Master’s in Psychology Degree Programs in California (A-C)

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Students interested in master’s in psychology degree programs in California may be able to attend a college very close to where they live because of the large number of schools offering graduate psychology programs in the state. From campuses in urban areas of Los Angeles County to programs in rural areas in the High Desert, many educational opportunities in California await the student who chooses to earn a graduate degree in psychology. The government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expect some specialties within the profession of psychology to see significant growth in available positions over the next decade, which means advancing one’s education in psychology could lead to steady and rewarding employment.

This article summarizes all of the regionally accredited master’s degrees in psychology in California (A-C), with the exception of schools in the California State University System, which can be found here.

Alliant International University

California School of Professional Psychology

Founded in 1969, Alliant International University is known by its students as “Alliant,” and has around 3,800 students attending classes at its various campuses. In California, the university has campuses in Fresno, Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco. Most of the students who attend classes at Alliant are post-graduate students. The university was once two distinct schools that included the California School of Professional Psychology and United States International University. The two schools were merged in 2001 to become Alliant International University. In 2015, the school became a part of the Arist Education System and was classified as a for-profit benefit corporation.

Masters in Organizational Psychology Online and On-Campus

Alliant International University offers a graduate degree in organizational psychology that students may pursue through online classes or via on-campus classes. The program is offered in Los Angeles and San Diego for on-campus students; however, online students must participate in an “on-ground” component to complete their degree. The degree is designed to assist students in completing field work assignments under the tutelage of learned faculty members. Classes are designed to help students learn about theories associated with psychology and how those theories can help the student perform in the field. Conveniently, students attending on-campus classes may choose from weekend or evening formats.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Alliant International University

1000 Fremont Avenue #5

Alhambra, CA 91803

Phone: (866) 825-5426

Email: admissions@alliant.edu

Program Website

Argosy University

College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

Argosy University is a system of colleges owned by Education Management Corporation. There are 27 locations in the United States with several of those campuses residing in California. System-wide, about 25,000 students attend college with Argosy. The university was once three separate schools and took several decades to become the modern university students attend today. Locations in California where students may attend classes include Los Angeles, San Diego, and a campus in the Inland Empire. In addition to attending classes at those California locations, students who aren’t in convenient proximity to a campus can attend classes online for most of the programs offered by the university.

Master of Arts (MA) in Forensic Psychology

To gain acceptance to the MA in Forensic Psychology program, students must have a degree from an institution accredited at the regional, national, or international level, as well as a grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) of at least 2.7 overall for the bachelor’s degree. The program includes classes on a variety of topics in clinical, school, and psychological areas and how neuropsychology impacts those areas of practice. Students will learn about how psychology may be used in the criminal justice and civil legal systems and how assessments, interventions, and consultations may be conducted. Students will also study ethics and professional standards.

Master of Arts (MA) in Industrial Organizational Psychology

Students who wish to participate in applying psychology to organizational, work, and individual settings in business may wish to explore the MA in Industrial Organizational Psychology. The curriculum features classes that include Research Methods in Industrial Organizational Psychology, Applied Industrial Psychology, and Business Principles for IO Professionals. Overall, students must complete 36 credit hours including a capstone project at the completion of study. Program outcomes for this master’s in psychology degree program in California include the ability to apply professional knowledge in relevant situations, employ critical thinking and successful decision-making, and understand the legal and ethical considerations of psychological practice.

Master of Arts (MA) in Sport-Exercise Psychology

Also known as Performance Enhancement Specialists, Sport-Exercise Psychologists may find work in a variety of settings, including athletic departments, exercise environments, and private practice, as well as many other settings. Program goals include understanding how psychology impacts a variety of areas like relationships, sports sciences, diversity, and professional identity. After completing the program, students may continue their study in the university’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology degree. Courses students may take include Counseling Skills, Psychological Aspects of Athletic Injury, and Team Dynamics and Group Behavior. The program requires that students complete 30 credit hours overall to receive their graduate degree.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Argosy University

5230 Pacific Concourse Drive

Los Angeles, CA 90045

Phone: (866) 505-0332

Email: materialsreview@argosy.edu

Program Website

Ashford University

College of Health, Human Services, and Science

Ashford University has its headquarters in San Diego; however, its programs are offered online. The school can trace its earliest roots to a 19th-century boarding school for women that was transformed into a college for your women in 1918. The school would undergo several transformations until 2005 when it would become a part of the Bridgepoint Education company. Today, nearly 49,000 students take classes with Ashford University, which is divided into four separate colleges including the College of Health, Human Services, and Science where the Master of Arts in Psychology program is located. The college once had a physical campus in Iowa, but that location was closed in 2016.

Master of Arts in Psychology

Similar to other master’s in psychology degree programs in California, the Master of Arts in Psychology at Ashford University is an online program that requires that students complete 36 credits with a minimum overall GPA of 3.00. Each course lasts six weeks, and students take one course at a time. The university describes the program as an “in-depth exploration” of psychology where completion of the program will allow students to understand the ethical issues present in psychology, as well as how those ethical standards must be applied to professional and academic roles. Students will be able to analyze theories, concepts, and methodologies present in the industry, as well as how historical trends have influenced the profession.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Ashford University

8620 Spectrum Center Boulevard

San Diego, CA 92123

Phone: (866) 711-1799

Email: contactus@ashford.edu

Program Website

Azusa Pacific University

School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences

Founded in 1899 as the Training School for Christian Workers, Azusa Pacific University is affiliated with the Christian faith and describes itself as an “inter-denominational” school. The school has around 10,500 students attending classes at its Azusa location, as well as its regional campuses around Southern California. The school had just 12 students when it opened and was the brainchild of a group of Quakers and Methodists. The school was also the first Bible college located on the west coast of the United States. Over the years, the school would merge with other Christian-centric schools in the region like Los Angeles Pacific College and Arlington College.

M.A. in Clinical Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)

Azusa Pacific University’s MFT graduate degree is designed for students who want to counsel couples, families, and individuals. In addition to offering a solid foundation in theory and applied practice, the program also includes courses in psychotherapy, theology, and ethics. The program requires that students complete between 66 to 69 credits, and students may take classes at the main campus in Azusa or at the regional campuses in the Inland Empire, Orange County, or San Diego. Students interested in becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) may take an additional course during study to help qualify for licensure with the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California.

M.S. in Organizational Psychology

The university shares that industrial-organizational psychologists are one of the fastest-growing occupations in the country with a 53% increase in jobs available through 2022. Organizational psychology, which is referred to as industrial-organizational psychology in some settings is the study of how psychology can help workers thrive within the workplace environment. The program is designed to help students gain the knowledge required to make diagnoses, develop initiatives that can help workers, and analyze job satisfaction surveys. Students interested in boosting worker morale, improving worker retention, and developing effective plans for hiring and training may find value in this master’s in psychology degree program in California.

M.S. in Research Psychology and Data Analytics

Psychology students interested in research may wish to consider the Research Psychology and Data Analytics graduate degree at Azusa, which teaches students to “make a difference” in research. According to the university, large companies like Google and Microsoft routinely employ people experienced in research psychology to assist in workplace programs. To complete the M.S. in Research Psychology and Data Analytics, students must complete 36 credits. The program is designed to take about a year and will help students gain the skills they need to conduct research and data analysis. Given the university’s connections to various Christian faiths, students should expect a curriculum designed from a Christian perspective.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Azusa Pacific University

901 E. Alosta Avenue

P.O. Box 7000

Azusa, CA 91702-7000

Phone: (626) 969-3434

Email: admissions@apu.edu

Marriage and Family Therapy

Organizational Psychology

Research Psychology and Data Analytics

Brandman University

Arts & Sciences

Brandman University is a private, non-profit school with more than 25 campuses around California, as well as in Washington. Students can take classes through online virtual study, and the school provides opportunities for working adults who can’t adhere to a traditional school schedule. Around 11,000 students take classes at Brandman, which is part of the Chapman University System. Brandman was established in 1958 as a campus designed for educating service members stationed at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, California and has retained its reputation as a military-friendly school even though it has long also served students outside the military.

Master of Arts in Psychology, Counseling

Students in this master’s in psychology degree program in California will learn about the history of the profession, as well as how its development influenced science and gave society clues to the reasons for human behavior. The Counseling emphasis includes a component where the student is supervised by a working professional at a counseling site. After receiving the degree, a student will be eligible for membership in the American Psychological Association. Some of the specific areas where a graduate might work include career counseling, individual counseling, and group counseling. The curriculum will focus on topics like assessment, psychopathology, and counseling, as well as psychopharmacology, ethics, and law as they impact the various settings in which counseling occurs.

Master of Arts in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy

Students in the Marriage and Family Therapy emphasis will undertake a broad curriculum that focuses on empirical science and psychology in its cultural and historical contexts. The curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of the California Business and Professional Code 4980.37, which means the degree may help students pursue licensing with the state board. Some of the learning options expected of the program include the ability to implement technique and psychology theory in therapeutic situations, as well as within the challenges that exist in family counseling. Students will be able to apply the assessment techniques they’ve learned to areas like diagnostic assessment and crisis evaluation within clinical settings.

Master of Arts in Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling

Like other master’s in psychology degree programs in California, Brandman’s Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling program is designed to offer students a broad level of knowledge related to the cultural and historical facets of the industry. Students will study the empirical science as it relates to psychology, as well as how that science has influenced the way professionals treat patients in the human services industry. Some of the topics covered within the curriculum include psychopathology, child abuse reporting, and community and environmental mental health. Additionally, students will learn about human diversity, crisis and trauma counseling, and making diagnoses.

Master of Arts in Psychology, Professional and Clinical Counseling

The graduate degree in Professional Clinical Counseling at Brandman University is described as a “practice-oriented program” that helps students satisfy the requirements for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of California. The degree may also help with certification in other states, but students should investigate the requirements of other states before making assumptions. After completing the program, students will be able to participate in advanced individual counseling, community mental health settings, and as career counselors. Students will also be knowledgeable in psychopharmacology, ethics, law, and how those various topics impact the industry and treatment of patients in psychology settings.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Brandman University

16355 Laguna Canyon Road

Irvine, CA 92618

Phone: (949) 753-4774

Email: help@brandman.edu

 

Website

California Baptist Universityh3>

School of Behavioral Sciences

Located in Riverside, California Baptist University is affiliated with the California Southern Baptist Convention. The school was founded in 1950 in El Monte, California and moved a few years later to a larger campus in Riverside. Around 9,100 students attend school at CBU on the suburban campus of 160 acres. The school has been accredited by WASC since 1961d and has been expanding slowly over the years to accommodate more students and offer an increasingly more significant number of degree programs. Students who participate in sports at CBU play in NCAA Division II games; however, the school will become an NCAA Division I school in the near future.

Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

Students in the Master of Science in Counseling Psychology degree program at California Baptist University will be eligible for licensure with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences upon graduation. The degree program helps students apply theories they learned in classes to real-world environments where counseling takes place. Students enjoy the benefit of spending time at faith-based, private, and public counseling programs throughout the Inland Empire, near the university. Students may also choose to pair their degree with an MA in Counseling Ministry in an official dual degree program offered by the university. Students will learn about counseling psychology from the point of view of a Christian, theological standpoint.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

California Baptist University

8432 Magnolia Ave

Riverside, CA 92504

Phone: (951) 689-5771

Email: jcraig@calbaptist.edu

Program Website

California Lutheran University

Graduate School of Psychology

California Lutheran University is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United States; however, the school is sectarian. The university was founded in 1959 and is a private, liberal arts school. Around 2,800 undergraduates attend the school, and around 1,400 graduates take classes at CLU. Located in Thousand Oaks, California, the school’s campus is suburban and covers around 225 acres. The school was formed through the efforts of the American Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church in America, and the land for the school came from a donation from Richard Pederson, who gifted the land to the school in 1957.

MS in Clinical Psychology

The graduate program in clinical psychology at California Lutheran University is designed to take around two years to complete. The total program units vary from 34 to 37, and students may choose from an on-campus program with full-time classes or a part-time schedule. Sessions start in the fall, spring, and summer. Graduates of the program will receive knowledge designed to help them contribute to the profession of psychology, as well as future scientific advancements in theory and practice. Students will get to enjoy attending a university with a diverse population, as well as a faculty who appreciates learning from many angles including research, service, and teaching.

MS in Counseling Psychology

Students in the Counseling Psychology program will learn about topics necessary to act as a successful professional therapist. The program is designed to take somewhere between two and three years and requires students to complete 60 program units. Some of the classes students will take include Psychopathology, Systems of Counseling and Psychotherapy, and Survey of Psychopharmacology. Students may enroll in an on-campus program at full-time or part-time schedules. Classes are offered at the Thousand Oaks campus, as well as in Westlake Village and Oxnard. Like other mater’s in psychology degree programs in California, sessions begin in fall, spring, and summer.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

California Lutheran University

60 West Olsen Road

Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Phone: (805) 493-3325

Email: clugrad@lutheran.edu

Clinical Psychology

Counseling Psychology

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Graduate Education

Known as Cal Poly by locals, California Polytechnic State University was founded in 1901 and is a public university. Located in San Luis Obispo, the university employs a “learn by doing” style of learning where students are encouraged to combine what they learn in the classroom with what they experience in laboratory exercises. The large university has more than 20,000 undergraduates attending and around 900 graduate students. The suburban campus is an expansive 9,768 acres, and the school’s official colors are green and gold. Students who participate in sports while attending college play in NCA Division I games in the Big West Conference.

MS Psychology

Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Psychology program fulfills the curriculum requirements for licensure for work as a California Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT). Students must complete 90 credits to graduate and must submit a thesis or take a final exam to receive a degree. To enter the program, students must submit at least three letters of recommendation, as well as take the GRE. The program is described as a “comprehensive and broad” program in psychology that will help students become effective counselors for individuals, families, couples, and groups. Students will learn about how a multicultural society impacts the industry and have the opportunity to work in environments like inpatient community mental health centers and county mental health services.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

California Polytechnic University

Graduate Education

Building 52, Room E47

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Phone: (805) 756-2328

Email: grad@calpoly.edu

Program Website

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is one of the only graduate schools in the world devoted entirely to the study of psychology and related topics. Though it started with just one location in Chicago, it later added campuses in Wisconsin, Louisiana and Washington DC. The school now has several locations in California, including in Los Angeles, San Diego and Irvine as well as an online campus. Even if you enroll in an online program, you have the chance to apply for financial aid and receive a package that covers most or all of your expenses.

M.A. in Clinical Psychology

To get your M.A. in Clinical Psychology from this school, you’ll need to do some fieldwork. The school requires that you do two practicum classes that make you do a minimum of 250 hours of fieldwork. These courses ask that you do your own clinical report based on the work that you do. The school also asks that you complete an evaluation that ensures you can keep up with the demands of the program as well as the other students in your classes. Some of the classes that you might take include couples counseling and domestic violence, private practice development and theory and practice of marriage and family therapy.

M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

The LA campus of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program. Part-time students can finish their studies in three years, but full-time students can complete the entire program in two years. This program lets you do an internship or a thesis. Those who pick the internship option will need to do 600 hours of fieldwork, but you can do all 600 hours in one location or 300 hours each at two different locations. Thesis students will need to take two thesis courses before writing the thesis.

M.A. in Forensic Psychology

Earning your M.A. in Forensic Psychology through the Chicago School of Professional Psychology lets you work in a variety of criminal justice jobs. If you want to earn a counseling license while in this program, you must apply to do an internship or a practicum during your last year and get approval from the school. Completing that work will let you sit for the licensed professional clinical counselor exam in California. As one of the more unique master’s in psychology degree programs in California, this program includes classes on trauma and crisis counseling, mental health law and tactical and field psychology.

Accreditation

Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Contact

617 W 7th St.

Los Angeles, CA 90017

(213) 615-7200

Website

Claremont Graduate University

School of Social Science, Policy, & Evaluation

As the name would suggest, all students at Claremont Graduate University are enrolled in graduate programs at the school’s campus in Claremont, which is around 35 miles east of Downtown Los Angeles. The school has around 2,200 students attending classes with around 1,400 of those students attending classes on campus and the rest taking classes online through distance learning. The school is the oldest graduate school in the country and was established in 1925. Interestingly, the school’s design was based on the campuses of Cambridge University and Oxford University. The campus is around 19 acres, and the school has been designated as one of “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Applied Cognitive Psychology and Evaluation MA in Psychology

Entering the Applied Cognitive Psychology program at Claremont Graduate University means enjoying the rewards of a distinguished program in psychology that has been providing students with graduate study for many years. Students will learn about the theories and research that impact the industry of counseling and psychology, as well as topics on cognitive aging, working memory, and intelligence. Additionally, students will study topics like perception and human performance, as well as eyewitness memory. Areas where students may focus their study include law and psychology, memory and attention, and cognitive aging. Students with a financial need may be able to apply for paid teaching assistantships.

Basic & Applied Social Psychology and Evaluation MA in Psychology

The Basic & Applied Social Psychology program at CGU focuses on research that offers societal relevance and helps students translate their knowledge into policy and social interventions. The school describes research as one of the core activities for faculty and students with much research occurring in environments like mentor-led research groups and faculty labs. Some of the projects underway at the college include those on adolescent substance abuse, LGBT issues, and leadership. Other areas where students study include social change, societal extremism, adolescent health, and social conflict and discrimination. The curriculum provides students with statistical and methodological skills that help them succeed in academia and various research settings.

Health Behavior Research and Evaluation MA in Psychology

The university describes those who have experience in health behavior research as valuable researchers who have the potential to help society with their investigations into how human illness impacts human behavior. The program helps students conducted applied research and evaluation with the goal of promoting health, preventing disease, and improving the access of the public to healthcare. Students in the program are encouraged to participate in internships, jobs, and on projects that can help them apply their knowledge and research to real-world environments. The high number of local health departments in the densely populated counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside ensure students have many opportunities for real-world experience.

Organizational Behavior and Evaluation MA in Psychology

Students who wish to have a positive impact on business and help create socially responsible organizations may wish to investigate the Organizational Behavior and Evaluation program at CGU. Along with a curriculum background in applied research and evaluation, students will use their knowledge in an internship or practical experience. The challenges an Organizational Behavior Psychologist must face include improving the work life of all employees, as well as increasing the overall effectiveness of the organization. Students recently graduated from undergraduate school, as well as individuals who are mid-career, are encouraged to apply to the program as it can prove valuable for individuals at any phase of their career.

Positive Developmental Psychology and Evaluation MA in Psychology

For students interested in fostering positive human development, the Positive Developmental and Psychological Evaluation program may prove the most valuable option. Positive psychology is a concept that addresses human well-being, as well as the factors that contribute to human flourishing. The curriculum will include examination of how positive development can result in a good outcome for the individual, as well as society at large. The knowledge students gain in the program can lead to improvements at many levels in society including schools and policymakers, as well as with families and individuals. Students with a degree in Positive Development Psychology and Evaluation may eventually make significant discoveries that have a lasting impact on humanity.

Positive Health Psychology MA in Psychology

The university describes Positive Health Psychology as a swiftly growing field within the industry. Students in the program explore the reasons a person who is mentally and physically healthy can thrive despite the presence of conflicts, environmental problems, or physical and social ills. The program is a joint effort between the Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences and the School of Community & Global Health. Students will gain insight into psychology that will allow them to seek out employment in a variety of areas like various federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), as well as managed care outfits and mental health environments.

Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation MA in Psychology

In 1999, Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi founded the Quality of Life Research Center, which was a nonprofit entity that sought to research cutting-edge issues in positive psychology. The university’s connection to this non-profit organization is valuable for students interested in this master’s in psychology degree program in California. Students who wish to apply to the program should have a bachelor’s or graduate degree in psychology; however, the program will also admit students in other areas like business administration and related fields. Students who want to help businesses and organizations become socially responsible will flourish in the program as it will help those students meet the challenges of a workforce that is increasingly diverse.

Accreditation

  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Contact

Claremont Graduate University

150 E. 10th Street

Claremont, CA 91711

Phone: (909) 607-7811

Email: admissions@cgu.edu

Website

The large size and population of California mean that prospective students of graduate psychology degree programs may choose to enroll in virtually any type of university, from small, religious colleges to huge state universities. Additionally, future psychologists have a wide variety of specializations from which to choose, from applied cognitive psychology and evaluation to counseling psychology. Students with an interest in treating patients in psychology settings, as well as in research, may benefit from taking what they learned in a bachelor’s degree program and advancing that knowledge with a graduate degree in psychology.

The first step for anyone interested in master’s in psychology degree programs in California is contacting prospective schools for more information on applying and their programs.

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