Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MS) Curriculum
The program focuses on both the professional, intellectual, and personal growth of students, emphasizing human-centered values as well as evidence - informed treatment approaches. The program aims to prepare students to become competent providers of counseling psychology services in the context of a diverse community and the ever-changing healthcare environment.
Successful completion of the counseling psychology courses prepares students for master’s level positions in professions promoting the optimal development of individuals, families, groups, and organizations. Graduates of the program will be ready for employment in agencies providing mental and physical health services, social services and other educational, professional, and business organizations. The psychology-based curriculum integrates theoretical foundations, experiential perspectives, and research methodologies with practice. In addition, students learn to assess persons in their familial and social contexts, design strategies for change, and evaluate the effectiveness of those interventions. Students are further encouraged to be mindful of the socio-cultural diversity of individuals, families, and groups.
Program of Study (39 credits + 9 credits of field placement = 48 credit hours for MSCP degree)
PSY501 Foundations of Counseling Psychology
The course focuses on historical, theoretical, ethical, and practical aspects of the counseling psychology field. Students will write a research paper, using the American Psychological Association Publication Manual and library resources commonly used by counseling psychologists. The course will also introduce students to the theory and practice of basic counseling skills.
3 PSY503 Applied Biological Psychology
The course addresses biological aspects of human psychology, including the biological basis of neurological deficits and mental disorders, and the use psychotropic medications for treating mental illnesses. Topics also include stress and health, mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, and contemporary issues in biological psychology.
3 PSY555 Statistics and Research Methods
The course provides a basic review of descriptive and inferential statistics and how these techniques are used with research methods in counseling psychology. Students will become proficient in computer analysis of data sets, designing and evaluating research designs and techniques, and understanding primary research in counseling literature
3 PSY617 Psychology of Culture and Identity
The course offers theories and techniques related to the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests measuring psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and personality traits. It does not involve actual test design, administration and interpretation, but does explore theories and techniques related to these activities.
3 PSY627 Vocational/Career Counseling
The course addresses the issues involved in the lifelong process of vocational development, through exploration of theories and assessment approaches in career counseling. Additional topics addressed include self-awareness, career awareness and assessment, career decision making and planning, and career implementation.
3 PSY629 Human Development across the Life Span
The course explores cognitive, social, emotional and physiological development throughout the life span. While including concentration on the major theoretical approaches to life span development, an equally significant focus will be on practical application of material.
3 PSY642 Assessment
The course covers the basics of psychological assessment. The importance of integrating information from various sources when formulating hypotheses and diagnostic impressions and when developing treatment plans is emphasized. Other topics include interviewing, mental status examinations, psycho-physiological strategies, psychological tests related to various diagnostic groupings, and program evaluation.
3 PSY657 Psychopathology & Resilience
The course provides an overview of psychopathology. Students learn to recognize the complex biological, cultural, and environmental contributors to mental illness, and to diagnose mental disorders using standarized criteria. Students will also study the concept of resilience and its role in contributing to health and well-being.
3 PSY658 Evidence-Based Practice
This course provides an introduction to evidence-based practice in applied psychology, emphasizing a counseling psychology perspective to understanding human problems. The course focuses on the methodological issues in developing an empirical basis for psychological treatments, and understanding the evidence base for treatment, therapist, client, and therapeutic relationship effects.
3 PSY662 Theories and Techniques of Counseling
This course explored a variety of counseling theories and techniques to provide a foundation for the practice of professional counseling from a culturally sensitive perspective. The course emphasizes current professional research and practice related to counseling theories and techniques, and provides opportunities for skill practice.
3 PSY672 Group Counseling
The course explores the theory and practice of group experience from the perspectives of a member and observer. Topics include basic elements of group dynamics, interpersonal styles as they affect or hinder group functioning, role identity, leadership style, and application of group skills in organizations.
3 PSY674 Foundations of Family Therapy
The course focuses on the evaluation and treatment of psychological symptoms from the perspective of the family and systems theory. The history and evolution of the family movement will be presented and multiple family therapy modalities introduced, with an emphasis on selected theories and applications.
3 PSY681 Professional Integration Seminar
The course explores ethical conceptualization, analysis, and practices of applied and counseling psychologists. Topics include the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association and the American Counseling Association, the history of applied psychology, and the developing mental health counseling movement. Certification, licensure, and regulatory practices are also discussed.
3 Field Placements PSY682 Practicum
The course is an entry-level fieldwork course in which students obtain supervised counseling experience. They work directly under the supervision of a qualified professional and obtain experience interviewing clients and conducting sessions in group and individual formats.
3 PSY685 Supervised Internship I
The course is a supervised field placement experience focusing on integration of theory and practice. The course requires attendance at a weekly seminar on campus, which involves presentations focusing predominantly on assessment, diagnosis, and case conceptualization.
3 PSY686 Supervised Internship II
The course enhances students' abilities to effectively offer mental health treatment and services to clients. Activities include discussion of issues in contemporary counseling psychology and treatment planning, formal case presentations, and completion of the graduate portfolio.
3 PSY683 - Special Topics (3)
+Licensed Professional Counselor
A total of 60 credit hours is needed to become a licensed professional counselor in PA. Students may take 12 or more credit hours of electives in order to become eligible for the LPC in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Each elective below is 3 credit hours: PSY530 Introduction to Sport and Exercise Psychology
This course is designed to introduce students to the basic concepts and intervention techniques of sport and exercise psychology. Topics covered will include motivation theory applied to sport, team dynamics, an introduction to psychological skills training, the psychology of sport injury, and issues pertinent to exercise adoption, adherence, and drop-out.
3 PSY602 Sport and Exercise Psychology Interventions
Students in this course will become competent in the understanding and application of the core mental skills of sport and exercise psychology across settings and across the lifespan.
3 PSY621 Advanced Seminar in Diversity Issues
The course further develops the multicultural competency of counselors in relation to specific selected topics related to diversity and counseling. This is an elective course.
3 PSY632 Positive Psychology
Positive Psychology is the study of how humans do well and flourish. This course is an introduction to positive psychology theories and techniques. Didactic, experiential, and interactive elements will be used to explore concepts, research, interventions, and exercises that positive psychology has contributed to the larger field of psychology.
3 PSY645 Environmental Psychology
Students will explore concepts, research, and practice related to the interface between environment and psychology. The course emphasizes the effects that environmental and climate change issues have on human health and well-being.
3 PSY663 Foundations of Health Psychology
Students will explore how psychological processes influence physical health. Further, the psychological sequellae of physical illness will be examined. Students will delve into the mind-body connection with consideration given to the cultural context. The role of the counseling psychologist as a member of the healthcare team will be explored.
3 PSY665 Addictions Counseling
The course addresses a variety of addiction topics, including chemical dependency, eating disorders, sexual addiction, the chemically dependent offender, and women's issues in addiction. Several treatment models are explored, with emphases on effectiveness of treatment approaches and on multicultural sensitivity.
3 PSY668 Crisis, Trauma and Recovery
The course is an introduction to the field of psychological trauma, examining the historical development of trauma as a clinical entity and an overview of theories and strategies for treating trauma. Students will learn to identify and work with their own reactions to clients who present trauma issues.
3 PSY671 Mindfulness Counseling
This course explores mindfulness and acceptance based approaches to counseling and discusses the integration of art and science when utilizing these approaches. Students will examine current research about efficacy of such approaches, and also develop beginning skills in these approaches.
3 PSY673 Couples Counseling
This advanced course covers selected theories and techniques related to couples counseling. The emphasis in the course is on practical application of the theories.
3 PSY676 Counseling Children and Adolescents
The course focuses on issues and concepts related to counseling children and adolescents with social and/or emotional problems. Topics include significant differences between children/adolescents and adults; theories of normal child development and temperament; and conceptualization and effective treatment of problems.
3 PSY677 Grief Counseling
The course introduces students to the techniques, strategies, and treatment modalities counselors use to work with adults, children, and families dealing with bereavement. The class focuses on psychological, somatic, cultural, and spiritual aspects of grief and loss. Other topics included are interventions, community resources, and diverse religious and cultural practices.
3 PSY678 Risk and Resilience in Childhood
The course covers child/adolescent psychopathology and psychological assessment of children and adolescents. Specific topics include diagnostic and assessment issues specific to children and adolescents; psychological and developmental disorders specific to children and adolescents; and related social and cultural issues.
3 PSY693 Independent Study 3