Location: Cullowhee, Main Campus
Full-Time, 24 Months to Complete
App. Deadline: Mar. 1 - Fall General
NC LPA Licensure Option
Develops a strong applicants for Ph.D programs
Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University, understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.
The two-year Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology adheres to a scientist-practitioner model and is designed to prepare students for doctoral level training in clinical psychology or other applied disciplines. Students who do not wish to pursue further studies may be eligible for licensure in North Carolina as a Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA).
The clinical program emphasizes coursework in assessment, research methods, evidence-based psychotherapy, psychopathology, and neuropsychology. All students are actively involved in research and are required to complete an empirical master's thesis under the supportive mentorship of our faculty. Excellent practicum experiences are available in our public-facing Psychology Clinic (McKee Clinic) and in a variety of other clinical settings.
The program requires a total of 50 hours of graduate level course work, including 47 credit hours of required courses and three hours of electives. The program is designed for full-time students to graduate in two calendar years (Fall admission). Part-time students are not admitted to the program.
PSY 548 – Human Neuropsychology (3 hrs)
PSY 686 - Practicum in Psychology (3+hrs)
PSY 624 - Advanced Developmental Psychology (3 hrs)
PSY 651 – Advanced Research Methods: Statistics (4 hrs)
PSY 652 – Advanced Research Methods: Design and Communication (3 hrs)
PSY 661 – Assessment I (4 hrs)
PSY 662 – Personality Assessment (4 hrs)
PSY 671 – Advanced Psychopathology (3 hrs)
PSY 672 – Evidence-based Psychotherapy I (3 hrs)
PSY 675 – Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions (3 hrs)
PSY 677 – Group Psychotherapy (3 hrs)
PSY 680 – Directed Study (3 hrs) (requires Instructor permission to register)
PSY 599 – Pre-thesis (3 hrs) (requires Instructor permission to register)
PSY 699 – Thesis (6 hrs) (requires Instructor permission to register)
** In addition to the required coursework, students are expected to complete a minimum of 4 psycholgical assessments in the McKee Clinic, two each semester of their 2nd year.
Fall 1st Year
PSY 651: Adv. Research Methods (4)
PSY 661: Assessment I (4)
PSY 671: Adv. Psychopathology (3)
PSY 680: Directed Study (3)
Spring 1st Year
PSY 652: Adv. Research Methods (3)
PSY 662: Personality Assessment (3)
PSY 672: Evidenced-Based Psychotherapy (3)
PSY 677: Group Psychotherapy (3)
PSY 599: Pre-Thesis (3)*
Fall 2nd Year
PSY 548: Human Neuropsychology (3)
PSY 675: Cognitive & Behavioral Interventions (3)
PSY 686: Practicum (3)
PSY 699: Thesis (3)
Spring 2nd Year
PSY 624: Advanced Developmental Psychology (3)
PSY 686: Practicum (3)
PSY 699: Thesis (3)
Graduate Level Elective** (3)
For those who will seek licensure, 6 credit hours of Practicum (PSY 686) should be used as electives (for students to acquire 500 hours total of Practicum). Please see handbook for description of Practicum experiences and requirements.
*Propose thesis in the Spring of the 1st Year - a successful thesis prospectus defense
is required prior to the Second Year of the program. Please see the handbook for more
**Electives must be at the graduate level to count toward the 50 credits needed.
The clinical program offers one-on-one mentoring in research, experience with conference submissions and presentations, journal manuscript writing, as well as other professional development opportunities. Our faculty members are excited to involve students in a variety of research opportunities. Some areas of expertise among our faculty include stress and trauma, neuropsychology, child maltreatment, substance use problems, depression, anxiety, personality, gender and sexuality issues, social and emotional development across the life span (children, adolescents, adults), body image and eating disorders, emotion regulation and coping, and forensic psychology. Our students and faculty also have access to state-of-the art eye-tracking and EEG equipment. Opportunities for collaboration with faculty from disciplines other than clinical psychology (e.g., social/personality psychology, experimental psychology, education, criminology and criminal justice, and school psychology) are also available. Please feel free to contact any of the faculty members to hear more about their current research and ways to get involved.
Students in the Clinical Psychology graduate program, have completed practicum requirements in a variety of settings including:
L. Alvin Malesky, Jr., Ph.D., Department Head - Psychology
Research: Academic dishonesty; forensic psychology;expert witness testimony; sex offenders and internet usage
Jonathan Campbell, Ph.D., Director - Doctor of Psychology & Clinical Psychology MA
Research: Autism Spectrum Disorder
David Solomon, Ph.D., Coordinator – Clinical Psychology MA
Research: LGBTQ mental health, underserved populations, child maltreatment, interpersonal trauma, parent-child relationships
Kia Asberg, Ph.D.
Research:Traumatic stress, child maltreatment, interpersonal violence, substance use, incarcerated women
David McCord, Ph.D.Research: Five factor model of personality, MMPI-2-RF, evolutionary psychology, RDoC lab
Erin Myers, Ph.D.Research: Status-signaling properties of self-esteem, fragile self-esteem, gender, and narcissism
Tom Ford, Ph.D.
Research: Prejudice, disparaging humor and discrimination, humor and coping with stress
Nathan Roth, Ph.D., Director – McKee Assessment and Psychological Services Clinic
Research: Child and adolescent psychopathology, trauma, and animal assisted therapy
Ethan Schilling, Ph.D.Research: Pediatric school psychology, students with chronic health difficulties, TBI in children
Ellen Sigler, Ed.D.Research: Help-seeking behavior in college students, educational psychology, learning, eye-tracker technology
David de Jong, Ph.D.
Research: Social-Cognitive and interpersonal processes including partner perception, motivation, and sexual desire in couples and individuals
Matt Meier, Ph.D.
Research: Cognitive Psychology, working memory capacity, individual differences, cognitive control, mind wandering
Cathy Grist, Ph.D.Research: Social-emotional interventions for pre-school children, emotion regulation in children
Jamie Vaske, Ph.D.
Research: Biosocial criminology, corrections, gender and crime, quantitative methods
Al Kopak, Ph.D.
Research: Substance use among juvenile and adult offenders, substance use treatment
Our mission is to train well-rounded, competent, and ethically minded graduates using the scholar-practitioner model. Our training model is geared to prepare students for doctoral level study, particuarly in PhD programs, although graduates of our program are also eligible for licensure in NC as a psychological associate (LPA) if they complete a 500-hour practicum.
Graduate students complete 50 credits of coursework over two years. Students who wish to be eligible for licensure upon graduation must complete six credits (a total of 500 hours) of clinical practicum. All students complete a thesis under the close mentorship of our excellent faculty. Coursework is completed in face-to-face settings. You will complete some courses with graduate students from the School Psychology program. Class sizes are kept small to maximize the learning experience. Our program is known for its attention to students’ individual needs and career goals.
The deadline for applications is March 1st, but we encourage students to submit their application early. All applications are completed online. Approximately two weeks after the deadline, you will hear from us about interview day date(s). An undergraduate psychology degree is not required. However, applicants without an undergraduate psychology degree should have at least 18 hours of undergraduate credit in psychology which must include general psychology, 6 hours of statistics and/or research methods, and abnormal psychology.
Completed applications will include:
Each year, the Clinical Concentration of the Psychology MA program at WCU receives approximately 50-75 applications. Approximately 20-25 students are invited for an on-campus interview day, typically held during the third or fourth week of March. Of the applicants invited for an interview, we accept between 6 and 10 students (the top 10-15% of the applicant pool). The clinical track only admits students for the Fall semester. Although we do our best to let students know as soon as we can after the interviews have been completed, we adhere to the April 15th deadline (American Psychological Association) for decisions.
A typical incoming class will have an average GPA of 3.5 or better. The GRE scores (V+Q) of our students are generally in the 305 to 315 range. A majority of incoming students have experience with independent research as an undergraduate. An undergraduate psychology degree is not required. However, applicants should have at least 18 hours of undergraduate credit in psychology which must include general psychology, 6 hours of statistics and/or research methods, and abnormal psychology. Please know that all components of the application are taken into consideration, including interpersonal skills and professionalism (interview), personal statement, letters of recommendation, ability to articulate your reasons for pursuing graduate study in clinical psychology, and other relevant educational or clinical experiences. We do not accept students solely based on any one component of the application. If you have questions about how to best prepare your application and what experiences to pursue, please contact the training director, Dr. Jon Campbell (email@example.com).
Our faculty members are excited to involve students in a variety of research opportunities. Some areas of expertise among our faculty include stress and trauma, neuropsychology, child maltreatment, substance use problems, depression, anxiety, personality, gender and sexuality issues, social and emotional development across the life span (children, adolescents, adults), body image and eating disorders, emotion regulation and coping, and forensic psychology. Our students and faculty also have access to state-of-the art eye-tracking and EEG equipment. Opportunities for collaboration with faculty from disciplines other than clinical psychology (e.g., social/personality psychology, experimental psychology, education, criminology and criminal justice, and school psychology) are also available. Please feel free to contact any of the faculty members to hear more about their current research and ways to get involved.
A majority of our incoming graduate students are awarded some form of Graduate Assistantship or stipend in return for valuable educational experience as a teaching or research assistant. Other financial support, including tuition remissions, is available on a competitive basis. Students who are admitted may apply for a variety of scholarships and awards (see the Graduate School website for more information).
Many of our students (50-75%) go on to doctoral programs in clinical psychology or related field, while others get licensed (in NC). In recent years, 100% of our graduates have either been admitted to PhD/PsyD programs or had a job offer upon completion of our program. Getting in to a PhD program in clinical psychology is tremendously competitive, but we believe our curriculum and focus on research experiences will prepare students for the next level of training. Licensure in NC (LPA) is also an option.