MA Program

How do I apply?

MA Clinical

MA Psychological Science

Our MA program is designed to provide foundational training for students to prepare them to launch into doctoral training programs. Our curriculum, student characteristics, sub-plans, and evaluation of the program are described below.

Admission Requirements

  • A BS or BA degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university
    An overall grade point average of 3.0 (“A” is equivalent to 4.0) or above in all undergraduate courses.
  • Our most competitive applicants have Graduate Record Exam scores of the 50th percentile or higher on both the  verbal and quantitative sections. The advanced psychology subject test is strongly recommended.
  • Four letters of recommendation from professors and employers.
  • An adequate undergraduate program in psychology including college-level mathematics, statistics, experimental psychology, and some background in the biological, physical, and social sciences.
  • Applicants to the clinical psychology track should also have course work and/or community experience in applied psychology.

Promising students who do not meet all the requirements may be considered as applicants. Admission to the program is competitive and applications are reviewed by the clinical admissions committee.

Graduate Coursework

The program of study has three components that are common to both the clinical and the psychological science tracks:
(a) coursework in research and the scientific method;
(b) coursework in the knowledge base of psychology: the core courses series; and
(c) a research thesis.

In addition, the clinical track requires:
(a) didactic coursework in assessment, intervention, and applied skills; and
(b) a practicum experience in which students learn and apply clinical skills under the supervision of experienced clinicians. Practicum sites are selected by the student in the spring semester of the first year for a start date in the mid or late summer after the first year. Practicum placements typically include 15 hours per week for 10-12 months, or a minimum of 450 hours. Some examples of practicum sites in which we have placed students in recent years:

  • The UCCS Aging Center
  • The University Counseling Center
  • The Colorado Springs VA
  • TESSA
  • Prison settings in Colorado
  • Veterans Health & Trauma Clinic

The following research and methods courses are required of all graduate students:
PSY 5810 Research Statistics and Methodology I
PSY 5820 Research Statistics and Methodology II
PSY 6030 Research Practicum

The Core Content Courses

The core content courses are required of all Master's students. Students in the clinical track take two of the core content courses, whereas students in the psychological science track take at least three of the core content courses (see Psychological Science track detail). The particular core content courses chosen will vary from student to student depending on their sub-plan, and course availability. The core content courses available are as follows:

PSY 5210 Psychology of Aging I*
PSY 5220 Psychology of Aging II*
PSY 6100 Developmental Psychology

PSY 6110 Cognition
PSY 6120 Neuroscience
PSY 6130 Social Psychology
PSY 6140 Personality
PSY 6150 Psychology and Law
PSY 6160 Trauma Psychology**
PSY 6170 Trauma Psychology II**

*Note: MA students may count either PSY 5210 or PSY 5220 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.

**Note:  MA student may count either PSY 6160 or PSY 6170 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.

Empirical Research Thesis

A research based thesis is required of all master's students. The psychology faculty are all actively engaged in research. Master's students are encouraged to establish a mentorship relationship with a faculty person and to develop a thesis from an ongoing program of research. The research and scientific method coursework is designed to help the student formulate a research proposal, analyze the data collected, and write up the results for scholarly publication. In addition to those courses, students take 6 credit hours of PSY 7000 Thesis. Students are encouraged to present their work at regional and national meetings and to write up their research for publication.

Sub-Plans within the MA Programs in Psychology

The Psychology Department offers two tracks within its Master’s program: Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science. Upon completing either of these programs, a student is conferred a general MA degree in Psychology. But MA students also have the option to gain experience within one of four specialized sub-fields, formally called “subplans,” in the discipline. The subplans include trauma psychology, psychology and law, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology. These more narrowly-focused programs specify required courses within the MA program, completion of a research thesis under the direction of a faculty mentor with expertise in that particular sub-discipline of psychology, and for students in the Clinical Psychology track, a practicum at a setting in that domain. Students who enroll in an optional subplan glean the benefits of a more concentrated focus of study that is reflected in their transcripts.

Applicants to the Psychology MA Program will be asked at the time of application whether they wish to pursue a subplan. The subplans are optional and the desire to pursue a subplan will not affect the likelihood of admission into our MA program.

Sub-Plan in Cognition (available only to students in the Psychological Science MA track)

Sub-Plan in Psychology and Law (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)

Sub-Plan in Developmental Psychology (available only to students in the Psychological Science MA track)

Sub-Plan in Trauma Psychology (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)

Additional Courses for Non-Psychology Majors

In order to be considered for the MA program, one needs to have an undergraduate major in Psychology or an "adequate background" in Psychology. For people who have only had general psychology, we recommend the following additional courses:

* PSY 2100 Introduction to Psychological Statistics
* PSY 2110 Introduction to Psychological Research and Measurement
* PSY 3130 Learning and Cognition
* PSY 3270 Introduction to Biopsychology
* PSY 3280 Abnormal Psychology
* PSY 3400 Social Psychology
* PSY 4510 Seminar in History of Psychology

* Course numbers are from UCCS

Graduate Student Characteristics

The M. A. applicant pool is national in scope. Our graduate students have earned undergraduate degrees from a wide range of institutions and we have a significant proportion of non-resident students. Of the students who have matriculated in the MA program since its beginning in 1978, about 20% earned their undergraduate degrees from UCCS. The others earned their BA or BS degrees at over 100 different undergraduate institutions across the United States, Canada, Japan, India, and Romania. In the past decade, about 50% of our students have been non-residents of Colorado.

Admissions to the M. A. program are based on Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores, undergraduate grade-point average, letters of recommendation, and applicant descriptions of their background and academic goals. The applicant pool for the past several years has ranged from 80 to 100 completed applications per year. During those same years we matriculated from 8 to 12 students per year. Our selection ratio is small enough so that the scholastic characteristics of the students who have matriculated are excellent. The means for GRE scores and undergraduate grade-point averages are shown below.

GRE and Undergraduate Grade-Point Averages (UGPA) for Matriculated MA Students 

Academic Year

05-06

06-07

07-08

08-09

09-10

10-11

11-12

12-13

13-14

Verbal GRE

545

521

489

525

547

523

157

157

157

Quantitative GRE

603

629

575

571

598

646

152

153

153

Psychology GRE

635

N/A

665

613

653

700

635

597

663

UGPA

3.36

3.55

3.41

3.52

3.54

3.64

3.6

3.66

3.67

Evaluation of the MA Program

What happens to the students who matriculate in the MA Program? Overall, we have a graduation rate of about 70% and a very low academic failure rate of less than 5%. The remainder withdrew from the program. The reasons for withdrawing from the program are varied. Several of the students withdrew from the program in order to continue their studies in a PhD program. For some, family and business considerations led to their withdrawal. it should be noted that the program is designed so that it can be completed in two years by a full-time student. Some of our students attend part-time and some take longer than expected to complete their thesis research.

What happens to our graduates? About half of our graduates choose to go on to doctorate programs and the other half choose to enter the work force. The percent of students who get accepted for doctoral level programs is very high. Nearly 90% of those who have applied for PhD level programs have been accepted. Our graduates have gone on to places such as University of Houston, University of Miami, Kent State University, University of Nebraska, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, Purdue University, University of Alabama, Washington University, University of Arizona, CU-Boulder, Denver University, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, University of Montana, Nova Southeastern University, and Pacific University. Nearly all of the graduates who choose not to go on to doctoral level programs are working in areas that are relevant to their degrees. However, we are NOT a licensure program and it is possible that licensure at the MA level will no longer be possible in the state of Colorado for graduates of our clinical program.

The external review team very positively evaluated the Master of Arts program during the 1989 Academic Program Review of the Psychology Department. After interviewing graduate students in the program the external review team reported that the students "expressed high regard for their training." They report that "students felt that their professors were quite competent, readily accessible to them, and eager to involve them in interesting thesis research projects," and that most professors "served as good mentors." They summarize their findings about the master's program with the following observations:

Many master's degree programs in the field of psychology are weak or dubious in their quality. The MA Program at CU-Colorado Springs does not fall into this category. The MA Program at CU-Colorado Springs has an admirable record of preparing students for PhD work and placing students into doctoral programs at good universities.

The external review for 1996 was equally positive. It reads, in part:

The Psychology Department has a history of offering master's level education of the highest quality. All markers suggest that this program has been and continues to be one of the very finest general master's degree programs in the United States. In this regard, the Review Team would rate the master's program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs as being among the five best such programs in the country.

Our external review for 2003 provided superb results as well. It reads, in part:

Members of the faculty are an active, energetic, and professionally productive group. They received their doctorates from outstanding graduate programs followed, in some instances, by postdoctoral training and clinical internships. They have published their scholarly work in a wide variety of professional outlets. Although some publications are in less prestigious and less rigorous journals, many of the scholarly publications are in the best journals in the field. As is typical of psychology in general, members of the faculty appear to publish their work mostly in journals, although some are involved in book writing. These journal publications often involve master's level students as junior authors. There is also considerable publication with colleagues. Both of these patterns are highly desirable.

The Psychology Department has a history of offering master's level education of the highest quality. All markers suggest that this 2-year program has been and continues to be one of the very finest master's degree programs in the country.

Housing

There are two forms of housing available for graduate students: 1) off-campus housing in apartments and houses and, 2) on-campus dormitories.

Off-campus housing

A recently completed housing survey of graduate and undergraduate honors students in psychology found that 50% of the students lived within 5 miles of campus (range = 1-12 miles) and that it took them 10 minutes or less to commute to campus (range 3 to 25 minutes). The mean rent was $750/month for a one-bedroom apartment and $800/month for a 2-bedroom apartment, not including utilities.

On-campus housing

On-campus housing is available. See the Housing Village page for more information including information on the new apartment-style dorms.

Application Materials and Deadlines

The application deadline for Fall admission each year is January 1st.

Application Materials and Procedures

Graduate Student Handbook

The Graduate Student Handbook for each MA program can be found here:

Clinical MA Graduate Handbook

Psychological Science MA Graduate Handbook

Contact Information

David DuBois
Program Assistant I
Office: Columbine Hall 4037
Phone: (719) 255-4500
Fax: (719) 255-4166
Email: ddubois@uccs.edu