The goals of the Clinical Psychology Master of Arts Program are to:
- Develop foundational competencies in research design, analytics and ethics within academic clinical psychology
- Explore major areas of study within academic clinical psychology
- Understand educational and career opportunities within academic clinical psychology
The MA program was designed for a variety of students, including students who:
- Are not yet ready to apply to a PhD program, but are considering doing so in the future
- Wish to improve their competitiveness for a PhD program
- Are interested in exploring a career in academic clinical psychology
- With interests in related fields for which a background in academic clinical psychology may be of value
The following criteria are most desired in MA applicants:
- Undergraduate grade point average of 3.2 or above on a 4.0 scale
- Scores on the Graduate Record Examination for verbal, quantitative and analytical scales above the 60th percentile; the Psychology Subject Test is not required
- An essay describing interests in and preparation for the MA program
- Three letters of recommendation
- For international students, Test of English as a Foreign Language scores
- Interest in exploring a career in academic clinical psychology
Please note that the above criteria are desired, but not required. The MA program will consider mitigating circumstances when conducting holistic reviews of applicants who may not meet all of these criteria.
View the Sample Course Schedule (PDF).
The Clinical Psychology Master of Arts Program is designed to be completed within five quarters (Summer I, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer II). This 15-month program is timed to facilitate students’ applications to doctoral programs in clinical psychology or related fields.
The MA program requires at least 17 units for graduation. Students are required to take the Research Core, including Research Methods/Statistics (three units), Advanced Research Methodology (one unit) and Scientific and Professional Ethics in Psychology (one unit).
In addition to these required courses, students are expected to select between five to eight elective courses across the Fall, Winter, Spring and/or Summer II quarters. Elective courses can include courses at the foundational, bases of behavior or clinical level, as well as courses in one or more of the emphases or major areas of study. MA students have the freedom to take any courses in the PhD program as long as they meet the prerequisites for the courses.
Finally, in addition to the graded courses, students are expected to register for at least one research unit for every quarter as part of their Research Lab Experience. The research core and elective courses can be reviewed in detail on the PhD Program Curriculum page. Please note that not all courses are offered every year, and therefore specific courses may not be available during a student’s residency in the MA program.
All MA students participate in the weekly Career Development Proseminar for the first four quarters of the MA program. The Proseminar orients students to the program, introduces students to various mentors and labs across Northwestern, explores career options in academic clinical psychology, refines interests in academic clinical psychology and prepares students for the next steps in their careers (e.g., developing applications for PhD programs or preparing for interviews).
Research Lab Experience
Students engage in a Research Lab Experience for at least 10 hours a week. Through the Research Lab Experience, the student will work with their research mentor to complete a Capstone Project. The Capstone Project is the culmination of the Research Lab Experience provided by the research mentor, providing the final evaluation of the student’s research competencies. Examples of capstone projects include:
- Substantial participation (i.e., authorship level) on one or more empirical studies submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal
- First author submission of one or more peer-reviewed poster/oral presentations at regional, national or international conferences
- A comprehensive review paper that is submitted to and graded by the research mentor
- A grant proposal (e.g., F31 style) that is submitted to and graded by the research mentor
For more information the curriculum and degree requirements for the PhD program, please review the MA Program Student Handbook (PDF).
Information on tuition can be found at tuition and fees page on The Graduate School’s website.
All students admitted to the MA program receive a Graduate Scholarship that provides a 45 percent tuition remission for each of the five quarters of the program. The Graduate Scholarship is provided in acknowledgement for MA students' time devoted to the Research Lab Experience.