Master of Science in Psychology (M.S.)

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Program Objectives:

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Analyze the theoretical foundation of psychology based on professional research and best practices.
  • Examine the legal, ethical and professional issues practitioners in the psychology field encounter.
  • Analyze the biological, psychological, social and bio psychosocial perspectives on the origins of abnormal behavior.
  • Compare and contrast the classic and contemporary theories, techniques, and research methods used in the area of family therapy.
  • Compare the major theoretical constructs of each of the counseling theories studied, including aspects of human development, motivation, and psychological health and dysfunction.
  • Express key concepts and theories related to psychology, in written form, utilizing prescribed essay criteria.
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California Coast University - Master of Science in Psychology (M.S.) - Online Degree Program

The Master of Science online degree program in Psychology is designed to provide professionals with the theories, principles and practices utilized within the field of psychology.

The Master of Science degree in Psychology is:

  • a self-paced learning program;
  • completed off-campus;
  • online learning format;
  • not structured in semesters, quarters or terms; and
  • designed to allow students to begin their online Psychology studies at any time of the year.

**Military students and some employers require students to complete courses on a per term basis.  Please contact our Admissions Department for additional information.  

The Master of Science degree in Psychology requires students to complete a total of 39 semester units comprised of the following:

  • 13 core courses

**Requirements are fulfilled through coursework completed at California Coast University and coursework completed at other recognized educational institutions.  Previously completed coursework will be evaluated to determine all applicable transfer credit.  

Prerequisites to Admission:

An applicant must have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology; or, a Bachelor’s Degree in another field may be accepted if the Admissions Committee evaluation indicates the applicant has the necessary foundation to succeed in the program. If an applicant has a bachelor's degree in another field, he or she must complete the 6 following prerequisite courses: PSY 102 Introduction to Psychology, PSY 228 Social Psychology, PSY 270 Learning Theories, PSY 280 Marriage and Family, PSY 380 Personality Theories, and PSY 408 Abnormal Psychology.

    Master of Science in Psychology (M.S.) Core Courses

    Courses required are listed below. Please click on the course to read a description.

    plus-sign PSY 501 Developmental Psychology

    3 Semester Units

    Developmental Psychology utilizes current research and examples from around the world to help students understand how culture impacts human development over the lifespan and why it matters. Students will be challenged to think culturally about their own development and see how it applies to their own lives and future careers. Whether you travel the globe or remain in your home towns, in a culturally diverse and globalized world, you will benefit from being able to think culturally about human development.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Analyze major causes and preventive methods of infant mortality.
    • Examine the typical changes in physical growth that take place in toddlerhood and the harmful effects of nutritional deficiencies on growth.
    • Analyze the physical growth and change that takes place during early childhood.
    • Evaluate the major health problems of middle adulthood.
    • Examine how causes of death have changed throughout history.

     

    plus-sign PSY 503 Human Sexuality

    3 Semester Units

    Human sexuality presents the role of sexuality in human growth and relationships. A historical look at the way sexuality has been, and still is presented in our culture and cultures around the globe is discussed. Practical methods of dealing with sexual problems, sexual communication, evaluation of research, child-rearing practices, life-cycle sexuality, and gender identity are explored.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Understand the theories and current applications related to human sexuality.
    • Provide a broad overview of the five categories of human needs.
    • Develop your own comprehension of human sexuality and apply it in practical situations.

     

    plus-sign PSY 505 Psychopathology

    3 Semester Units

    Psychopathology offers students the chance to investigate the causes of abnormal behavior and to learn various methods for therapeutic change. The nature of knowledge is explored, experimental design is examined, and the interplay between theory and data is discussed.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Analyze the biological, psychological, social and biopsychosocial perspectives on the origins of abnormal behavior.
    • Contrast the historical views of abnormal behavior with the current views of abnormal behavior.
    • Evaluate the goals and uses of clinical assessment.
    • Examine the legal, ethical and professional issues related to the practice of psychology.

     

    plus-sign PSY 509 Theories of Marriage and Family

    3 Semester Units

    Theories of marriage and family explores all major schools and developments in family therapy, and includes brief biographies of some of the leading family therapists of the twentieth century. Current research and developments in the field are covered, and trends in family therapy are presented. Ethical standards for the practice of marriage and family therapy are also included.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Examine the context of family therapy, including its foundations, evolution, and major concepts.
    • Evaluate the concepts and techniques used in classic schools of family therapy.
    • Analyze new developments and techniques in family therapy.
    • Assess the research methods used in the area of family therapy.

     

    plus-sign PSY 511 Professional Ethics and the Law

    3 Semester Units

    Professional Ethics and the Law helps future and current professionals deal with ethical issues that they will confront at the various stages in their career. Central issues in ethical practice are presented, diverse views on these issues are explored, and students are encouraged to refine their own thinking and to actively develop their own position. The role of the therapist’s personal values in the counseling relationship is discussed, the ethical responsibilities and rights of clients and therapists are presented, and the considerations involved in adapting counseling practice to diverse client populations are explored.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

      • Analyze the differences among legal standards, ethical standards, and best practice.
      • Examine the major challenges facing the counseling profession today.
      • Identify the characteristics of a “culturally competent counselor.”
      • Examine some steps that counselors should take to safeguard the welfare of their clients.

     

    plus-sign PSY 517 Alcohol and Chemical Substance Abuse

    3 Semester Units

    Based on major counseling theories, Alcohol and Chemical Substance Abuse focuses on practical treatment techniques used by professionals working in the field of substance abuse and addiction. Utilizing a case study approach, the course will examine basic concepts of substance abuse, addiction counseling, and intervention from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Each theory is examined based on its strengths and limitations, with consideration given to multicultural and ethical issues.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Examine the importance of counseling theories and how they have been under-utilized in substance abuse counseling.
    • Compare and contrast the various models of addiction and identify the strengths and weaknesses of each.
    • Analyze current and future criteria for diagnosing substance use disorders.
    • Assess the implications of multicultural issues when working with addicted families.
    • Identify strengths, limitations, and ethical issues related to relapse prevention.

     

    plus-sign PSY 525 Counseling Systems and Techniques

    3 Semester Units

    Counseling systems and techniques reviews counseling theory and practice. Role and function of counseling, preparation of counselors and licensing, history of counseling, impact on the social sciences, and the traits of counselors and clients are analyzed. Major counseling theories and counseling of special populations are reviewed.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Understand the characteristics of good counseling theory, such as precision, testability, and empirical validity.
    • Compare views of human motivation in counseling theories.
    • Identify major theoretical constructs of each of the theories studied.
    • Contrast the views of human development, motivation, and psychological health and dysfunction amongst the counseling theories.
    • Discuss the role of clients and the importance of considering factors of diversity.

     

    plus-sign PSY 527 Assessment Techniques

    3 Semester Units

    The goal of Assessment Techniques is to teach the principles of psychological tests and measurements with an emphasis on psychometric theories and principles. The course provides comprehensive coverage of the full array of the assessment techniques commonly used in modern psychological settings. This course will also address prominent assessment issues such as test bias and assessment accommodations. We will conclude with an examination of “Best Practices” in measurement and assessment in education.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Differentiate among a test, a measurement and an assesssment.
    • Correctly interpret descriptive statistics.
    • Isolate major threats to validity.
    • Compare and contrast categorical and dimensional diagnostic models.

     

    plus-sign PSY 530 Psychology of Aging

    3 Semester Units

    Psychology of Aging takes a multidisciplinary perspective on highlighting the diversities of the aging experience related to the cultural, biological, physiological, emotional, cognitive, economic, and social aspects of aging. Special emphasis is given to understanding the dynamic interactions between older people and the physical, psychological and social dimensions of their lives.

    Course Objectives

     

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of changing demographics of the U.S. aging population.
    • Identify global trends in aging, including the countries that are aging faster than others and what can be learned from them.
    • Comprehend normal physiological changes associated with aging, including changes in organ and sensory systems.
    • Differentiate the kinds of loss that older adults may experience, including non-death related losses.
    • Identify limitations of current policies and future directions for long-term services and supports.

     

     

    plus-sign PSY 540 Physiological Psychology

    3 Semester Units

    Physiological psychology offers an introductory survey of physiological processes underlying behavior, with an emphasis on the impact physiological psychology has within the larger realm of psychology. Contemporary research in the role of hormonal and neurotransmitter influences in behavior are discussed to help students gain a solid understanding of the biological influences which effect and determine behavior.

    Course Objectives

     

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Evaluate the nature of physiological psychology and the goals of research.
    • Examine the evolution of the human species and a large brain.
    • Assess the value of research with animals and ethical issues concerning their care.
    • Compare research techniques to identify genetic factors that may influence behavior.
    • Analyze the behavioral, autonomic, and hormonal components of an emotional response and the role of the amygdala in controlling them.
    • Examine psychoneuroimmunology and the interactions between the immune system and stress.

     

     

    plus-sign PSY 550 Group Psychotherapy

    3 Semester Units

    Group psychotherapy introduces students to the current theories, research and trends specific to working with groups. The unique values of group counseling for special populations is explored, and the issues and cases which deal with the ethics of group work are addressed. Additionally, various theories such as Adlerian, Gestalt, Existential and Reality Therapy are explored as they relate to group process.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Evaluate the unique values of group counseling for special populations.
    • Analyze issues and cases that deal with the ethics of group work, such as: the rights of group participants, informed consent, voluntary participation, freedom of exit, the right to confidentiality, and psychological risks in groups.
    • Assess the key concepts of the psychoanalytic and Adlerian approach as they are related to group process.
    • Analyze the basic concepts that are a part of the existential approach and person-centered perspective.
    • Develop a knowledge of the rationale for the Gestalt techniques that are commonly used in group work.
    • Evaluate how an emphasis on present behavior, self-evaluation, and making a commitment to change behavior are each a basic part of reality therapy.

     

    plus-sign GRM 597 The Research Process

    3 Semester Units

    This is a required course for Master’s Degree students to develop an understanding of various research methods. The course provides guidance in planning research strategy, documentation of research data and design of a defensible study. It also explores and analyzes examples of research from many different disciplines, development and use of computer-aided research and writing skills and logical argumentation techniques in stating and defending research data.

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate competencies comparable to those achieved within traditional institutions of higher learning that require resident instruction and evaluation.
    • Exhibit a broad comprehension of research methodologies utilized in the social sciences, health sciences, government, business, and other related fields.
    • Analyze, synthesize and evaluate the knowledge acquired in this subject area and apply it in practical situations.

     

    plus-sign PSY 599 Clinical Psychology: Capstone

    3 Semester Units

    Clinical Psychology: Capstone course requires students to integrate knowledge acquired across the master's program.  For this course, students will demonstrate the ability to present varying theories, research, prevention, assessment, clinical applications and ethical issues relevant to the field in an integrated holistic manner. .

    Course Objectives

    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    • Describe how cultural diversity affects approaches to psychological treatment.
    • Understand the challenges and major areas of transition facing clinical psychology today.
    • List the main categories of tests used by clinical psychologists.
    • Understand the ways in which working clinically with children is different from working with adults.
    • Describe the ways clinical neuropsychology is likely to continue to grow.

     

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