Psychology MA

Total Units Required: 30

The Master of Arts in Psychology has two options.

The option in psychological science. This program prepares students for doctoral work in psychology and/or for teaching at the community college level. Content course work is broad and encompasses major areas of academic psychology. Graduate content courses and seminars include human development, human learning, advanced general psychology, and contemporary issues. Methodology courses are required in psychometrics, research methods, and advanced statistics.

A broad psychology background is the preparation most desired by doctoral programs. A broad psychology background is also the best preparation for teaching a variety of academic courses at the community college level. Research experience is emphasized in the research assistantship and in the required thesis or empirical research manuscript. Students acquire research experience with a selected faculty member, becoming part of their ongoing research activities. Teaching experience, including supervised teaching in the classroom, is invaluable for a teaching career, and most doctoral programs expect students to serve as teaching assistants.

The research emphases and teaching interests of the faculty are diverse, encompassing both experimental and nonexperimental orientations, and representing areas such as biopsychology, cognition and learning, developmental, cross-cultural, perception, and social and personality psychology.

The option in applied psychology. School psychologists work with parents, teachers, and other professionals to promote the healthy development of children by enhancing the quality of their educational experiences. They also, on occasion, provide direct services to children. School psychologists participate in professional training across ten domains of practice identified in the National Association of School Psychologist Practice Model (NASP; 2020). They also complete a year-long practicum experience as well as an internship year.

The NASP domains of practice are:

  1. Data based decision making
  2. Consultation and collaboration
  3. Academic interventions and instructional supports
  4. Mental and behavioral health services and interventions
  5. School-wide practices to promote learning
  6. Services to promote safe and supportive schools
  7. Family, school and community collaboration
  8. Equitable practices for diverse student populations
  9. Research and evidence-based practice
  10. Legal, ethical, and professional practice

In a typical day, a school psychologist might consult with teachers or parents about students, plan academic or behavioral interventions for students, make a presentation in a classroom about social or study skills, meet with children for small group counseling, or meet with children individually for counseling or psychoeducational assessment.

Graduate-level work in school psychology has a long and distinguished history at California State University, Chico. The program was founded by Dr. Hugh M. Bell, and it was the first graduate program offered by the Department of Psychology. Our program is accredited by both the state of California and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Currently, the school psychology faculty consists of two full-time professors who are school psychologists as well as other full-time professors in the psychology department. Part-time instructors who work in local schools also teach some classes.

Students who graduate from our program complete three years of study to earn the Master of Arts in Psychology, Option in Applied Psychology/School Psychology as well as eligibility for the Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) School Psychology Credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Both the master’s degree and the PPS credential are required to practice as a school psychologist in California.

In addition, students who graduate from our program meet NASP coursework requirements to become Nationally Certified School Psychologists (NCSP). PRAXIS score passing rate is 100% for first-time test-takers over the past several years, and employment rates are 100%.

Licensure and Credentialing

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., Social Security Number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. 

The California State University has not determined whether its programs meet other states' educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students enrolled in a California State University program who are planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether they will meet their state's requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 §CFR 668.43(a)(5)(v)(C). 

Graduate Advising Requirement

MA psychological science students should consult the Psychological Science Coordinator in planning their program.

MA school psychology students should consult the School Psychology Credential/Pupil Personnel Services Coordinator in planning their program.

Research with Human Participants or Animals

All research projects which involve human participants must be reviewed for adherence to ethical guidelines as outlined in departmental and University policies (EM 93-004). No research involving human subjects will be conducted until a review of the project has been carried out and written approval given. All activity with animals must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the University Animal Welfare Policy (EM-09-006). Guidelines on the use of human or animal subjects are available from Chico State Enterprises.