Brittnei P., Class of 2020; Antwan S., Class of 2020 Military Veteran

Master of Arts Degree in
Counseling Psychology (California)

Brittnei P. & Antwan S.
Class of 2020 & Class of 2020, Military Veteran
Brittnei P., Class of 2020; Antwan S., Class of 2020 Military Veteran

Help Guide Families, Couples, and Individuals to Mental Wellness

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degree at National University prepares you with the advanced knowledge and skills needed to be an effective counselor who can make difference. If you’re called to give back to the community and help others seeking mental wellness, this is an excellent path for you. Upon completion of the program, you’ll be well-prepared to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) License mandated by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in the state of California.

You will choose from two specialization options based on your career goals: the standard Marriage and Family Therapist Option and the Combined MFT/LPCC Option.

The MA Counseling Psychology MFT option is for students committed to helping individuals, couples, families, adolescents, and children in psychotherapy. You’ll learn how to assess, diagnose, and treat psychological stress or impairment, mental disorders, or problems that arise in couples and families, and how to work in various mental health settings. Only licensed MFTs may provide counseling to families and couples.

The MA Counseling Combined MFT/LPCC option is for students interested in also being licensed as a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California. It meets the academic requirements for both the LMFT and LPCC. The combined option adds three courses specific to the scope of practice for LPCCs, including career counseling, research, and assessment techniques. This option includes additional hours of practicum training experience to meet state requirements for PCC trainees. The specialization focuses on individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and vocational counseling.

This master’s in counseling psychology degree is designed for California only. Either option may not meet requirements in other states. Students should consult the licensing boards of the appropriate states for information about licensure outside of California.

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Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of National University’s MA in Counseling Psychology program, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate core psychological concepts and therapeutic skills that underpin counseling, psychotherapy, and mental health counseling.
  • Demonstrate current professional standards of ethics, values, and laws related to the practice of professional psychotherapists.
  • Demonstrate cultural competence in addressing the mental health needs of people of diverse backgrounds and circumstances, including an appreciation for the wide cultural diversity among California’s multiple diverse communities.
  • Apply a working knowledge of a range of topics important to mental health practice, including (but not limited to) psychopharmacology, addictive and compulsive disorders, structured psychological assessment, relational violence, gender and sexuality, and trauma/crisis.
  • Understand norms and principles of public mental health work, including (but not limited to) case management, collaborative treatment, evidence-based practice, strength-based model, resiliency, and recovery-oriented care to work with clients.
  • Integrate professional development through self-reflection, emphasizing personal capacities such as self-awareness, integrity, sensitivity, flexibility, insight, compassion, imagination, and personal presence.

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At National University, our programs are designed for working professionals, like you, who want to further their education to make a more meaningful contribution in the field. You’ll have access to online and on-site programs, four-week classes, tuition scholarships, and a number of student resources.

You will be working closely with professors who are also practicing professionals in their field, meaning you will gain skills that can be applied to your job right away. Faculty care about your success and are also mentors for you throughout your program, and even after you finish your program and progress in your career.

Although many of our programs are online and allow you the freedom to study at your own pace, you are never alone. You have access to the writing center, math tutoring, and the Veteran Center for those making the transition from military life to civilian life.

Psychology practitioners are essential to the health of communities across the nation. Now’s your chance to make a significant difference in your community.

Marriage and family therapists work in a variety of settings, such as private practice and mental health centers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 22% from 2019 to 2029, and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is growing by 25% — both much faster than the average for all occupations.*

LPCCs may choose to pursue opportunities within school systems or at career centers, helping clients with academic plans and employment issues. You may also pursue a career as a marriage and family therapist, rehabilitation counselor, or mental health counselor which may practice in any of the following settings:

  • Private or group practices
  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Community health centers
  • Universities and colleges
  • Substance abuse rehab facility
  • Military assisting with PTSD

*Source: Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Candidates are strongly encouraged to conduct their research.

To receive the Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, students must complete at least 90 quarter units of graduate work. A total of 13.5 quarter units of graduate credit may be granted for equivalent graduate work completed at another institution, as it applies to this degree, and if the units were not used in earning another advanced degree. Students for whom English is a second language must take and pass an English Language Proficiency exam prior to beginning any coursework. Students should refer to the section on Graduate Admissions for specific information regarding additional application and evaluation requirements.

Prerequisites for the Major

  • (2 courses; 9 quarter units)

Students who hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology may request these courses to be waived. Please contact the Lead Faculty.

Course Description
PSY 501A Foundations in Counseling I
PSY 501B Foundations in Counseling II

Core Requirements I

  • (6 courses; 27 quarter units)

Students will take classes from this sequence, then take 3 area of specialization courses, Core Course Sequence II.

Course Description
PSY 605 Lifespan Development – Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, or PSY 501A, and PSY 501B
PSY 620 Perspectives on Psychology – Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, or PSY 501A, and PSY 501B
PSY 610 Case Management – Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, or PSY 501A, and PSY 501B
PSY 611A Counseling Paradigms I – Prerequisite: Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, or PSY 501A, and PSY 501B
PSY 612A Clinical Assessment I
PSY 612B Clinical Assessment II – Prerequisite: PSY 612A

MFT Core Requirements II

  • (3 courses; 13.5 quarter units)

Students interested in becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist will take these courses between Core Sequence I and III.

Course Description
PSY 636 Child and Adolescent Therapy
PSY 632A Family Therapy
PSY 632B Couples Therapy

Core Requirements III

  • (11 courses; 49.5 quarter units)
Course Description
PSY 627 Legal & Ethical Issues
PSY 611B Counseling Paradigms II
PSY 680A Counseling Practicum I – Prerequisite: PSY 611B with a minimum grade of S Group Therapy
PSY 628 Group Therapy
PSY 637 Cultural Competencies
CHD 640 Treatment of Addiction
PSY 626 Human Sexuality
PSY 679 Psychology of Trauma
PSY 680B Counseling Practicum II – Prerequisite: PSY 680A
PSY 678 Clinical Biopsychology
PSY 638 Well-being & Wellness

Optional Sequence IV: PCC Option

  • (3 courses; 13.5 quarter units)

Students interested in becoming a licensed professional clinical counselor will take these courses between Core Sequence I and III.

Course Description
PSY 653 Research and Evaluation
PSY 624A Testing and Assessment
CED 612 Career & Academic Counseling

Contact Us

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To speak to an enrollment advisor about this program, please email [email protected].

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Most online master’s in psychology programs require 36 credits and take about two years to complete. The more specialized or tailored the program, or the more hours for field work or research required, the longer students take to earn their degree.

If you want to advance in the field of psychology, then yes, a master’s is worth it. However, if you don’t have strong motivation, then the challenge of a graduate degree may not be for you. It helps to talk to others in the field and gauge your level of interest prior to enrolling.

Students interested in earning the degree can choose to complete an online master’s in psychology rather than a traditional on-site program.

Master’s programs in psychology will give you the foundation you need to conduct or apply psychological research that ultimately improves the lives of others. If you’d like to pursue a career as a psychologist, you must start with a graduate degree in psychology before earning your doctorate or sitting for a state licensure exam.

While a Master’s in Psychology is a typical path in obtaining a doctoral level degree in psychology, an MA in Counseling Psychology meets state licensing requirements and is a typical path to licensing.

Why Choose National University?

We’re proud to be a veteran-founded, San Diego-based nonprofit. Since 1971, our mission has been to provide accessible, achievable higher education to adult learners. Today, we educate students from across the U.S. and around the globe, with over 180,000 alumni worldwide.

Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. This program is designed specifically for California. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these
courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

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