Psychology Master's Degrees in California (O-S)

Degree Finder
Sponsored Schools
FEATURED PROGRAMS
SPONSORED LISTINGS
SCHOOL
PROGRAM
MORE INFO
Pepperdine University
Online MFT Master’s Program - No GRE req.
Pepperdine University
Online Master of Arts in Psychology - No GRE req.
Northwestern
Online Master of Arts in Counseling - No GRE req.
Pepperdine University
Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis - No GRE req.
Capella University
Online BS, MS, PhD, PsyD in Psychology with over a dozen specialty options.
Southern New Hampshire University
Online BS, MS in Psychology with many different focus options.

Students who wish to develop a long-term career in psychology should consider the many Master’s in Psychology degrees in California.

Colleges and universities throughout the state offer all kinds of advanced degrees in the field, ranging from counseling psychology to depth psychology and niche studies. Students can choose the field that best aligns with their personal interests and professional goals, and then pick a school that’s the right value, with the right program, in the perfect location anywhere in the state.

Before committing to any such program, consider the many degrees and schools currently available.

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.

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
Program Link (Counseling)
Program Link (Mythological Studies)

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.

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
Program Link

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 (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

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.

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
Program Link

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.

M.A. in Psychology: School Counseling/PPS

School counselors are increasingly important in a world where bullying, youth suicide, and school violence seem to have become commonplace. Coursework in this degree program focuses on the professional ethics and best practices of meeting with student in schools, prepares the counselor to take on an academic role within bullying prevention and other awareness programs, and teaches both fundamental and advanced child psychology. According to California state law, school counselors must have several professional experiences and a minimum number of hours of related experience in order to practice. This program’s professional requirements will ensure that all graduates meet this standard.

M.A. in Psychology: School Psychology/PPS

School psychologists have a major responsibility in today’s schools, since they often work along with administrators to create a welcoming and safe environment for students and teachers alike. These psychologists also take on issues like school bullying and meeting with students and parents to discuss issues at home. As such, they are subject to the same stringent requirements that California applies to school counselors. Phillips pairs its school psychology curriculum with extensive work experience that will satisfy California state regulations and prepare new school psychologists with the context and professional skills they need to handle a wide array of common problems.

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
Program Link

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.

Psychology MS

The M.S. program at SDSU is identical to the M.A., with one notable difference: 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, while M.A. graduates often choose to practice professionally.

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:
Program Link

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
Program Link

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
Program Link

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.

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
Program Link

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 o 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, Counseling Specialization

As part of the counseling specialization, students will work in three different professional settings. Supervised by an existing counseling professional, students will hone their skills and meet California regulations. In the classroom, students will focus on advanced cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, advanced topics in counseling, a seminar in current professional issues, and several counseling-oriented electives.

MA/PHD Psychology

This longer, generalist track will require students to spend at least four years working on advanced coursework and research. As part of the combined M.A. / 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.

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
Program Link

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
Program Link

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)

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.

Master of Arts in Transpersonal Psychology (on-campus)

This on-campus program is identical to the hybrid program, with one exception: There is no online component. Students must instead attend all classes at the Sofia University campus. This program is therefore a great fit for younger students who lack work experience or professional commitments.

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
Program Link

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.

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
Program Link

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Department

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has a deceiving name, at least for students located in southern California. The Chicago institution offers campus locations in Los Angeles and Irvine, giving west coast students the ability to pursue some of its prestigious degree programs without flying halfway across the country. The school’s M.A. programs in forensic and I/O psychology are currently available in Los Angeles, with formats that offer classes in the evening or on weekends. Ranked highly for its academic quality and ROI, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology should be a top choice for those in close range of its LA campus.

M.A. Forensic Psychology

Forensic psychologists live at the intersection of human behavior and the law, and this program teaches just how these two pursuits come together. The program consists of credits in criminal behavior, criminal counseling, current legal topics and issues, developmental psychology, and advanced cognition. At least two courses in advanced statistics must also be passed with a grade of “B” or better, and students must complete a minimum of two work experiences in a criminal psychology setting.

M.A. I/O Psychology

The Chicago School’s industrial psychology degree is among the best in the industry, with an approach that blends research, professional placement, and conventional classroom coursework. Required core components focus on modern business development and change management, industrial psychology, advanced cognition, behavioral psychology, organizational counseling, and basic consultation.

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

Contact

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Los Angeles / Orange County Programs
617 W. 7th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (800) 721-8072
Email: egilbert@thechicagoschool.edu
Program Link
Program Link

Excellent Psychology Programs Throughout California

Advanced degrees in psychology are essential for students who wish to advance their careers into private practice and many other areas. California’s status as the nation’s most populous state also allows it to have one of the country’s largest selection of graduate and doctoral degrees in this particular field. For students who are evaluating the next educational step in their long careers, any number of Master’s in Psychology degrees in California can make a difference in terms of qualifications, advancement, and long-term opportunity.

For other program descriptions in this series, see:

Web Statistics