2015-2016 Graduate Academic Catalogue 
    Jun 04, 2023  
2015-2016 Graduate Academic Catalogue [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology, M.S.


The M.S. in Clinical or Counseling Psychology provides training to individuals who wish to promote mental health in individuals, families, organizations, and communities through careers in direct service, leadership, research, and education. The programs strive to provide a learning environment that facilitates the development of skills in critical thinking, assessment, and intervention and one that is grounded in an appreciation for both psychological science and human diversity. Students seeking a master's degree in clinical or counseling psychology may choose to enter either the thesis track or the practitioner track.

The thesis track program prepares students to continue on to a doctoral degree program or establish a career as a research coordinator or program manager in applied or basic social science. Students receive training in psychological theory, assessment, intervention, and research application. An empirical thesis is required for completion of the program. Many thesis track graduates have continued their training in clinical, counseling, developmental, applied social, and industrial/organizational psychology Ph.D. programs.

The practitioner track program prepares students to begin employment in psychology under the supervision of a doctoral trained and licensed psychologist. In addition, some practitioner track students apply to Psy.D. programs of study, since these programs attract students who have a background in practicum and internship experiences, as opposed to research and thesis requirements.

Individuals with a master's degree are not eligible to practice independently as psychologists in Maryland but can function as psychology associates under supervision or continue their studies toward eligibility as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). Psychology associates provide services under the supervision of a licensed, doctoral-level psychologist with permission from the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists. In the state of Maryland, the LCPC must meet the criteria set forth by the Maryland Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors and Therapists, including specific coursework as determined by the Board, 60 graduate credit hours, at least two years of supervised postgraduate experience, and successful completion of an exam administered by the Board. The LCPC is eligible to provide services independently in the state of Maryland.


Goal 1: Ethical Conduct. Students will conduct themselves in accordance with the American Psychological Association Ethics Code in all interactions and activities in their roles as graduate students and will demonstrate the effective application of ethical decision-making processes when confronted with ethical dilemmas.

Goal 2: Cultural Diversity. Students will demonstrate sensitivity to cultural diversity-to include all aspects of diversity included in Principle E of the American Psychological Association Ethics Code-by behaving inclusively, demonstrating receptivity to feedback, and fostering collaboration based on awareness of privilege in all roles (e.g., peer, clinician, supervisee, assessor, researcher) and in all settings (e.g., classroom, externship site, lab) in which students represent Loyola University Maryland.

Goal 3: Professional and Personal Demeanor. Students will display professional conduct to include written and verbal communications, attire, and interactions appropriate to all settings where students represent Loyola University Maryland, as aligned with departmental and agency policy.

Goal 4: Research and Scholarship. Students will apply the scientific approach to evaluate psychological information and to use this information in professional settings (practitioner and thesis tracks). Students will conduct scientific studies to generate new knowledge and will communicate their findings effectively (thesis track).

Goal 5: Appraisal and Assessment. Students will act in accordance with professional standards in the selection, use, scoring, and interpretation of appraisal and assessment measures appropriate to each client's referral question. Students will use this information to inform case conceptualization and diagnosis and effectively communicate these findings to clients and referral sources.

Goal 6: Treatment and Intervention. Students will demonstrate the ability to develop and implement evidence-based treatment and intervention plans with groups and individuals from a diverse society.

Goal 7: Supervision. Students will actively participate in and effectively utilize supervision while engaged in professional activities. Students will seek out additional supervision when warranted and will be receptive to feedback from supervisors. Students will be aware of and receive/provide supervision in accordance with the standards of their profession's code of ethics and with sensitivity to individual differences.

Admission Criteria

Applicants for the M.S. in Clinical or Counseling Psychology should have a strong undergraduate academic background in psychology. Students must have a bachelor's degree in psychology or another field. The applicant's bachelor's degree must be from an accredited college or university with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.000 and a grade point average of 3.000 in psychology courses. If the bachelor's degree is in a field other than psychology, the following minimum prerequisite coursework must have been completed at the undergraduate level: introductory psychology, psychopathology, and at least one course relating to the experimental or statistical areas of social science, such as experimental psychology, research methods, psychological statistics, or tests and measurement. All of these courses must have been offered through a social sciences department (e.g., psychology, sociology, etc.).

Detailed admission information (application procedures, required documents, deadlines, etc.) can be found under Admission .

Program Requirements

Students who are accepted for admission to the master's program must attend an in-person orientation and registration session prior to the semester in which they first enroll. All new students have online access to the Student Handbook describing program requirements and departmental policies.

The M.S. in Clinical or Counseling Psychology requires 48 graduate credits and allows students to petition to complete a 60-credit degree (see Extended Master's Option). Students may enroll full- or part-time. Full-time students usually complete nine credits per semester (six credits for summer), while part-time students complete six or less credits per semester.

The practice and professions of clinical and counseling psychology are dynamic, evolving, and ever changing. The skills and techniques used are constantly being refined. As our understanding grows, the profession itself changes.

As human service professionals, it is important that Loyola graduates use only the most up-to-date knowledge and skills in clinical and counseling psychology. For these reasons, master's students must complete all requirements for their particular program within seven years, including courses, the thesis track thesis, the practitioner and thesis track externships, and comprehensive exams. Additionally, it is expected that graduates will maintain and update their knowledge and skills through ongoing professional development and continuing education activities.


The externship experience is an opportunity for students to apply concepts developed in academic coursework. Coordinated programs between the department and a variety of community resources have been established to fulfill student externship requirements and needs. The externship allows students to gain practical training and experience under the supervision of a mental health worker, clinician, or researcher in a community-based facility, hospital or other mental health setting.

The department maintains an extensive list of approved externship sites which meet the training requirements of the program. Students work with the director of field education and their advisor to select sites which are appropriate to their experiences and desired goals. All approved sites must be located within the state of Maryland or within close proximity to Maryland, including Washington, D.C., northern Virginia, or southern Pennsylvania.

Transfer credits for practicums or externships are not accepted.

Clinical Practictioner Track

The 300-hour externship is required for practitioner track students. Clinical practitioner students may not register for externships until they have completed a minimum of 18 credits including the following courses:

Master's Thesis

The thesis required for all clinical and counseling thesis track students is a scientific investigation of publishable quality which demonstrates the scholarship, logical consistency, creativity, and comprehensiveness which are associated with genuine research. The idea for the master's thesis is initiated and developed by the student while enrolled in PY 746 - Research Methods in Psychology I  and PY 747 - Research Methods in Psychology II . All thesis track students must enroll in PY 746  and PY 747  during the fall and spring semesters of their first year. After the first year, students have an opportunity to enroll in a research externship at an off-site facility or with a Loyola psychology faculty member. The research externship is a 10- to 12-hour per week applied research experience, and it enhances the students' doctoral application portfolios and job seeking opportunities.

Each thesis track student is responsible for seeking out a member of the faculty to serve as major reader for the thesis, as well as two other faculty members who will serve as readers on the Thesis Committee. A list of faculty members who serve as major readers is available from the department.

Registration for Thesis Guidance

Thesis Guidance I-IV (PY 761 , PY 762 , PY 763 , PY 764 ) are taken with the three required research courses (PY 746  , PY 747 , PY 791 ). A fee is charged each semester. During this time, students closely with their major readers in the development of the thesis proposal, the collection and analysis of data, and preparation of the final thesis. If the thesis is not completed by the end of the second year in the program, students must enroll in Thesis Guidance: Continuation (PY 765 ) each semester (excluding summer sessions) until the thesis is completed. A fee is charged each semester.

It is anticipated that the major reader will work closely with the student during collection and analysis of data, and the student will incorporate the professor's suggestions in the completed thesis. A copy of the final master's thesis, signed by the committee members, is submitted to the department chair and the Dean of Loyola College for final approval. Copies of the guidelines for thesis procedures and style are available from the department upon request. The final copy of the completed thesis must be submitted at least three weeks before the end of the semester that a student expects to graduate.

Grading and Academic Dismissal

University-wide academic standards can be found in the section on Academic Standards and Dismissal  under Academic Regulations and Policies.

In addition, students who receive a grade of less than B- (2.670) in any course will not be permitted to count this course for their degree. Students receiving a grade of less than B- in a required course must retake and successfully complete the course and are encouraged to meet with their advisor to discuss this issue. Both the original and retake grades remain on the student's transcript and will be calculated into the cumulative quality point average (QPA).

Students receiving a grade of less than B- in an elective course must meet with their advisor to determine if they should retake the same course or substitute an alternative elective. In either case, the original course grade remains on the student's transcript and is calculated into the cumulative quality point average.

It is the student's responsibility to make certain that the minimum QPA requirement of 3.000, which is a B average, is maintained. Students who fall below this level of achievement will be placed on academic probation for one semester, and must meet with their advisor to discuss their progress. Failure to raise the cumulative QPA to 3.000 in the following semester will result in dismissal from the program. Moreover, either the receipt of one F (0.000) or the accumulation of two grades of C+ (2.330) or lower also will result in dismissal from the program.

Academic dismissal may also result from excessive course withdrawal, academic dishonesty, or other unethical unprofessional conduct reflecting upon a student's ability to enter into the academic or professional field in which the degree is being offered. If the Psychology Department perceives that a student is not progressing satisfactorily in the development of the competencies and behaviors required at his or her level of professional development, a Professional Assessment Review (PAR) will be conducted for the purpose of remediation or dismissal.

Degree Programs

Students may view the Psychology Department website for suggested full- and part-time programs of study for the practitioner and research tracks. A 60-credit option which includes an additional four electives (12 credits) is available for each program (see Extended Master's Option).

Thesis Track

Excellent preparation for students planning to pursue a Ph.D. The focus of the degree is on research training and skills; however, the student also receives master's-level assessment and psychotherapy training with an emphasis on assessment. The degree consists of 48 graduate credit hours and a completed and approved master's thesis.

Practitioner Track

Prepares the student for mental health provider positions in public and private settings. The student receives master's-level training in assessment and psychotherapy with a focus on assessment. Additionally, the program may provide for preparation for certification or licensure as a mental health counselor or entrance into a Psy.D. program. The degree consists of 48 graduate credit hours and a supervised externship.