2022-2023 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog 
    
    Nov 28, 2022  
2022-2023 Cal Poly Humboldt Catalog

Counseling Psychology, M.A.


This program prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of psychological counseling, involving the rendering of therapeutic services to individuals and groups experiencing psychological problems and exhibiting distress symptoms. It includes instruction in counseling theory, therapeutic intervention strategies, patient/counselor relationships, testing and assessment methods and procedures, group therapy, marital and family therapy, child and adolescent therapy, supervised counseling practice, ethical standards, multicultural counseling, and applicable regulations.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology is accredited by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and provides most coursework for the Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor licenses. Successful completion will allow the candidate to apply for internship status with the Board to accrue the post-degree hours of supervised practice necessary for state licensure.

Program Coordinators
Carrie Aigner, Ph.D.
Jen Petullo, M.A., LMFT.
(707) 826-3757

Program Admission Procedure and Requirements

All applicants apply to the university through Cal State Apply. To be eligible for admission to the program, candidates must: 

  • hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.00
  • have some experience in human services and/or research
  • have goals that match the program’s objectives and the potential for becoming an effective and ethical psychotherapist
  • submit a resume, a prerequisite verification form, and three letters of recommendation demonstrating academic and professional potential. At least one from faculty, the others can come from employers or professionals.
  • demonstrate excellence in oral and written communication

Prerequisites for Program Admission


The following courses (or equivalent) must be completed before the start of the program:

Requirements for the Degree (60 Units)


For a description of degree requirements to be fulfilled in addition to those listed below see, “Master’s Degree Requirements ”.

The program requires recommendation by the department for advancement to candidacy. A minimum GPA of 3.00 in all work counted toward the degree, with no grade lower than a B- is required.

Sample Schedule


Second Semester (16-18 Units)


Third Semester (15-17 Units)


Fourth Semester (16 Units)


Culminating Experience (Select one)


Comprehensive Examination Option

A comprehensive examination is an assessment of the student’s ability to integrate the knowledge of the area, show critical and independent thinking, and demonstrate mastery of the subject matter. The results of the examination evidences independent thinking, appropriate organization, critical analysis and accuracy of documentation. A record of the examination questions and responses shall be maintained in accordance with the records retention policy of The California State University.

The comprehensive exam is the culminating experience to demonstrate knowledge gained during the graduate program by demonstrating an understanding of the broad skills utilized by therapists, including an understanding of the 10 major domains of the Counseling Psychology M.A. program. This examination will cover the graduate coursework taken at Cal Poly Humboldt across the areas of: research; assessment, diagnosis and treatment of psychopathology; individual, group, family, and couples counseling; laws and ethics; cross-cultural counseling; development across the lifespan. The examination is designed to reveal the student’s knowledge of cultural, legal, ethical, and professional issues faced by practicing therapists as well as assessment, identification, diagnosis, intervention, and current research related to the practice of marriage and family therapists. Students will be evaluated on the level of their knowledge as well as their ability to express their knowledge in acceptable written form.

Thesis Option

A thesis is the written product of a systematic study of a significant problem. It identifies the problem, states the major assumptions, explains the significance of the undertaking, sets forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyzes the data, and offers a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product evidences originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. Normally, an oral defense of the thesis is required.

Students are required to take PSYC 109  as a prerequisite writing a thesis. A graduate statistics course PSYC 578  and/or PSYC 588  is strongly recommended. Students must be enrolled in specific research and/or supervision courses, PSYC 682  or PSYC 690  every semester during which the thesis work is being conducted.

If a student chooses the thesis option for their culminating experience, they will select a thesis topic and locate a faculty member interested in the thesis topic to serve as committee chair. In consultation with the chair, the student will identify faculty as potential members of the thesis committee. The student is responsible for understanding all aspects of the research, including the statistics and computer methods. In the thesis proposal, the design and statistical analysis should be presented in detail. The student will be expected to demonstrate understanding of these matters at the final oral thesis defense.

Major Notes:


Some 1-unit courses may be offered as a weekend course or on a Friday.

Students who are unable to complete the required number of practicum hours by the end of their fourth semester, must register for an additional semester of PSYC 682  and PSYC 663 .

Program Learning Outcomes


Students completing this program will have demonstrated:

  • workable knowledge of standard psychotherapeutic techniques
  • knowledge of and conformance to the laws, regulations, and professional ethics related to the practice of a master’s level psychotherapist
  • the ability to understand and utilize research related to the field of counseling psychology
  • appreciation and knowledge of issues of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religions as they relate to providing effective psychotherapeutic interventions.