Program Highlights

The Master of Science in Clinical Psychology program is a 37-40 credit program emphasizing practical clinical and research/quantitative skills for the advancement of clinical psychology and related disciplines. 

Newly admitted students may start the Clinical Psychology program in the fall semester. It is possible to complete the program in 2½ years if attending on a part-time basis.

Mission Statement

The mission of the MS in Clinical Psychology program (MSCP) is to train leaders in the field of clinical psychology by enhancing skills in clinical practice and data-analysis that is relevant to the social and behavioral health sciences. The program seeks to balance clinical training with statistics and research design to help students more effectively develop, evaluate, and improve upon clinical decision making in a variety of clinical settings. The MSCP program strives to encourage multiple and diverse opinions and perspectives as a means of pursuing a more complete knowledge that supports principles of equity and justice. 

A Focus on Practical Research and Clinical Skills

Our philosophy is that research skills are best learned through hands-on practice.  As opposed to traditional instruction in statistics, the MS in Clinical Psychology Program provides a more practical, problem-solving approach to data analysis.  In their first year, students receive instruction in the application of the R statistical programming language.  Using R, students learn the importance of data visualization and exploratory data analysis to answer research questions in psychology.  Students are then provided with traditional training in statistical modeling (e.g., linear regression) considered foundational to any graduate psychology curriculum. 

In the second year of coursework, students enroll in a semester long research seminar that guides them in a step-by-step process in conducting their own faculty-mentored independent research or thesis project.  Students select a topic of their choosing and build their project from the bottom up in an intimate, small classroom setting.

Although each topic is unique, students are encouraged to explicitly incorporate elements of replication in their work in order to support psychology as a cumulative science that grows through replication and confirmation.  Consistent with the values of open science, students also complete a pre-registration and openly share their material with the global research community. 

In addition to the yearlong sequence in statistics and research methods, students have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research conducted by Cal Lutheran faculty. These projects often lead to professional presentations with students as co-authors.

Clinical training at Cal Lutheran is also consistent with a scientist-practitioner model. Cal Lutheran students gain knowledge in evidence-based methods for clinical assessment, interviewing, and treatment. Practical skills are emphasized in, for example, conducting diagnostic assessments, behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and suicide assessment and management.  In all courses, students gain competence in the integration of cultural aspects of psychopathology and psychotherapy through enhanced personal awareness and instruction in providing culturally-sensitive diagnostic assessment and psychotherapy. Please note, the coursework in the MS in Clinical Psychology program is not sufficient for licensure. 

Course Options

Clinical Psychology students choose two, 3-credit, course electives in their second year.  Courses cover advanced topics related to either clinical or quantitative training, for example:
  • PSYC 582 Meta-Analysis (3) & PSYC 582 Structural Equation Modeling (3)
  • PSYD 756 Dialectical Behavior Therapy (3) & PSYD 758 Methods in Suicide Risk and Assessment (3)
  • PSYD 792 Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (3) & PSYD 758 Methods in Suicide Risk and Assessment (3)
  • PSYC 541 Principles and Techniques of Adolescent Therapy (3) & PSYC 543 Family Therapy (3)
  • PSYC 546 Psychological Trauma Concepts & Theories (3) & PSYC 547 Trauma Assessment & Intervention (3)

Note: Course specializations are subject to change

Career Options

A number of career options are available to graduates of the Clinical Psychology program. The curriculum is designed to prepare students who plan to continue their graduate studies in a doctoral program. The program is also designed for students who desire to complete a terminal master's degree in psychology and do not intend to become a licensed practitioner.

Many of our graduates choose this career path and are successfully employed overseeing treatment programs in mental health agencies. Graduates of the Master of Clinical Psychology program are qualified for employment in the community college system as instructors of psychology.