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Graduate School » Professional Studies » Psychology (MS)

Master of Science in Psychology

The Master of Science in Psychology is designed to give students a basis background in psychology.  This program emphasizes mastery of psychological fundamental combined with areas of specialization (e.g., Rehabilitation Counseling).  The MS in Psychology is not considered a terminal degree, but this degree provides the knowledge, skills, and abilities to continue work at the doctoral level, provide services for master's prepared job opportunities, or to enhance standing in or qualification for one's current career.  The current program has been aligned with APA's Commission on Education guidelines to facilitate the transfer of credits if a student is interested in moving on to a doctoral program.   

Program Outline

The MS in Psychology requires 9 credit hours of core courses.  The remaining 27 credit hours are chosen in consultation with the student's academic advisor within one of three concentration areas including General Psychology, Rehabilitation Services, or Clinical Psychology.  Examples of courses within concentrations are listed below.

All courses are three credit hours, unless stated otherwise.

Core Courses (9 Credit Hours)

  • PSYC 500 Research Methods and Statistics
    • Basic methods of research and evaluation in the behavioral sciences. An overview of research and evaluation designs, their strengths and limitations. Application of statistical methods and data-gathering techniques.
  • PSYC 530 Personality/Counseling Theories
    • Introduction to counseling theories and psychological processes involved in individual counseling.
      Including but not limited to analytical, phenomenological, person-centered, existential, behavioral, and cognitive/behavioral. Students will refine their own theory of personality and counseling. Case studies.
  • PSYC 541 Social Psychology
    • Overview of the dynamics of social and behavioral development of the individual and groups. Topics explored but not limited to the following: social attitude changes, prejudice and stereotypical behavior, changing roles of men and women, rural vs. urban societies, subcultures, ethnic diversity, measurement and research.

General Psychology Concentration

  • PSYC 501 Advanced Human Growth and Development
    • Physiological, social and psychological developmental processes from conception to maturation. Review of stages of development, patterns of behavior, and exploration of current social issues related to development.
  • PSYC 520 History and Systems of Psychology
    • Overview of the history of psychology with its roots in philosophy to present-day contemporary psychology is explored. Classical psychological theories are examined as well as an analysis of the foundations of contemporary psychology and their systems.
  • PSYC 529 Human Sexuality
    • Physiological, social, and psychological factors in human sexual behavior at various ages and stages of development: normal and deviant behavior, physiological processes and correlates, attitudes and stereotypes, description and etiology of sexual dysfunctions and common treatment strategies.
  • PSYC 535 Psychopathology
    • Overview of psychopathology, with emphasis on etiology, symptoms, sociocultural factors, system effects of disorders and maladaptive patterns of behavior. Current diagnostic and classification systems and treatment approaches will be explored.

Rehabilitation Services Concentration

  • PSYC 506 Introduction to Rehabilitation Counseling and Case Management
    • Introduction to the profession of rehabilitation counseling focusing on the historical, philosophical, and legislative issues, as well as the ethical standards of the rehabilitation counselor. Other topics covered include: the role of the rehabilitation professional, the case management process, and rehabilitation services and resources.
  • PSYC 518 Lifestyle and Career Counseling
    • Career counseling theories and skills across the lifespan will be explored. Recent developments in lifestyle, theorists and theoretical constructs, as well as practical delivery systems in school and community mental health agencies will be examined.
  • PSYC 550 Behavior Modification
    • Explores the principles and specific procedures of behavior modification. Including but not limited to collection of behavioral baseline data, setting objectives, analysis of procedures, evaluating behavioral programs, record keeping and impact on the behavior of individuals.
  • PSYC 569 Medical and Psychosocial Aspects of Rehabilitation Counseling
    • An overview of medical information essential to understanding the functional limitations and rehabilitation implications of individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Additionally, this course provides an understanding of the psychological, social, cultural, and environmental implications associated with the adjustment and adaptation to disabling conditions.

Clinical Psychology Concentration

  • PSYC 528 Testing and Appraisal of Individuals
    • Introduction to the major concepts of psychological testing: reliability and validity; standardized tests; ethnic, cultural, sexual and age related factors; ethical standards for development and usage; test construction; interpretation.
  • PSYC 566 Play Therapy
    • Designed to provide an understanding of the theoretical/pragmatic aspects of children’s play. Play will be discussed both as a developmental “phase stage” and as a therapeutic process. Course focus will be upon the psychological world of the child, including the relationship between the child’s internal world and external manifestations through play.
  • PSYC 567 Human Neuropsychology
    • This course provides an introduction to human brain-behavior relationships including neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, cognitive processes, sensory and motor processes, and their interactions with emotion and personality. Brain organization, neurodevelopment, individual differences, and clinical neuropsychological assessment will also be presented.
  • PSYC 576 Psychopharmacology
    • Psychopharmacology as related to the professional practice of mental health counseling. Includes basic physiology and neurobiochemistry: nervous system, neuron functioning and neurotransmitter substances. Introduction to pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Clinical psychopharmacology related to anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders and geriatric, child, addiction, personality, and impulse disorder populations.

Admissions Requirements

  • Hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale
  • Have taken at least one undergraduate course in each of the following areas: general Psychology, abnormal psychology, and developmental psychology

Steps to Apply

  • Completed application form (plus $20 fee if submitting the paper application)
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended
    • Must be sent directly from Registrar of institution(s) attended
  • Submit a DD214 form (United States veterans only).
  • Submit a  concise, typed, two-page statement of your professional goals, including why you wish to seek a Psycology degree. Please include specific training objectives and long-term career goals following graduation. Submit to gradschool@sf.edu.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation, preferably at least one professional and one academic reference. Must be submitted     using our department form. 

Contact Us

If you have questions about getting started in our Master of Science in Psychology program, please let us know. You are welcome to contact the Counseling program director or your personal graduate counselor.