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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Master of Arts in Psychology Courses

Knowledge of certain fundamental areas in psychology is necessary as preparation for advanced courses. These areas are covered in the following foundation courses.

Foundation Courses

 PSY 626 Research and Evaluation Methods for Mental Health Professionals (3)

This course covers basic concepts in statistics, research design, and program evaluation for mental health professionals, including experimental and correlational design methods, levels of measurement, central tendency, dispersion, correlation, and the use of inferential statistics for hypothesis testing. Students are also introduced to methods of evaluating programs and clinical outcomes while considering systemic and sociocultural influences. Emphasis is given to helping students become knowledgeable consumers of research, including the use of research to inform evidence-based practice.

 PSY 656 Physiological Psychology (3)

This course examines a wide range of brain-behavior relationships with specific emphasis on aspects of psychological development and clinical practice. The long-term effects of childhood trauma; the effects of head injury; and the neurological aspects of disorders, such as autism, schizophrenia, and depression, are also discussed.

 PSY 657 Psychopathology (3)

This survey course examines the historical and conceptual perspectives on psychopathology and the manner in which these perspectives interface with therapeutic strategies.

 PSY 658 Individual, Couple, and Family Development: A Life Cycle Approach (3)

Students study the biological, psychological, and socio-emotional development of individuals and families throughout the life span. The impacts of experiences such as having children and parenting, adolescence, marriage, divorce, grief and loss, and aging and long-term care on individuals and families are explored. Cultural understandings and contextual considerations (e.g., SES, social position, social stress, educational level, housing, poverty, etc.) of human development are addressed.

 PSY 659 Behavioral Principles and Theories of Learning (3)

This course provides a survey of the field of behavioral principles and theories of learning and change. The relevance of historical and contemporary behavior approaches for the practice of counseling and psychotherapy with diverse populations is highlighted.

Students who have taken undergraduate- or graduate-level courses judged to be equivalent in content to foundation-level courses may petition to waive such courses. This requirement may be met by completing the equivalent course at an regionally accredited institution within the last seven years, receiving a grade of B or better, or completing a Pepperdine graduate-level course or equivalent.

The following core courses may be taken in any sequence after prerequisites have been satisfied:

Core Courses

 PSY 600 Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders (3)

This course reviews the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders, as defined in the DSM system. A range of treatment approaches (e.g., individual, group, psychopharmacological, systemic) are discussed, with an emphasis on evidence-based interventions and sociocultural considerations. Principles of recovery-oriented mental health care are reviewed. Students learn intake and treatment planning skills. Prerequisite: PSY 657

 PSY 601 Assessment of Intelligence (3)

Students examine the theory and clinical assessment of cognitive functioning, with emphasis on commonly used instruments, including the Stanford Binet, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, and Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Practical experiences are offered in administration, scoring, interpretation, and professional report writing.

 PSY 602 Personality Assessment (3)

This course studies administration, scoring, and interpretation of commonly used instruments for the clinical assessment of personality, with emphasis on interviewing techniques, personality inventories, and projective techniques. Tests covered include the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, Draw-a-Person, Bender Gestalt, Sentence Completion, Thematic Apperception Test, and Rorschach Inkblot Test. Experiences in assessment and professional report writing are provided.

 PSY 606 Interpersonal Skills and Group Therapy (3)

This course examines group formats for therapeutic change, personal development, interpersonal skills training, and relationship enhancement. An experiential laboratory group is included.

 PSY 607 Social Psychology (3)

This survey course focuses on the interrelationships between individuals and the social environment. Students examine the dynamics of interpersonal influence in diverse contexts, including attitude formation and change, persuasion, social cognition, stereotyping and prejudice, obedience and conformity, attraction, altruism and aggression, leadership in groups, and political and health psychology.

 PSY 612 Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy (3)

Major theoretical approaches to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy are examined. The course places special emphasis on the key assumptions of various applied theories, the role and basic methods of clinical assessment, the stages of therapy, the role of the therapeutic relationship, and the goals and strategies to effect change. Each theory will also be examined for its cross-cultural application.

 PSY 622 Multicultural Counseling (3)

Multicultural factors, including those related to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, spirituality, sexual orientation, gender, and ableness, are reviewed as they relate to individual, couple, and family treatment procedures. Issues of poverty, financial, and social stressors with individuals, couples, families, and communities are addressed.

 PSY 637 Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy (3)

Through an examination of the application of major techniques of counseling and psychotherapy, students learn how to interview, formulate clinical cases, develop treatment plans, and facilitate therapeutic processes consistent with each major theoretical approach. Students gain practical skills by means of clinical case material and supervised laboratory exercises that supplement classroom lectures. Prerequisites: PSY 600, 606, and 612.

 PSY 667 Industrial/Organizational Psychology (3)

This course provides students with the theoretical foundation of industrial and organizational psychology. It introduces students to organizational inquiry leading to a deeper understanding of theories and practices impacting the individual, groups, and organizations in a variety of work settings. Students research, analyze, apply, and explore such topics as team dynamics, the role of emotional intelligence at work, personnel selection, assessment, training, performance management, multiculturalism, and organizational leadership theories.

 PSY 692 Scientific Writing in Psychology (3)

This course provides students with an opportunity to integrate knowledge gained from foundation courses in the program with the application of skills in scholarly research and writing. Students will write a literature review and use it as the foundation for the creation of a culturally competent resource tailored to either a lay audience or clinicians. The literature review will be written according to American Psychological Association guidelines. This course allows theory to be demonstrated through a scholarly project and helps prepare the student for doctoral study or additional research activity in psychology. It provides the opportunity for students to critically evaluate research studies, conceptualize an independent research project, and conduct scientific writing. Prerequisites: PSY 600, 626, 657, and 658.

Elective Courses (select one of the following courses)

 PSY 670 Introduction to Positive Psychology (3)

The mission of this course is to provide an up-to-date understanding of clinical and empirical advances in positive psychology. In addition to understanding the aim and scope of the scientific study of human strengths and flourishing, students will also be taught to evaluate the societal myths within this genre, experience various inventions themselves, and examine how these principles play out in the real world on a global scale. There will be a strong focus on research that supports positive psychology principles and interventions. Multicultural considerations in the subfield of positive psychology will also be addressed.

 PSY 671 Career Development Theory and Techniques (3)

This course will prepare students to address the intersections of career, values, and life roles in the context of career counseling and responding to career- and work-related issues for majority and marginalized groups. Students will gain core knowledge of major career development theories; examine the implications of sociocultural factors on career development, work transitions, and the career counseling process; gain experience with career counseling assessments and resources; and become familiar with current career development literature.

Additional Courses

 *PSY 624 Individual and Family Treatment of Substance Abuse (3)

This course investigates major approaches used in the identification, evaluation, and treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders. Individual, group, family, and recovery-oriented approaches are addressed. Prerequisites: PSY 600, 606, and 612.

 *PSY 627 Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals (3)

This course examines a wide range of brain-behavior relationships with specific emphasis on aspects of psychological development and clinical practice. The effects of childhood trauma; the effects of head injury; and the neurological aspects of disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and depression are also discussed. Additionally, this course uses a biopsychosocial model to examine the history and use of psychopharmacology for treatment of mental disorders and includes the study of neurobiology and mechanisms of action of the major psychotropic drugs. The role of gender, culture, age, and other variables on the indication and use of medications is examined. Prerequisite: PSY 600.

 *PSY 668 Clinical Interventions with Children and Adolescents (3)

This course provides an overview of issues and therapeutic methods relevant to the treatment of children and adolescents. Issues distinguishing working with youth as opposed to adults are examined, along with relevant legal and ethical concerns, assessment strategies, major theoretical approaches to treating children and adolescents, and treatment strategies for common forms of childhood psychopathology. Emphasis is placed on using therapeutic methods with established efficacy and on incorporating parents, family, and other contextual factors into treatment. Prerequisite: PSY 658.

 *PSY 669 Trauma in Diverse Populations (3)

Students are introduced to foundational and science-informed principles in trauma psychology as they are contextualized by culture. Attention is directed to an examination of multicultural competence, trauma risk reduction, and trauma intervention. The course will survey interpersonal trauma (including child abuse and partner and spousal abuse) as well as natural disasters and medical trauma. This course satisfies the BBS requirement for coursework in spousal or partner abuse assessment, detection, and intervention. Prerequisite: PSY 600.

*Students who receive foundation-level waivers and need additional courses to complete the minimum 36 units for graduation may take any of the following courses: PSY 624, PSY 627, PSY 668, PSY 669.