Graduate Catalog

Professional Mental Health Counseling

Professional Mental Health Counseling at Lewis & Clark has a longstanding reputation in the community for educating professional counselors who are well-grounded in theory and skillful in providing sound clinical interventions. We train empathetic and compassionate practitioners who through their creative leadership and advocacy contribute to the advancement of the counseling profession.

Our core mission is to train counselors who can provide effective individual and group counseling and therapy in diverse community settings. Professional preparation includes knowledge, skills, and supervised clinical experiences, as well as developing an identity as a professional counselor who understands and addresses social justice as a key factor in improving the well-being of clients, individually and relationally.

Graduates of our programs understand that power, privilege, and oppression impact the well-being of individuals and the relationships in their lives, especially as related to physical ability, culture, race/ethnicity, social and political processes, socioeconomic status, exile/migration status, religious and spiritual beliefs, language, education, gender, sexual orientation, and age.

Professional Mental Health Counseling programs are for students wanting to become professional counselors and work in a wide variety of settings including community mental health clinics, hospitals, correctional facilities, educational settings, residential treatment centers, and private practice.

Accreditation and Licensure

Professional Mental Health Counseling programs are approved by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) under the 2009 standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs. Students who complete the Professional Mental Health Counseling program are eligible to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE)  and to apply for status as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).

The Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT) extends approval to Lewis & Clark's Professional Mental Health Counseling programs. Graduates who have earned an M.A. or M.S. degree are eligible to pursue licensing as professional counselors (LPC) in Oregon. In addition, Professional Mental Health Counseling programs meet the requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in most states. However, some states may have additional educational requirements that must be met prior to licensure.

Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling

This degree program is for students who wish to become counselors in community mental health clinics, service programs for adolescents or children, private practice, the juvenile justice system, and other community settings. Students can choose an emphasis on adult counseling or child and adolescent counseling.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 60 semester hours, distributed as follows:

Degree Courses
MHC 503Introduction to Professional Counseling2
MHC 513Theory and Philosophy of Counseling3
MHC 535Research Methods in Counseling3
CPSY 506Life Span Development2
CPSY 550Diversity and Social Justice3
MHC 509Practical Skills for Counselors3
CPSY 522Diagnosis of Mental and Emotional Disorders2
MHC 524Counseling and Interventions with Adults3
MHC 534Child and Family Counseling3
CPSY 514Group Counseling With Children and Adolescents3
or CPSY 515 Group Counseling With Adults
CPSY 523Counseling and Interventions with Children and Adolescents3
MHC 532Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling2
MHC 536Introduction to Addiction Counseling and Psychopharmacology2
MHC 541Introduction to Assessment2
MHC 549Clinical Reasoning: Theory and Research to Practice1
MHC 548Trauma and Crisis Intervention in Counseling: Theoretical Foundations, Response Models, and Interventions Across the Life Span2
MHC 540Career Counseling2
MHC 580Practicum in Counseling (two semesters, 3 hours each)6
MHC 582Mental Health Internship: Adult Emphasis (two semesters, 3 hours each)6
or MHC 583 Mental Health Internship: Emphasis on Child and Family Problems
MHC 591Professional Career Development1
Elective Courses

The remaining 6 semester hours will be earned by taking elective courses approved by the program. At least two elective credits must be taken in one of the program's focus areas:

  • Counseling LGBTQ clients 
  • Feminist therapies 
  • Mind/body/spirit/creativity 
  • Community and professional advocacy 

Electives meeting each focus requirement are determined on a yearly basis; a list is available from the program director(s).

Graduate Convocation Requirement

Students must attend Convocation (CORE 500) in their first year in the program.

Master of Science in Professional Mental Health Counseling

Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling Program may choose to seek an M.S. degree. This option, which is often of interest to students planning to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology, is available only upon formal application to the M.S. program. Students wishing to pursue this degree apply after completing the requirements listed below.

Requirements for Application

Application to the M.S. program requires prior admission to the Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling Program.

In addition to prior admission, application to the Master of Science Program requires the following:

  • A demonstrated capacity for initiative and independent research
  • Completion of one of the following, taken in place of Research Methods in Counseling (MHC 535), with a grade of B or better:
CPSY 538Advanced Research Methods (for those with demonstrated skills and experience in research)3
CPSY 530Research Methods and Statistics I (for those with no research background)3
  • Completion of one of the following, with a grade of B or better:
CPSY 531Research Methods and Statistics II (for those interested in conducting quantitative research)3
CPSY 537Qualitative Research Methods (for those interested in conducting qualitative research)2
  • Completion of a thesis proposal, including a timeline for completing the project, agreement by a faculty member to serve as chair of a thesis committee, and designation of a three-person faculty committee
  • Formal approval of a thesis proposal by a thesis committee
Degree Requirements

A minimum of 62 semester hours, distributed as follows:

Students must meet all regular requirements for a Master of Arts in Professional Mental Health Counseling  (except Research Methods in Counseling (MHC 535)), and take the following:

CPSY 594Proposal Writing (students who took CPSY 531 take 1 semester hour of Proposal Writing; students who took CPSY 537 take 2 semester hours of Proposal Writing)1-2
CPSY 595Master's Thesis Research (satisfactory completion of a thesis—a minimum of 2 semester hours and maximum of 9 semester hours is required)2

Practicum and Internship Information

Students in Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling—Specialization in Addictions enroll in a practicum course for two terms (MHC 580, 6 semester hours total) as well as two terms of internship (MHC 582 or MHC 583, 6 credit hours total). Practicum courses will be held at the Lewis & Clark Community Counseling Center. Students may also obtain a secondary practicum site at another community agency with approval of the program director.  Student work with community clients is supervised live and through individual/triadic supervision with a faculty member. Practicum courses generally require spending a minimum of six hours a week at the Community Counseling Center, as well as making case presentations, transcribing session recordings, and other study and/or supervision related to client care. 

To provide students with the widest range of internship opportunities to meet their professional goals, over 100 agencies in Portland and its surrounding communities are approved for placement. Prospective interns contact and interview with agencies in conjunction with our annual internship fair. Students can expect to schedule 16-20 hours per week at the internship site in addition to weekly group supervision on campus.

Prior to enrollment in a practicum or internship, students must complete a portfolio of their work in the program, including coursework, field work, and other professional activities. Students must also be approved for clinical work by the program director or designee. More information is available in the program handbook, available online.

Master of Arts Courses

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CPSY 506 Life Span Development

Content: Exploration of life span development through the lenses of social, cultural, cognitive, biological, and learning theories and research. Emphasis is on gaining better conceptual understanding of healthy development and better practical understanding of how to help children, adolescents, and adults address the developmental challenges they face across the life span. Particular focus placed on understanding our own developmental processes as well as the role of cultural difference and commonality in the developmental process.
Prerequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502 and MHC 513.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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CPSY 514 Group Counseling With Children and Adolescents

Content: Instruction and practice in developing group treatments for children and adolescents in clinical and school settings. Students gain practice as group leaders in addressing issues related to group dynamics, cultural diversity, potential problems encountered when running groups, and generalization and maintenance of behavioral change. Students also gain experience constructing curricula for specific issues such as divorce, substance use, grief, and social skills.
Prerequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling or Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502 or MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509 or MHCA 511, MHC 513, CPSY 522, CPSY 530 or MHC 535, MHC 534, MHC 511 or CPSY 550. For students in Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy programs, CPSY 504, CPSY 506, MCFT 526; for students in the School Psychology program, SPSY 502.
Restrictions: Consent of Counseling Psychology department required.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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CPSY 515 Group Counseling With Adults

Content: Introduction to the major schools of thought regarding group therapy and the common factors associated with positive outcomes. Covers group dynamics, obstacles to success in group therapy, and the stages of group process. Role-playing, outside group membership, and demonstrations illustrate principles of effective group leadership.
Prerequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502 or MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509 or MHCA 511, MHC 513, CPSY 522, CPSY 530 or MHC 535, MHC 534 or CPSY 504, MHC 511 or CPSY 550. For Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy students, CPSY 504, CPSY 506, MCFT 526.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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CPSY 522 Diagnosis of Mental and Emotional Disorders

Content: Introduction to the structure and uses of the DSM-5 and ICD-10 systems for diagnosing mental and emotional disorders. Limits and weaknesses of these approaches--especially with regard to cultural differences--and alternatives to them. How to use these systems effectively in the context of person-centered, psychosocial, and systemic interventions, and in culturally diverse environments. Current knowledge, theory, and issues regarding selected disorders. Use of technology-based research tools to secure and evaluate contemporary knowledge.
Prerequisites: For Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy students, MCFT 502. For Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 513, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530 or MHC 538. For Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502, CPSY 506, MHCA 511, MHC 513, CPSY 550, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538.
Corequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHC 509 and MHC 511.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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CPSY 523 Counseling and Interventions with Children and Adolescents

Content: Mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders of childhood and adolescents. Topics include identification, diagnosis, and planning of multifaceted counseling intervention and treatment strategies; developmental, social, and cultural influences on diagnoses and interventions; ecological and social-justice-oriented conceptualization and intervention across systems.
Prerequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 513, MHC 511, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538. For Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502, CPSY 506, MHCA 511, MHC 513, CPSY 522, CPSY 530 or MHC 538, CPSY 504, CPSY 550. For Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy students, CPSY 504, CPSY 506, MCFT 526.
Corequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling and Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHC 534.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 503 Introduction to Professional Counseling

Content: Basic theoretical assumptions of the counseling profession, with an overview of its historical roots, social and cultural contexts, types of practice, ethical principles, and professional orientation.
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: MHC 513.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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MHC 509 Practical Skills for Counselors

Content: Overview of basic counseling concepts and skills, including skill development through role-playing and simulated counseling experiences.
Prerequisites: MHC 503, MHC 513.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 511 Cultural Foundations and Social Justice

Content: This course is intended to increase the student's understanding of the issues and dynamics in counseling across social and cultural lines. Students will explore the nature of society and culture and how these impact the counseling process. Students will broaden their scope of diversity awareness and knowledge including systems of power and privilege. Attention will be given to developing an understanding of the intersectionality of gender, class, race, and ethnicity in working with diverse populations in a counseling context. Particular attention is paid to students' understanding of themselves as cultural beings and their identities as helping professionals. This work is foundational for an introduction to methods and skills for working with clients who are diverse in culture, race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or physical or mental abilities.
Prerequisites: MHC 503.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 513 Theory and Philosophy of Counseling

Content: Overview of counseling theories such as psychoanalytic, Adlerian, client-centered, cognitive-behavioral, multi-modal, Gestalt, feminist, existential, solution-focused, and brief therapy, as well as integrative approaches. Examines a wide range of theoretical perspectives and advocates professional knowledge of best practices. Students acquire knowledge of various counseling theories and critique their relevance to diverse populations and clinical situations. Students clarify their personal assumptions and learn how to explain their own theoretical stance. Issues of diversity and client matching are addressed throughout.
Prerequisites: None.
Corequisites: MHCA 502, MHC 503 or MCFT 502.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 524 Counseling and Interventions with Adults

Content: Identification, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental, emotional, substance abuse, and addictive disorders in late adolescence and adulthood. Covers adjustment, mood, anxiety, psychotic, dissociative, impulse, sexual, personality, and addictive disorders, including gambling and eating disorders. Topics include multicultural, interpersonal, and relationship factors; evidence-based treatments; and information technology research tools. Emphasis is on planning comprehensive, multifaceted treatment interventions.
Prerequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling or Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502 or MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509 or MHCA 511, MHC 513, CPSY 530 or MHC 535, MHC 511 or CPSY 550. For Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy students, CPSY 504, CPSY 506.
Corequisites: CPSY 522 (may be taken prior to or concurrently with MHC 524).
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 532 Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling

Content: Consideration of the applicable ethical and legal issues for mental health and school settings. Students develop skills in writing reports, assessments, and treatment plans.
Prerequisites: MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509, MHC 513, MHC 511 or CPSY 550, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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MHC 534 Child and Family Counseling

Content: An introduction to theoretical systems and practical approaches to working with children and families in various counseling settings. Ethical principles, self-awareness, personal counseling style and honoring of diversity will be examined through textbook reading, class discussions, reflective assignments, as well as various classroom activities to assist students in beginning work with children and families. Students will practice counseling skills related to working with children and families and will develop awareness and intentionality in conceptualization of child and family clients.
Prerequisites: MHCA 502 or MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509 or MHCA 511, MHC 513, MHC 511 or CPSY 550, CPSY 530 or MHC 535.
Restrictions: Admission to Professional Mental Health Counseling or Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 535 Research Methods in Counseling

Content: Foundations of psychological research. Students are introduced to qualitative and quantitative research processes and basic concepts. Topics include (1) elements of the research process; (2) types of designs, program evaluation; (3) ethical considerations of research: informed consent, research with diverse and vulnerable populations, research with children, human subjects review; (4) basic measurement concepts: validity, reliability, norms, score interpretation; and (5) basic statistical concepts: frequency distributions, central tendency, measures of variability, correlation, normal curve, hypothesis testing, significance tests. Students read and evaluate examples of published research. Reviews Web-based resources for conducting research.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 536 Introduction to Addiction Counseling and Psychopharmacology

Content: General survey course providing a broad overview of the field of addiction counseling and the impact of addiction on child, adolescent, and adult populations. The course will summarize key points drawn from the following areas: the American experience with addiction and recovery, theoretical explanations for understanding addiction and dual diagnosis, basic pharmacology and neuroscience, and assessment and treatment issues specific to dual diagnosis and addiction counseling.
Prerequisites: MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509, MHC 513, CPSY 522, MHC 511 or CPSY 550, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538.
Corequisites: MHC 524, MHC 534.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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MHC 540 Career Counseling

Content: Career development theories; current career trends, concerns, and programs/interventions for diverse client populations; career counseling strategies, tools, and resources (including Web-based resources); facilitation of client awareness, choice, and action with respect to career-related issues; integration of career counseling with mental health and addictions treatment. Emphasis is on developing a broad view of career as lifestyle, the mutual impact of career and culture, and the practical application of theory and information in a professional counseling context.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 2-3 semester hours.

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MHC 541 Introduction to Assessment

Content: Principles of psychological assessment as employed in school, clinical, and applied settings. Addresses psychometric concepts such as validity, reliability, norms, and score interpretation. Surveys intelligence, personality, career, interest, aptitude, and achievement tests and reviews alternative methods of assessing competence and person-situation interactions. Contemporary issues such as the validity of instruments for diverse populations and the impact of technology on assessment are discussed.
Prerequisites: For Professional Mental Health Counseling students, MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509, MHC 513, MHC 534, MHC 511, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538. For Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions students, MHCA 502, CPSY 506, MHCA 511, MHC 513, CPSY 504, CPSY 550, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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MHC 548 Trauma and Crisis Intervention in Counseling: Theoretical Foundations, Response Models, and Interventions Across the Life Span

Content: This class includes the basic historical and theoretical foundations of crisis intervention and treatment of the effects of trauma. The main focus of study is current theory and practice models as well as the application of skills and techniques utilized in crisis interventions. The effects of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events will be differentiated across the lifespan. Principles of crisis intervention for people during crises disasters and other trauma-causing events will be examined utilizing a worldview context. Counselor self-care practice will be integrated into crisis and trauma work to bring into awareness and ameliorate the effects of crisis and trauma exposure.
Prerequisites: MHC 503, MCFT 504, SPSY 506, MHC 509, MHC 532, MHC 513, CPSY 514 or CPSY 515, CPSY 522, CPSY 523, MHC 524, CPSY 530 or MHC 535, CPSY 534 or CPSY 550.
Corequisites: MHC 580.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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MHC 549 Clinical Reasoning: Theory and Research to Practice

Content: This course assists students in developing critical thinking, case conceptualization, and treatment planning skills. Students develop their abilities to gather data, conceptualize from their emerging theoretical perspectives, and plan treatment. Uses an ecological and social-justice framework to view the client in context, apply evidence-based practice with cultural sensitivity, and plan interventions across multiple systems (individual, family, and community)
Prerequisites: MHC 532.
Corequisites: MHC 580.
Credits: 1 semester hour.

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MHC 580 Practicum in Counseling

Content: Working with clients in the practicum clinic, agency or school setting (eight to 10 hours per week, 150 hours total) under intensive supervision from CPSY faculty, developing the therapeutic relationship and basic counseling competencies. Students are expected to demonstrate personal characteristics and professional conduct necessary for effective, ethical counseling. Two semesters, 3 credit hour each required.
Prerequisites: MHC 503, CPSY 506, MHC 509, MHC 532, MHC 513, CPSY 522, MHC 524, MHC 534, MHC 511 or CPSY 550, and one of the following: MHC 535, CPSY 530, or CPSY 538.
Corequisites: CPSY 514 or CPSY 515, CPSY 523 (may be taken prior to or concurrent with).
Restrictions: Consent of the program director.
Credits: 1-3 semester hours.

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MHC 582 Mental Health Internship: Adult Emphasis

Content: Internship in a community setting. Participants engage in counseling and related professional activities under supervision. Students write reports, prepare case histories, and submit work samples for supervisory review.
Prerequisites: MHC 580.
Restrictions: Consent of internship coordinator.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 583 Mental Health Internship: Emphasis on Child and Family Problems

Content: Internship in a community setting. Participants engage in counseling and related professional activities under supervision. Students write reports, prepare case histories, and submit work samples for supervisory review.
Prerequisites: MHC 580.
Restrictions: Consent of internship coordinator.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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MHC 591 Professional Career Development

Content: This course is designed to apply principles of career development to the professional development of counselors in a variety of roles and settings. Administration, supervision, consultation, and other career-related opportunities for professional mental health counselors will be explored.
Prerequisites: MHC 580.
Corequisites: MHC 582 or MHC 583.
Credits: 1 semester hour.

Master of Science Courses

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CPSY 538 Advanced Research Methods

Content: Designed for students with a strong psychological research methods background and/or those who are considering conducting an independent research project and completing a thesis. The course builds on student’s base of knowledge and provides opportunities to learn more about new and innovative designs and/or methods. Research paradigms, qualitative, quantitative, and program evaluation methods will be covered over the course.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Consent of instructor or at least one research methods and one statistics class taken as part of an undergraduate degree program passed with a B+ or better. (If you have only taken one course, but have other research experience such as writing a thesis or working as a research assistant, you may still be eligible.)
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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CPSY 530 Research Methods and Statistics I

Content: Introduction to research methods with an emphasis on design, sampling, measurement issues, and introductory data analysis. Topics include (1) research design: elements of the research process, types of designs, program evaluation; (2) ethical considerations of research: informed consent, research with diverse and vulnerable populations, research with children, human subjects review; (3) basic measurement concepts: validity, reliability, norms, score interpretation; (4) basic statistical concepts: frequency distributions, central tendency, measures of variability, correlation. Reviews Web-based resources for conducting research. Note: Taught during the fall semester only, as the first course of a two-semester sequence. Students who wish to pursue the thesis-option M.S. program are advised to take this sequence as early as possible in their course of study.
Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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CPSY 531 Research Methods and Statistics II

Content: Research design and data analysis, inferential statistics. Simple and complex designs, normal distribution, z-test, t-test, analysis of variance, statistical power, simple regression. Overview of nonparametric and multivariate analysis. Note: Taught in spring semester only, as the second course of a two-semester sequence. Students who wish to pursue the thesis-option M.S. program are advised to take this sequence as early as possible in their course of study.
Prerequisites: CPSY 530.
Credits: 3 semester hours.

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CPSY 537 Qualitative Research Methods

Content: Overview and application of qualitative research methods. Through course readings, discussion, and practical application, candidates explore: (1) different approaches in qualitative research and epistemologies and common theoretical perspectives that undergird qualitative inquiry, and (2) various methods and techniques for gathering, interpreting, and making meaning of in-depth and rich information about things as they occur in their natural settings. Candidates gain the skills necessary to review and critique qualitative research and to design and undertake their own qualitative research.
Prerequisites: None.
Restrictions: Consent of instructor or program director.
Credits: 2 semester hours.

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CPSY 594 Proposal Writing

Content: Direct instruction and support for the process of preparing a thesis and/or other research or grant proposals. Includes both a colloquium and individual consultations with a thesis chair (or, if not writing a thesis, another faculty member). The colloquium will focus on the refinement of research questions, the specifics of research design, and the Human Subjects in Research application process. Consultations with thesis committee chair or other faculty member will focus on the development of a manuscript that clearly details the purpose of the research, summarizes relevant literature, and identifies the proposed design and methodology for the research project.
Prerequisites: CPSY 530 and CPSY 531, or consent of instructor.
Restrictions: Permission of thesis coordinator.
Credits: 1 semester hour.

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CPSY 595 Master's Thesis Research

Content: Completion of thesis research project under the direction of the chair of the candidate's thesis committee. Three semester hours, which can be taken in 1-semester hour increments, are required for degree. Grades are deferred until the candidate has successfully defended his or her thesis.
Prerequisites: Consent of thesis committee chair.
Restrictions: Consent of thesis committee chair.
Credits: 1-9 semester hours.