Degree Requirements: Bachelor's degree
Completion Time: 2-3 years
Earned Credits: 32-35
The M.A. Psychology degree program in the Humanistic and Clinical Psychology department offers mature students a foundation of scholarship based in the tradition of existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology. The M.A. degree program offers graduate education that helps students expand their outlook beyond the confines of a discrete discipline. Specializations include:
Students may customize their electives in the M.A. program, selecting from a wide range of options to expand their horizons and meet a broad range of future professional opportunities. If students declare one of the three specializations, their academic requirements will be specific to that focus area. Please see the requirements under each specialization for details.
Through its pedagogy grounded in humanistic thought, the Saybrook M.A. in Psychology program has the following program goals and program learning outcomes and competencies:
- Goal 1: Engage self and others in collaborative efforts to promote life-enhancing change, conscious awareness, and authentic and responsible living, individually and collectively.
- Goal 2: Develop scholars-practitioners who (a) use the depth and the breadth of scientific psychology, its history of thought and development, and its methodology in scholarship, practice, and education; (b) are engaged in reflective self-assessment and in reflective practice; and (c) use ethical reasoning, analytical skills, and quality assurance to contribute to the profession through scholarship, research, practice, and responsible action.
- Goal 3: Develop the attitudes and abilities essential for critical and creative thinking, for innovation, and for using scholarship to inform practice and practice to inform scholarship.
- Goal 4: Develop the ability to recognize, respect, and accommodate various individual and cultural differences in all aspects of professional work.
- Goal 5: Display self-awareness in relationships and a commitment to an empathic, compassionate dialogue that is constructivist, collaborative, authentic, and caring.
The M.A. in Psychology program helps students develop professional skills from our experiential learning curriculum, empowering them to promote life-enhancing transformative change in individuals and community development programs. Graduates of this program will be positioned to advance their existing careers, begin a new career path, or to continue their education in a Ph.D. in Psychology program. With a strong foundation in psychology, graduates may find work as researchers, teachers, consultants, mediators, and many other career paths.
Our M.A. in Psychology program is intended for professionals who wish to pursue nonclinical careers or expand on their existing licenses. This program is not designed to prepare graduates to qualify for clinical licensure or certification.
More program information can be found in our academic catalog.
Residential Orientation (RO)
All new students in the M.A. Psychology degree program begin their studies with our one-time, two-day Residential Orientation (RO). Residential Orientations are held two days ahead of the Residential Conference at the start of the fall and spring semesters in California. Attendance at the entire RO is an academic requirement.
At the RO, students become familiar with the Saybrook culture and academic and support services, including online resources, and the library research services and databases. The challenges of distance and peer learning are also discussed during this time. At the RO, students:
- Consult with the Psychology Department chair, specialization coordinators, and an academic adviser to organize their degree plan process.
- Develop a rationale for the scope and sequence of their proposed plan of study.
- Plan what consultation they will need from other faculty.
Residential Conference (RC)
All psychology students participate in two five-day-long required Saybrook Residential Conferences (RCs) per year (one at the beginning of the fall semester and one at the beginning of the spring semester). Although you may complete most of your courses through distance learning, all our psychology degree programs have residential requirements. Residential requirements are academic requirements, and their completion is important for your successful academic progress as well as allowing you to meet with faculty and co-learners in a stimulating face-to-face environment. Our RCs are an important part of your learning experience as they nurture intellectual creativity, enrich the educational environment, and foster faculty and peer interactions. Courses are launched, and independent learning activities, peer learning opportunities, and other hands-on experiences are intended to nurture professional development, skill building, and transformative change. All students must be on site on the registration day and remain in residence until the last day of each conference. It is imperative that students plan accordingly. Any exceptions must be approved by the department chair prior to the conference.
No academic credit is given for attendance at the RC. Students who attend a seminar at an RC and wish to study the topic further may, with the permission of the seminar instructor and department chair, register for an independent study course (ALL 8100) following the RC and receive 1 academic credit upon completion. Each course is individually designed and negotiated with the seminar instructor. Not all RC workshops, courses, and seminars are eligible for the follow-up independent study credit. Students will need to review their program plan to confirm the 1 credit independent study will satisfy degree requirements.
M.A. students are required to attend until formal enrollment in either master thesis or project. Doctoral students attend until they have advanced to doctoral candidacy (upon satisfaction of essay orals).
Transfer credits based on equivalent graduate courses taken at another regionally accredited institution in the same or similar discipline where the student received a grade of B or better may be transferred and will reduce the number of course credits required to be completed at Saybrook. Allowable transfer credits must be suitable for transfer to the intended degree as determined by the registrar and the department chair. Transfer course credits do not affect the minimum number of credits required for the degree.
Transfer credit to be applied toward required electives may include up to 6 transfer credits completed during a graduate degree program from an accredited university, non-degree Saybrook certificate credits, Saybrook CE credits, or other non-degree credits taken at Saybrook University, within the last seven years.
Foundations and Critique of Contemporary Psychology—Part I
The purpose of this course is to provide a solid underpinning in the foundational topics in the field of contemporary psychology. The course will cover mainstream perspectives and humanistic perspectives on the foundational themes addressed in contemporary psychology. 3 credits
Psychology of Consciousness
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts, paradigms, and current issues in studies of consciousness. It explores the field from diverse approaches including humanistic and transpersonal psychology, cognitive and affective neuroscience, cross-cultural studies, existential-phenomenological methodologies, and other related disciplines. 3 credits
Dimensions of Creativity
The many dimensions of scientific and artistic creativity are studied, as well as the way creativity relates to social-cultural influences, gender, family background, personality factors, and cognitive styles. This course examines the creative process, the creative person, the creative product, and the creative environment. Imagery and symbolization, intrapsychic experience, and aesthetic issues are explored. Recent creativity research and theories of creative development are considered. 3 credits
“Grounded in humanistic principles, we are interested in fostering the ‘fullness’ of the clinician, aligning who they are with how they practice, in the healing process of populations being served.”
—Dr. Theopia Jackson, Chair, Clinical Psychology Degree Program