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BA/MA Fast Track in Psychology and Counseling

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Courses

These course descriptions represent the foundation upon which your individualized study for the course will be built. In each course you will work with a faculty advisor to add resources, activities, and products that reflect your personal and professional goals.

Course Progression

BA in Psychology and Counseling core courses are designed to support your progress through basic and advanced studies in the field.  Academic advisors counsel you on on the design of each course.  Our advisors don’t tell you what courses to take, but they help you learn to build your own curriculum that will match personal and professional goals.

You will successfully complete the core psychology courses (33 credits), the Practicum (one, 3-credit course), and the Capstones (two courses, 6 credits).  While core psychology courses may be transferred in, the Practicum Course and the two Capstone Project courses must be completed with faculty.

Psychology Core Courses

  1. PSY 100 Introduction to Psychology
    This course explores the history of psychology as a discipline, and the impact that these traditions have on contemporary psychology. Learners examine the historical progression of ideas central to psychology, the philosophical and empirical roots of those ideas, and the confluence of those ideas into the various systems we have today. Learners examine the lives and works of the men and women whose work created psychology's foundation.
  2. PSY 210 Writing in Psychology
    This course focuses on the writing skills and traditions relevant to psychology, in terms of critical analysis and argumentative essays.  Contemporary and historical original sources will be used to practice APA style and the intellectual skills relevant to program competencies.
  3. PSY 220 Scientific Methods
    Learners explore traditions and methods of inquiry in the context of social and cultural differences and historical developments.  Classical and progressive scientific trends will be explored through evaluation of published research in areas of interest to the learner. 
  4. PSY 310 Statistical Methods
    Learners are introduced to and practice applying a variety of statistical analyses to data types commonly encountered in the social sciences.  Learners examine current statistical practices in psychology through lenses of mathematics as well as those of scientific philosophies and cultural traditions relevant to data sets of interest to the student.
  5. PSY 320 Social Science Research
    Learners gain a basic knowledge of research concepts, focusing on the natures of and differences between quantitative and qualitative methods. Learners examine how these systematic procedures have been applied in the social sciences, with an emphasis on ethical and practical considerations.
  6. PSY 330 Cognitive Neuroscience
    Learners examine a broad overview of the biological bases of psychological phenomena and behavior. They will learn how the contributions of basic sciences (neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, and neuropharmacology) lead to an understanding of behavior and behavioral disorders. Important psychiatric disorders are explored, primarily from the viewpoint of their biological aspects.
  7. PSY 340 Learning and Memory
    Learners study basic models of cognition and the research on which they are based. Learning theory and research are surveyed with emphasis on applications in education, social justice, and community evolution.
  8. PSY 350 Developmental Psychology
    This course focuses on the concept of the stage theory of human development, its early theorists and those who built on these ideas. Specific lenses include: psychosocial, psychosexual, personality, cognitive, behavioral developmental trajectories. Notions of optimal family and individual development are central to this course.
  9. PSY 360 Social and Cultural Psychology
    Learners study a broad overview of social forces as they relate to human behavior. The overview includes examining a range of social norms and institutions, and the ramifications these have for psychological functioning. Variations in social forces across various cultures are explored.
  10. PSY 370 Personality and Affective Science
    Learners will survey selected theories of personality. Attention is paid to the way in which personalities have been classified (personality types) and defined (personality traits). Learners also familiarize themselves with theoretical approaches to understanding personality development. This course provides a foundation for subsequent study of psychopathology, human development and psychotherapy.
  11. PSY 380 Abnormal Psychology
    Learners explore concepts of normality and optimal psychological functioning. Learners examine biological, social, familial, and environmental causes for abnormal human behavior. Issues of nature versus nurture are explored.

Distributive Requirements

All distributive requirements outside psychology must be satisfied before a student begins the final semester, Level 8.  BA students are required to undertake a Progress Review #2 at Level 6, unless they enter the College at Level 6, in which case they submit in Level 7.  BA students cannot register for Level 8 until their Progress Review #2 has been successfully completed.  Students needing more time to meet distributive requirements may enroll for additional terms and/or complete BSS courses until those requirements are satisfied.   

Students needing additional semesters to complete distributive degree requirements will be able to complete the BA in Psychology degree, but will have to apply to the MA program without the benefit of the Fast Track option (i.e., without the opportunity to have four 600-level transition courses considered part of the MA degree). 

The College’s distributive learning requirements are described in both the Undergraduate Student Handbook, and should be reviewed by the undergraduate student each semester.  Those requirements describe disciplinary content and demonstrated skills.  The required content areas are described in the sections on Wide Knowledge and include:  Arts & Creative Expression, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.  The required skills sets are described in the sections: Thoughtful Action; Positive Self-Development; Social and Ecological Context; and Engaged Critical Thinking. 

To assure coverage of the content areas required by the College’s description of Wide Knowledge, the following distributive requirements are part of the BA/MA in Psychology and Counseling degree requirements:

  • Humanities and Arts & Creative Expression - Students will successfully complete a minimum of four courses (12 credits) in arts and the humanities, at least two in each.
  • Science and Math - Students will successfully complete a minimum of four courses (12 credits) in science and math courses, at least one of each.

Capstone Courses

Capstone Courses must be completed with the Academic Adviser during the final two semesters, one capstone course each term.  Capstone courses will be electives designed to meet graduate program requirements for breadth and depth of knowledge, as well as serving the developmental needs of the student.  Capstone courses will serve as two of the four transition courses for student in the BA/MA Fast Track program.  Capstone courses will be completed over Level 7 and Level 8, with the 12 credit senior study.

Senior Study

A senior study is a final project that represents the culmination of a student‘s undergraduate program. Typically, the senior study develops a focused area of inquiry explored in previous semesters. Students should plan their study as a year-long undertaking, completing the first half (6 credits) during Level 7 and the second half (6 credits) during Level 8.  All Psychology and Counseling undergraduate senior studies are worth 12 semester credits.  Students needing more than two semesters to complete their senior studies may do so by adding semesters or working between terms, and such students may complete the BA in Psychology degree, but they will not be eligible to use transition courses towards the BA/MA Fast Track option. 

Students should consult with their Academic Advisor to determine when they are expected to submit a senior study proposal. Students should contact faculty members during their Level 6 term about serving as First and Second Readers.  Following approval of their proposal by their First and Second Readers, students should begin work following the outline and timeline that will be approved as parts of the senior study proposal.

Transition Courses for the BA/MA Fast Track

In addition to the two Capstone courses, two courses will be identified as transition courses that will serve both the undergraduate degree and the MA in Psychology and Counseling for students pursuing the BA/MA Fast Track.  These may be elective courses or Core courses.  All four transition courses will be 600-level courses.  In the case that any core course requirements are met by one or two graduate level transition courses, then the content and descriptions will be changed to reflect the advanced nature of courses.

Practicum

The Undergraduate Practicum allows students to apply their learning in their communities in ways that are significant to them.  All students will be required to work with the Program’s Internship Coordinator to secure a practical field experience appropriate to their personal learning goals that offers opportunities to develop relevant skills.  The practicum allows students to work in their local communities on psychological issues related to their learning and to affect change in their communities.  The practicum allows students to work in their local communities on projects that may include artistic and scientific activities.  The practicum requires students to apply psychological theory and research in ethical practice, and to reflect on their experiences in their concurrent Practicum Course work. 

Learners will be required use their practicum experience as an opportunity to apply knowledge, skills, and leadership for social action.  Reflecting on this action will be an essential ingredient to a successful practicum experience.  The practicum will occur in the context of a Practicum Course completed with the Academic Advisor.

Students will complete a practicum (minimum of 50 hours) in a Community Based Organization, such as a community mental health center, an inpatient unit, a human services agency, a school, or a private non-profit.  Depending on a student's prior life, professional experiences, and life situation, the practicum could be:  (a) orientation to the profession of counseling (e.g., shadowing); (b) volunteering in a private non‐profit (e.g., a milieu worker in a shelter); (c) actual mental health work; or (d) being a paid research assistant.  There are some jobs in psychology that do not require a BA but seek only an empathic and intelligent adult.  Such jobs include one-on-one life skills development with someone who is developmentally delayed or has persistent and chronic mental illness, crisis counseling in drug and alcohol emergency shelters, and other human service situations. 

Students in a practicum will have an on-site supervisor, with appropriate educational and employment history, to oversee the work of the practicum.  The supervisor will work with the student to create a practicum agreement that will be reviewed and approved by the Psychology and Counseling Internship Coordinator.  The Internship Coordinator will orient the site supervisor to the program and its expectations for supervision.  The supervisor will participate in a written evaluation of the student’s performance in the practicum.  The student will complete a self-evaluation at the conclusion of the practicum.  The practicum agreement and both evaluations will be included in the student’s portfolio and program record.

The practicum will have an academic component, the Practicum Course, a three credit course, with academic assignments, and will be mentored by the student’s Academic Adviser.  In situations where the student has an opportunity to start a placement in the middle of the semester, the Psychology and Counseling Internship Coordinator will follow the student's progress until the next semester begins, at which time the Academic Adviser will assume mentoring responsibilities.