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Message from the Academic Vice President:

"On behalf of the faculty and staff of California Coast University, I wish to welcome you. You have made an excellent choice for continuing your education and choosing an educational institution that will help you meet your goals. 
At California Coast University, we created our programs to support the learning of busy professionals seeking to deepen and to broaden their knowledge and skills; and to help our students meet both professional and personal goals.  We look forward to helping you find success on your educational journey!"  
Patricia Insley, Ed.D.,
Academic Vice President

Graduate Certificate in Psychology Studies

The graduate certificate program in Psychology Studies serves as a means to further personal and professional growth. Whether or not students are employed in the field of psychology, knowledge of it may be applied in meaningful ways throughout their lives. Understanding the mind and behavior will teach students how to help others while giving them the confidence to manage teams and groups. The program includes advanced study in the areas of abnormal psychology, professional ethics, law as it applies to psychology, and counseling systems and techniques.

Psychology Studies Graduate Certificate Program Outcomes:

  • Examine culture and the important impact it has on human development over the life span.
  • Investigate the causes of abnormal behavior and to learn various methods for therapeutic change.
  • Identify and examine the ethical and legal issues confronting professionals in the mental health field.
  • Explore emerging and established counseling theories, practices, and applications.

Prerequisites to Admission:

The applicant should meet the following prerequisites in order to be admitted to the program:

An applicant must have earned a bachelor‘s degree in psychology awarded by a college or university recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

If the degree is not in psychology, the student must complete the following six additional prerequisite courses to be eligible for the program: 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.

Course List for Online Graduate Certificate in Psychology Studies

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 you understand how culture impacts human development over the lifespan and why it matters. This course portrays the different cultural pathways of development that people have devised in response to their local conditions. You will be challenged to think culturally about your own development and see how it applies to your own life and future careers. 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 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 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 525 Counseling Systems and Techniques

3 Semester Units

Counseling Systems and Techniques explores emerging and well-established counseling theories and practices. With a strong multicultural focus and skill development sections that connect counseling theories with clinical practice, we will examine various theories that have been grouped into four broad themes—background, emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Course Objectives

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

  • Understand research on counseling effectiveness.
  • Determine at least five goals of recognizing and dealing with feelings in therapy.
  • Analyze person-centered counseling, including its use with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Describe the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • Characterize factors that play a part in a clinician’s choice of preferred treatment orientations.


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