Master of Arts in Psychology

The Master of Arts in Psychology is designed to prepare graduates to enter into their area of psychology with the professional skills necessary to advance their career goals, their personal development, and to make a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work. We have the goal of meeting each student where they are in their development as scholar, psychologist, and advocate for social justice.

We will work with students to provide them with appropriate opportunities to overcome whatever challenges they face in their development in these areas, as our resources permit, and to identify those for whom our program is not appropriate as soon as we are reasonably able to do so.  We also work with students to create expectations for their work that reflect not only their passions and interests, but also the demands for proper training that the ethical principles of our profession demand of us as faculty members.

In our work together, we will create a learning experience that meets students’ unique needs, within the limitations under which the field and we, as practitioners and teachers, exist.

Low-Residency Model

The Master of Arts in Psychology is offered in Goddard’s unique low-residency model, which removes the barriers between living your life and learning. In our low-residency model, each semester begins with an eight-day residency on our campus in Plainfield, Vermont.  Following the residency, there are 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor and course mentors.

Your residency week offers seminars, meetings with your advising groups, workshops, one-on-one meetings with your advisors, and presentations. You’ll connect with faculty, practitioners in the mental health field, and your fellow students. You can be both collegial and contemplative; you immerse yourself in fellowship and community one moment, but the tranquility of a woodland trail or the Vermont landscape is never more than a two-minute walk away.

Goddard welcomes its alumni to each residency as mentors for new students and as presenters on professional issues such as licensure and practice methods.


Students must complete a minimum of 48 credits (and to 60 credits) to earn the Master of Arts in Psychology.  Students making satisfactory progress toward the Master of Arts in Psychology will, in the course of their studies, complete eight required courses, an internship for credit, elective courses, and either capstone or thesis (called a final product). The number of elective courses is determined by the number of semesters required to fulfill requirements for a concentration or the specific licensure criteria in a student’s intended state/province of employment.

Core Course Requirements for MA in Psychology

The following 24 credits are required of all students pursuing the MA in Psychology.

Course No. Course Name Credits
PSY 510 Ethics and Professional Orientation 3
PSY 600 Human Lifespan Development 3
PSY 610 Social and Cultural Foundations 3
PSY 621 Cognition and Learning 3
PSY 630 Biological Bases of Behavior 3
PSY 700 Psychopathology 3
PSY 720 Assessment and Evaluation 3
PSY 730 Research Methods 3



Because students seek licensure throughout the U.S. and in Canadian provinces, they may use elective credits to design courses that meet the credentialing requirements in their home state or provinces. In addition to the courses listed below, students may also use their elective credits to pursue the Sexual Orientation Concentration (see page ##) or Expressive Arts Therapy Emphasis (see page ##).

Students generally complete a minimum of 12 elective credits.

Course No. Course Name Credits
PSY 800-809 Student-Initiated Elective 3
PSY 810-812 Supervised Internship for Credit 3


Thesis or Capstone

(12 credits)

In addition to successfully completing the required course work and an internship, all students complete a culminating project. Students have two options:

  • Thesis: A culmination of a student’s studies that documents both their ability to do work within the field and communicate it in an appropriate format and style.
  • Capstone Process: During the final semester, students may work with their academic advisor on two designated courses (6 credits).

There are 12 credit hours devoted to the final product, the equivalent of one semester.  Students who complete the Capstone Process generally require two additional elective credits, most often Student-Initiated Elective courses or Supervised Internship for Credit.

Course No. Course Name Credits
PSY 852 Thesis I 6
PSY 853 Thesis II 6
PSY 807 Capstone Personal Process Course 3
PSY 808 Capstone Professional Process Course 3

Optional Concentrations

Students pursing the Master of Arts in Psychology may add to their degree one of two concentrations:

  • Expressive Arts Therapy Concentration:  In this concentration students learn how to infuse work within the discipline with a range of expressive arts practices – including drama, storytelling, dance, movement, music, poetry, painting and photography. New research in neuroscience identifies practices such as these as “brain-wise” approaches to counseling.The Expressive Arts Concentration may contribute to your pursuit of becoming approved as a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist or as a Registered Consultant/Educator through the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association.
  • Sexual Orientation Concentration: There is a great need in today’s society for counselors and mental health workers who have specialized knowledge of issues relating to sexual orientation. This concentration has been designed to encompass the broadest scope of sexuality. Integral parts of the concentration’s respectful inclusiveness are bisexuality and heterosexuality, as well as the perspectives of people who identify as trans,* intersexed, celibate or asexual, androgynous, and queer. Students in this concentration research and analyze issues around sexual orientations and identities, and they have the opportunity to get counseling skills related to these issues.

Prerequisites for Admission

In order to enroll in the Master of Arts in Psychology program, a student must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Further, students need to know the concepts and language of the basic domains in psychology.

In general, students must have completed coursework in the following prerequisite areas:

Content Area/Course Credits
History & Systems of Psychology 3
Biological Bases of Behavior 3
Social Bases of Behavior 3
Human Development 3
Personality 3
Learning & Cognition 3
Abnormal Psychology 3
Research Methods 3


Pre-Graduate Semester

Students who otherwise demonstrate promise to succeed at the graduate level, but do not have the prerequisites above may receive provisional admission. Provisional acceptance requires completion of a single undergraduate semester. This semester will be designed by the student and their faculty advisor to address needed learning in recent issues of academic psychology. Those pre-requisites most relevant to the student’s strengths and needs will constitute this full-time term and, if successfully completed, lead to a seamless transition to the graduate-level Psychology program.

This option is ideal for professionals changing careers or those returning to school after a long time in the workforce.