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College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

MS in Psychology

Overview

The MS in Psychology provides an integrated course of study that meets the educational requirements for the Marriage Family Therapists (MFT) license by the State of California. The program is designed to train competent professional counselors to work in mental health agencies and private practice settings. The counseling curriculum is competency based with laboratory practice beginning in the introductory course in counseling. Skill acquisition is emphasized by a strong core of introductory laboratory courses and practica, culminating in a family practicum and/or post-practicum internship in a local agency. Theoretical background and training are provided in a variety of counseling approaches, including cognitive, cross-cultural, family systems, and existential models of counseling.

Mission

The MS program was established in 1990. It is the mission of the M.S Program in Psychology to provide instruction to graduate students who are seeking advanced training and education in the professional fields related to Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). Students who complete the program requirements are eligible to apply for registration as a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern with the California Board of Behavioral and Social Science Examiners.

Goals & Objectives

The MS Degree Program is a three-year program and provides an integrated course of study that meets the educational requirements for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license as specified in California State law (SB-33; Section 4980.36). The 60-unit program is designed to train competent professional counselors to work in mental health agencies and private practice settings. The counseling curriculum is competency based with laboratory practice beginning in the introductory course in counseling. Skill acquisition is emphasized by a strong core of introductory laboratory courses and on-campus practice in our Counselor Training Center (CTC), culminating in an off-campus traineeship at a local agency. Theoretical background and training are provided in a variety of counseling approaches including family systems, postmodern, cognitive behavioral, multiculturally sensitive, and integrative models of counseling. Program objectives include: 

  • encouraging students to develop the personal qualities of an effective therapist;
  • preparing students to work effectively in public mental health settings with diverse client populations;
  • teaching students to work within a wellness, recovery, and resiliency framework;
  • teaching students case management and case documentation skills, including the appropriate use of the DSM-IV-TR in assessing individual symptom patterns;
  • training students to conceptualize child, marriage, family, and community problems within a systemic framework;
  • training students in a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches for enhancing individual, couple, family, and community relationships; and
  • preparing students in research methods to enable them to conduct research and evaluate the research of others.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students are knowledgeable in the ethical and legal principles relating to the practice of MFT.
  2. Students exhibit the personal qualities and skills of an effective therapist. 
  3. Students work effectively in public mental health settings with diverse client populations taking into account multiple systems of wellness (biopsychosocial model) and the contexts in which they exist.
  4. Students gain knowledge in research methods and are able to critically evaluate existing research and/or conduct their own research.
  5. Students meet the educational requirements for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license as specified in California State law (SB-33; Section 4980.36).
  6. Students will gain training and experience with case documentation (i.e., progress notes, intake and discharge summaries, and treatment plans) modeled after the formats used by our local mental health agencies.