MA Sub-Plans

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, psychology and law, cognition, 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 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.

A primary objective of the Sub-Plan in Cognition is to prepare graduate students for further academic training at the doctoral level in cognition. Students who complete the program will be competitive for application to doctoral programs in cognitive psychology, evolutionary psychology, psychological science, experimental psychology, experimental psychopathology, quantitative psychology, human development, neuropsychology, and others. Students who complete this sub-plan would also be able to pursue careers at the MA level in research settings.

Cognition Sub-Plan Requirements

Students in the Cognition Sub-plan must (a) complete all requirements of the Psychological Science track of the Psychology MA Program, (b) take the core content course in Cognition (PSY 6110), (c) complete a research thesis in this area and be supervised by a relevant faculty member, and (d) participate in sub-plan activities such as colloquia.

Cognition Sub-Plan Faculty

Fred Coolidge, PhD, (Sub-Plan Coordinator): Cognitive Archaeology, Evolution of Cognition and Language
Lori James, PhD: Language, Memory, and Cognition
Mike Kisley, PhD: Neurophysiology of Cognition
Molly Maxfield, PhD: Social Cognition

The primary objective of the Sub-Plan in Developmental Psychology is to prepare graduate students to work directly with or conduct research relevant to children and adolescents. This may include a focus on either normal or abnormal developmental processes. Many students will seek further academic training at the doctoral level in developmental psychology, as students who complete the program will be competitive for application to doctoral programs in developmental psychology, human development, and others. The program will also prepare students who wish to pursue careers in developmental psychology at the MA-level such as work in social service agencies, child care services, and other educational, health, or judicial settings.

Developmental Psychology Sub-Plan Components

Students in the Developmental Psychology Sub-plan must (a) complete all requirements of the Psychological Science track of the Psychology MA Program, (b) take the core content course in Developmental Psychology (PSY 6100), (c) complete a research thesis in this area and be supervised by a relevant faculty member, and (d) participate in sub-plan activities such as colloquia.

Developmental Psychology Sub-Plan Faculty

Fred Coolidge, PhD (Sub-Plan Coordinator): Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and Personality Assessment and Twin Studies
Beth Daniels, PhD: Gender, Body Image, Media, Sports and Physical Activities, Adolescent Development, Positive Youth Development
Bob Durham, PhD: Developmental Etiology of Sexual Offending, Assessment of Attitudes towards Child Sexual Abuse, and Program Evaluation with Child and Adolescent Populations
Sandy Wurtele, PhD: Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

The primary objective of the Sub-Plan in Geropsychology is to prepare graduate students for further academic training at the doctoral level in the psychology of aging. Students who complete the program will be competitive for application to doctoral programs in geropsychology, gerontology, clinical psychology, neuropsychology, developmental psychology, and others. Students who complete this Sub-Plan would also be able to pursue careers at the MA level in research settings.

Although Colorado and other states allow for individuals with a Master’s degree to obtain a license to practice mental health services, our Clinical Psychology MA track is a PhD preparatory track and does not provide all the required training opportunities for licensure at the MA level.

Nevertheless, some MA graduates choose to obtain these additional requirements to practice at the MA level. If these future professionals choose such a path, our Geropsychology Sub-Plan can at least ensure that these individuals have the essential training opportunities in geropsychology to effectively practice without a terminal degree.

Geropsychology Sub-Plan Requirements

Students in the Geropsychology Sub-Plan must (a) complete all the requirements of the Clinical or Psychological Science track of the Psychology MA Program, (b) take a core content courses in Psychology of Aging (PSY 5210 and 5220), and (c) complete a research thesis in this area and be supervised by a relevant faculty member. Students in the Psychological Science MA track must also participate in concentration activities such as colloquia. Students in the Clinical MA track must also complete a standard clinical practicum (450 hours) in a setting relevant to aging. 

Practicum opportunities are offered at numerous local institutions, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Peak View Behavioral Health, and the UCCS Aging Center, all of which may require a competitive application process for acceptance into the practicum. The UCCS Aging Center is an existing department-coordinated clinic, directed and partially staffed by UCCS faculty, that provides mental health care services to older adults. The Aging Center, the
department’s clinical training clinic, provides an ideal practicum site and resource for students in the Geropsychology Sub-Plan. Appropriate placements will focus on clinical interventions for aging-related mental health concerns, providing support for caregivers of older adults, and assessment of psychological and cognitive changes that occur with aging. 

In addition, all students can choose to take additional courses related to Geropsychology within the department. Options include:

PSY 5840 Methods and Design for Analyzing Change
PSY 6410 Aging Seminar (Special Topics)
PSY 6420 Aging
PSY 6610 Clinical Geropsychology I
PSY 6620 Clinical Geropsychology II
PSY 6800 Clinical Geropsychology Special Topics
PSY 6870 Clinical Neuropsychology
PSY 6880 Clinical Neuropsychology Laboratory

Geropsychology Sub-Plan Faculty

Leilani Feliciano, PhD (Sub-Plan Coordinator): Mental Health and Aging, Behavioral Medicine, and Behavioral Gerontology
Edie Greene, PhD: Psychological Issues in Elder Law
Lori James, PhD: Cognitive Psychology of Language and Memory in Aging
Mike Kisley, PhD: Neurophysiology of Cognition and of Emotion in Aging
Molly Maxfield, PhD: Social Cognition and Aging; Dementia Worry; Terror Management and Aging
Sara Qualls, PhD: Mental Health and Aging; Family Caregiving; Integrated Healthcare; Senior Housing and Wellness; Technology and Aging
Dan Segal, PhD: Diagnostic and Assessment in Geropsychology; Late-life Suicide Risk and Resilience; Late-life anxiety; Barriers to Mental Health Services; Personality Disorders Across the Lifespan

The primary objective of the Sub-Plan in Psychology and Law is to provide a rigorous academic background for students planning to enroll in a doctoral program in Psychology and Law and for those interested in post-MA work in settings such as law enforcement, courts, correctional facilities, treatment programs, social service agencies, and research institutes.

Psychology and Law Sub-Plan Requirements

Students in the Psychology and Law Sub-plan must (a) complete all requirements of the Clinical or Psychological Science track of the Psychology MA Program, (b) take the core content course in Psychology and Law (PSY 6150), and (c) complete a research thesis in this area and be supervised by a relevant faculty member. Students in the Psychological Science MA track must also participate in sub-plan activities such as colloquia, and students in the Clinical MA track must complete their clinical practicum in a setting relevant to psychology and law. Appropriate placements will focus on assessment or treatment of individuals involved in legal matters. In addition, all students can choose to take additional courses related to psychology and law from other departments. Options include:

Sociology

SOC 5520 Sociology of Corrections and Rehabilitation 
SOC 5940 Sociology of Law 
SOC 5950 Criminology

Criminal Justice

CJ 5420 Violence in Society 
CJ 5510 Contemporary Issues in Policing 
CJ 5520 Corrections
CJ 5552 Criminal Justice Ethics
CJ 5572 Race, Crime and Justice

Psychology and Law Sub-Plan Faculty

Edie Greene, PhD (Sub-Plan Coordinator): Legal Decision Making, Eyewitness Memory, Topics in Elder Law and Psychology
Fred Coolidge, PhD: Personality Disorders in Inmate Populations
Bob Durham, PhD: Etiology of Sex Offenders

 

The primary objective of the Sub-Plan in Trauma Psychology is to prepare graduate students for further academic and/or clinical training at the doctoral level or for post-MA work in this field in settings such as hospitals, VA clinics, and emergency relief centers. Students who complete this program will also be able to pursue PhD level work in the areas of clinical or experimental psychology focusing on trauma, homeland security, and public policy.

Trauma Psychology Sub-Plan Components

Students in the Trauma Sub-plan must (a) complete all the requirements of the Clinical or Psychological Science track of the Psychology MA Program, (b) take the core content course in Trauma Psychology (PSY 6160), and (c) complete a research thesis in this area and be supervised by a relevant faculty member. Students in the Psychological Science MA track must also participate in sub-plan activities such as colloquia, and students in the Clinical MA track must complete their clinical practicum in a setting relevant to trauma psychology. Appropriate placements will focus on clinical interventions for trauma recovery as well as prevention programs for secondary trauma. Several additional courses outside of the Psychology Department are available.  Please discuss with the Sub-Plan Coordinator for more details if you have room in your curriculum plan for additional courses.

Trauma Psychology Sub-Plan Faculty

Chip Benight, PhD (Sub-Plan Coordinator): Social Cognitive Theory and Trauma Recovery
Bob Durham, PhD: Sex Offenders and Abuse Issues
Tom Pyszczynski, PhD: Terror Management Theory and Trauma
Kristi Samuelson, PhD: Neuropsychological Effects of PTSD