History and Philosophy
The Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology is a sixty-credit degree program focused on the preparation of students for entry-level professional positions in the mental health services of hospitals, clinics, colleges, schools, and human service agencies. The program’s goal is to promote the integration of theory, research, and practice in the field of clinical psychology. This means providing the student with the opportunity for the in-depth study and analysis of both the research tradition of academic psychology, and the theoretical and Case-Study tradition of professional psychology. The program is eclectic in orientation and might be described as offering a broad psychosocial perspective in which the faculty offers a diversity of interests and views within the framework of the curriculum. Most heavily emphasized are the psychodynamic, humanistic, and socio-cultural perspectives.
Equal in importance to the content of the curriculum is the educational atmosphere of the program. The program strives to provide a milieu that respects the individual educational goals of the graduate student and fosters intellectual, personal, and professional growth. The faculty is committed to this goal and to providing graduate education and training in a personal and non-bureaucratic learning environment. Highly experienced clinical practitioners teach all clinical courses, while the full-time college faculty teaches the core courses in experimental psychology, social psychology and research.
All classes are held in the evening, thus permitting either full or part-time study towards the master’s degree. Many of the students accepted by the Master’s Program in Clinical Psychology are returning to school after spending a number of years working in a variety of settings; while others are recent graduates interested in pursuing a master’s degree immediately after college.
Courses are offered in the fall, spring, and summer terms. However, those wishing to pursue graduate work on a full-time basis will find it necessary to begin their studies in the fall, since most of the clinical core courses are two semesters and begin in the fall term.
Since the Second World War, clinical psychology, as a profession, experienced exponential growth with roots in two traditions: scholarly investigation and public service. Our sixty-credit Master of Arts degree program in Clinical Psychology follows these two fine traditions: it prepares students for entry-level professional psychology positions in the public sector or for continued study towards the doctorate at another institution. The Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology is a long-standing member of C.A.M.P.P. (Council of Applied Masters Programs in Psychology).
While the curriculum has a strong applied/practice orientation, our primary goal is to offer the student a foundation for a lifetime of learning and career development in professional psychology. Therefore, we place a strong emphasis on basic theories of personality, development, social processes, physiological functioning, and research methodology. Even more importantly, we seek to help our students develop the ability to make informed evaluations of conflicting theoretical positions, empirical findings, and clinical observations. The program’s Major Paper/Thesis/Case-Study requirement is indicative of our interest in students who desire to make a creative contribution to the evolution of clinical psychology.
Each year the Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology admits a number of recent college graduates with degrees in psychology and relevant work experiences. Other students choose to attend graduate school in psychology after a number of years of post-college work experience. There is a great diversity in backgrounds—education, nursing, business, human services, raising families. The average age of our students in this group is in their late twenties.
Our students are one of the real strengths of the program. They bring to the classroom not only a solid academic preparation and an intense motivation for learning, but also the knowledge and experience of human relationships gleaned from many years of holding responsible positions beyond the classroom.
- To provide students with a solid theoretical and empirical foundation in experimental psychology.
- To provide students with a theoretical, empirical, and practical foundation in clinical assessment and intervention.
- To provide students with an understanding of the social, ethical, and professional context of clinical psychology.
- To prepare students for entry level positions in the mental health systems as professional psychologists and to become licensed master’s level psychologists.
- To provide students with a firm foundation for doctoral level study.
Note: Licensure in psychology or other mental health professions is done by state professional boards. Licensure is granted to individuals based upon meeting the specific requirements of the professional board in question, of which a master’s degree is one of the requirements. We make every effort to keep our curriculum current with the academic licensure requirements for a master’s level psychologist in Vermont. As a psychology master’s program, it is impossible for the graduate program curriculum to also include all of the academic courses and experiences necessary for licensure in all of the other mental health professions, or in all other states. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to determine and meet the requirements for the particular license in the particular state in question. The Graduate Psychology program will work with individual matriculated students to provide support in this process with the understanding that some needed courses for other licenses (e.g., the mental health counselor license) may have to be taken after completing the master’s degree in clinical psychology.