Program Highlights

The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology program is a 34-credit program emphasizing practical research and statistical skills for the improvement of research in the psychological and social-behavioral sciences. 

Newly admitted students may start the Clinical Psychology program in the fall semester. It is possible to complete the program in 2½ years if attending on a part-time basis.

A Focus on Practical Skills

In their first semester, students receive instruction in the application of the R statistical programming language and a survey of statistics.

In the second year of coursework, students enroll in a semester long research seminar that guides them in a step-by-step process in conducting their own faculty-mentored research project.  Students can select a topic of their choosing and students often make use of open data. 

Although each topic is unique, students are encouraged to explicitly incorporate elements of replication in their work in order to support psychology as a cumulative science that grows through replication and confirmation.  Lastly, students complete a pre-registration, including power analysis, before conducting their experiment or data analysis.  Students complete their research training in the spring of their second year by completing the thesis, a research consultation project or taking a comprehensive exam.

In addition to the yearlong sequence in statistics and research methods, students have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research conducted by Cal Lutheran faculty. These projects often lead to professional presentations with students as co-authors.

Clinical training at Cal Lutheran is also consistent with a scientist-practitioner model. Cal Lutheran students gain knowledge in evidence-based methods for clinical assessment, interviewing, and treatment. Practical skills are emphasized in, for example, conducting behavioral therapy and suicide assessment and management.  Please note, due to the emphasis on research experience, the coursework in the Clinical Psychology program does not lead to licensure and students do not have direct client contact. 

Course Options

Clinical Psychology students choose two, 3-credit, course electives in their second year.  Courses cover topics related to either data analytics or clinical science, for example:
  • PSYC 582 Introduction to Programming in R (3) & PSYC 582 Advanced Techniques in Data Science (3)
  • PSYD 756 Dialectical Behavior Therapy (3) & PSYD 758 Methods in Suicide Risk and Assessment (3)
  • PSYC 577 Family Mediation Theory and Research (3) & PSYC 578 Family Mediation Application and Practice (3)
  • PSYD 792 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (3)
  • PSYC 541 Principles and Techniques of Adolescent Therapy (3)

Note: Course specializations are subject to change

Career Options

A number of career options are available to graduates of the Clinical Psychology program. The curriculum is designed to prepare students who plan to continue their graduate studies in a doctoral program. The program is also designed for students who desire to complete a terminal master's degree in psychology and do not intend to become a licensed practitioner.

Many of our graduates choose this career path and are successfully employed overseeing treatment programs in mental health agencies. Graduates of the Master of Clinical Psychology program are qualified for employment in the community college system as instructors of psychology.