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.
The Psychology and Counseling Faculty members work one-on-one with students as faculty advisors throughout the semester, as well as facilitating group studies, teaching workshops at residency, and acting as second readers to students’ final projects. Our faculty is comprised of national and international scholar practitioners with extensive experience supporting students taking charge of their learning. Faculty members’ work with students is focused, clear, and rigorous.
Students pursing the Master of Arts in Psychology may add to their degree one of two concentrations:
- Sexual Orientation
- Expressive Arts Therapy
- Human Animal Interaction Studies Concentration
- Spiritual Care and Counseling
Twice a year, at the start of each semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency at the College’s Plainfield, Vermont campus. Residencies are a rich time of exploration, connection, and planning.
At the start of the semester, students attend an intensive eight-day residency in Vermont, followed by 16 weeks of independent work and self-reflection in close collaboration with a faculty advisor and course mentor. Goddard pioneered this format nearly a half century ago to meet the needs of adult students with professional, family, and other obligations seeking learning experiences grounded in the real-world.
Residencies are a time to explore, network, learn, witness, and share with peers, staff, and faculty. Students work with advisors and peers in close-knit advising groups to forge individualized study plans that describe their learning objectives for the semester.
Working closely with their faculty advisors, and supported by fellow learners, students identify areas of study, personal goals, relevant resources, and avenues to achieve these goals. Students also attend and are invited to help organize workshops, keynote addresses, celebrations and other events intended to stimulate, inspire, and challenge.
This low-residency model combines the breadth of a collaborative community with the focus of personalized learning, enhanced by insightful exchanges with a faculty advisor and course mentors.
Certification and Licensure
Many graduates earning the Master of Arts in Psychology go on to become licensed at the master’s level as therapists. Licensure (e.g., LMHC) is granted by the individual states in the U.S. and by provinces in Canada, in which the therapist practices; these entities determine their licensure requirements. There are national organizations in the U.S. that certify individuals (this is different from licensure). One of the most important is the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
States review and update their licensure requirements. The frequency with which states do this varies widely. Students need to be aware of, and stay current with, changes to their state’s licensure requirements to ensure their planned studies at Goddard will address their state’s requirements. This process of review and update is something that happens throughout a practitioner’s career, as part of their continuing education credentialing process to renew their license or certification and is best begun as a graduate student.
Meeting state license or external certification requirements is solely the responsibility of the student. Students should be sensitive to the requirements and limits the state places on the number of internship hours that can or must be accrued pre- and post-graduation. Some states require internships be done for credit, some do not. Students are encouraged to join and participate in their state mental health counselors’ organization. These voluntary organizations empower practitioners politically and professionally.
Faculty members will make every reasonable effort to work with students to create study plans and course contracts that give students opportunities to do work that helps meet professional goals. Students often create study plans and course contracts that reflect the requirements of their state licensure laws and/or NBCC guidelines.
Further information is available in the MA in Psychology Handbook Addendum.
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 720||Assessment and Evaluation||3|
|PSY 730||Research Methods||3|
|PSY 810, 811, 812||Supervised Internship for Credit||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
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|
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:
|History & Systems of Psychology||3|
|Biological Bases of Behavior||3|
|Social Bases of Behavior||3|
|Learning & Cognition||3|
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.