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Clinical Psychology Graduate Program

Graduate student working in the Psychology clinic

 

About the M.A. in Psychology

Program Overview

Location: Cullowhee, Main Campus

GRE not required unless GPA is under 3.4

Full-Time, 24 Months to Complete

App. Deadline: Mar. 1 - Fall General

NC LPA Licensure Option

Develops strong applicants for Ph.D programs

 

Virtual Open House

Tuesday, August 6, 2024: 5-6:30 p.m.

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

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The two-year Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology adheres to a scientist-practitioner model and is designed to prepare students for doctoral level training in clinical psychology or other applied disciplines. Students who do not wish to pursue further studies may be eligible for licensure in North Carolina as a licensed psychological associate (LPA).

The clinical program emphasizes coursework in assessment, research methods, evidence-based psychotherapy, psychopathology, and neuropsychology. All students are actively involved in research and are required to complete an empirical master's thesis under the supportive mentorship of our faculty. Excellent practicum experiences are available in our public-facing Psychology Clinic (McKee Clinic) and in a variety of other clinical settings.

 

  

Curriculum - Clinical Psychology Program Track

The program requires a total of 50 hours of graduate level course work. The program is designed for full-time students to graduate in two calendar years (Fall admission). Part-time students are not admitted to the program. The program is completed in person at WCU’s Cullowhee campus.

PSY 748 – Human Neuropsychology (3 hrs)

PSY 686 & 687 – Internal and External Practicum in Psychology (6 hours)

PSY 624 - Advanced Developmental Psychology (3 hrs)

PSY 651 – Advanced Research Methods: Statistics (4 hrs)

PSY 652 – Advanced Research Methods: Design and Communication (3 hrs)

PSY 661 – Assessment I (4 hrs)

PSY 662 – Personality Assessment (4 hrs)

PSY 671 – Advanced Psychopathology (3 hrs)

PSY 672 – Evidence-based Psychotherapy I (3 hrs)

PSY 675 – Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions (3 hrs)

PSY 677 – Group Psychotherapy (3 hrs)

PSY 680 – Directed Study (3 hrs) (requires Instructor permission to register)

PSY 599 – Pre-thesis (3 hrs) (requires Instructor permission to register)

PSY 699 – Thesis (6 hrs) (requires Instructor permission to register)

Fall 1st Year

PSY 651: Adv. Research Methods (4)

PSY 661: Assessment I (4)

PSY 671: Adv. Psychopathology (3)

PSY 680: Directed Study (3)

Spring 1st Year

PSY 652: Adv. Research Methods (3)

PSY 662: Personality Assessment (3)

PSY 672: Evidenced-Based Psychotherapy (3)

PSY 677: Group Psychotherapy (3)

PSY 599: Pre-Thesis (3)*

Fall 2nd Year

PSY 748: Human Neuropsychology (3)

PSY 675: Cognitive & Behavioral Interventions (3)

PSY 686 & 687 – Internal and External Practicum in Psychology (3-4 hours)**

PSY 699: Thesis (3)

Spring 2nd Year

PSY 624: Advanced Developmental Psychology (3)

PSY 686 & 687 – Internal and External Practicum in Psychology (3-4 hours)

PSY 699: Thesis (3)

Optional Graduate Level Elective (3)

 

* Students will propose a thesis project at the end of their first year in the program, and must . Students must successfully defend their thesis during their final semester in the program in order to graduate. More information on the thesis project requirements can be found in the program handbook.

** Students complete an internal practicum within the department’s McKee Clinic (completing 3-4 psychological assessments) as well as an external practicum in the community (see Clinical/Practicum tab below). Students wishing to meet   requirements to become licensed psychological associates will need to complete a total of 500 hours of practicum experience between their internal and external practica (see Licensure Information tab below).

After graduation, students who complete the required 500+ practicum hours may apply to become a licensed psychological associate (LPA) in North Carolina. An LPA is a mental health professional who provides psychological services under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. LPAs are permitted to perform a range of activities, including conducting assessments and evaluations, and providing individual and group therapy. The program is designed to meet LPA licensure requirements in the state of NC; students wishing to practice outside of the state following graduation should consult the licensure requirements in those states. More information about LPA licensure can be found at NC Psychology Board’s website.

Students wishing to become licensed psychologists will need to complete additional training at the doctoral level after graduating from the MA program.

Research and Clinic Opportunities

The clinical program offers one-on-one mentoring in research, experience with conference submissions and presentations, journal manuscript writing, as well as other professional development opportunities. Our faculty members are excited to involve students in a variety of research opportunities. Some areas of expertise among our faculty include stress and trauma, neuropsychology, child maltreatment, substance use problems, depression, anxiety, personality, gender and sexuality issues, social and emotional development across the life span (children, adolescents, adults), body image and eating disorders, emotion regulation and coping, and forensic psychology. Our students and faculty also have access to state-of-the art eye-tracking and EEG equipment. Opportunities for collaboration with faculty from disciplines other than clinical psychology (e.g., social/personality psychology, experimental psychology, education, criminology and criminal justice, and school psychology) are also available. Please feel free to contact any of the faculty members to hear more about their current research and ways to get involved.

Students in the Clinical Psychology graduate program, have completed practicum requirements in a variety of settings including:

  • WCU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) specializes in psychotherapy and counseling, primarily with emerging adults.
  • Asheville DBT and Trauma Therapy is a group private practice setting providing evidence-based treatments such as dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and prolonged exposure therapy.

  • Asheville Testing is a private practice setting providing psychological evaluations, ADHD evaluations, custody evaluations, and more.
  • Carolina Pediatric Therapy provides therapy and assessment services for children and adolescents with special needs.
  • Blue Ridge (Meridian) Behavioral Health Services is a community mental health setting providing assessment and therapy, including services to individuals with persistent mental health concerns.
  • TEACCH Autism Program (TEACCH) provides clinical services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families, such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training and parent support  groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for  higher-functioning clients, and supported employment
  • Department of Corrections (DOC) offers an opportunity to work with incarcerated populations who are dealing with a variety of psychosocial issues, including depression, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress, personality disorders, and anxiety.
  • The McKee Assessment and Psychological Services Clinic is our department's clinic, which serves children, adolescents, and adults with a primary focus on comprehensive psychological assessment and diagnosis, personality assessment, and assessment of cognitive abilities and learning disabilities. Opportunities to provide brief psychotherapy may also be available. Students are expected to complete at least 3-4 assessment cases through the McKee clinic during their second year in the program.

Faculty

Kia Asberg

Associate Professor

Department Head - Psychology

Hannah Buie

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Jonathan Campbell

Professor

Director - Doctor of Psychology

Brian Collin

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Alleyne Broomell

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Cathy Grist

Professor

Human Services

David de Jong

Associate Professor

Psychology

David McCord

Professor Emeritus

Psychology

Erin Myers

Associate Professor

Assistant Department Head/Available Mentor/Psychology

Nathan Roth

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Ellen Sigler

Associate Professor

Psychology

David Solomon

Associate Professor

Director Clinical M.A. Program/Psychology

Jamie Vaske

Professor

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Annie Wilson

Assistant Professor

Psychology

Clinical Psychology Program FAQ

Our mission is to train well-rounded, competent, and ethically minded graduates using the scholar-practitioner model. Our training model is geared to prepare students for doctoral level study, whether that is within WCU’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Health Service Psychology (Combined Clinical- School), or within external PhD or PsyD programs outside of WCU. Graduates of our program are also eligible for licensure in NC as a licensed psychological associate (LPA) if they complete 500 practicum hours.   

Graduate students complete 50 credits of coursework over two years. Students who wish to be eligible for licensure upon graduation must complete six credits (a total of 500 hours) of clinical practicum. All students complete a thesis under the close mentorship of our excellent faculty. Coursework is completed in face-to-face settings. You will complete some courses with graduate students from the School Psychology program. Class sizes are kept small to maximize the learning experience. Our program is known for its attention to students’ individual needs and career goals.

The deadline for applications is March 1st, but we encourage students to submit their application early. All applications are completed online. Approximately two weeks after the deadline, you will hear from us about interview day date(s). An undergraduate psychology degree is not required. However, applicants without an undergraduate psychology degree must have at least 18 hours of undergraduate credit in psychology which must include general psychology, 6 hours of statistics and/or research methods, and abnormal psychology.

 

Completed applications will include:

  • A complete application form
  • An official GRE General Test score report from within the past five years must be provided by applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA less than 3.4 at the time of application. Submission of GRE General Test scores are optional for applicants with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or above.
  • A personal statement describing your research interests, reasons for applying to the program, and how the program will help you meet your future goals.
  • At least 3 letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts for every undergraduate university you attended; accepted students will then be required to submit official transcripts
  • An academic resume or CV

Each year, the Clinical Concentration of the Psychology MA program at WCU receives approximately 50-75 applications. Approximately 20-25 students are invited for an on-campus interview day, typically held during the third or fourth week of March. Of the applicants invited for an interview, we accept between 6 and 10 students (the top 10-15% of the applicant pool). The clinical track only admits students for the Fall semester. Although we do our best to let students know as soon as we can after the interviews have been completed, we adhere to the April 15th deadline (American Psychological Association) for decisions.

A typical incoming class will have an average GPA of 3.5 or better. The GRE scores (V+Q) of our students are generally in the 305 to 315 range. A majority of incoming students have experience with independent research as an undergraduate. An undergraduate psychology degree is not required. However, applicants should have at least 18 hours of undergraduate credit in psychology which must include general psychology, 6 hours of statistics and/or research methods, and abnormal psychology. Please know that all components of the application are taken into consideration, including interpersonal skills and professionalism (interview), personal statement, letters of recommendation, ability to articulate your reasons for pursuing graduate study in clinical psychology, and other relevant educational or clinical experiences. We do not accept students solely based on any one component of the application. If you have questions about your application and what experiences to pursue, please contact the program director, Dr. David Solomon (dsolomon@wcu.edu).

  • Courses in Evidence-based Assessment (child and adult) and Psychotherapy (individual and group therapy), Psychopathology (DSM-5), Human Neuropsychology, Advanced General Psychology, Research Methods, Statistics, etc.
  • One-on-one mentoring in research, experience with conference submissions and presentations, journal manuscript writing, as well as other professional development opportunities.
  • Practicum experiences and clinical supervision through our Psychology Department McKee Assessment and Psychological Services Clinic (serving children and families in the community), and opportunities for placement with WCU Counseling and Psychological Services, the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, Jackson County Psychological Services, the Institute for Applied Neuroscience, Center for Research, Assessment, and Treatment Efficacy (CReATE), TEACCH Autism Program, and the Department of Corrections, etc. Note that placements are determined based on agency availability, faculty recommendations, and student fit (i.e., an interview may be required). Student preference is also taken into consideration, but the program director will oversee the placement process.

Our faculty members are excited to involve students in a variety of research opportunities. Some areas of expertise among our faculty include stress and trauma, neuropsychology, child maltreatment, substance use problems, depression, anxiety, personality, gender and sexuality issues, social and emotional development across the life span (children, adolescents, adults), body image and eating disorders, emotion regulation and coping, and forensic psychology. Our students and faculty also have access to state-of-the art eye-tracking and EEG equipment. Opportunities for collaboration with faculty from disciplines other than clinical psychology (e.g., social/personality psychology, experimental psychology, education, criminology and criminal justice, and school psychology) are also available. Please feel free to contact any of the faculty members to hear more about their current research and ways to get involved.

A majority of our incoming graduate students are awarded some form of Graduate Assistantship or stipend in return for valuable educational experience as a teaching or research assistant. Other financial support, including tuition remissions, is available on a competitive basis. Students who are admitted may apply for a variety of scholarships and awards (see the Graduate School website for more information).

Most of our students (@75%) go on to doctoral programs in clinical psychology or related field, while others get licensed (in NC) as Licensed Psychological Associates. In recent years, 100% of our graduates have either been admitted to PhD/PsyD programs or had a job offer upon completion of our program. Getting in to a PhD program in clinical psychology is tremendously competitive, but we believe our curriculum and focus on research experiences will prepare students for the next level of training. Licensure in NC (LPA) is also an option.

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