Degree Requirements: Bachelor's degree
Completion Time: 2-3 years
Earned Credits: 32-35*
Psychology students enrolled in our Creativity Studies Specialization program will develop specific learning goals with a faculty mentor based on their interests, aspirations, and personal passion. Learning how to conduct psychological research in a cross-cultural educational environment, M.A. students will examine theoretical and practical understanding of creative processes including:
*Saybrook transcript must reflect a minimum of 32 completed post-baccalaureate credits of new learning for the M.A.
The Creativity Studies Specialization is designed for students who want to learn how to accomplish in-depth research in a particular aspect of creativity and make a meaningful contribution to the field. This Humanistic and Clinical Psychology degree program encourages students to examine vital contemporary questions about creativity and investigate environments that support different kinds of creativity. Students in the Creativity Studies Specialization focus their studies on areas they are passionate about in order to take their careers to the next level or to go in a whole new direction.
A complex and fast-changing world demands new, creative approaches to everything from corporate strategies to household chores. From schools to big business, the importance of understanding and encouraging creativity has been widely recognized. There are opportunities at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels to earn a degree in Psychology at Saybrook University specializing in Creativity Studies. Saybrook’s rich tradition of humanistic studies includes its association with former faculty member Rollo May, who wrote the classic “The Courage to Create.” May, along with humanistic psychology pioneers such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, proposed that expression of creativity is a key to self-actualization.
Working with others to promote positive change, graduates from this program will be prepared to pursue employment in nonprofit, business, or governmental organizations. By understanding, conducting, and critically analyzing psychological research, graduates will be able to bring innovative approaches to their work and research. By examining challenges with a holistic perspective, Creativity Studies Specialization graduates are prepared to combine critical, empathetic, and creative thinking with self-reflection to develop self-knowledge, self-realization, and expansion of consciousness.
While creativity is increasingly recognized as a vital part of both a healthy psyche and a thriving economy, many unanswered questions still need serious research. General learning goals include understanding the history, research, and practical application of creativity studies. Students enrolled in this specialization will develop specific learning goals with a faculty member based on their interests, aspirations, and personal passion.
At the conclusion of your studies, students in this specialization will be able to:
- Understand, critically analyze, and conduct psychological research.
- Be an expert in creativity in general and in a specific aspect of creativity in particular.
- Work to engage others in efforts to promote life-enhancing change.
- Bring innovation and creativity to your research, work, and personal choices, moving beyond disciplinary and paradigmatic boundaries.
- Combine critical, empathetic, and creative thinking with self-reflection to develop self-knowledge, self-realization, and expansion of consciousness.
- Place your work within a whole person perspective including multiple contexts and acknowledge your own biases and unchallenged assumptions.
- Display an awareness of strengths and liabilities based on humanistic values, including authenticity and compassion.
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 (RC) 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).
When a form of inquiry is conceptualized and actualized in terms of creative processes in pursuit of human knowing, using as its primary means an art medium, it may be termed art-based inquiry. This course examines select forms of thinking about, and doing, art-based inquiry, inclusive of its relevance to research processes and forms of scientific inquiry. Although preference is given to the visual arts, other art forms may be pursued. 3 credits
Death and Loss in Literature and Film
This course will survey a number of writers and filmmakers and their respective artworks contending with questions of meaning and the poignancy to be found in life at the limits and the irrepressible passage of time. Art, we may say, is an especially rarified response to the dilemma of time and the inexorable loss that attends it. The poet Maria Rainer Rilke put it this way: “… Once everything, only once. Once and no more. And we, too, once. Never again. But having been this once, even though only once: having been on earth does not seem revocable.”
It is precisely this sense of impermanence, of evanescence, of life’s ultimate mystery and the potential beauty therein that will serve as our curricular touchstone. “It is not possible,” mused the ancient philosopher Heraclitus, “to step twice into the same river.” Aeschylus, younger contemporary to Heraclitus, saw suffering as inevitable, with wisdom the hard-won purchase of pain falling “drop by drop upon the heart.” Words quoted, movingly, by Robert F. Kennedy in an extemporaneous eulogy on the night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. This course will inquire into these bedrock existential, humanistic, and transpersonal themes—life at the limits and the place of aesthetics and creative response, with literature and film, especially, offering protection and remedy. 3 credits
“Our faculty are committed to meeting our students where they are at and helping them to reach their specific professional goals. They are committed to the full development of our students, not only exposing them to the necessary tools and practice, yet supporting the development of the person of the clinician.”
—Dr. Theopia Jackson Chair, Clinical Psychology Degree Program