The Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a 90-quarter unit professional degree program that fulfills the educational requirements for the state of California's Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license.
The program's mission is to provide the state of California with highly competent master-level clinicians trained to counsel individuals, couples, families, and groups in a multicultural society. Graduates are often employed by County Mental Health, Social Services, and other inpatient and outpatient community mental health centers. Many graduates also build successful private practices. Fifteen percent of our graduates pursue doctoral studies in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. See our Career and Curriculum flyer for more information (pdf).
Five Psychology and Child Development Department faculty members (Drs. Kelly Moreno, Michael Selby, Lisa Sweatt, Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti and Aaron Estrada) coordinate the M.S. Program and regularly teach graduate classes. Some courses are taught by mental health professionals from the community. The M.S. faculty is diverse in terms of professional degrees, clinical training, cultural background, and gender. The three supervising faculty members (Moreno, Sweatt, and Selby) are licensed by the state of California and are clinically active psychologists. Please see our Faculty Interests Document (pdf) for more specific information regarding interests.
Graduate classes are small and students receive much individual attention in our on-campus practicum clinic and community traineeship sites (pdf).
There are approximately 40 fully matriculated students in Cal Poly's M.S. Psychology Program. Graduate courses are scheduled so that full-time students carrying 12-16 quarter units can secure their degree in two years and 3 months. Many students take 2 ½-3 years to finish, however, because of the program's extensive clinical training. Student work, family, and other schedules may also make a longer timeline more feasible. Courses are held in the day and evening and are offered only once a year.
I. Appreciation of human diversity and multicultural perspectives
II. Respect for ethical standards in psychological research and practice
III. Interpersonal communication skills
IV. Ability to understand psychological research and literature
V. Knowledge about how couples and families behave in functional and dysfunctional patterns
VI. Knowledge of theories and research on description and explanation of personality
VII. Understanding psychological measurement and assessment, including reliability, validity, and standardization
VIII. Understanding how conditioning, reinforcement, discrimination, and aversion affect behavior
IX. Knowledge of psychological disorders, their causes, and approaches to treatment
Cal Poly's M.S. program emphasizes personal growth, academic knowledge, and clinical skills that will enable graduates to competently assess, diagnose, and treat children, adults, couples, and families. Multicultural competence, research literacy, and professional and ethical conduct are paramount. The cornerstone of Cal Poly's M.S. program is the opportunity to participate in closely supervised on-campus clinical practica and subsequent community fieldwork placement. Please see our Program Highlights (pdf) for more details.
You may print the following information by downloading our Information Form (pdf).
The Psychology Program admits new students once a year for the subsequent fall quarter. Applications for graduate admission in Fall 2013 must be submitted on-line by 5pm, December 1, 2012.
Items 1-2 below must be received in the Admissions Office (Cal Poly Admissions Office, 1 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; 805-756-2311) before December 1, 2012.
Mail to: Cal Poly Admissions Office, 1 Grand Ave San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Items 1-2 below must be received in the Psychology Department Office by January 1, 2013.
Mail to: Cal Poly Psychology and Child Development Department, Attn. MS PSY Program, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
The M.S. Psychology Program accepts applicants with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees. All applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional association and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. Applicants with a GPA of at least 2.5 are considered if their application packets indicate that they are strong candidates in other areas. There are additional requirements for international students. Questions concerning applications from foreign students should be directed to the Cal Poly Office of Admissions.
In addition to GPA and GRE scores, applicants are evaluated on the quality of their letters of recommendation, academic background, relevant work/life experiences, personal statement, on campus interview, and any other information that might shed light on their likelihood of success as a student and marriage and family therapist.
Prerequisites: The M.S. in Psychology requires that students have completed the following undergraduate courses: Abnormal Psychology, Personality, Lifespan Theories (aka: Lifespan Development, Developmental Psychology over the Lifespan etc.), Introductory Statistics, and Research Methods in Psychology (or related discipline). Applicants who have not completed such courses will be denied admission.
Required Courses: In order for the University to verify the student has fulfilled California's requirements for MFT licensure, the student must successfully complete the following courses (90-quarter units): PSY 450, PSY 456, PSY 504, PSY 555, PSY 556, PSY 560, PSY 564, PSY 565, PSY 566, PSY 569, PSY 570, PSY 571, PSY 572, PSY 574, PSY 575, PSY 576, PSY 585, PSY 588, PSY 599 (or comprehensive examinations and a four-unit elective).
The M.S. Psychology degree is designed to meet the educational requirements for the MFT license in the State of California. The Board of Behavioral Sciences is the state agency that regulates MFT licensing.
Financial aid information is available through the Financial Aid Office (805-756-2927). The Psychology & Child Development department does not offer scholarships or fellowships.
For specific information about applying to one of Cal Poly's graduate programs, follow the links below.
If you are already a Master's student in our program, additional questions about the program (including information about comprehensive exams, thesis procedures, course planning, and more) may be found in your Student Handbook. Any other questions can be directed to Dr. Kelly Moreno at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 756-2805.
Here are a few more forms and documents you may need as you progress through Cal Poly's Psychology Master's Program: