Graduate Psychology Programs in Southern California

Dec 20, 2018

Southern California is home to diverse graduate degree programs in psychology that typically prepare students for state licensure. Get details for some of the master's and/or doctoral programs available from a handful of schools in the area.

Several schools in southern California, especially in the Los Angeles area, provide students with master's and/or doctoral degree programs in various areas of psychology. Most of these programs are on-campus programs, but other flexible formats, such as online, hybrid and part-time, are available. Compare and contrast some of the different degree options below.

Schools in Southern California with Graduate Degree Programs in Psychology

Pacifica Graduate Institute

Pacifica Graduate Institute has a campus in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria and offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Counseling Psychology, Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Psychology and an MA or PhD in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology and Ecopsychology. Students in the MA in Counseling Psychology program must complete a thesis, 300 hours of practicum experience and 50 hours of personal psychotherapy. The PsyD and PhD in Clinical Psychology each require 1,000 hours of practicum, 1,500 hours of internship, 60 hours of psychotherapy and a dissertation, but PhD students also complete a Comprehensive Portfolio. The MA and PhD programs in Community Psychology, Liberation Psychology and Ecopsychology also require fieldwork and PhD students complete a dissertation.

University of California- Los Angeles

The University of California-Los Angeles provides a PhD program that allows students to specialize in social, quantitative, learning and behavior, clinical, developmental, health, behavioral neuroscience or cognitive psychology. The program must be taken full-time and can be completed in 6 years. Students primarily take coursework in their chosen major, but must also take coursework in a minor from the available specializations (the available minors are similar to the ones listed above except clinical psychology). Students must also complete a dissertation, practicum experience and qualifying exams.

California Southern University

California Southern University in Costa Mesa has unique online MA, Master of Science (MS) and PsyD programs. The MA in Psychology program prepares students for state licensure as marriage and family therapists, while the MS in Psychology offers a range of concentrations, such as sports psychology, pastoral counseling or organizational psychology. The MA program totals 60 credits and takes 4 years to complete, while the MS program requires 42 credits and can be completed in 2 years. The PsyD program totals 66 credits, can be completed in 4 years and has online coursework, but includes a practicum experience that can be completed in a student's local area.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's Los Angeles campus provides a wide range of graduate certificate programs and MA, MS, PsyD and PhD programs in various areas of psychology. Students can pursue degrees in areas such as forensic psychology, clinical psychology, business psychology, applied behavior analysis and more. Many programs are available in full- and part-time formats, as well as other flexible formats, like hybrid formats with online courses and/or variable weekend courses. Most of these programs also include hands-on learning experiences through a range of practicum and fieldwork experiences.

California State University-Los Angeles

California State University-Los Angeles offers an MA in Psychology and an MS in Forensic Psychology. Both programs require a thesis, but the MA program requires 31 to 32 units, while the MS program requires 33 to 34 units. The MA program prepares students for doctoral study and offers a lot of research opportunities, as well as allows students to find a faculty mentor to work closely with throughout the program. The MS program also allows students to utilize a faculty mentor and requires a 9-month practicum for hands-on learning.

Common Entrance Requirements

Students wishing to apply to graduate degree programs in psychology in the state of California need to check carefully with their institution and particular degree, as admissions standards vary. However, most of these programs require applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree and to submit their official transcripts, letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Other more common requirements include submitting GRE test scores, a resume or CV and/or writing samples. Some programs may ask students to apply specifically to their particular area of psychology, such as clinical, cognitive or developmental, and it is fairly common, especially at the doctoral level, for students to complete an interview process.

Students in Southern California can pursue a wide range of master's and/or doctoral degree programs in psychology that usually allow students to further specialize in a particular area. These programs may also require a thesis or dissertation, based on the degree level, and/or hands-on learning through practicum experiences.

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