Psychology Master’s Degrees in California

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The master’s degree in psychology is one of the most diverse things going in the world of graduate study. The question for today’s grad students in the field is no longer just about earning an MA vs MS in psychology. The field is so diverse that conventional generalist programs in psychology are almost the exception these days. There is so much to explore in the field, and so many areas where psychology is being put to use to improve business, education, commerce and the entire human experience – and the concentrations on offer at the top psychology graduate programs in California reflect all of it.

California has no shortage of opportunities when it comes to exploring careers with a master’s in psychology. From the tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook that rule the Valley to the Tesla Motors plant in Freemont and other major manufacturers, the applied uses of psychological principles are big business all over California. Applied psychology is the ultimate edge in business, and perhaps the last true unexploited opportunity.

That makes it a big part of the scene in California, both in terms of the psychology programs offered at the state’s universities, and as far as the job market is concerned. From the popular industrial-organizational concentration to niche applications like forensics and even sport and performance, master’s programs in applied psychology are preparing grad students to be capable of going out into the world to solve real problems using psychological principles.

At grad schools in California for psychology, marriage and family therapy and other traditional counseling specialties and still hugely popular. But it’s only right that California would also be leading the way with psychology master’s programs that are more inclusive and oriented toward psychologists interested in serving the social services needs of underprivileged immigrant populations or offering specialized counseling services to meet the needs of the LGBTQ community.

A master’s in psychology can lead to all kinds of deeply fulfilling and important work in California. Just check out our list of the highest paying psychology careers to learn more.

Whether it’s a specialized master’s degree you’re interested in as the final step to a career in counseling, or a generalist degree that’s going to be just one stop on your path to earning a doctorate and becoming a licensed psychologist, you’ll find your program right here in California.

And it’s not just state residents getting into the amazing psychology graduate programs here either. Some of the best online psychology master’s programs in the country are offered at grad schools in California, serving psychology students all over the country and around the world.

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Psychology Master’s Programs: California (A – Z)

 

Alliant International University

California School of Professional Psychology

Founded in 1969 and dedicated to providing rigorous, focused degree programs in specific industries, Alliant International University awards degrees in business, education, forensics, law and psychology under the direction of individual schools. The school is a private institution and provides students with the option to study at several locations in California. For those interested in psychology graduate programs, Alliant’s California School of Professional Psychology offers several programs at the master’s level and doctoral level as well as certification programs in select areas. With the exception of the MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology, the school’s master-level degrees are all M.A. programs with varying concentrations.

Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology

With a Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology, students will learn how to apply psychology concepts to businesses and organizations to help sustain productivity and further professional goals. The program is designed with working students in mind, and candidates may opt for regular daytime classes, evening coursework or even online courses in some cases. Students will complete 50 units on courses covering topics such as survey methods, human resources management, and organizational change and development. In addition to the 50-unit requirement, students have to complete an internship experience of 240 hours. The program is offered at the Los Angeles and San Diego campuses.

Clinical Psychopharmacology Postdoctoral MS Program

Alliant’s Clinical Psychopharmacology Postdoctoral MS Program was developed in 1998 as the nation’s first program dedicated to providing psychologists with subsequent training and certification in the management of medication for people with psychological disorders. The school retains its leadership status with this intensive program, and hundreds of practicing psychologists around the U.S. have benefited from the degree. This M.S. program is hosted entirely online, which makes it ideal for working professionals, but there is a significant time investment. Candidates in this program complete 462 hours of coursework divided into about 30 units. The credit requirement includes a 16-hour review for the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists.

Also Offers

MA in Clinical Counseling
PhD and PsyD in Clinical Psychology
MA and PsyD in Marital and Family Therapy
PhD and PsyD in organization Development
Certificate in Clinical Psychology, Doctoral Respecialization
Certificate in LGBT Human Services and Mental Health

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

Alliant International University
California School of Professional Psychology
10455 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92131-1799
Phone: (858) 635-4000
Email: Live Chat available online

 

Azusa Pacific University

Graduate Programs

Azusa Pacific University’s motto represents the principles on which the school has stood since its foundation: “God first since 1899.” This private, evangelical Christian college has an undergraduate enrollment of around 6,500 students who pursue degrees at both undergraduate and graduate levels on campus and online. Tied at number 173 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best national universities, Azusa Pacific strives to educate students using a faith-based approach combined with higher academic pursuits and an award-winning athletics program. The university’s school psychology program is accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists, and students can pursue three additional psychology programs at the graduate level.

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy

Students researching psychology master’s degree programs in California will appreciate the in-depth approach taken with Azusa Pacific’s Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. The program’s emphasis in marriage and family therapy will prepare students to work with families, couples and individuals in private settings. In addition to traditional academic courses on psychology topics, the school offers interdisciplinary studies centered on ethics, psychotherapy and theology to provide a well-rounded education. For those interested in becoming certified as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Azusa Pacific provides an additional course to address the licensing requirement. The program requires completion of 66 to 69 credit units.

The M.S. in Organizational Psychology program at Azusa University requires 39 hours and between 16 and 22 months to complete. This program is only available at the main campus at Azusa, but given the shorter time frame for completion, even working students may find it convenient to earn the master’s degree. Designed for those who want to work with organizations to improve employee experience and productivity, the M.S. in Organizational Psychology divides its required coursework into 21 hours of an organizational psychology core, 12 hours of a research and assessment core, and two units worth six credits of “integration” courses centered on thesis preparation.

Also Offers

MS in Counseling Psychology with Specialization in Children and Adolescents
MS in Child Life
Educational Counseling, M.A.Ed., and embedded School Counseling Credential (clinical option available)
School Psychology, Ed.S., with embedded Educational Psychology, M.A.Ed., and School Psychology Credential
MS in Research Psychology and Data Analysis 

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

Azusa Pacific University
901 E. Alosta Avenue
Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
Phone: (626) 815-5008
Email for MFT: vewing@apu.edu (Vicki Ewing)
Email for Organizational M.S.: leadershippsych@apu.edu

 

University of Massachusetts Global

School of Arts and Sciences

Founded in 1958 as Chapman University College before becoming Brandman University, and now University of Massachusetts Global is a non-profit college offering a variety of online and on-campus programs throughout California. The university holds distinction with U.S. News and World Report for being one of the best online institutions at both undergraduate and graduate levels for military veterans. Students looking for graduate programs in psychology have four options at UMass Global under the school’s Arts and Sciences Department. The university offers just one master’s program, but the program allows students to concentrate on a specific area.

Master of Arts in Psychology: Professional Clinical Counseling

Since UMass Global does not outline program requirements on its website, this and the following sections are dedicated to describing the four concentrations of its Master of Arts program in general. According to the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, “Counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals.” Psychologists who practice clinical counseling undertake a variety of courses aimed at promoting this ideal. Typical degree programs emphasize theoretical work in applied settings, and most require practicum experiences and internships for experience. Counselors also need to be nationally certified in most states.

Master of Arts in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy

The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists outlines the educational requirements for this specialization on its website. To become a licensed counselor in marriage and family therapy, a program must develop an integrated program to teach students how to diagnose, assess and treat mental disorders; expose students to issues that come up in families and marriages; train students in the principles, methodology and application of theories regarding family and marital problems; and offer students different ways to deal with varying levels of problems in patients. Students also need to complete a minimum of 225 hours in a practicum experience working directly with patients.

Also Offers

MA in Counseling with PPS Credential, School Counseling
MA in Educational Psychology and EdS in School Psychology with PPSP Credential (Autism or ABA option)

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

UMass Global Administration
16355 Laguna Canyon
RoadIrvine, CA 92618

 

California Baptist University

School of Behavioral and Social Sciences

As of fall 2014, California Baptist University enrolls nearly 8,000 students who can choose from 72 bachelor programs with 150 concentrations and 25 graduate programs with 45 concentrations. The school was founded as a Christian university in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention and remains connected to its traditions through a commitment to providing a faith-based environment, 100 percent Christian faculty and staff, and stimulating academic community. Under the direction of its School of Behavioral Sciences, California Baptist University offers two programs for students interested in graduate-level psychology programs: a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology and a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology.

Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

The Master of Science in Counseling Psychology program at California Baptist University features a dual certification process that allows students to pursue marriage and family therapy licensure simultaneously with the Professional Clinical Counselor licensure. Experienced faculty members teach courses relevant to the field and work with students closely to reinforce learning. As a Christian school, California Baptist believes in training future counselors not only in the practical application of psychology concepts but in providing compassionate care to their future patients as well. The degree requires completion of 62 units for the MFT portion with an additional 18 units for the PCC licensure.

Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

Forensics is a relatively new concentration within the field of psychology, but its popularity has encouraged some universities to develop programs tailored to meet the nationwide demand. At California Baptist University, students can choose to complete a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology that combines elements of the criminal justice and legal system with applied concepts from psychology. Graduates of the program will be qualified to offer assessment and other services to law enforcement, government officials and other similar entities in aid of investigative or profiling work. The degree requires students to complete 57 units of coursework on topics such as advanced criminal law and criminal profiling.

Also Offers

PsyD in Clinical Psychology
Dual Degree Program: Counseling Ministry, M.A. and Counseling Psychology, M.S.
MS Industrial-Organizational PsychologyMS in Sport and Performance Psychology

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

California Baptist University
School of Behavioral Sciences
8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
Phone: (951) 343-4487
Email: jcraig@calbaptist.edu (Dr. Jacqueline Gustafson)

 

California Institute of Integral Studies

East-West Psychology Department

Students seeking master’s degrees make up the majority of enrollment at the California Institute of Integral Studies with 52 percent of the school’s nearly 1,300 students pursuing graduate programs. Founded as a graduate educational branch of the Cultural Integration Fellowship in 1968, the school underwent several transformations before becoming the California Institute of Integral Studies. Today, the school maintains its mission of providing focused graduate and undergraduate completion programs to its students, and those seeking a master’s in psychology will find a unique approach within the school’s East-West Psychology Department. More traditional programs in various psychology fields are also available.

Master of Arts in East-West Psychology

The California Institute of Integral Studies allows students to take more control over the direction of their master’s program, encouraging graduate students to develop and explore a “psychospiritual” focus to their degree that centers on their own conceptions. Working closely with advisers, students will create a course of study within the parameters of the program requirements. To earn a master’s degree in East-West Psychology, students must complete 36 units over the course of two years. Electives may be taken during the summer, but candidates don’t have to enroll in summer sessions. Courses include topics such as indigenous and shamanic traditions, and contemporary participatory spirituality.

Also Offers

MA in Applied Psychology
PsyD in Clinical Psychology
PhD in Transpersonal Psychology
PhD in Human Sexuality
Community Mental Health Program
Drama Therapy Program
MA in Expressive Art Therapy
Master’s in Somatic Psycholog 

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

California Institute of Integral Studies
East-West Psychology Department
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 575-6246
Email: mblake@ciis.edu (Marlon Blake)

 

California Lutheran University

Graduate School of Psychology

Established in 1959, California Lutheran University is a relatively small private school that nevertheless boasts a ranking of 15 on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best regional universities in the West. Featuring an undergraduate enrollment of almost 2,900 students and a selective acceptance rate of 48 percent, the school offers undergraduate, master’s degrees and doctoral programs. In 2014, Cal Lutheran merged with Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary to expand its reach and focus areas. The university affords students looking for graduate-level programs in psychology two options under its Graduate School of Psychology, one of which is described below.

M.S. in Clinical Psychology

Students enrolled in the M.S. in Clinical Psychology program experience a research-focused course of study that will prepare them for careers that demand exceptional use of applied psychology or doctoral programs. The program requires completion of 34 to 37 units and takes an average of two years to finish. Most classes comprise only 15 students, which makes the program an ideal place for those who seek a closer academic relationship with faculty members. The credit hours are divided into 11 required courses, two courses of elective credits and the completion of a thesis, a research project or a comprehensive exam.

Also Offers

PsyD in Clinical Psychology
MS in Counseling Psychology (MFT)

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

California Lutheran University
Graduate and Adult Programs
60 W. Olsen Road #2200
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Phone: (805) 493-3325
Email: clugrad@callutheran.edu

 

California Polytechnic State University, Pomona

Department of Psychology and Sociology

Located about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, California Polytechnic State University offers students the benefit of a suburban setting combined with the attraction of a major city. Cal Poly Pomona was founded in 1938 and boasts an undergraduate enrollment of just under 21,000 students. U.S. News and World Report ranks the university at a tie for number 31 on its list of the best Western regional universities. The College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences provides students researching graduate-level psychology degrees with a master’s program designed specifically to lead to licensure in the field of marriage and family therapy.

Master of Science Degree in Psychology

Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Psychology and Sociology outlines 17 educational and program objectives that students will master by the time they finish the Master of Science Degree in Psychology. Among these objectives are the ability to identify and report child abuse, an understanding of how medicine affects behavior, and the development of professional skills regarding dress and decorum. Students will complete at least 74 credits on a quarter schedule that takes about two years to finish. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to apply for MFT licensure. The program also requires a practicum experience lasting for one full academic year.

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
Department of Psychology and Sociology
3801 West Temple Avenue
Pomona, CA 91768
Phone: (909) 869-3899
Email: jsmio@cpp.edu (Dr. Jeffery Mio)

 

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Psychology and Child Development Department

According to U.S. News and World Report, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo ranks number 10 on its list of the 2015 best regional universities in the West. The school has enjoyed a long history as a progressive, hands-on institution serving both men and women students since its founding in 1901. What started as a polytechnic high school evolved into a large, full-scale university that serves almost 19,000 enrolled undergraduates each year. In the field of psychology, students have the option to explore a Master of Science under the guidance of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Psychology and Child Development Department.

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology program offered by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo provides students with the education needed to attain licensure in Marriage and Family Therapy according to California guidelines. Students who undertake this demanding course of study will spend 90 quarter credit hours pursuing courses on topics such as ethics and law in MF therapy, child and adolescent therapy, and the assessment and treatment of substance abuse. The required coursework also includes a 16-credit traineeship in marital and family therapy. To graduate, students will need to sit for a comprehensive exam or complete the thesis option.

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

California Polytechnic State University
Department of Psychology & Child Development
1 Grand Avenue, Building 35
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Phone: (805) 756-2033
Email: psychhd@calpoly.edu

 

Chapman University

College of Educational Studies

Chapman University began as a relatively progressive school in 1861 serving men, women and non-white students in a time when many higher institutions ignored minorities, and the school has been honored by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review and The Templeton Foundation in recent years for its continued commitment to excellence. Students who want to go into an educational setting within the field of psychology will appreciate Chapman University’s Ed.S. in School Psychology program offered by the College of Educational Studies. Students may also pursue an M.A. program in school counseling, but the focus of this section will be on the Ed.S. program.

Ed.S. in School Psychology

The focus of the Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) Program in School Psychology is for students working toward a career in an educational setting. According to the school’s website, graduates of this program should achieve the following objectives: “assessment for intervention, mental health counseling, behavior management and consultation with teachers and parents.” Students who complete the program automatically qualify for certification as school psychologists as long as they also complete the appropriate internship requirements and achieve a passing score on the Praxis II test. The Ed.S. program requires 69 credits and takes three years to complete at full-time status along with 1,800 hours of field work.

Accreditation:

  • Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
  • International School Psychology Association (ISPA)

Contact

Chapman University
College of Educational Studies
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866
Phone: (714) 744-7944
Email: kkennedy@chapman.edu (Kelly Kennedy, Ph.D.)

 

Claremont Graduate University

Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences

Claremont Graduate University was founded in 1925 and enrolls nearly 2,400 students. Students enjoy their experience here as evidenced by the fact that the school ranks fifth for “best place to live” according to Money Magazine. The university’s Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences operates on the notion that every student is unique, and the division has developed programs at the graduate level that allow students to explore several options for customizing their degree and changing their minds when necessary. Students here will have the ability to focus in various psychology sub-fields or pursue a joint program that combines psychology with public health.

Master of Arts Degree (M.A.)

Claremont Graduate University’s Master of Arts program in psychology focuses on “theory, research, and applications of the science of psychology” according to the website for the Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences. Students who pursue this program gain exposure to a broad range of topics within the field of psychology and can focus their studies on one of several concentrations (listed below). The master’s program requires completion of 48 units. Unlike many M.A. programs in psychology, the general graduate program at Claremont Graduate University does not require completion of a thesis or independent research. Internships and jobs with faculty members outside of school supply students with relevant experience.

Masters of Public Health (MPH)/Masters in Applied Psychology (MA) Dual Degree

The dual degree program in public health and applied psychology is offered in a joint capacity by Claremont Graduate University’s Division of Behavioral and Organizational Sciences and its School of Community and Global Health. Students who pursue this program typically hope to work in industries that combine psychology concepts with public health issues. Drawing on the experience afforded by both programs, students will be able to explore a variety of career options in different fields. The dual program demands 64 units divided among 20 courses. On a full-time schedule, students can finish the degree in five semesters, but part-time scheduling is available for those who need flexibility.

Also Offers

MA Concentrations

  • Applied Cognitive Psychology: User Experience
  • Organizational Behavior and Evaluation
  • Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation
  • Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation
  • Applied Cognitive Psychology
  • MA in Positive Health Psychology

PhD in Psychology (Concentrations in: Evaluation and Applied Research Methods, Organizational Behavior, Positive Developmental Psychology, Positive Organizational Psychology)

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

Claremont Graduate University
School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation
Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences
123 E. 8th Street
Claremont, CA 91711
Phone: (909) 621-8084
Email: psych@cgu.edu

 

Claremont McKenna College

Psychology Department

The Claremont Colleges system has been modeled after Oxford University in England, which sets it apart as an intellectually elite system of schools that selects only the best students for its challenging academic programs. Established in 1946, the university enrolls about 1,200 students. Claremont McKenna College strives to educate students to pursue “thoughtful and productive lives and responsible leadership in economics, government and public affairs” according to its website, and students who study here gain access to world-class faculty and excellent research facilities. Psychology majors have the option to enroll in a program that leads to a master’s degree in conjunction with Claremont’s graduate school.

Accelerated MA Program in Psychology

For students who want to save time on earning their psychology degrees, Claremont McKenna College and the Claremont Graduate University offer an accelerated program in psychology that enables students to get a head start on the master’s program. While students are enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program at Claremont McKenna, they can take up to 16 advanced undergraduate units for credit at Claremont Graduate University. Once they complete the bachelor’s programs, students can finish their master’s degree by taking 32 units including the required core courses. Even if they enroll in the accelerated program, candidates still need to formally apply for the MA program.

Accreditation: Senior College Commission of the Western Associate of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

Contact

Claremont McKenna College
Psychology Department
850 Columbia Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
Phone: (909) 607-3394
Email: dkrauss@cmc.edu (Dan Krauss)

 

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. 

Also Offers

PhD in Clinical Psychology
PhD in Psychology
Infant and Early Childhood Development with an emphasis in Mental Health
Post-Bacc Certificate in Clinical Psychology
Post-Doctoral Certificate in Respecialization in Clinical Psychology
Neuropsychology Specialization Training Program

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

 

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.

Also Offers

BACB Verified Course Sequence
School Counseling, Credential and MA
School Counseling/School Psychology Dual Program, Credential and MA

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

 

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 Counseling Psychology

The graduate program in counseling 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 includes 60 total units. 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.

The program meets the curriculum requirements for MFT and/or LPCC licensure, and includes 300 hours of face-to-face supervised experience that meet part of the total experience requirements for state licensure.

All counseling programs require a practicum experience, while the organizational psychology option requires a capstone course or a graduate thesis.

Also Offers

MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology
Graduate Certificate in Counseling Skills
Graduate Certificate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

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

 

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.

Also Offers

MA in Applied Sport and Performance Psychology
Sport and Performance Psychology Certificate Program
MA in Forensic Psychology
MA, Dual Degree Counseling and Forensic Psychology
Trauma-Informed Intervention Certificate Program

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

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

 

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 academic research, marriage and family therapy or school 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.

MA Concentrations:

Academic Research
Marriage and Family Counseling
School Psychology

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

 

John F. Kennedy University

School of Psychology

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-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.

Also Offers

Academic Certificate in Trauma Studies
MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies
California Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) Program

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

 

Loyola Marymount University

School of Education

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 Education includes programs in 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 in Educational Psychology, EdS in School Psychology, Combined with a PPS Credential in School 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.

Also Offers

Combined MA in Educational Psychology and EdS with Mild/Moderate Disabilities with 2042 Multiple Subject/Elementary Emphasis
MA in Counseling
MA in Guidance and Counseling
MA in School Counseling 

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

 

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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.

Also Offers

PsyD in Clinical Psycholgy

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

 

National University

JFK 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 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 Sport 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.

Also Offers

MS in Educational Counseling with PPSC Credential Option (Through Sanford College of Education)
Graduate Certificate in Trauma Studies
MA in Consciousness and Transformative Studies
MA in Sport Psychology – PsyD Dual Degree
California Doctor of Clinical Psychology (PsyD) Program

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

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

 

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.

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP)

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.

MSCP/Marriage and Family Therapy (MSCP/MFT)

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.

Also Offers

MSCP/Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling (MSCP/MFT/LPCC)

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

 

Pacifica Graduate Institute

Department of Psychology

Founded in 1976, Pacifica Graduate Institute was designed as a new type of educational institution. The school is 97 percent owned by its employees and focuses exclusively on graduate degrees in the fields of psychology, mythological studies, and the humanities. As a result of this very narrow focus, the professionals at PGI are some of the best qualified in their respective fields. Many professors blend their instructional responsibilities with full-time careers in psychology, giving students access to a wealth of both scholarly knowledge and professional experience as they proceed through its unique and highly rigorous degree programs.

M.A. Program in Counseling Psychology

Pacifica’s M.A. in Counseling Psychology program is designed on a cohort model, with students entering the program during the school’s fall semester. At this time, students will take basic foundation courses in professional skills, counseling skills, counseling theories, and an introduction to depth psychology. The school’s program then shifts to a quarter-based format, wherein students will take new classes during fall, winter, spring, and summer terms. Several clinical practicums and observations are required as part of the program, which takes just under three years to complete.

M.A./Ph.D. in Mythological Studies with Emphasis in Depth Psychology

The combined M.A. / Ph.D. program at Pacifica takes quite a bit longer to complete than the M.A. alone. Students who choose this option will be enrolled in traditional classes for at least three years, while a dissertation will likely add between one and three extra years to their time at the institution. In addition to three practical experiences during the program, students will also blend traditional psychology coursework with classes in mythology. This unique blend will see students blending the likes of Greek mythology with the highly technical field of depth psychology, for instance. After a panel presentation and approval of the student’s doctoral dissertation, the student is moved to degree conferral with a dual Master of Art and Doctor of Philosophy in mythological studies.

Also Offers

PsyD in Counseling Psychology
MA/PhD in Clinical Psychology
PhD Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices
MA/PhD Jungian and Archetypal Studies
MA/PhD Community, Liberation, Indigenous and Eco-Psychologies
MA Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Pacifica Graduate Institute
249 Lambert Rd.
Carpinteria, CA 93013
Phone: (805) 969-3626, ext. 305
Email: admissions@pacifica.edu

 

Palo Alto University

Department of Graduate Psychology

Palo Alto University has been serving the San Francisco Bay Area with undergraduate and graduate degree programs since its inception in 1975. Today, the school’s clinical psychology program is ranked 79th in the nation for its overall quality and rigor, giving students access to one of the most prestigious psychology programs anywhere in the United States. Palo Alto University is also consistently ranked as a top value for students enrolled in graduate programs, with affordable tuition and great practical experiences that drive up the ROI of its degrees. This can help offset the literal and opportunity costs of pursuing an M.S. at the school.

M.S. Psychology Ph.D. Prep

Unlike many of California’s graduate psychology programs, PAU’s is offered almost exclusively online. Students still benefit from the experience of their professors, with live chats, video lectures, and group presentations through online courseware. With the school’s requirement of on-campus residencies and professional practical experiences, opportunities still exist for professional experience. Students will begin with basic foundations of psychological theory, practical skills and ethics, clinical ethics, and foundations of behavior. From there, they will move into advanced coursework on a quarterly basis until the program is completed in just over two years.

Also Offers

MA in Counseling

  • Clinical Mental Health Emphasis
  • Marriage, Family and Child Emphasis

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Palo Alto University
Department of Psychology
1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone: (800) 818-6136

 

Pepperdine University

Department of Graduate Psychology Studies

Located in Malibu, California, Pepperdine University is one of California’s largest private institutions of higher education. The school is also a major research university, which bodes well for graduate research in psychology as well as many other fields. Pepperdine is consistently top-ranked for academic quality, rigor, and value, with a high ROI on its graduate degrees in psychology, business, and education. The school maintains strong relationships with many southern California employers and, thanks to required practicum experiences for all psychology students, enjoys a high placement rate for graduates upon completion of the M.A. program in psychology.

MA in Psychology

The generalist M.A. in Psychology program begins in the fall, spring, and summer, so that new students can enroll at the best time for their professional needs. This general program takes 1.5 years to complete if enrolled full-time, or 2 years to complete for part-time students. A first-year course load focuses on the fundamentals of psychology, including a foundations of cognition, cultural psychology, professional ethics, and more. Before being moved from degree candidacy to conferral, students must complete a minimum of two practical, supervised experiences alongside a professional in the field.

MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (Day Format)

Pepperdine’s M.A. in Clinical Psychology is another strong option for students who studied psychology at the undergraduate level. In fact, the program only admits those students with a four-year degree in a psychology-related field of study. Upon enrollment, most students will take the same core curriculum as their counterparts in the general M.A. program mentioned above. After completion of this general core, the clinical psychology emphasis comes into play. This emphasis teaches both fundamental and advanced counseling skills, professional best practices unique to counseling, and psychological concepts that deal with family relationships, various forms of abuse and mental illness, and proper treatment or referral of issues commonly uncovered in family counseling sessions. No less than three professional placements must be completed by students prior to graduating with a degree in this field. This requirement is in line with California state licensure standards for practicing MFT psychologists.

MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (Daytime or Evening Format)

This program is virtually identical to the day version mentioned above, but there are some differences worth noting. The day program is typically offered to full-time students with no professional work experience. Conversely, evening students tend to have a few years of work experience and therefore a different understanding of the field. Students in this program can use their current work experience as a practicum if it applies to the MFT psychology field, which is a significant difference in policy between the two programs.

MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy with Latinas/os

This third variation on a theme features the same core psychology and counseling courses required of the regular day and evening programs. Where it differs is in its emphasis on Latino and Latina concerns within marriage and family counseling, a Block of at least 9 graduate credits focuses on the differences associated with counseling and treating family issues in this diverse, growing population in California and nationwide. The same number of practicum placements is required prior to graduation for students enrolled in this degree program. In most cases, the school’s academic advisors will work with students to secure at least one placement central to the Latino community in California.

Also Offers

MA in Psychology

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Pepperdine University
Department of Graduate Psychology Studies
6100 Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Phone: 310.568.5600
Email: brittany.gelles@pepperdine.edu

 

Phillips Graduate Institute

Psychology Department

Phillips Graduate Institute was founded specifically to offer education in family therapy, art therapy, and human relations, to students in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. The school was founded by psychologists in 1971 and, since then, has been a unifying force between the demands of professional psychologists and psychological education. Students have access to some of the biggest names in LA psychology, with many working professionals opting to teach in its classrooms during the evening and on weekends. Phillips Graduate Institute is centrally located in Los Angeles, making it easy for working professionals to access at various times of day, and has received high praise for its academic quality.

M.A. in Psychology: Marriage & Family Therapy

The marriage and family therapy program at Phillips focuses on adhering to California state licensure guidelines required of all therapists in this area, and therefore requires several practicum placements and several credits of professional ethics and best practices coursework. The program focuses centrally on treating issues like child abuse, spousal abuse, marriage counseling and problem-solving, and several other “hot-button” areas of the MFT profession. With practical experience and extensive coursework in marriage and family therapy, graduates will be able to obtain a California state license and begin practicing immediately.

M.A. in Psychology: Marriage & Family Therapy / Art Therapy

For students who wish to blend marriage and family therapy with the growing field of art therapy, this program is a perfect fit. The dual concentration includes all of the courses and professional requirements mentioned earlier for the MFT program at Phillips, but adds at least five classes in the use of art for therapeutic counseling. Students will focus their studies on the history of art therapy, its modern applications, and how to use art therapy with patients of different ages, backgrounds, and types of psychological disorders. As with the standard MFT program, graduates will be immediately eligible for state licensure in California when they finish the program and secure three related work experiences.

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Phillips Graduate Institute
Psychology Department
19900 Plummer St.
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Phone: (818) 861-6627
Email: landerson@pgi.edu

 

San Diego State University

Department of Psychology

With nearly 33,000 students, San Diego State University is the undisputed leader in higher education for southern California. The school is a public, space grant institution that has long been a leader in classroom excellence, academic research, and professional experiences. For psychology students, the school offers both a Master of Science and a Master of Art degree in the field. Professors are among the most accomplished in their field, with excellent research and publishing credentials that go well beyond the scope of similar programs at other schools throughout the state. With top marks for affordability, academic quality, and job placement, this is a program that generalist students should certainly consider.

Psychology MA

M.A. students in psychology at San Diego State University must take at least 3 credits of coursework in each of the following key areas: Research orientation, advanced research methods, advanced statistics, scholarly research, and a thesis. They must also take courses in advanced psychology, neuropsychology, advanced methods in developmental psychology, and a seminar in social psychology. Though students are not required to perform research, they must at least form a research-guided basis for their graduate thesis. This thesis must be presented prior to graduation, with a score of “pass,” granted by a faculty panel well in advance of the student’s graduation date.

MS in Applied Psychology

The M.S. program at SDSU offers two tracks – a) Industrial/Organizational Psychology and b) Quantitative Methods (Quantitative Methods will be replacing the ‘Program Evaluation’ track). Students in this program are required to perform research alongside a faculty supervisor. As a result, their program lasts a bit longer and the scrutiny of their thesis is much more significant. M.S. graduates often choose to pursue a doctorate in the field.

 

Also Offers

JDP in Clinical Psychology

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

San Diego State University
Department of Psychology
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
Phone: 619-594-5200
Email:

 

San Francisco State University

Psychology Department

Nearly 30,000 students call San Francisco State University their home. The school’s large size allows it to offer innovative programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels alike, including programs in psychology that maximize exposure to theory and practice Students in the school’s generalist M.A. or M.S. programs in psychology will gain a deep understanding of the core principles of the profession. They’ll also be able to leverage the school’s excellent research program, its required practicum placements, and its deep local network, to advance their psychology career in a major way upon choosing SFSU’s coursework.

M.A. in Psychology

SFSU’s M.A. program in psychology offers three unique concentrations to graduate students, including social psychology, developmental psychology, and a unique field known as “mind, bran, and behavior.” No matter the concentration chosen, all students must complete an advanced course in statistics, two courses in the fundamentals of developmental and behavioral psychology, and one course in professional ethics. Students are encouraged to engage in academic research on-campus, required to pursue at least two practicum experiences off-campus, and may opt to present a thesis to a faculty panel en route to a doctoral program in psychology.

M.S. in Psychology

The basic core of courses for the M.S. program is the same. This degree program does come with its own set of unique concentrations, however, which are not available to students who elect to pursue the M.A. At SFSU, the Master of Science program offers concentrations in clinical, school, or industrial psychology. These fields require licensure, which means that students must also completely a state-mandated minimum number of practicum experiences and supervised work experiences before they can graduate and practice on their own.

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

San Francisco State University
Psychology Department
1600 Holloway Ave.
Ethnic Studies and Psychology Building, Room 301
San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone: (415) 338-2167
Email: psych@sfsu.edu

 

San Jose State University

Psychology Department

San Jose State’s status as one of the largest California state schools has given it the opportunity to develop some truly impressive programs for graduate-level psychology students. The school offers concentrations in research, clinical psychology, experimental psychology, and organizational psychology. Each of these concentrations are part of broad industries where students can make a real difference. SJSU requires several practicum placements, encourages a research assistantship, and provides a stipend for student who engage in scholarly research or teaching during their time in the program. This makes it both a great value and an excellent professional resource for psychologists at the graduate level.

MA, Psychology, Concentration in Research and Experimental Psychology

The lone M.A. program at San Jose State focuses on the theoretical: Students take courses that teach a combination of advanced, general psychology theories and research skills. For the majority of their time at SJSU, students will assist a professor with research into a particular area of interest in the psychology field. They will spend at least 9 credits preparing a thesis that must be presented to a faculty panel prior to graduation, and often use this thesis as their ticket to a doctoral program in psychology or a career in academia.

MS, Psychology, Concentration in Clinical Psychology

The Master of Science program requires 6 credits of statistics, 9 credits of advanced cognitive and behavior studies, and 3 credits of professional ethics. The clinical concentration will see students learn professional ethics within counseling, basic and advanced counseling concepts, developmental psychology, and mental health counseling. In line with California state law, three practicum experiences must be scheduled prior to graduation and students must accrue a minimum number of work hours to seek full licensure.

MS, Psychology, Concentration in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

The growing field of industrial psychology blends the traditional workplace with the study of behavior and cognition. In addition to the M.S. psychology core mentioned above, students will take courses in workplace behavior, industrial psychology, and organizational development. They will also work in a consultative role through three practical work placements prior to graduation, which is in line with California regulations.

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

San Jose State University
Psychology Department
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192
Phone: (408) 924-1000

 

Santa Clara University

School of Education and Counseling Psychology

Santa Clara University is top-ranked for its financial aid programs, the practical experience that its students gain in and out of the classroom, and its commitment to scholarly research. Smaller in size overall, Santa Clara University focuses its academic efforts on a single Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program. This singular focus has allowed the school to attract top professors in the counseling field, and grants students access to their unique blend of professional experience and academic accomplishment. Through practical, research, and academic experiences, students will advance their understanding of counseling as well as their professional credentials during their time here.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology

Though Santa Clara’s program in counseling psychology is considered more generalist in nature, students can still choose from one of three tracks: marriage and family therapy, clinical counseling, or a “joint” track that teaches both sets of skills. In addition to the choice of a specialization, students will be required to complete the school’s general psychology core. These courses focus on professional ethics, the foundations of behavior, the fundamentals of clinical psychological practice, and the combination of state and federal regulations that govern patient access, patient privacy, and private practice in this field. All students must also pair their coursework with at least three practicum placements prior to graduation.

Also Offers

Master’s in Counseling (non-licensure)

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Santa Clara University
School of Education and Counseling Psychology
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
Phone: (408) 554-4000
Email: ecpadmissions@scu.edu

 

Saybrook University

School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies

Though it operates as an independent institution, Saybrook University is actually part of the prestigious Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Since 1971, the school has grown to support a student body of more than 600 individuals, with programs in general psychology, counseling, and more. Students can even opt for a hybrid MA/PhD program if they wish to immediately become qualified professors in the field of general or counseling psychology. With the backing of the Chicago School and resources inherent to Saybrook’s location in Oakland, just outside San Francisco, students will have excellent professional resources upon completion of the degree.

MA Psychology

As part of the MA in Psychology at Saybrook, students will be able to choose from a few progressive concentrations:

  • Consciousness, spirituality, and integrative health specialization
  • Creativity studies specialization
  • Existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology specialization

Online PHD Psychology

This longer, generalist track will require students to spend at least four years working on advanced coursework and research. As part of Ph.D. program, all students must work alongside a professor on a significant research component. That work will be placed into a dissertation, presented to a faculty panel at the completion of the program. Upon satisfactory completion of all coursework, professional work experiences, and required research, students will be moved to degree conferral and will be able to pursue a career in academia.

Also Offers

Online PhD in Clinical Psychology
Online MS in Psychophysiology
Online PhD in Applied Psychophysiology
MA in Counseling (Clinical Mental Health or Counselor Education and Supervision)

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Saybrook University
School of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies
475 14th St.
9th Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 593.2900
Email: dsewell@saybrook.edu

 

Simpson University

Department of Graduate Studies

Simpson University is one of the smallest schools in California to offer a graduate program in psychology. With just 1,300 students in undergraduate and graduate programs combined, Simpson is actually smaller than most high schools in the state. Through its smaller class sizes and individualized attention, Simpson University gives its students a chance to benefit from mentoring by a highly qualified faculty. As a result, graduates finish the program with a bit more insight and context when it comes to navigating their professional knowledge and putting their advanced skills to work for patients in a variety of settings.

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

Simpson University has designed its coursework to adhere to California state regulations for MFT or LPCC licensure upon degree completion. This includes specific coursework in professional ethics, clinical foundations, professional and practical regulations, and at least three professional job experiences while enrolled in the program. The general psychology core allows for selection of a concentration in family therapy, though this is not required. The academic calendar centers around two 9-week sessions in the fall and spring, and two 7-week sessions during the summer. After two years of studying within this format, students will complete all credits and experiences required for graduation with the M.A. degree.

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Simpson University
Department of Graduate Studies
2211 College View Dr.
Redding, CA 96003
Phone: (530) 224-5600

 

Sofia University

Department of Psychology

This for-profit institution was actually founded as a psychological institute, specializing in degree programs that would produce the next generation of great counselors and transpersonal psychologists. Today, Sofia University offers a broad array of programs that go well beyond its original psychology degrees. Even so, it is the school’s Department of Psychology that has earned the highest marks. Rated well for its overall value and job placement statistics, Sofia’s Department of Psychology accommodates students through hybrid, online, and on-campus courses to permit learning in the venue that is most convenient for their needs.

Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology (on-campus and hybrid)

This unique counseling program allows students to take at least half of their coursework through an online portal, removing a significant classroom attendance component. The program’s core consists of 18 credits in statistics, cognition, developmental psychology, professional ethics, and social psychology. Elective coursework allows students to specialize in a specific area of counseling psychology, while professional work experiences teach the practical skills needed to connect with patients and work through various cognitive or behavioral issues.

Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology (hybrid and on-campus)

Another hybrid program that removes significant amounts of classroom attendance, this unique field in psychology studies the intersection of traditional human behavioral studies with the more “transcendent” aspects of human life. In addition to the core courses mentioned above, students will focus much of their time on spiritual psychology, religious issues in psychology, and a seminar in current spiritual psychology research and methods. A practicum will see students work in this field alongside a seasoned professional in transpersonal psychology.

Also Offers

PhD in Transpersonal Psychology

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Sofia University
Department of Psychology
1069 East Meadow Cir.
Palo Alto, CA 94303
Phone: (650) 493-4430
Email: info@sofia.edu

 

Sonoma State University

Department of Psychology

Sonoma State is one of California’s smaller public universities, with a student body numbering just over 9,000. As a result, SSU focuses its efforts on a single M.A. program in psychology. This program features an emphasis in depth psychology, which is one of the most popular fields in the profession at the current time. Students have access to excellent research placements, teaching assistantships, and practicum partners, giving them a few extra resume credentials as they finish the program and enter into the workforce.

Master of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis on Depth Psychology

Sonoma State’s M.A. program requires three years from start to finish. Students can even opt to extend their time at the university, in consultation with faculty, if they wish to continue research or teaching projects that they began during the regular course of study. The first year focuses on psychological methods, cross-cultural psychology, and an introduction to the field of depth psychology. The second year focuses heavily on scholarly research and a professional internship, with the third year of the program culminates in the completion of a practicum placement, presentation of a final project or research paper, and completion of highly advanced depth psychology coursework that approaches doctoral-level sophistication.

Also Offers

MA in Counseling (Through the Department of Counseling)

  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • School Counseling

Accreditations: Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Colleges and Schools

Contact

Sonoma State University
Department of Psychology
1801 E. Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
Phone: (707) 664-2880
Email: laurel.mccabe@sonoma.edu

 

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Southern California Programs

Originally founded to serve graduate psychology students in the greater Chicago metropolitan area, the Chicago School has expanded its programs to several cities throughout southern California as well as its home state of Illinois and even Washington, D.C. A member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, the school’s programs are often considered among the best in the country. The admissions process is highly competitive, while the ROI is recognized as being among the best of any graduate institute in the country. With programs in forensic and industrial psychology, the Chicago School’s California presence is one that covers two of the fastest-growing niches within the broader psychological profession.

M.A. Forensic Psychology

Straight out of a scene from “CSI” or “Criminal Minds,” the program in forensic psychology prepares graduate students for a professional role within a law enforcement organization. The program focuses on advanced behavioral analysis, criminal psychology, several courses in basic and advanced forensic psychology practices, and at least one class in psychological research practices. The program leads to a practicum experience with a local law enforcement agency where students put their skills to work and build a professional network in this field.

M.A. I/O Psychology

Workplaces require psychological best practices in order to function at a high level and increase levels of productivity over time. I/O psychologists focus on industrial and organizational psychology in a workplace context, and this program focuses on the advanced skills necessary to get the job done. Students will focus on organizational behavior, organizational development, applied psychology in organization, workplace counseling, and the psychology of organization design. Electives focus on the psychology of supervision, being supervised, and enforcing organizational change.

Also Offers

PsyD in Marital and Family Therapy
PsyD in Clinical Psychology
PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology
PsyD in Applied Clinical Psychology
Post-Bacc Certificate in ABA
Post Master’s Certificate in ABA
PhD in Organizational Leadership
PhD in Business Psychology (I/O and Consulting tracks available)
PhD in ABA
MS in ABA
I/O Psychology Generalist Certificate
Dual Degree MA I/O Psychology (Internship Track and Master of Legal Studies)
Certificate in Forensic Psychology – MA Non-Licensure Track to Licensure Bridge
MA in Marriage, Couples and Family Therapy

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology

Contact

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Southern California Programs
617 W 7th St. #800
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 627-2580

 

The Wright Institute

Department of Counseling Psychology

Founded specifically to focus on clinical psychology, the Wright Institute is California’s local answer to the multi-city Chicago School that also has campuses throughout the state. The Wright Institute has been focusing on top-notch clinical psychology education since 1968. Nearly five decades after its founding, the school has grown dramatically in size and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a “best value” and as one of the nation’s top graduate psychology institutes. A rigorous curriculum, combined with strong practicum placements throughout Berkeley and NorCal, makes the Wright Institute a great choice for students who prefer a highly specialized, top-ranked institution that focuses on just a single area of graduate psychology education.

M.A. in Counseling Psychology

This two-year program operates on a trimester schedule, and requires students take courses ranging from psychological research practices to addiction counseling, community counseling, and the psychology of aging. Because the program leads to clinical work, students, focus on the clinical nature of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, profession, and more. A practicum is required at the end of the program, allowing students to practice clinically under the supervision of a certified clinical psychology practitioner. A professional development seminar accompanies this placement, giving students a way to share their experiences with their peers in the program.

Also Offers

Clinical PsyD Program

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Contact

The Wright Institute
Department of Counseling Psychology
2728 Durant Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 841-9230
Email: mesherick@wi.edu

 

University of California, Irvine

Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

With nearly 30,000 students, the University of California’s Irvine campus is one of the largest in the state. Its programs are top-ranked across all disciplines, with a psychology department that is particularly well-known for its graduate program in general psychology. The program takes a more behavioral focus than many other programs in the state, giving students a unique perspective that they might find hard to achieve at other UC campuses or private institutions. UCI is ranked as one of the best universities in the western part of the United States, earning top marks from leading publications for its relatively low cost, high job placement rate for graduate students, and excellent research opportunities for students with an eye on a career in academia.

PhD in Psychological Science

Though generalist in design, the PhD program in psychology does offer several specializations in Affective Science, Developmental Psychology, Health Psychology, Social and Personality Psychology. UCI also offers a separate PhD in Psychological Science with a concentration in Clinical Psychology for students interested in a terminal degree that deals with clinically-focused research and practice.

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association

Contact

University of California, Irvine
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior
4201 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Irvine, CA 92697
Phone: (949) 824-5574
Email: rsilver@uci.edu

 

University of California, Los Angeles

Psychology Department

UCLA has always been one of the biggest campuses within the University of California System, with enrollment exceeding 43,000 students during the most recent academic year. UCLA’s reputation is known nationwide, with the school ranked as one of the “Public Ivies” among its fellow public institutions in the other 50 states. Its high ranking means that admissions are highly competitive, but this also means that psychology graduate students enjoy access to some of the nation’s most exclusive and accomplished professors, a series of excellent local internships, and networking opportunities that span the continent. Top-ranked for the graduate program’s academic rigor and the school’s affordable tuition, UCLA’s generalist M.A. in psychology is a top choice for California students across all disciplines.

PhD in Psychology

There is no traditional Master of Arts program offered in psychology at UCLA, where students are instead offered “Ph.D. training.” Depending on whether they wish to graduate with the M.A. or continue on to the full doctoral degree, students will determine their outcome in the program as well as their coursework. Available courses range from mental health counseling to community psychology, basic clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and much more. Research is required for all students, which culminates for many in a doctoral dissertation presentation to a faculty panel prior to graduation. Most students in this program advance beyond the M.A. level and obtain their doctoral degree instead.

Major and Specializations

Behavioral Neuroscience
Clinical Psychology
Cognitive Neuroscience
Cognitive Psychology
Computational Cognition
Developmental Psychology
Health Psychology
Learning & Behavior
Quantitative Psychology
Social Psychology
Social and Affective Neuroscience

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association

Contact

University of California, Los Angeles
Psychology Department
1285 Franz Hall
Box 951563
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Phone: (310) 825-2961

 

University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology

The more than 22,000 students at UC Santa Barbara attend a top-ranked global university, according to U.S. News and World Report. The publication ranks USCB as the 28th-best global university, offering a superior level of academic rigor, professional experience, research opportunities, teaching opportunities, and much more. The school’s location is conducive to some of the best psychology practicums in the state of California, while its research labs have issued cutting-edge reports and results for more than a half-century. UC Santa Barbara students in counseling psychology have excellent professional and academic opportunities at the school that will make them among the most qualified applicants for any professional or academic position after graduation.

Master of Education – Counseling, Clinical, School Psychology and PPS Credential – Emphasis in School Psychology

The M.Ed. program at UCSB has a unique focus that prepares students to work as a school or clinical psychologist. Within California, this program also results in the PPS certification credential, which allows for psychological practice in the state’s public schools. Courses focus on topics like childhood, developmental, family, and school psychology, as well as current “hot issues” in these fields, like learning disorders, bullying, pressures at home. All students in this program must complete an extensive practicum placement in a public school prior to graduation, which often extends the duration of the program up to three years in total length.

Also Offers

Clinical Doctoral Program in Counseling
School Psychology Doctoral Program

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission, Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association

Contact

University of California, Santa Barbara
Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone: (805) 893-3375
Email: ccspapp@education.ucsb.edu

 

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University of La Verne

Department of Psychology

Founded as a college focused on career preparation for students in a more practical, flexible format, the University of La Verne has grown by leaps and bounds in the more than 100 years since it admitted its first class of students. The school’s graduate program in psychology is available to student in both day and evening formats, as well as hybrid and online formats, giving plenty of ways to schedule classes around a growing professional career in the industry. Considered one of the best regional schools in the west, the University of La Verne grants students access to unique practical experiences in local schools as well as unique research opportunities in campus labs. This dual commitment to student experiences and success has made it a top choice for graduate psychology students focusing on school psychology.

School Psychology, M.S.

The school psychology program at University of La Verne includes a psychology core of required classes, including behavioral psychology, family psychology, child and community health, and psychological research. Elective courses in the program include school bullying and suicide, disaster and emergency counseling, family counseling, and learning disorder psychology. Students must work alongside a certified professional in a public school for a minimum number of hours in order to graduate with the degree and earn their own certification in this area.

Also Offers

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Contact

University of La Verne
Department of Psychology
1950 3rd St.
La Verne, CA 91750
Phone: (909) 593-3511

 

USCDornsife

College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Few schools in California have earned the number of accolades that the University of Southern California has. A private institution, the school is often considered the “unofficial” school of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, with academic programs that are as strong as its Division I football team. USC’s Department of Psychology offers two Master of Arts degrees, allowing students to focus on either broad or specialized pursuits in the field. In addition to its two academic choices, the Department of Psychology ranks highly for its research opportunities, its number of published studies in major psychological journals, and its success in helping students find a lucrative job after graduation. A job placement rate above 95 percent make the school a top choice for career-oriented psychology students looking for a strong professional network nationwide.

MS in Applied Psychology

A smart company is a successful company, and there’s no more powerful insight in the business world than having a psychological understanding of both employees and consumers. The USCDornsife Master of Science in Applied Psychology prepares graduates with the skills it takes to apply psychological principals in a business context, preparing graduates who are capable of being effective leaders and skilled consultants. The program is a perfect fit for students with an interest in the world of business who hold bachelor’s degrees or background experience in behavioral disciplines including sociology, anthropology, political science, or, of course psychology. The US MS in Applied Psychology offers concentrations in Organizational and Consumer psychology

Also Offers

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Contact

University of Southern California
Department of Psychology
SGM 501
3620 S. McClintock Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Phone: (213) 740-2203
Email: lopezs@usc.edu

 

University of the Pacific

Department of Psychology

UOP stands out as one of the only schools in California to enroll more than 10,000 students and spread them across eight different professional schools. Pacific ranks as one of the top 100 national universities in the United States, with a large student body and a growing reputation for top-notch education across all disciplines. A Consumer Reports “best value,” the school features numerous merit-based and need-based aid programs that help students offset the cost of private school tuition and afford its graduate degree programs. The Department of Psychology arranges practicum experiences for interested students, and offers the ability to perform relevant research leading to a graduate thesis for interested students.

M.A. in Psychology

A behavioral focus within the M.A. program at UOP requires students to take classes in behavioral assessment, behavioral treatments and applications, and the psychology of learning. Students must also focus intensively on research, including a course on research design and the best practices of psychological studies. The program requires an internship during the second year of study, and maintains a significant number of courses in psychological ethics, treatments, and cultures.

Also Offers

MA in Behavioral Psychology

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Contact

University of the Pacific
Department of Psychology
3601 Pacific Ave.
Stockton, CA 95211
Phone: (209) 946-2285

 

University of the West

Department of Psychology

Founded by a Buddhist order in 1990, the University of the West is one of the fastest-growing private universities in the state of California. The school’s generalist M.A. program in psychology prepares students for professional licensure or further academic pursuits at the doctoral level, and therefore allows students to choose between a graduate thesis and an internship during the second and final year of the course of study. The University of the West is located in the San Gabriel Valley in southern California, easily accessible to students in Los Angeles.

Master of Arts in Psychology

At the University of the West, the focus within the M.A. program is on multicultural psychology. Although the degree is considered generalist, the perspective of its courses is often a multicultural one. Required classes include cultural differences in counseling, multicultural research and comparison, advanced statistics for psychology, theories and techniques of counseling, and more. Electives include several unique options, the most popular of which is Buddhist psychology.

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Contact

University of the West
Department of Psychology
1409 Walnut Grove Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770
Phone: (626) 571-8811

 

Vanguard University of Southern California

Graduate School of Psychology

Vanguard has been ranked as one of the best regional schools in the west by both U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. The school, which is home to just 280 graduate students across all disciplines offers two psychology graduate programs. Each program benefits from small class sizes, which are among the smallest in any psychology graduate program in California. As a result, students develop a stronger relationship with their professors and benefit from individual instruction in advanced coursework. This bodes well for professional success after graduation.

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

The practice of clinical psychology requires intensive study and research, and that’s what students will find within this degree program. At Vanguard, students must take six credits in psychological research and research design. Clinical courses focus on professional best practices and several key areas of clinical practice: community, elderly, childhood, and disease counseling. Counseling in health organizations, and a focus on public health, is also included in the program. Students must arrange a clinical practicum prior to graduation, in accordance with California state certification standards.

Master of Science in Organizational Psychology

The organizational psychology program focuses on the psychological needs of managers and the broader workforce, which keeps workplaces functioning and highly productive. Coursework includes advanced psychological research, the fundamentals of consultation, the psychology of leadership and work organizations, and organizational design. Students must also become experts in organizational behavior and communication, and are strongly urged to complete an internship in the field prior to graduating with the M.S. degree.

Accreditations: Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Vanguard University of Southern California
Graduate School of Psychology
55 Fair Dr.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: (714) 556-3610