The terminal MA program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs is designed to prepare students for further training at the doctoral level. The goal is that the students are eventually eligible to become licensed as a Psychologist once they have completed the PhD degree or PsyD degree at another institution. As such, our program is not designed to meet the masters level licensure requirements as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Colorado.
It is imperative that potential students in our MA program carefully research the educational requirements for the intended licensure or certification in the state(s) where they will seek licensure or certification. Because we are not designated as a licensure program, we have not sought approval by the Council for Accreditation and Other Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Please note that the licensure requirements of state boards and licensing agencies vary from state to state and also change over time. Consequently, successful completion of MA degree requirements does not guarantee that a state board or licensing agency will accept a graduate's application for licensure at the MA level. It is important that potential students are aware of their responsibilities regarding licensure and certification. Please note that it is absolutely necessary that you save the syllabi from all of the courses you take and that you keep course catalogs from each year that you are a student in the terminal MA program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Many licensing boards require detailed course descriptions that show what specific material and skills have been covered. By saving your own syllabi, you will have the appropriate sections and classes that correspond to your transcript.
State of Colorado Licensure
Since 1989, Colorado has licensed masters level professional counselors by instituting a licensure board and creating standards and testing to determine qualification for such licensure. The vast majority of other states also have licensure requirements for masters level professionals, with each state having their own requirements and regulations. License requirements in one state do not necessarily translate to other states. To be licensed in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), students must submit syllabi and course descriptions for the courses that fulfill the eight LPC content areas; pass the LPC examination; complete 2,000 hours of postgraduate supervised clinical practice; and receive 100 hours of supervision over a minimum of twenty-four months. These requirements may change over time. Full details on licensure are available from:
Potential students in our MA program are advised to carefully review licensure information provided by DORA and to be aware that it may not be possible for our graduates to become licensed in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor without taking additional courses or without taking an additional practicum. As laws for licensure at the MA level become more stringent, it may be the case that graduates from our MA program will not be able to become licensed in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor even with additional training and courses at another program. Please check the state requirements carefully if you are planning on attending our MA program and pursuing licensure at the MA level.
The applications for the MA Psychology, Clinical Psychology and MA Psychology, Psychological Science programs are the same.
WESTERN REGIONAL GRADUATE PROGRAM (WRGP)
The MA Psychology, Clinical Psychology and MA Psychology, Psychological Science programs are eligible for the Western State Resident Tuition Classification Program, which offers residents from Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming the opportunity to pay in-state tuition. The benefit is automatically applied to qualified students' tuition bill based on their legal residency.
ALL application materials (online graduate application, personal statement, vita or resume, three letters of recommendation, and all transcripts) are due on the December 15th for consideration of admission the following Fall.
All applications are completed online at the UCCS Graduate School website.
Application requirements for the MA Psychology, Clinical Psychology and MA Psychology, Psychological Science programs are as follows:
Complete the online graduate application and pay the application fee.
Obtain three letters of recommendation from professors (or employers) through the online application.
Attach a personal statement describing your interests, background, and reason for applying to our program.
Attach an up-to-date vita or resume.
Attach unofficial transcripts or submit official transcripts (see below) from EVERY college or university attended. If you are admitted to the program, official transcripts will be required.
The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is strongly recommended for all applicants. Applicants do not need to submit the original application to the department. Instead, have your results sent to UCCS at school code 004509.
How to Submit Official Transcripts
Electronic Submission: Official transcripts can be submitted electronically if the issuing institution is contracted with a secured server. Electronic transcripts should be sent directly to email@example.com.
By Mail: Any application materials that need to be mailed in should be sent to the following address:
Office of Admissions & Records
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-3733
B.S. or B.A. degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university
An overall grade point average of 3.0 ("A" is equivalent to 4.0) or above in all undergraduate courses.
The GRE will not be required or recommended for Fall 2023 graduate student applications at this time. This applies to all psychology programs applications: PhD, MA Clinical, and MA Psychological Science.
Our most competitive applicants have Graduate Record Exam scores of the 50th percentile or higher on both the verbal and quantitative sections. The advanced psychology subject test is strongly recommended.
Three letters of recommendation from professors and employers.
An adequate undergraduate program in psychology including college-level mathematics, statistics, experimental psychology, and some background in the biological, physical, and social sciences.
Applicants to the clinical psychology track should also have course work and/or community experience in applied psychology.
Promising students who do not meet all the requirements may be considered as applicants. Admission to the program is competitive and applications are reviewed by the Clinical Psychology admissions committee.
Additional Courses for Non-Psychology Majors
In order to be considered for the MA program, one needs to have an undergraduate major in Psychology or an "adequate background" in Psychology. For people who have only had general psychology, we recommend the following additional courses:
PSY 2100 Introduction to Psychological Statistics
PSY 2110 Introduction to Psychological Research and Measurement
PSY 3130 Learning and Cognition
PSY 3270 Introduction to Biopsychology
PSY 3280 Abnormal Psychology
PSY 3400 Social Psychology
PSY 4510 Seminar in History of Psychology
* Course numbers are from UCCS
Sub-Plans within the M.A. Programs in Psychology
The Psychology Department offers two tracks within its Masters program: Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science. Upon completing either of these programs, a student is conferred a general MA degree in Psychology. But MA students also have the option to gain experience within a specialized sub-field, formally called a "sub-plan," in the discipline. The sub-plans include geropsychology, trauma psychology, cognition, and developmental psychology.
These more narrowly-focused programs specify required courses within the MA program, completion of a research thesis under the direction of a faculty mentor with expertise in that particular sub-discipline of psychology, and for students in the Clinical Psychology track, a practicum at a setting in that domain. Students who enroll in an optional sub-plan glean the benefits of a more concentrated focus of study that is reflected in their transcripts.
Applicants to the Psychology MA Program will be asked at the time of application whether they wish to pursue a sub-plan. The sub-plans are optional and the desire to pursue a sub-plan will not affect the likelihood of admission into our MA program.
Sub-Plan in Geropsychology (available to students in Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science MA tracks)
Sub-Plan in Trauma Psychology (available to students in Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science MA tracks)
The program of study has three components that are common to both the Clinical Psychology and the Psychological Science tracks:
(a) coursework in research and the scientific method;
(b) coursework in the knowledge base of psychology: the core courses series; and
(c) a research thesis.
In addition, the Clinical Psychology track requires:
(a) didactic coursework in assessment, intervention, and applied skills; and
(b) a practicum experience in which students learn and apply clinical skills under the supervision of experienced clinicians. Practicum sites are selected by the student in the spring semester of the first year for a start date in the mid or late summer after the first year. Practicum placements typically include 15 hours per week for 10-12 months, or a minimum of 450 hours. Some examples of practicum sites in which we have placed students in recent years:
UCCS Aging Center
University Counseling Center
VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
TESSA of Colorado Springs
Colorado Department of Corrections
Veterans Health & Trauma Clinic
The following research and methods courses are required of all graduate students:
PSY 5810 Research Statistics and Methodology I
PSY 5820 Research Statistics and Methodology II
PSY 6030 Research Practicum
Sample Clinical Track Course Sequence
The Clinical Psychology track requires a minimum of 47 credit hours. The required courses can be completed by a full-time student in 2 years if the following course sequence is followed:
PSY 5710 - Clinical Skills Laboratory
PSY 5810 - Research Statistics and Methodology I
PSY 6780 - Advanced Psychopathology
PSY 5820 - Research Statistics and Methodology II
PSY 6850 - Clinical Interviewing and Personality Assessment
PSY 6920 - Seminar: Psychotherapy
PSY 6xxx - a Core Content Course
PSY 6030 - Research Practicum
PSY 6740 - Clinical Practicum
PSY 6720 - Professional Development I - Ethics & Standards of Practice
PSY 6860 - Cognitive Assessment or PSY 6870 - Clinical Neuropsychology*
PSY 7000 - Masters Thesis
PSY 6730 - Professional Development II - Cultural and Family Diversity
PSY 6740 - Clinical Practicum
PSY 7000 - Masters Thesis
PSY 6000 - a Core Content Course
You may take a core content course in the fall or spring of your second year based on course preference.
* Note: We advise students to take PSY 6860 - Cognitive Assessment unless there is a specific reason to take PSY 6870 - Clinical Neuropsychology. Please consult with the Director of Clinical Training.
Core Content Courses
The core content courses are required of all Masters students. Students in the Clinical Psychology track take two of the core content courses. The particular core content courses chosen will vary from student to student depending on their sub-plan, and course availability. The core content courses available are as follows:
PSY 5210 Psychology of Aging I*
PSY 5220 Psychology of Aging II*
PSY 6100 Developmental Psychology
PSY 6110 Cognition
PSY 6120 Neuroscience
PSY 6130 Social Psychology
PSY 6140 Personality
PSY 6150 Psychology and Law
PSY 6160 Trauma Psychology**
PSY 6170 Trauma Psychology II**
*Note: MA students may count either PSY 5210 or PSY 5220 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.
**Note: MA student may count either PSY 6160 or PSY 6170 as a core content course for graduation requirements, but not both.
Empirical Research Thesis
A research based thesis is required of all masters students. The psychology faculty are all actively engaged in research. Masters students are encouraged to establish a mentorship relationship with a faculty person and to develop a thesis from an ongoing program of research. The research and scientific method coursework is designed to help the student formulate a research proposal, analyze the data collected, and write up the results for scholarly publication. In addition to those courses, students take 6 credit hours of PSY 7000 Thesis. Students are encouraged to present their work at regional and national meetings and to write up their research for publication.
Coursework in Assessment, Intervention, Applied Skills, and the Practicum
The clinical core consists of a set of didactic courses and a set of applied skills courses. The didactic requirements include the following courses:
PSY 6780 Advanced Psychopathology
PSY 6850 Clinical Interviewing and Personality Assessment
PSY 6920 Seminar in Psychotherapy
PSY 6860 Cognitive Assessment or PSY 6880 Neuropsychological Assessment
Students in the clinical track take a course in basic interviewing skills (PSY 5710 Clinical Skills Lab) during their first year and a clinical practicum (PSY6740 Clinical Practicum) during their second year. Practicum experiences are completed at several sites either on-campus (at the UCCS Wellness Center or the UCCS Aging Center) or in the community under licensed supervision. The goal of these experiences is to expose students to clinical settings, to the roles of clinical psychologists, and to begin the development of clinical skills. Placements must be approved by the Director of the MA Clinical Program. Most sites require a 10-12 month commitment and students are expected to work approximately 15 hours per week at their site, or a minimum of 450 hours.
Be informed that clinical training in the MA Clinical Psychology track requires a community practicum placement in local agencies that partner with us for training opportunities. Many of these institutions require a legal background check to ensure all employees and trainees meet current standards. In addition, state licensing boards usually require applicants to report on their legal background. As such, certain types of criminal backgrounds will prevent applicants from being able to complete program requirements or to eventually attain licensure as a mental health professional in some states. Please disclose relevant background information accordingly and before you enroll in the UCCS program.
Graduate Student Characteristics
The MA applicant pool is national in scope. Our graduate students have earned undergraduate degrees from a wide range of institutions and we have a significant proportion of non-resident students. Of the students who have matriculated in the MA program since its beginning in 1978, about 20% earned their undergraduate degrees from UCCS. The others earned their BA or BS degrees at over 100 different undergraduate institutions across the United States, Canada, Japan, India, Brazil and Romania. In the past decade, about 50% of our students have been non-residents of Colorado.
Admissions to the MA program are based on Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores, undergraduate grade-point average, letters of recommendation, and applicant descriptions of their background and academic goals. The applicant pool for the past several years has ranged from 80 to 100 completed applications per year. During those same years we matriculated from 8 to 12 students per year. Our selection ratio is small enough so that the scholastic characteristics of the students who have matriculated are excellent. The means for GRE scores and undergraduate grade-point averages are shown below.
GRE and Undergraduate Grade-Point Averages (UGPA) for Matriculated M.A. Students
Evaluation of the M.A. Program
What happens to the students who matriculate in the MA Program?
Overall, we have a graduation rate of about 70% and a very low academic failure rate of less than 5%. The remainder withdrew from the program. The reasons for withdrawing from the program are varied. Several of the students withdrew from the program in order to continue their studies in a PhD program. For some, family and business considerations led to their withdrawal. it should be noted that the program is designed so that it can be completed in two years by a full-time student. Some of our students attend part-time and some take longer than expected to complete their thesis research.
What happens to our graduates?
About half of our graduates choose to go on to doctorate programs and the other half choose to enter the work force. The percent of students who get accepted for doctoral level programs is very high. Nearly 90% of those who have applied for PhD level programs have been accepted. Our graduates have gone on to places such as University of Houston, University of Miami, Kent State University, University of Nebraska, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, Purdue University, University of Alabama, Washington University, University of Arizona, CU-Boulder, Denver University, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, University of Montana, Nova Southeastern University, and Pacific University. Nearly all of the graduates who choose not to go on to doctoral level programs are working in areas that are relevant to their degrees. However, we are NOT a licensure program and it is possible that licensure at the MA level will no longer be possible in the state of Colorado for graduates of our clinical program.
The external review team very positively evaluated the Master of Arts program during the 1989 Academic Program Review of the Psychology Department. After interviewing graduate students in the program the external review team reported that the students "expressed high regard for their training." They report that "students felt that their professors were quite competent, readily accessible to them, and eager to involve them in interesting thesis research projects," and that most professors "served as good mentors." They summarize their findings about the master's program with the following observations:
Many masters degree programs in the field of psychology are weak or dubious in their quality. The MA Program at CU-Colorado Springs does not fall into this category. The MA Program at CU-Colorado Springs has an admirable record of preparing students for PhD work and placing students into doctoral programs at good universities.
The external review for 1996 was equally positive. It reads, in part:
The Psychology Department has a history of offering masters level education of the highest quality. All markers suggest that this program has been and continues to be one of the very finest general masters degree programs in the United States. In this regard, the Review Team would rate the masters program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs as being among the five best such programs in the country.
Our external review for 2003 provided superb results as well. It reads, in part:
Members of the faculty are an active, energetic, and professionally productive group. They received their doctorates from outstanding graduate programs followed, in some instances, by postdoctoral training and clinical internships. They have published their scholarly work in a wide variety of professional outlets. Although some publications are in less prestigious and less rigorous journals, many of the scholarly publications are in the best journals in the field. As is typical of psychology in general, members of the faculty appear to publish their work mostly in journals, although some are involved in book writing. These journal publications often involve masters level students as junior authors. There is also considerable publication with colleagues. Both of these patterns are highly desirable.
The Psychology Department has a history of offering masters level education of the highest quality. All markers suggest that this 2-year program has been and continues to be one of the very finest master's degree programs in the country.
There are two forms of housing available for graduate students: 1) off-campus housing in apartments and houses and, 2) on-campus dormitories.
A recently completed housing survey of graduate and undergraduate honors students in psychology found that 50% of the students lived within 5 miles of campus (range = 1-12 miles) and that it took them 10 minutes or less to commute to campus (range 3 to 25 minutes). The mean rent was $750/month for a one-bedroom apartment and $800/month for a 2-bedroom apartment, not including utilities.
On-campus housing is available. See the Housing Village page for more information including information on the new apartment-style dorms.
Graduate Student Handbook
This handbook is designed to provide you with information about the program requirements, policies, and procedures. It supplements the information available on Graduate School website and the UCCS Student Code of Conduct. In order to be fully informed of all important requirements, you should peruse the website and read the documents in their entirety.
It is your responsibility to be informed of all relevant requirements and procedures. You are required to sign the written statement (at the end of this document) acknowledging that you have received, read, and agree to the policies and procedures detailed in this handbook. Please submit a signed version which will be sent to you electronically as soon as possible. An in-person orientation session is conducted for all entering students upon arrival on campus.
The Director of Clinical Training, as well as appropriate accrediting bodies oversees all applied clinical training matters, including coordinating internal and external practica, overseeing students’ clinical evaluations and supervisors’ evaluations, tracking students’ internship preparation and applications, and coordinating students’ clinical professional development. The DCT also provides higher level oversight of applied clinical training.
The Associate Director of Clinical Training is responsible for all aspects of the Clinical Psychology MA track including recruitment and admissions, curriculum, professional development, and assessment.