The Department of Psychology
INTRODUCTION TO GRADUATE PROGRAMS
degree with an emphasis on research and conceptual skills for students whose
primary interest is in continuing their education in a doctoral program. The
department also offers the Masters of Science degree in Marriage and Family
Therapy and Forensic Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis Option.
I. ADMISSION TO THE GRADUATE PROGRAM IN PSYCHOLOGY
- Acceptance into the graduate program is a two-step process
which begins with application for acceptance to the University. Persons applying for entry
into the graduate program in psychology must first be admitted to the University.
Application forms for the University may be obtained from a major library,
community college, another California State University or on-line at the
CSLA homepage. The Psychology
Department offers a mentor-based graduate program. As a consequence, we encourage students
to contact a faculty member in the area of research in which they are interested before
applying to the University. Positions in the department are limited and acceptance into
the program depends on students finding someone on the faculty who will agree to serve
as a mentor.
- The Psychology Department
application forms should be returned to King Hall, C3104 with transcripts of all previous
academic work. CSLA graduates do not need to file transcripts with the
- Entering students must have an undergraduate degree in
Psychology or its equivalent from an accredited
and have achieved a grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 or
in the last 90 units of under-graduate work at an
- Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in
at the time of admission must complete 31-36 units with a
of 3.0 or higher. Specifically, the following prerequisite
(or their equivalents) must be complete before beginning
Masters program. Whenever possible, credit will be
given for equivalent coursework taken
elsewhere. Please note: coursework taken at a community college does not
apply to upper division psychology requirements.
II. TO BECOME A CLASSIFIED GRADUATE STUDENT:
- Satisfy the Writing Proficiency Requirement. Students must
pass the Writing Proficiency Examination during the first
quarters of their Masters Program. The examination is
as UNIV 400 in the current Schedule of Classes. Those who
not pass this examination by the end of the second quarter
residence will be suspended from further work on their
programs until they have passed the examination.
- Establish an official Masters Program. The steps for
accomplishing this are as follows:
- After receiving a letter of acceptance from the
university, make an appointment with a Graduate Advisor
to review your application status.
- Complete the
worksheet (See Section 12.0) for the Masters degree in Psychology with the
assistance of your Mentor. For Marriage, Family Therapy
Dr. Brigitte Matthies; for Forensic Psychology see Dr. Mitchell Eisen;
and for Applied Behavior Analysis see Dr. Hank Schlinger.
- Return the completed worksheet to the Graduate
(KHC3104). Students will be notified by mail when
return to the office to sign their official program.
- Within one quarter students will receive a letter
from the Coordinator of Dean of the School of Natural
Social Sciences confirming their classification.
- Graduate programs can be changed however, the
application form (Form: GS-5) for a change must be made before the course to be
substituted is completed. Students are permitted to
additional courses not on their programs.
- No more than 13 units of graduate credit,
post-bachelor's degree and prior to classified standing may be applied
to a Master's program in the Psychology Department. These credits
may be completed at CSLA or another university. No credit toward
graduation is given for courses taken at a community college or courses
which are not listed on the student's official program.
- Classified standing means the student has an approved master's
degree program filed in the school graduate studies office that is signed by
the student's mentor, department chair and Dean.
- After receiving a letter of acceptance from the
III. GRADUATE CORE REQUIREMENT:
The graduate core course must be completed within the first 16
in order to be eligible to advance to candidacy. A grade of
must be attained in the graduate core course to continue in the
- Research Methodology (one course). All students
must choose one course from among PSY 411 Research
in Psychology, PSY 414 Analysis of Variance, PSY 417 Single Case Research
Design, PSY 491 Methods of Data Analysis, PSY504 Sem: Advanced Experimental
Methods, and PSY 515 Sem: Advanced Statistical Methods.
Students who have completed the equivalent of these courses as an
undergraduate with a grade of "B" or better, need not repeat these courses
as graduate courses. The requirement must be met within the first 16
units of coursework taken or within the first two quarters.
Note: Students need to have a classified program on file
before enrolling in a 500-level course.
IV. ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY
- 1. Students should submit an Application for Advancement to
Candidacy (GS-10 form) upon completing 16 units of their graduate
may be obtained from the Graduate Secretary or the department. The
units of course work completed must include the
core courses and the WPE. In order to continue in the graduate
program the student must have achieved a grade of 3.0
better in the core courses.
- 2. Only students who have been advanced to candidacy may
enroll in PSY 585 Directed Clinical Practice, PSY 590 Practicum in
Counseling, PSY 595 Field Experience in
Psychology, PSY 596 Comprehensive Examination, PSY 597
Graduate Research, PSY 598 Directed Graduate Study,
and PSY 599 Thesis.
V. THESIS OR COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION
In planning a program, students pursuing the M.A. or
the M.S. Forensic Option and the M.S. ABA Option are required to submit
a thesis as a culminating experience for the Masters Degree. Students in the MFT
program complete a comprehensive examination.
VI. THE THESIS OPTION (PSY 597 and PSY 599)
The thesis option is generally open only to students in
the Master of Arts and the M.S. Forensic Option. In special cases, other
students who have a faculty member willing to sponsor them may apply to do a
thesis. The thesis consists of either an original empirical research
project or a novel theoretical or conceptual interpretation of existing
psychological thought based on material previously published. In either
case, the thesis must deal with a problem of some importance to the field of
psychology, in a manner that is scholarly, logical, objective, and systematic.
The first step in the process of doing a thesis is to complete Psy 597. It
is recommended that the student begin thinking about their thesis topic several
quarters before beginning Psy 597. During this course, the student is
expected to establish a suitable topic, review pertinent literature, design
their study or topic, and write a proposal. The proposal includes a
statement of the proposed topic, review of literature on the topic, and, for
empirical studies, a statement of hypotheses to be tested and the research
methodology to be used. The student should identify two additional faculty
members willing to serve on their thesis committee. The proposal should be
approved by the thesis chair and by the two other committee members. The
three committee members should sign a GS-12 form, this form plus a copy of your
proposal must be filed in the Psychology Office by the seventh week of the
quarter in which PSY 597 is taken.
Students taking the comprehensive examination will usually have 2-3 units of PSY 598 Graduate Directed Study on their programs which provides an opportunity
for guidance of work done in preparation for the examination. The
student should complete their PSY 598 units under faculty supervision during the
quarter prior to enrolling in the comprehensive exams. Typically, students
will work independently with their advisor who will guide their study, recommend
reading materials and give feedback on their preparation. For more
information students should consult Dr. Brigitte Matthies.
The comprehensive Examination in the MFT program consists of two areas:
1. A Multiple Choice Exam covering broad principles of psychology as a
2. Essays on Clinical Vignettes covering issues of diagnostics, therapy, ethics,
judgment and the law.
The examination is given on two successive days, during Spring and Fall quarters
only, in sessions lasting three hours each day. The first day covers
area one; the second day covers area two.
The student is required to write on two clinical vignettes. Each
examination response will be scored on a pass/fail basis, being read
independently by at least two professors. To pass the examination, a
student must receive "pass" scores from both professors on two of the four
questions. In the case of a split evaluation on a comps question, a third
reader will be asked to evaluate the question. A student who successfully
passes two questions on a particular day but does not pass overall, does not
have to repeat the portion passed on a subsequent sitting. A student who
enters the examination room, and then leaves without attempting an answer, will
be considered to have "sat" for that examination. The comprehensive
examination must be passed within three sittings.
Students may have no more than one course remaining to complete on their graduate
program following the quarter in which they first take the comprehensive
examination. Students must formally apply to take the examination the
quarter before it is scheduled. This is done by filing an application
with the graduate secretary of the Psychology Department. They must also
register for PSY 596 (0) during the quarter in which they expect to take the
examination. Those who subsequently wish to withdraw from taking the
examination without penalty may do so no later than the scheduled date of the
examination by notifying the graduate secretary.
The faculty will from time to time prepare up-to-date lists of suggested
readings to assist students in preparing for the examination. However,
students are expected to show an acceptable breadth of mastery in the field,
acquired not only from the lists of recommended reading, but also from class
The next step is for the student to enroll in Psy 599. Upon approval of
the research design by the thesis committee, the student will undertake the
thesis, working under the guidance of the thesis chair. One year from the
point of the first enrollment in Psy 599 is allowed to complete the thesis
units. If the thesis is not completed after registering in all of the 599
units on the program (maximum=4), the student must register for Psy 900 (which
carries no credit) in order to complete thesis requirements and graduate.
Progressively revised drafts of the thesis will be submitted to
chair of the thesis committee periodically for review and
The chair may, from time to time, require the student to
copies to other members of the committee as well. The final
must show clarity of purpose, competent critical analysis,
organization, and originality. The presentation must be both
accurate and complete. In style, it must follow the recommendations
of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological
(latest edition). It should include a separate title page and
A brief summary of both the problem and results.
Definition of the problem, development of the
background, and statement of the study's purpose
Information and subjects, apparatus, and procedures. (This section and the next may
not apply to a non-experimental thesis.)
A complete factual statement of the
findings, including any tables, figures, and statistical analyses.
This section should include a thoughtful
and logical analysis of the implications of the findings as well as
conclusions that can be drawn, and any limitations.
The references should reflect a thorough literature
review of the salient literature dealing with the subject.
Copies of letters, form, measures, or other written materials used in the study.
After the draft has been approved by the thesis
committee, a date is fixed for the final oral defense of the thesis. An abstract
and copy of the thesis should be submitted to committee members at least two
weeks before the oral defense. The student is required to prepare and bring to
the oral defense the following materials for committee signature: The
Title Approval Page (Form GS-13) in triplicate and one copy of The Final Oral
Examination Results Page. These materials are available at the psychology
office. The oral defense is open to any who wish to attend. After a
successful oral defense, the student must return both of the above forms to the
psychology office. Final thesis corrections are made and a final typed
thesis with copies are prepared for distribution.
Students are advised to consult with the thesis advisor in the Library at an
early date, in order to conform to the Library requirements. The
original must be delivered to the University Library, in the required format, no
later than the last day of final exams in the quarter of graduation. The
Library also requires two original copies of the title page, with the
appropriate signatures. Another bound copy of the thesis should be made
for the Psychology Department Office. Additional copies, as required by
committee members should be prepared as needed.
- 1. Students should submit an Application for Advancement to