Master of Arts Degree
The Clinical Psychology specialization of the M.A. degree offers a broad education in the fundamentals of Clinical Psychology, preparing students for further study at the doctoral level, or for post-M.A. employment in settings offering psychological services. The Clinical specialization is a terminal master’s degree program because the department does not offer a doctoral degree program in Clinical Psychology.
Graduates may elect to work as a psychology assistant under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Psychology assistants work in hospital, forensic, or clinical settings and engage in assessment, treatment and research activities. Please note that graduates of this master’s program are not eligible for licensure as a psychologist in the State of Ohio, as a doctoral degree is required for licensure. Graduates are, however, prepared for continued study at the doctoral level.
Refer to our Applying for Graduate Admissions page for information about admissions criteria and procedures.
The Clinical specialization offers two tracks of study to accommodate the interests of students:
- Doctoral preparation track, which requires the completion of a research (typically, data-based) thesis; and
- Practitioner track, which allows students flexibility in elective coursework and prepares them for work as a Psychology Assistant.
Each track requires the student to complete a 50 credit hour program of coursework and clinical field experiences. The program requires full-time study for two academic years. No courses are offered during the summer, though students in the doctoral preparation track frequently work on their theses during the summer between the first and second years of the program.
Both tracks emphasize core content and basic skills in the first year, and practical experience and professional skills in the second year. The curriculum emphasizes human development and its deviations, as well as the methods and techniques of assessing and influencing this development in clinical contexts. Doctoral preparation track students are required to identify a thesis advisor and thesis topic by the end of their first year in the program.
During the second year, both practitioner track and doctoral preparation track students are required to take courses in personality testing and legal/ethical issues in clinical psychology. They also complete a supervised, 450-clock hour training experience in a clinical setting, such as hospitals, private practice clinics, residential treatment centers, or forensic settings.
During the second year, doctoral preparation students complete their thesis project. In lieu of a thesis, students in the practitioner track take additional coursework in areas that they may find useful in their expected employment (e.g., multicultural psychology, child and adolescent assessment, neuropsychological assessment, and family and systems intervention).
Typical course sequences recommended to students entering the program in recent years may be found in the Clinical Psychology program handbook that is provided to students. Students are required to complete program requirements as outlined in the Graduate Catalog in effect at the time of their admission. An example of the typical recommended sequence is provided here:
- PSY 511 Univariate Statistics (4 credits)
- PSY 535 Clinical Interviewing (3)
- PSY 538 Intellectual Assessment & Practicum for Clinical Psychology (4)
- PSY 555 Adult Psychopathology (3)
- PSY 604 Concepts & Methods of Individual Psychotherapy (3)
- PSY 611 Advanced Data Analysis with Computer Applications (4)
- PSY 651 Clinical Psychopharmacology (3)
- PSY 660 Ethical & Professional Issues (3)
- PSY 696 Special Problems in Clinical Psychology* or Any PSY Graduate Course** (3)
- PSY 587 Personality Testing & Lab (3)
- PSY 690 Field Placement Practicum I (4)
- PSY 699 Research & Thesis* OR Any PSY Graduate Course** (3)
- PSY 525 Social Psychology (3)
- PSY 691 Field Placement II (4)
- PSY 699 Research & Thesis* OR Any PSY Graduate Course** (3)
* Students in doctoral preparation track only
** Students in the practitioner track only
Award of Master of Arts (M.A.) Degree: 50-51 semester credit hours
Faculty members of the Clinical Psychology specialization have diverse interests, which are reflected in the content of the classes they teach, in their research programs, and in publications appearing in national and international venues. These interests include:
- Childhood and adult mood, anxiety, and developmental disorders;
- Clinical neuropsychology;
- Developmental psychopathology;
- Behavioral and psychophysiological correlates of emotion regulation;
- Legal and ethical issues in psychology;
- Cognitive behavioral therapy;
- Multicultural issues; and
- Personality assessment
More detailed information on faculty interests can be found in the faculty's CVs and faculty profile pages, which can be accessed below.
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Psychology faculty are committed to involving graduate students work in their labs and on research projects. During periodic "brown bag lunches," faculty present information about their current research or clinical experiences. This has proven to be a successful format for students to learn about faculty projects and to select faculty mentors.
Clinical psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the diagnosis, assessment, evaluation, treatment and prevention of psychological, emotional, and behavioral disorders across the lifespan. Clinical psychologists engage in many professional activities, working with a variety of client populations.
The entry level degree for the profession is typically a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.), although some states allow limited licenses for master’s level psychologists. Ohio does not allow licensure of master’s level graduates; a doctorate is required for licensure as a psychologist in the state. (Note: The State Board of Psychology does offer licensure for school psychologists at the Master's level.) Persons with master’s degrees in Psychology may work under the supervision of a doctoral level psychologist to conduct evaluations of individual clients, implement treatment programs and engage in research-based activities.
Licensed clinical psychologists work in hospitals, clinics, private practice, residential treatment centers, addiction treatment centers, and forensic settings. Nationwide, 4 out of 10 clinical psychologists are self-employed. For more information about the field of Clinical Psychology, please visit the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) website: http://www.div12.org/.
Frequently Asked Questions
- I want to work as a psychotherapist. Will I be able to do that once I complete a master's degree in clinical psychology?
No. Because Master's level graduates are not eligible for a psychology license in Ohio, they must work under the supervision of a doctoral level licensed psychologist, generally as a Psychology Assistant. Psychology Assistants typically engage in assessment, evaluation, or research activities, and less frequently in counseling or therapy activities. Similarly, graduates of Psychology master's programs are not eligible for licensure as counselors in the state of Ohio; only graduates of counseling programs from departments or schools of Education are eligible for this license. If you are interested in a career as a counselor, you should investigate the graduate programs available in the Cleveland State College of Education and Human Services.
- If I choose the practitioner track, does that mean that I should NOT apply to doctoral programs after I graduate?
Not necessarily. Many of the graduates of our practitioner track have been accepted into Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) programs, even if they did not complete a thesis. A Psy.D. program, unlike a Ph.D. program, emphasizes clinical experience and knowledge of psychological interventions over research experience.
- Will I be able to transfer credits from the Master's program to a doctoral program?
Yes, although the actual number that are accepted by the doctoral program varies considerably. In the past, our graduates who enter doctoral programs at other institutions have done so with 20- 85% of their CSU master’s program credits accepted as transfer credits.
- Could I be accepted into a doctoral program without completing a thesis?
Yes. Psy.D. programs have accepted several of our graduates from the practitioner track. It is unlikely that you would be admitted to a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology without having gained significant research experience, including a thesis, at the master’s level.
- Can I complete the Master's program as a part-time student?
No. The program is designed for full-time students only. Most courses are held during the day.
- I am interested in applying for the program next year. May I take graduate courses as a non-degree graduate student?
Yes. Up to 12 credits of non-degree coursework can be used for the master's degree program. Many graduate courses are reserved for program-only students; however, several courses are available to non-degree students with the permission of the instructor. Students who apply for non-degree status and take courses as a non-degree student are still required to complete the typical application process, and their materials will be reviewed along with the larger pool of applicants.
- I completed graduate psychology courses at another institution. Will these courses be accepted as transfer credits for the Master's degree at Cleveland State?
It depends. Transfer credits are reviewed by a committee of program faculty on a case by case basis. Factors such as the match of the course with the clinical curriculum, the year the course was completed, and the grade received are considered prior to approving the credits for transfer. Additional conditions may be imposed by the College of Graduate Studies.