SJSU's MS in Clinical Psychology

Page quick links

Our Goals for Clinical Traning Where our Graduates Go
Evidence Based Practice Our Mission
The Curriculum  
   

Seeking to Train Top Clinicians in the Field

This 60-unit Master of Science program is designed for students who are seeking to become master’s level psychotherapists. The MS program is designed to provide students with theoretical and practical training to prepare them to work in a variety of clinical, counseling, and mental health settings. The training in San Jose State University’s MS in Clinical program emphasizes a scientific understanding and case formulation of psychopathology, known as an evidence based practice approach to psychotherapy. The program does not prepare students for pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

The program centers on a required core of academic coursework that meets the education requirements for the California Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license and the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). Both licenses requires 3,000 hours of approved supervised clinical experience by the California State licensing board (the BBS). Note that the requirements of these two licenses are different for both coursework and number of pre- and post-degree clinical hours. Our program meets the BBS requirements for licensure in both paths, though (as stated above), the program is deficient in one course (Career Counseling) that must be taken before licensure can occur.

The goal of the MS Clinical Program is to ensure that all graduates have minimal competences to become practicing psychotherapists who are eligible for internships and licensure. The program strongly encourages and attempts to develop the academic, professional, and clinical skills for all students. The MS Clinical Program faculty evaluates student professional and interpersonal maturity throughout the program with both formal and informal reviews. Only students who have demonstrated a high level of professional and personal integrity consistent with the role of a psychotherapist continue in the program and graduate.

Where our Graduates Go

The MS in Clinical Psychology prepares students for positions in mental health clinics, hospitals, and residential treatment centers and emphasizes the importance of community mental health and serving diverse and under-represented populations. This program is ideal for students whose ultimate goal is to work as Marriage Family Therapists or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors. We work with numerous agencies that provide excellent internship experiences for our students. The pre-degree internship experience focuses on giving students assessment and intervention skills with individuals, couples, and families.

Graduates of our program may find employment in community mental health agencies as well as private or public service agencies. While some of our graduates seek independent practice, our program emphasizes community mental health work and does not specifically train students in the business skills or develop the entrepreneurial acumen necessary to start and maintain a private practice. In addition, this clinical program does not train students to become educational guidance counselors nor the coursework required to pursue the PPS credential. 

The MS Clinical Psychology program at SJSU meets the requirements set by the state of California for the training required for both the Marriage Family Therapy license and for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors. We are approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) for both programs. 

Evidence Based Practice

MS Clinical Psychology program at SJSU is an evidence based practice program that has a focus on the use and evaluation of assessment data throughout psychological interventions. We also emphasize the importance of using sound psychological theory in combination with the empirical literature on supported clinical interventions. This focus adheres to the applied or practitioner component of a scientist-practitioner or clinical scientist model of training. 

Our greatest strengths as a program lie with the quality of education we provide and our continued focus on contemporary psychological interventions that are consistent with most models of integrated behavioral health care. We are an evidence based practice program that places a strong emphasis on both case conceptualization skills and utilizing the empirical literature to best assist our clients. 

Our Mission

The mission of this program is to train evidenced based Masters level psychotherapists for work in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, schools, public agencies, and private practice. Evidence based practice of psychotherapy places the client first and considers the conceptualization of the client’s problem including important contextual and cultural variables, is informed and guided by relevant empirical literature, and gathers data to determine choices and allow accountability.  The diversity of settings and populations in which our graduates work requires that our students be flexible and open to differing clinical and cultural perspectives. Faculty in the program represent a variety of theoretical, clinical, and research interests, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness and Acceptance based approaches, Psychodynamic traditions, Cross-cultural interventions, Feminist Therapy, Community Psychology, and the biopsychosocial model inherent in Behavioral Medicine/Health psychology.

As a faculty we value diversity in thinking and encourage our students to sample ideas from different points of view.  While we do not require conformity to any one specific theoretical orientation, we do require that any approach our students take be supported by a high standard of professional ethics and an established body of professional literature, including empirical clinical research.  Graduates of this program adhere to ethical standards and demonstrate a basic familiarity with the major approaches to assessment, diagnosis and treatment, a respect for cultural diversity, and accountability for service delivery.  We expect that our graduates have the ability to read and critically evaluate the literature in the field, and we require them to achieve a basic level of proficiency within at least one psychotherapeutic approach.  In short, our graduate is evidence based, broadly educated, critically minded, and has the ability to ethically apply theory to practice in a diverse and changing community.

The Curriculum

Our 60 semester unit curriculum covers a wide variety of essential skills for therapists that are both conceptual and applied. 

The current required sequence of courses can be found with this link.

The list of all required courses for the MS Clinical program is found with this link. Links are available to review catalog descriptions of each course.

Current and past syllabi for most courses can be found using this link.   

All of the courses required for the MFT are taken while in the program (see link for current curriculum). All but one of the courses required to sit for licensure for the LPCC are offered in the current program. The BBS allows students to be deficient in two courses for the LPCC when they graduate, provided they are taken before licensure. The one course in which the MS Clinical program is deficient, Career Counseling, can be taken before or after graduation, and will complete all course requirements for the LPCC. SJSU currently offers this course through the graduate Educational Counseling (EDCO) program, and students pursing the LPCC take this course in their second year.