Nine Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia produce mental health practitioners for the Capital Region’s 6.1 million residents and the entire nation.
From the HHS to the NIMH and VA, Washington is truly a healthcare epicenter where psychological knowledge about the brain and behavior comes in handy. According to the SAMHSA Behavioral Health Barometer, 3.4 percent of D.C. adults have experienced a serious mental illness in the last year. Nearly 66,000 are dependent on alcohol and another 24,000 are addicted to illicit drugs. Demand is expected to boost Washington’s 11,840 human services jobs by 19 percent. Clinical, counseling, and school psychologists in the District of Columbia also have America’s seventh highest average annual salary at $85,340.
When you’re considering graduate school for this helping profession, these psychology master’s degrees in D.C. are accredited for quality.
College of Arts & Sciences
Established by Methodist Bishop John Fletcher Hurst in 1892, American University is a private, nonprofit CUWMA member led by President Sylvia Matthews Burwell with 5,291 post-grad Eagles on its 84-acre campus on Tenley Circle. Lauded as the 18th “Top Green College” by The Princeton Review, American is named the 20th best Christian and 32nd most diverse university nationally on Niche. Recognized by the U.S. News for America’s 112th best psychology education, the College of Arts & Sciences houses one of the Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia with an 81.5 percent graduation rate.
MA in Psychology
Receiving 185 applications for 20 seats yearly, American’s MA in Psychology is a competitive, research-oriented option for bright post-grads to expand their laboratory experience in preparation for clinical or experimental PhD programs. Chaired by Dr. David Haaga, the 33-credit curriculum is completed in two years full-time with courses like behavioral medicine, personality psychology, and multivariate statistics. Students could also research in the Center for Neuroscience, complete fieldwork at the DC Rape Crisis Center, add the Certificate in Psychobiology, and attend the Winter Conference on Animal Learning & Behavior.
• Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Asbury Hall, Room 321
4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
The Catholic University of America
School of Arts and Sciences/Columbus School of Law
Recommended by the Cardinal Newman Society, the Catholic University of America is a private, pontifical AACU member endowed for $319.02 million under Chancellor Donald Wuerl to serve 6,521 Cardinals in the Landmark Conference from its 176 acres in DC’s Brookland neighborhood. Crowned America’s 58th most conservative campus on Niche, CUA is named the 108th best research and 173rd top private university on Forbes. The U.S. News also ranked the School of Arts and Sciences 131st for psychology and the Columbus School of Law 106th nationally.
Psychological Science (M.A.)
Requiring GRE scores via code 5104, the Psychological Science (M.A.) accepts applications until July 15th annually for Fall cohorts to begin filling gaps in their psychology background and research skills before advancing into doctoral tracks. Directed by Brendan Rich, PhD, this 31-credit CUA program builds breadth by spanning diverse specialties from neuroscience to developmental and clinical psychology. Estimated to cost $42,850 annually, the program offers paid research assistantships with cutting-edge facilities like the NIH, Children’s National Medical Center, and VA Medical Center.
Human Factors Psychology (M.A.)
Chaired by Dr. Marc M. Sebrechts, the Human Factors Psychology (M.A.) suits CUA post-grads who seek applied research positions that utilize behavioral science findings to design technology and equipment that best complements people’s needs. The 32-credit degree offers five emphases for Engineering Psychology, Applied Cognitive Science, Methodology, Cognitive and Social Foundations, or Historical and Biological Foundations. Students could also complete the NIOSH Human Factors Fellowship, study abroad in Rome, conduct thesis research in the Cognition and Virtual Reality Lab, and join the HFES Chapter.
Psychology and Law (M.A./J.D.)
Partnering with the ABA-accredited Columbus School of Law, the CUA School of Arts and Sciences confers the Psychology and Law (M.A./J.D.) as one of the dual Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia. Within the four-year program costing $48,020 annually, students weave behavioral theory into legal concentrations, including Civil Litigation, Family Law, and Labor and Employment. Students can benefit from joining the Cracow Summer Law Program, volunteering with the Innocence Project, attending the Pope John XXIII Lecture Series, and pledging Delta Theta Phi.
• American Bar Association (ABA)
• Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
McMahon Hall 109
620 Michigan Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20064
George Washington University
Columbian College of Arts & Sciences
Built in 1821 atop Meridian Hill by Baptist missionary Luther Rice, George Washington University attracts 15,486 post-grad Colonials from 130+ countries as a private, research-intensive SURA member that’s endowed for $1.57 billion with 43 acres in Foggy Bottom near the National Mall and satellites from Mount Vernon to Arlington. Ranked in The Princeton Review’s top 10 colleges for “Most Politically Active Students,” GWU is named the 51st best U.S. college overall by Times Higher Education. The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences also landed 40th nationally on the USNWR for one of the Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia.
Forensic Psychology (MA)
Launched in 2012, GWU’s Forensic Psychology (MA) program was coordinated by Dr. Richard Cooter to train profilers who can study behavioral patterns and make sense out of seemingly senseless crimes for legal justice. The 37-credit curriculum offers two tracks for Applied Forensics or Applied Psychology, which often springboards into clinical doctorates. Daytime or evening courses costing $1,220 per credit span from psychopathology to victimology and counterintelligence. Post-grads also gain experience in the Arlington Graduate Center’s Forensics Lab and with 250 externship hours at DC agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
• Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Building GG, 1st Floor
2125 G St. NW
Washington, DC 20052
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Washington, DC
Affiliated with the TCS Education System, the Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a private, nonprofit behavioral sciences institution with APA approval that’s led by President Michele Nealon-Woods, PsyD, to serve 4,500 post-grads at an average age of 32 at six locations, including one in Washington, D.C. Bestowed the 1998 NCSPP Institutional Diversity Award, the Chicago School was ranked America’s #7 Smart Choice for Psychology on Super Scholar. Post-grads choose from four Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia that are open for admission until August 15th yearly.
M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Currently costing $1,127 per credit, the M.A in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at CSPP follows the Internship/Thesis Track on-campus in Washington, D.C., to give students experience studying aspects of workplace culture to fulfill human resources or consultation jobs. Offering SIOP membership, the 36-credit degree takes two years full-time or three years part-time to cover courses like employee selection, performance appraisal, organizational attitudes, and training development. Students either complete thesis research or 600 internship hours at businesses like Fannie Mae and PFC Energy.
M.A. in Forensic Psychology
Satisfying LPC credentialing in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, the Chicago School’s M.A. in Forensic Psychology trains graduates to work as counselors in the legal arena with criminals and law enforcement officials. Noted for its cutting-edge Forensic Training Institute, the degree takes just 24 months full-time with engaging courses like hostage negotiations, juvenile justice, corrections, and abnormal psychology. Students progressing toward the NCMHC Exam will need 700 practicum hours through the Washington Peace Center, including the FBI, DEA, and Capitol Police.
M.A. in Counseling Psychology
Admitting post-bachelor’s students with two psychology prerequisites graded “C” or better, the M.A. in Counseling Psychology at CSPP draws on resources from the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education to train students for creating therapy plans that effectively address psychological conditions. The two-year, full-time degree makes D.C. graduates eligible for LPC licensure after courses in addictions, family systems, holistic assessment, and humanistic psychotherapy. A nine-month internship placement for 700 hours is included with optional international service from Costa Rica to Latvia.
Online M.A. in Psychology
Delivered via the Global Student Dashboard on Canvas, the Online M.A. in Psychology has 24/7 interactive learning for CSPP post-grads to finish one of the Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia anywhere. Taking 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time, the 30-credit degree has concentrations for Forensic Psychology, Public Health, Child and Adolescent, Applied Behavior Analysis for BCBA certification, International Psychology, or Organizational Leadership. Instead of internships or thesis work, online grads tackle the Applied Research Project and form their own service learning with partners like the Peace Corps.
• American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA CoA)
• Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
901 15th St. NW
Washington, DC. 20005
Committing yourself to a psychology master’s won’t make you a licensed clinical psychologist, but it will provide plentiful benefits. You’ll fulfill the education requirements to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Washington, D.C. You’ll lay the foundation for doctoral study for clinical, academic, and research careers later. You’ll open doors for consulting with corporations and government agencies across the Capital for freelance flexibility. You’ll sharpen your people skills to work in diverse D.C. neighborhoods with the most vulnerable and mentally ill. Plus you’ll make more money because master’s graduates generally earn 30 percent more than their post-bachelor’s colleagues.
If you’re based in the “City of Magnificent Intentions,” these Master’s in Psychology degree programs in the District of Columbia can nurture the giving career you intend.
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