychology if students aspire to a role in academia after graduation. In this case, the doctoral coursework would follow directly after completing the M.A. curriculum described earlier. Doctoral requirements include supervised practice in the field, several courses on-campus, significant scholarly research, and defense of a full dissertation before a panel of JFKU faculty members.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

John F. Kennedy University
College of Graduate and Professional Studies
100 Ellinwood Way
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Phone: (925) 969-3300
Program Website

Loyola Marymount University

School of Psychology

Loyola Marymount University current stands out as the largest Roman Catholic university on the west coast and one of the leading institutions for liberal arts and humanities west of the Mississippi River. Its prestige extends beyond California’s borders and is a definite help to students seeking internships and full-time careers after they graduate. The School of Psychology focuses primarily on educational psychology, and offers a graduate degree in this field that will allow graduates to work in school counseling, curriculum development, and other positions that prepare students for the challenges they face outside the classroom. The doctoral faculty also guides students through preparation of a thesis, optional academic research, and other program requirements with ease.

MA Educational Psychology

At the beginning of the program, students will focus on a set of four “gateway” courses that serve as the core of this program’s focus. These courses teach developmental psychology, learning and motivational theories, statistics, and a broad introduction to advanced psychological concepts. Beyond these gateway courses, students will choose electives from three areas: school psychology, personality theory, and abnormal psychology. An internship is required as part of the program, typically in a school close to the LMU campus.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Loyola Marymount University
School of Psychology
1 LMU Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone: (310) 338-2700
Program Website

Marymount California University

Department of Psychology

Located along the coast just 25 miles south of Los Angeles, Marymount California has long been a destination for students who prefer a more suburban campus and a more scenic setting for their studies. For graduate students, the school serves as one of the best options when pursuing a career in community psychology. The Department of Psychology at MCU offers excellent, hands-on community psychology courses, a large network of professionals who have already studied the field at the university, and opportunities for teaching, research, and internships that will help build a solid resume by the time the degree is conferred.

Master of Science in Community Psychology

The graduate core at MCU includes applied statistics and research, professional ethics and law, leadership, and geospatial analytics. After fulfilling this required core, students will be free to choose electives that range from community intervention to human diversity and cultural competence. These courses are designed to teach not only the skills required of community psychologists, but also the sensitivities needed in today’s most diverse communities nationwide. Three research seminars conclude the program, resulting in a thesis that is presented to a faculty panel prior to graduation.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Marymount California University
Department of Psychology
30800 Palos Verdes Dr. E.
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Phone: (310)377-5501
Program Website

Mount Saint Mary’s University

Graduate Division

Historically a university for women, Mount Saint Mary’s University stands out as the liberal arts institution ranked highest in the western United States. At the graduate level, this means that its counseling psychology program is among the most rigorous in California. Students who are accepted to this highly selective program will gain access to some of the most notable professionals in counseling anywhere in the country, with rich opportunities for research, teaching, and guided practicums outside the classroom. The school’s excellent reputation makes it a networking draw for employers throughout the state, especially in its home city of Los Angeles.

Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

Students can choose from concentrations in general counseling or family and marriage counseling upon enrollment, with each concentration coming with a different set of elective courses during the second year of the program. The graduate core for both concentrations includes research methods, applied statistics, advanced psychological concepts, and professional ethics. Each concentration features courses that prepare the student to handle sensitive topics among married couples, families, or the general population. Both concentrations require no less than three practicum experiences with professional supervision, which will help students qualify for state licensure after they graduate.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Mount Saint Mary’s University
Graduate Division
Doheny Campus
10 Chester Place
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Phone: (213) 477-2500
Program Website

National University

School of Psychology

National University, which serves as the flagship of California’s National University System of private institutions, is a leading university for adult students on a nontraditional schedule. The school offers online, hybrid, and offline courses in the School of Psychology and many other fields, and gives all of its students the opportunity to become fully licensed school psychologists by the completion of the program. Professors at National University’s School of Psychology must hold at least one doctorate degree, and they must serve as advisors and mentors to their graduate students for the duration of the program.

Master of Science in School Psychology with PPSP -Credential (California Only)

A rigorous curriculum in school psychology prepares graduates for the challenges that today’s students face in K-12 schools. The program begins with a set of gateway courses in school behavior, safety and psychology in schools, professional ethics, and advanced counseling. Students then choose electives that focus on everything from diverse families and bullying to student academic performance issues and the psychology of learning disabilities. Along with three practicum experiences, the program grants graduates a Master of Science degree as well as a Pupil Personnel Services credential for practice in California schools.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

The counseling program at National University requires many of the same courses found in the school psychology program, but focuses on a different set of electives. Students in this program can choose from classes that teach family counseling, community counseling, or more general counseling skills. Courses in law and professional ethics are also required, as a three-stage supervised practicum that will allow students to be eligible for full counseling licensure in California.

Master of Arts in Performance Psychology

Performance psychology utilizes the National University graduate psychology core as well as specialized electives in the performance field. Students will learn about the psychology of achievement, injury, and performance, and utilize these skills in several supervised work experiences away from campus. The program will prepare students for work alongside professionals in a large variety of fields.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

National University
School of Psychology
9388 Lightwave Ave.
San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858) 541-7700
Program Website

Notre Dame de Namur University

Department of Clinical Psychology

Located just outside San Francisco in the community of Belmont, California, NDNU is a leading Catholic institution for students studying clinical psychology. In fact, it’s clinical psychology program is a rare find among all types of universities in the state. As such, the program is highly selective, highly ranked, and competitive upon admission. Students will be required to conduct research and internships during their time in the program, resulting in a thesis defense, eligibility for professional licensing, and, eventually, degree conferral.

Clinical Psychology (MS)

Clinical psychology blends traditional psychological methods with medicine and diagnosis, and is therefore one of the most in-depth graduate fields of study. The program at NDNU is extensive, lasting at least three years from start to finish. In addition to basic courses in professional ethics, law, and introductory counseling, students will choose from several electives that focus on unique types of counseling and varying environments of psychological practice. Supervised work experiences will be required during each year of the program to prepare graduates for professional work in private settings.

Clinical Psychology, MFT (MS)

The MFT program at NDNU utilizes nearly the same program as the regular clinical psychology degree, but varies a bit in its focus. MFT stands for “marriage and family therapy,” and this sets the tone for the program’s various elective courses. Instead of choosing several different areas of practice, students will focus only on helping children, solving marital disagreements, and even working through cases of child or spousal abuse.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

Notre Dame de Namur University
Department of Clinical Psychology
1500 Ralston Ave.
Belmont, CA 94002
Phone: (650) 508-3600
Program Website

There are very many graduate-level psychology programs in California, and the options above represent only a small sample of what can be found throughout the state. Before choosing any program, make sure that it is appropriately affordable, rigorous, and full of the right opportunities. With these considerations made early in the process, students pursuing one of the Master’s in Psychology degrees in California will find themselves fully networked, given great opportunities, and within striking distance of a long-term, rewarding career in the field.

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