Philosophy of the Clinical Track
The clinical track of the Master of Arts in Psychology is an adult-focused program that follows the Boulder scientist/practitioner training model which emphasizes the integrated roles of science and practice. Training in the applied skills of clinical assessment and intervention requires a thorough understanding of the range of human functioning. The database of the psychological literature is our groundwork and the scientific method guides our work. We require students to develop an understanding of how this database is generated, how to evaluate its utility, and how to apply it. Thus, all students are required to take the core of methodology and basic psychology courses in addition to the clinical core and a practicum experience in the community. Because a two-year curriculum can provide only the basics, it is expected that we are preparing students to proceed with training at the doctoral level. For a more detailed discussion of the clinical standards and goals, see our "Statement of Scope of Training and Standards of Behavior" which can be found here.
Prospective students should be aware that the clinical MA track has a focus on adult populations. There is limited coverage of child-related topics in the clinical coursework and limited child-oriented practicum opportunities. While research opportunities with children and adolescents are possible, limited clinical training with children is provided in the MA track.
This program values and promotes self-awareness as a significant component of training in clinical psychology. Students in this program engage in self-awareness exercises within their courses and practicum training. They are also strongly encouraged to engage in their own psychotherapy during their training.
The applications for the MA Psychology Programs in the Clinical and Psychological Science Tracks are the same.
All application materials are due on the 1st of January for Fall admission.
Application requirements for the MA Psychology Programs in Clinical and Psychological Science Tracks are as follows:
- Complete the online application and pay the application fee.
- Obtain four letters of recommendation from professors or employers through the online application.
- Submit a statement describing your interests, background, and reason for applying to our program as part of the online application.
- Submit official transcripts from EACH college or university attended.
- Take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test so that official scores are reported before the January 1st application deadline. The Institution Code for UCCS is R4874. The Department Code for Clinical Psychology is 2001 and the Department Code for Psychological Science Psychology is 2007. The general GRE is required of all applicants. The subject GRE is strongly recommended. For more information about the GRE, please visit Educational Testing Service (ETS)..
- Optionally, you may upload a vita or resume as an attachment in the online application.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is strongly recommended for all applicants. Applicants do not need to submit the original application to the department. Instead, have your results sent to UCCS at school code 004509. Please keep in mind that the FAFSA you will need to complete will not be made available until after the January 1st application deadline.
How to Submit Official Transcripts
For transcripts from outside institutions:
Transcripts can be submitted electronically if the issuing institution is contracted with a secured server. Electronic transcripts should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any application materials that need to be mailed in should be sent to the following address:
Office of Admissions & Records
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-3733
The terminal MA program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs is designed to prepare students for further training at the doctoral level. The goal is that the students are eventually eligible to become licensed as a Psychologist once they have completed the PhD degree or PsyD degree at another institution. As such, our program is not designed to meet the master's level licensure requirements as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Colorado.
It is imperative that potential students in our MA program carefully research the educational requirements for the intended licensure or certification in the state(s) where they will seek licensure or certification. Because we are not designated as a licensure program, we have not sought approval by the Council for Accreditation and Other Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Please note that the licensure requirements of state boards and licensing agencies vary from state to state and also change over time. Consequently, successful completion of MA degree requirements does not guarantee that a state board or licensing agency will accept a graduate's application for licensure at the MA level. It is important that potential students are aware of their responsibilities regarding licensure and certification. Please note that it is absolutely necessary that you save the syllabi from all of the courses you take and that you keep course catalogs from each year that you are a student in the terminal MA program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Many licensing boards require detailed course descriptions that show what specific material and skills have been covered. By saving your own syllabi, you will have the appropriate sections and classes that correspond to your transcript.
State of Colorado Licensure
Since 1989, Colorado has licensed masters' level professional counselors by instituting a licensure board and creating standards and testing to determine qualification for such licensure. The vast majority of other states also have licensure requirements for masters' level professionals, with each state having their own requirements and regulations. License requirements in one state do not necessarily translate to other states. To be licensed in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), students must submit syllabi and course descriptions for the courses that fulfill the eight LPC content areas; pass the LPC examination; complete 2,000 hours of postgraduate supervised clinical practice; and receive 100 hours of supervision over a minimum of twenty-four months. These requirements may change over time. Full details on licensure are available from:
State of Colorado, Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)
Phone: (303) 894-7766
Potential students in our MA program are advised to carefully review licensure information provided by DORA and to be aware that it may not be possible for our graduates to become licensed in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor without taking additional courses or without taking an additional practicum. As laws for licensure at the MA level become more stringent, it may be the case that graduates from our MA program will not be able to become licensed in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor even with additional training and courses at another program. Please check the state requirements carefully if you are planning on attending our MA program and pursuing licensure at the MA level.
Applicants should have the following credentials:
- 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.
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
The Psychology Department offers two tracks within its Master's program: Clinical 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 "sub-plans," in the discipline. The sub-plans include trauma psychology and psychology and law. 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 track, a practicum at a setting in that domain. Students who enroll in an optional sub-plan 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 sub-plan. The sub-plans are optional and the desire to pursue a sub-plan will not affect the likelihood of admission into our MA program.
Sub-Plan in Psychology and Law (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)
Sub-Plan in Trauma Psychology (available to students in Clinical and Psychological Science MA tracks)
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 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 Clinical track requires a minimum of 42 credit hours. The required courses can be completed by a full-time student in 2 years if the following course sequence is followed:
Fall: Clinical Skills Laboratory, Research Statistics and Methodology I, Advanced Psychopathology
Spring: Research Statistics and Methodology II, Cognitive Assessment or Clinical Neuropsychology*, Seminar: Psychotherapy, and a Core Content Course
* Note: We advise students to take the Cognitive Assessment course unless there is a specific reason to take the Clinical Neuropsychology course. Please consult with the Director of Clinical Training.
Fall: Research Practicum, Ethics and Standards of Practice (Prof Dev I), Clinical Interviewing and Personality Assessment, Masters Thesis
Spring: Cultural and Family Diversity (Prof Dev II), Masters Thesis, and a Core Content Course
The core content courses are required of all Master's students. Students in the Clinical track take two of the core content courses. 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.
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.
The clinical core consists of a set of didactic courses and a set of applied skills courses. The didactic requirements include the following courses: PSY 6780 Advanced Psychopathology, PSY 6850 Clinical Interviewing and Personality Assessment, PSY 6920 Seminar in Psychotherapy, and either PSY 6860 Cognitive Assessment or PSY 6880 Neuropsychological Assessment.
Students in the clinical track take a course in basic interviewing skills (PSY 5710 Clinical Skills Lab) during their first year and a clinical practicum (taken in conjunction with PSY 6720 Professional Development I, and PSY 6730 Professional Development II) during their second year. Practicum experiences are completed at several sites either on-campus (at the University Counseling Center or the UCCS Aging Center) or in the community under licensed, PhD-level supervision. The goal of these experiences is to expose students to clinical settings, to the roles of clinical psychologists, and to begin the development of clinical skills. Placements must be approved by the DCT. Most sites require a 10-12 month commitment and students are expected to work approximately 15 hours per week at their site, or a minimum of 450 hours.
Be informed that clinical training in the MA Clinical track requires a community practicum placement in local agencies that partner with us for training opportunities. Many of these institutions require a legal background check to ensure all employees and trainees meet current standards. In addition, state licensing boards usually require applicants to report on their legal background. As such, certain types of criminal backgrounds will prevent applicants from being able to complete program requirements or to eventually attain licensure as a mental health professional in some states. Please disclose relevant background information accordingly and before you enroll in the UCCS program.
The MA 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 MA 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.
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:
The external review for 1996 was equally positive. It reads, in part:
Our external review for 2003 provided superb results as well. 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 2-year program has been and continues to be one of the very finest master's degree programs in the country.
There are two forms of housing available for graduate students: 1) off-campus housing in apartments and houses and, 2) on-campus dormitories.
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 is available. See the Housing Village page for more information including information on the new apartment-style dorms.