MA Program Curriculum

2020-2021 Academic Year

The MA curriculum encompasses coursework, and clinical training. MA students enroll as a cohort. Courses are scheduled sequentially, and the following is a list of program courses by number reflecting the 48 credits required to achieve the degree.

Click on a title below to read the course description.

This course explores philosophical and theoretical foundations of humanistic and clinical psychology. In examining humanistic psychology as a “third force,” historical perspectives are considered in relation to behaviorism and psychoanalysis. Basic theories and concepts that are investigated include the holistic and unique nature of the person, the significance of emotions, self-actualization, creativity, personal growth, and the individual as an experiencing being. Core theories, concepts and relevant readings are integrated with personal experiences.

This is a graduate level course on multicultural counseling.  This course examines cultural issues that are believed to have an impact on the psychological assessment, treatment, consultation and education of people from different racial, ethnic, and sociocultural backgrounds.  Cultural issues to be addressed include ethics, theory, competencies, models of identity, and discussions of marginalized groups.

The course will use a biopsychosocial framework to understand how a person develops across the lifespan. This course will examine the seminal theories of human development and their current status today. Specifically, we will cover biological, cognitive, social, relational, linguistic, and cultural theories of human development.

This course will examine basic concepts and applications of evidence-based interventions, including cognitive, behavioral and other therapies. Students will be introduced to theory, research, basic techniques, and evidence-based applications of various models, with an emphasis on Cognitive-Behavior therapy. The course will cover theoretical conceptualization and the basic application of therapeutic interventions and techniques. Topics such as progressive muscle relaxation, in-vivo and imaginal exposure, behavior monitoring, behavioral activation, cognitive restructuring, schema therapy, behavioral experiments, and other cognitive-behavior therapy techniques will be discussed. Additional evidence-based interventions will be introduced, including Positive psychology, Mindfulness, and Emotion-focused therapy techniques. Emphases will be on interventions for depression, anxiety, and other common psychological disorders. Special consideration will be given to ethnic, cultural, and individual differences.

This course will explore mental health and illness within historical, social, and cultural contexts, through a review of predominating paradigm such as (but not limited to) the DSM 5. Major disorders and their etiology, symptoms, and preferred treatment strategies will be examined. Multicultural and historical influences on the definition of psychopathology and theories of personality change will also be reviewed.

This course emphasizes the application of psychological assessment to specific clinical settings. Students will obtain proficiency in the administration and scoring of instruments such as the WAIS-IV, MMPI-2-RF, and other tests, completing competency evaluations in a clinical assessment lab. Emphasis will be placed on the administration and scoring of these evaluations, along with beginning introductions to understanding interpretation, integration of test findings, treatment planning, and viewing the results in the context of the DSM-V. This course primarily focuses on assessment with adults, whereas child and adolescent assessment will be covered in the second assessment course. 

The focus of this course is on the origins of being and knowing as they are formulated in existential and phenomenological modes of inquiry. Students explore concepts of being and non-being, perception, meaning, choice, fear, guilt, angst, and death. Application of this material to psychotherapeutic interactions is required. Other themes of this course include dream work and psychotherapeutic implications. Emphasis is placed on the reading and comprehension of classic and contemporary works.

Students enrolled in the MA with ABA concentration will be approved a course substitution of PSYC 557. This course on professional and scientific ethics is designed to help students understand, develop and apply ethical principles and standards. The course covers the ethics code of the American Psychological Association (APA), laws regarding duties to protect children and vulnerable adults and the rules governing the licensure of psychologists at the Masters and Doctoral levels in Michigan. Additionally, this course examines the literature regarding ethical and legal issues relevant to the practice of clinical psychology.

Students enrolled in the MA with ABA concentration will be approved a course substitution of PSYC 556. This course explores fundamental elements of social science research. The basic components of the quantitative research paradigm (including parametric and nonparametric statistical designs) are examined as well as those of various qualitative models including Heuristic and Phenomenological methodologies. Through this course, students will become discerning consumers of research literature. Course content is supported by reading assignments and a variety of classroom learning activities.

Students enrolled in the MA with ABA concentration will be approved a courses substitution of PSYC 553, 554, 555, 559. This course is designed to acquaint students with issues typically encountered by therapists as they plan and conduct group psychotherapy. The course includes a joint focus on content, which includes theories and techniques, and process, which develops from experience with facilitating and/or being an active participant in structured treatment groups. Skilled group therapists are also proficient individual therapists, but skilled individual psychotherapists are not always capable of conducting treatment groups. Individual therapists must be able to relate to clients/patients, and have empathy, insight, and the ability to motivate people who come to them for help to make significant changes in their lives. Group therapists combine this skill set with the ability to simultaneously monitor and motivate multiple people. They connect individuals with each other. The result is that group members obtain personal benefits from the process and from being part of a sequence of events and discussions that facilitate positive change.

This seminar supports a student’s master’s level practicum experience. The 500-hour practicum centers on clinical competency building. Practicum students have both an on-site and a faculty supervisor. The first half of the seminar will be focused on training and experiential exercises and the second half of the seminar time will be spent in group supervision with your assigned faculty supervisor.  The on-site and faculty supervisor collaborate in the supervisory process, which includes regular communication about student performance, sharing in the process of evaluating and providing feedback, and participation in scheduled supervisory training activities.

For MA students with an ABA concentration, ABA courses will be substituted for five traditional MA courses. Learn more about MA/ABA Program Curriculum here.

Course offerings and sequence are subject to change. Updated 08/05/20


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