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College of Arts & Sciences
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M.A. in Psychology Program Overview
Graduate Recruiter: Jasmine James
The USFSP Master of Arts in Psychology provides study of biological, social, developmental and cognitive bases of health and human behavior, with concentrated emphasis on how adjustment in these realms serves as the platform for later health and chronic disease outcomes. The program also cultivates advanced competence in research methodology required to interpret and evaluate applied research data. For students in both thesis and non-thesis options, elective courses in the domains of experimental and applied psychology, health psychology, infant-family mental health, cultural competence, and other basic and applied areas round out coursework requirements for the degree. Students on the thesis track also complete an empirical master's thesis.
Specialized Concentration in Risk, Resilience, and Prevention (RRP)
Our program also has a unique concentration in Risk, Resilience, and Prevention (RRP). With the competencies promoted in this concentration, we seek to reinvigorate the workforce with professionals who are able to promote human capital and reduce risk of both untoward health outcomes and behavioral and community problems like school dropout rates and youth aggression and violence. Prevention and early intervention are key; instead of waiting for undesired behaviors to occur and then reacting (with accompanying costs) investments are made proactively to cultivate protective social, academic, and health-promoting behaviors and skills required for success in school and life.
Our state is in critical need of professionals with these skills. To see more on the state of Florida, see the article “Report says recession hurts more Florida children.”
Our program is designed to advance your study of Psychology, whether or not your undergraduate major was in a field other than psychology and you seek re-specialization coursework or you were a strong undergraduate major in Psychology or a related field. Our graduates will demonstrate a conceptual understanding of advanced psychology and contribute intellectually to the field.
As a program graduate of the M.A. in Psychology from USF St. Petersburg (USFSP), you will be:
Are You A Fit for Our Program? Things to Consider Before You Apply
Although many of our students will continue with their studies to obtain a Ph.D. in counseling or clinical psychology, it is important to understand that the M.A. in Psychology at USFSP is not designed to train licensed practitioners; it is not a counseling degree. Because we are not offering a counseling degree, it is important that students understand that our program does not afford opportunities to amass the supervised clinical hours that are required to obtain a license to practice in the state of Florida as a Master-level clinician; those with that aspiration are advised to seek out instead a Master's degree in Social Work (MSW), Mental Health Counseling (MHC), Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), or other degree where supervised clinical experience is an explicit component of the training program.
As with all graduate programs, it is best to look over the faculty and decide if their specialities are in line with your own interests. We have professors with degrees in clinical psychology, and for students whose goal is to pursue a Ph.D. then we might be an appropriate step along that path. Clinical psychology programs are exceptionally competitive, and many students obtain a Master's degree first. However, if you wish to work as a practitioner but do not expect to pursue the doctorate, our program probably would not be right for you.
We have created a program that is both applied in nature, but has a strong research design and analysis component. For example, our "Risk, Resilience, and Prevention" track was created with the help of a number of local and state agencies who need help demonstrating to their funding sources that they are indeed accomplishing their goals. The need for such "outcomes assessment" is growing rapidly, and there is a shortage of people with necessary skills to tackle the problem.