Psychology M.A. - Counseling Psychology

Degree: Master of Arts
https://www.towson.edu/cla/departments/psychology/grad/psychology/counseling/

Program Director: Dr. Christa K. Schmidt
Phone: 410-704-3063
Email: ckschmidt@towson.edu

Accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC), the Counseling Psychology concentration of the Master of Arts in Psychology trains students to become therapists and researchers focused on improving the mental health of individuals, groups, families and communities. This concentration is intended for persons wishing to counsel clients with concerns in the personal, social, vocational or educational areas. A central focus of this concentration is developing a culturally-responsive and socially just perspective.

Graduates of the Counseling Psychology concentration may find employment in a variety of settings, such as community mental health centers, private practices, hospitals, group homes, rehabilitation centers and substance abuse programs. Graduates may also choose to pursue doctoral training in Counseling Psychology.

Students are encouraged to attend full time to meet the program requirements in two years. However, we offer the opportunity to complete the program on a part-time basis as dictated by student need. Further, while the Counseling Psychology concentration requires 48 units for graduation with a MA degree, many students opt to take up to 60 units to fulfill requirements for licensure as a professional counselor. Elective courses are offered in the summer and winter sessions to help students fulfill these requirements.  

Admission Requirements

  • Students must have taken the following prerequisites (all of which must be completed with a “C” or better):
    General Psychology (3)
    Behavioral Statistics (3)
    Research Methods (3)
    Abnormal Psychology (3)
  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00. All GPA calculations for admission are based upon the last 60 units of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate study.
  • An undergraduate transcript from all colleges attended must be sent to University Admissions.
  • OPTIONAL: Acceptable performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). GRE scores are not a requirement for admission, but will be reviewed if submitted.
  • The highest-ranking applicants will be required to interview with the faculty of the Counseling Psychology program.

Submit the online application plus the following:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum vita or resume
  • A letter of intent indicating why the applicant is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology (see program website for specific instructions)

Completed applications and admission credentials must meet the deadline of January 15 for fall term admission. Applications are not accepted for spring term admission.

Non-immigrant International Students

Program Enrollment: F-1 and J-1 students are required to be enrolled full-time. The majority of their classes must be in-person and on campus. See the list of programs that satisfy these requirements, and contact the International Student and Scholars Office with questions.

Admission Procedures: See additional information regarding Graduate Admission policies and International Graduate Application online.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete prerequisite courses. Students should be prepared to take at least two years to complete the program.  

The Counseling Psychology concentration of the Master of Arts in Psychology offers a practitioner option and a research option from which degree candidates can choose.

The research option provides students with the experience, knowledge and skills required for successful admission to a doctoral program. Students in this option receive intensive training and mentorship in research and complete a thesis.

Students in the practitioner option are trained to work as counselors and therapists at the master’s level. Graduates of the practitioner option may choose to continue their education or pursue licensure at the master’s level.

Both the practitioner and research options require a minimum of 48 units for the degree.  However, students are permitted to take up to 60 course units in their degree program for the purposes of meeting state licensing requirements to practice as a professional counselor.  Elective courses are offered in the summer and winter sessions to help students meet these requirements.

Required Courses

PSYC 605COUNSELING TECHNIQUES3
PSYC 606CAREER DEVELOPMENT3
PSYC 607APPLIED THEORIES OF COUNSELING3
PSYC 609ADVANCED COUNSELING TECHNIQUES3
PSYC 611DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY3
PSYC 647INDIVIDUAL APPRAISAL3
PSYC 631ADVANCED ABNORMAL PSYCHOLOGY3
PSYC 721GROUP COUNSELING3
PSYC 722ADVANCED MULTICULTURAL COUNSELING3
PSYC 745PRACTICUM IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY3
PSYC 790ETHICAL, LEGAL AND PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN PSYCHOLOGY3
PSYC 793INTERNSHIP IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY3
Total Units36

Practitioner Option Courses

PSYC 613COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING3
PSYC 615INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH METHODS IN COUNSELING3
Electives6
Total Units12

Research Option Courses

PSYC 687ADVANCED EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN I3
PSYC 688ADVANCED EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN II3
PSYC 897PSYCHOLOGY THESIS6
or PSYC 898 PSYCHOLOGY THESIS
Total Units12

Field Experiences

This program includes field experiences in the form of practicum and internship. These clinical experiences are part of the requirements necessary for certification or licensure in the state of Maryland.

Practicum: During the second year of the program, concurrent with other coursework, students enroll in a semester long practicum course during the fall semester. The course involves 300 clock hours (minimum 20-24 hours a week) of placement in a setting where students provide counseling under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. Practicum also involves attendance and participation in a required weekly class on campus. Students select and apply for their practicum placements during January of their first year of the program, in consultation with their Counseling Psychology faculty advisors. During the practicum, students engage in clinical experiences appropriate for their level of professional training. To meet the number of direct service hours required for practicum, students are required to continue to see clients during the minimester term (i.e. the first three weeks in January).

Internship: Following successful completion of the practicum, students complete a supervised 300 hour internship in a clinical setting.  Students are on site at their internships a minimum of 20-24 hours per week for the spring semester of their second year. Internships are supervised on site by a licensed mental health professional and include a weekly class meeting with a faculty member.

Examinations

When students are nearing degree completion, they participate in a formal evaluation process to assess their cumulative knowledge of completed course work and skills in counseling psychology. This formal evaluation includes a thesis defense for students on the research option, and a comprehensive exam for students on the practitioner option.  The purpose of the comprehensive exam is to assess students’ knowledge in counseling psychology and readiness for the National Counselor Exam. The exam assesses competency across the following knowledge areas: 1. Human Growth and Development, 2. Social and Cultural Diversity, 3. Counseling and Helping Relationships, 4. Group Counseling and Group Work, 5. Career Counseling, 6. Assessment and Testing, 7. Research and Program Evaluation, and 8. Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics. Each of these 8 areas is covered on the National Counselor Exam and represents a culmination of information learned in courses across the Counseling Psychology curriculum. Students are responsible for the cost associated with this exam, which is produced by a national organization. 

  1. Employ research methods appropriate to the discipline;
  2. Demonstrate basic discipline-specific skills and competencies;
  3. Demonstrate competency in acquiring and processing information in the search for understanding.