Master of Arts in General Psychology

Our Community Needs You

The Loras General Psychology program is tailored to meet the needs of working professionals and new graduate students. The curriculum is designed to enhance the professional competencies and involvement of people who desire more knowledge about the psychological aspects of human function. Students have opportunities to study general psychology topics with academic faculty and experienced mental clinicians.

 

Application Requirements

Master of Arts in General Psychology Program Application Checklist (Degree Seeking Student)

  • Online Graduate Program application: loras.edu/apply
  • All official transcripts from each institution attended, including undergraduate and graduate. For a transcript to be considered official it must be sent from that institution’s Registrar’s Office to Loras College Graduate Admissions. (Transcript “issued to student” will not be considered official.  Faxed and copied transcripts will not be considered official.)
    • A minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 (or 2.9 in the last 60 credits) is required for admission.
    • Completion of at least 9 credits in the behavioral sciences is required for admission.
  • Applicant statement: a typewritten statement outlining your interests and professional goals. This statement is an integral part of your application (maximum of 2 pages double spaced).  Please address the following information:
    • How did you become interested in psychology?
    • What specific factors have led you to apply to Loras College?
    • What do you consider to be your outstanding strengths and weaknesses? Please also comment on your specific skills, talents, aptitudes.
    • Please briefly describe any participation in research or employment which might be relevant to your application.
    • What are your professional goals?
  • Current resume or vitae.
  • Three recommendations: Please have your references complete the Letter of Recommendation Form. (They are welcome to provide a supplemental letter in addition to the form as well). The recommendations need to be from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s character, academic capability, and motivation/interest exhibited in obtaining an advanced degree in this field.
  • Interview with faculty of the Graduate Psychology program following receipt and review of all application materials.

You will be notified of an admission decision via email after completion of your interview. After acceptance, you will be required to sign the Ethical Conduct Form as part of your active file.

Application deadlines:

Spring enrollment – all materials due by December 1
Summer enrollment – all materials due by April 1
Fall enrollment – all materials due by April 1
Applications submitted after these deadlines will be considered on an individual basis.

Materials may be sent to: 

  • Applicant statement, resume, and letters of recommendation can be emailed to:
    megan.henderson@loras.edu
  • All official transcripts can be mailed to:

Loras College Graduate Admission
Attn: Megan Henderson
1450 Alta Vista Street
Dubuque, IA  52001

International Students:

In addition to the standard application requirements above, international students whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by submitting one of the official test scores below (Loras College’s school code is 6370):

  • TOEFL
    • PBT (paper based score) 550 or higher
    • IBT (internet based score) 79 or higher
    • CBT (computer based score) 213 or higher
  • IELTS
    • 6.5 or higher
  • SAT
    • Composite test score of 1410 or higher (calculate Reading, Math, and Writing for the composite score)

At the time of admission, you will be sent a Certification of Finances form to complete and send back to us (along with a passport photo) so that we can start the I-20 process.

Course Requirements

Required Courses for General Psychology
(39 credit hours total)

L.PSY-527 Human Growth & Development
L.PSY-605 Research & Program Evaluation
L.PSY-612 Professional Orientation and Identity
L.PSY-615 Assessment
L.PSY-635 Social and Cultural Diversity
L.PSY-637 Career Development
Required Course Credits: 18

The remaining 21 credits of course work can be selected from the following course offerings:
L.PSY-535 Addictions
L.PSY-539 Psychology of Stress & Coping
L.PSY-558 Child Psychopathology
L.PSY-623 Adulthood and Aging
L.PSY-625 Psychopathology
L.PSY-633 Physiological Psychology
L.PSY-643 Group Work
L.PSY-647 Helping Relationships
Any other non-clinical course offerings.

[General Psychology students may not take clinical coursework including: PSY 649, 696, 698, 699.]

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

L.PSY-527 Human Growth and Development
This course is designed to enhance understanding of how we develop and change across the life span both as individuals and within a family context. Course materials include the study the characteristics of various aspects of development at different ages and the influences and factors that produce change and stability as well as crisis, disability and psychopathology. This course is structured by topic versus by chronology, thereby lending the learning process to a greater in depth understanding of areas of development (e.g. intelligence, language, gender identification and other topics). Course materials also consider controversies associated with our understanding of development. Examples include the nature nurture debate, the continuity (or lack of continuity) in development, the value and limitations of various theories of development. The range of developmental theories covered in this course includes learning theory, theories that emphasize biology and theories of personality development. In the consideration of situational and environmental factors that influence development course materials will contrast those factors that contribute to both abnormal and normal behavior with particular emphasis on strategies that facilitate optimum development. Ethical and legal considerations that health professionals need to consider will also be covered. 3 credits.

L.PSY 539 Psychology of Stress & Coping
In this course the student will learn basic principles related to the psychobiology of stress & coping. Current psychological research regarding stress & coping will be examined.  A variety of coping strategies will be outlined.  The use of stress reduction techniques in therapy and in one’s own life will be highlighted.  3 credits.

L.PSY-558 Child Psychopathology
A study of behavioral, developmental, and psychological disorders of childhood and adolescence. Emphasis is placed on the assessment and treatment of child psychopathology. 3 credits.

L.PSY-561 The Psychology of Gender
A cross-disciplinary examination of how gender influences and shapes the lives of women and men. Topics include: the process and history of gender socialization; gender in the workplace; gender images in the media and literature; differences and similarities in cognitive styles and moral reasoning. 3 credits.

L.PSY-595 Special Topics in Psychology
Flexible offerings that allow students an opportunity to explore, with a professor and other students, an area of mutual interest. The students for these courses are screened by the teacher(s) to ensure their potential for course contribution, since students as well as teachers are expected to present positions in the area to be studied. 3 credits.

L.PSY-605 Research and Program Evaluation
This course is designed to provide an understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation. It will include an awareness of the importance of research as well as the limitations and difficulties in conducting research in the counseling field. Course materials will include information about specific methods such as single case designs, action and outcome-based research as well as both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Students will be able to demonstrate basic computer literacy and access technological tools for conducting research. Program evaluation is a major component of the course and includes awareness of needs assessment, outcome evaluation and program modification strategies. A consideration of the application of research findings to improving counseling effectiveness is also a component of the course. Relevant legal and ethical issues will be considered in all aspects of the course. 3 credits.

L.PSY-612 Professional Identity
This course provides an overview of counseling profession: its history and its connection to other human and health service providers. The course materials will include an understanding of ACA, its activities and services as well as its overall structure and philosophy. Students will learn about credentialing, licensure and accreditation procedures as well as public and private policy processes that constitute the professionalization of mental health work. The value of technological competence and computer literacy will be emphasized. In becoming aware of rights and privileges accorded to mental health professionals students will also learn about the importance of advocating for clients in addressing institutional and social barriers that limit or impede success. Course materials will include a thorough review of the ACA ethical code as well as code of other related professions as they contribute to and promote sound ethical and legal decisions making in professional counseling. 3 credits.

L.PSY-615 Assessment
In this course students be provided and understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment. Course materials include a consideration of historical perspectives on assessment, basic concepts of standardized and non-standardized testing including norm and criterion referencing, environmental and performance evaluation, individual and group testing, behavioral observation, and computer bases methods of assessment. There will be a review of statistical concepts central to the assessment process with an emphasis on concepts of reliability and validity. Person and environmental variables such as age, gender, culture and other variables related to accurate assessment processes will be considered thoroughly. Students will become familiar with strategies for selecting, administering and interpreting assessment instruments as they relate to case conceptualization, diagnosis and the overall counseling process. Ethical and legal considerations will be considered throughout all aspects of the course. 3 credits.

L.PSY-623 Psychology of Adulthood and Aging
A survey of modern knowledge about the processes of becoming old (aging) and old age itself. Emphasis is placed on cognitive processes, personality, and mental health. 3 credits.

L.PSY-625 Psychopathology
This course is designed to provide an understanding of mental disorders experienced by persons across the life span. It will include consideration of the characteristics of disorders as well as common categorizations of disorders utilized by the U.S. health care system. The course will emphasize the role of adaptation and stress mechanisms in the developments of disorders. The course materials will review genetic, physiological, cognitive, environmental and other variables as to their impact on the development, severity, course, and persistence of various types of disorders. Students will consider theoretical underpinnings/perspectives as well as various research methods and how they contribute to our understanding various aspects of disorders. A review of methods of prevention and intervention that can be used to minimize and modify the severity of disorders will also be included as a focus of this course. 3 credits.

L.PSY-633 Physiological Psychology
Neuroanatomical and neuro-physiological basis of behavior, relationships among anatomy and physiology, and motivation, emotion, learning, memory, and sleep. This course will also include a consideration of current major psychotropic medications, their use and impact on behavior. 3 credits.

L.PSY-635 Social and Cultural Diversity
This course is designed to introduce students to multicultural issues involved in counseling. The course will emphasize both the cultural components and the social/political nature of groups nationally and internationally based on nationality, culture, age, mental and physical characteristics, education, family values, religious and spiritual values, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability. Topics of prejudice and discrimination as well as multicultural and pluralistic trends among and within these groups will be discussed. Course material will include theories of multicultural counseling, identity development and multicultural competency and also ethical and legal considerations. The course will consider the process of becoming an effective multicultural counselor in terms of becoming familiar with strategies for working with diverse populations and ethnic groups, individuals, couples, families and communities. Self-awareness of one’s perceptions, preconceptions, expectations, and behaviors towards various social groups, including one’s own groups, will be explored through experiential learning activities. 3 credits.

L.PSY-637 Career and Lifestyle Development
The course is designed to create an understanding of career development theories and decision-making models. Course materials will incorporate information about career information systems including technology-based career development applications and strategies, computer-assisted career guidance, relevant Web sites, labor market information resources, visual and print media and other relevant resources. The course will include information about career and educational planning, placement, and follow up evaluation. Students will become familiar with career assessment instruments, evaluation techniques and other resources which incorporate an awareness of the needs of specific populations. Students will also learn about the interrelationships among and between work, family, life roles and the influence of diversity and gender in career development. An emphasis on career program development, implementation and evaluation will also be included. Throughout the course there will be a consideration of ethical and legal issues associated with all aspects of career development. 3 credits.

L.PSY-643 Group Work
This course is designed to introduce students to the practice of group work. Course materials will include a review of theories of group counseling, principles of group dynamics from the perspective of leader development as well as the roles and behaviors of group members. Students will learn about the therapeutic factors, stages of group development, selection criteria, group leader orientation and training, and methods for evaluating group effectiveness. The course will also include a consideration of relevant research pertaining to group processes and development and the various applications and types of group work. Ethical and legal considerations concerning the use of group practice and the professional development of group leaders will also be explored throughout all aspects of the course. 3 credits.

L.PSY-647 Helping Relationships
This course is designed to provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes including an awareness of both counselor/consultant characteristics (such as age, gender, ethnicity, personal values and skills) and behaviors that influence the helping process as well as a knowledge counseling theories. The consideration of counseling theories will include an examination of the historical developments and an exploration of affective, behavioral, and cognitive theories that are consistent with current professional research and practice in the field. This course will incorporate an awareness of systems theory particularly as it applies to family systems. Students will be encouraged to develop a personal model of counseling based on an understanding of essential interviewing and counseling skills. These skills will include the ability to establish appropriate goals, effective strategies for accomplishing those goals and clarity about the components of therapeutic relationships especially the importance of maintaining professional boundaries. An awareness of technological strategies and applications and their usefulness in developing outcome assessment will also be emphasized. The course will include a consideration of the major models of consultation, their history, and an awareness of the appropriate application of those models. Legal and ethical consideration will be integrated into all aspects of the course. 3 credits.

 

Candidacy

Students who have been admitted to Loras College as a degree-seeking graduate student will be reviewed for Candidacy to continue on in the General Psychology program after the completion of at least 15 and not more than 21 Psychology credits. Students will be assessed on attributes of sociability (the capacity to form cooperative and interdependent relationships with others), interpersonal sensitivity (the capacity to relate to others with compassion and empathy) and professionalism (the capacity to commit one’s self to the technical and ethical standards of the counseling profession). The faculty will also assess each student’s academic performance at the graduate level.

A student will receive one of the following three recommendations.

  1. Acceptance to Candidacy: The student is fully accepted into the program and may proceed with further coursework and internship experiences.
  2. Acceptance to Candidacy Deferred: The student may continue his/her coursework but will need to successfully address areas of concern raised by the faculty during the candidacy review. The student, upon addressing said concerns, must reapply for acceptance to candidacy within 6 months of notification of deferred status. If the student has successfully addressed the specified said concerns, he/she will be recommended for Acceptance to Candidacy.
  3. Acceptance to Candidacy Denied: The student will be denied acceptance to candidacy if he/she has demonstrated an inability to meet the academic standards of the program. This would be manifested in a GPA of under 3.0 for their graduate coursework. A student may also be denied candidacy if he/she demonstrates unethical behavior or a pattern of misbehavior or inappropriate behavior in his/her dealings with classmates, professors, internship supervisors, or clients. Denial of candidacy will result in the student’s withdrawal from the program.
Frequently Asked Questions

Application and Admission

What are the academic requirements for admission into the Master of Arts in General Psychology Program?

  • A minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 (or 2.9 in last 60 credits)
  • Completion of at least 9 credits in the behavioral sciences

How do I apply for admission?
Interested applicants may apply by completing the online application and mailing all official transcripts to:
Loras College Graduate Admission
Attn: Megan Henderson
1450 Alta Vista Street
Dubuque, IA 52001

The resume, personal statement, and 3 letters of recommendation can be emailed directly to: megan.henderson@loras.edu.

What are the application deadlines?
Spring enrollment – all materials due by December 1
Summer enrollment- all materials due by April 1
Fall enrollment – all materials due by April 1

Applications submitted after these deadlines will be considered on an individual basis.

Does the Master of Arts in General Psychology program require an undergraduate degree in Psychology? What are preferred undergraduate majors for admission into the program?
The Master of Arts in General Psychology program does not require an undergraduate degree in Psychology, nor is any specific undergraduate degree identified.  Having either a psychology, education, social work, or equivalent degree is acceptable. Applicants must have completed at least 9 credits of coursework in the behavioral sciences.

How long will it take to receive a decision regarding my application?
After receipt of all application materials, your file will be reviewed by our program faculty. Shortly after, you will be notified about scheduling your interview – which is the completion of the application process. After the interview is complete, you will be notified of your admission decision within a week. After acceptance, you will be required to sign the Ethical Conduct Form as part of your active file.

How will I be notified of the admission decision?
You will be contacted by email once a decision has been made.

Can I take some courses as a non-degree student?

Yes, individuals who would like to take some graduate classes for professional development, continuing education credits, or just personal enrichment may take up to 9 graduate credits as a non-degree (“Special”) student.

In order to enroll in the course(s), students must complete the standard online application (select “Graduate Non-Degree” as the Admit Type), and email unofficial copies of transcripts from each institution attended to: megan.henderson@loras.edu.  The transcripts will then be evaluated by the Program Director to ensure that any necessary pre-requisite course requirements have been met. (Please note that enrolled degree-seeking students have registration preference if a course is full.)

After the completion of 9 non-degree credits, a student must then apply for formal admission into the program in order to move forward and take additional courses.

Graduate courses completed by a “Special” student with a grade of B or better may be applied to a future graduate degree at Loras College with the approval of both the Program Director and the Academic Dean.

Financial aid is not available to non-degree “Special” students.

How can I receive more information about the Master of Arts in General Psychology program?
For more information about the application and admission process, please contact Megan Henderson: Associate Director of Admission for Graduate Programs, at megan.henderson@loras.edu or 563-588-7140. For more information about the General Psychology curriculum, please contact Dr. Mary Johnson: Program Director, at mary.johnson@loras.edu.

Curriculum and Class Format

How many credits are required in the Master of Arts in General Psychology degree?
39 credits are needed to meet the course requirements for the Master of Arts in General Psychology.

What is the format of the Master of Arts in General Psychology classes?
The format of the classes is primarily face-to-face course instruction, but some classes are offered in an online format.

Is there a preferred entry point into the Master of Arts in General Psychology program?
There is no preferred entry point into the General Psychology program; students may be admitted into either the Spring, Summer, or Fall terms.

Does the Master of Arts in General Psychology program accept transfer credits?
Students can transfer a maximum of 9 graduate credits into the program from a previous institution. The courses must be similar in content to coursework offered at Loras and approved by the Program Director.

How long does it take to complete the program?
Students typically take two or three classes a semester, or at their own pace. Most students complete the program within 2-3 years. Please note: students have up to 7 years to complete the program.

What is a maximum course load per semester?
Typically 9, however students are allowed to take up to 12 depending on their program plan of study that they set up with their advisor.

What is the time commitment outside of class?
Time commitments vary depending on the course and individual’s specific skill set.  As a general rule, students will spend 4 – 6 hours per week outside of classroom instruction on class-related work for each class.

Where are classes held?
Classes are held on the beautiful Loras College campus in Hennessy Hall.

When do classes meet?
Each face-to-face class meets one evening per week, typically from 4:00pm – 6:30pm. For specific times and dates, see the course schedule prior to each academic semester.

Will there be an orientation prior to the first class?
Yes, students are required to attend the Graduate Student Orientation prior to beginning coursework so they can become familiar with the faculty, campus, services and their peers.

Does the program offer online courses?
Currently, 2 – 3 of the core courses are offered online.

Is Loras College accredited?
Yes, Loras College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Financial

What are current tuition rates for the Master of Arts in General Psychology?
Cost per credit for graduate coursework is $660. Technology fees are an additional $42/credit hour. Visit our Tuition section for more information.

Tuition and Fees are subject to change at any time.

Is financial aid available?
Students wishing to obtain a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan must complete the current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and take at least 3 credits per term. Please contact Julie Dunn, director of financial planning at (563) 588-7585 or julie.dunn@loras.edu for more information.

Loras College does not offer institutional scholarships for graduate students at this time.

Tuition & Fees

2018-2019 Master of Arts in General Psychology Tuition 

  • $660 per credit hour (39 total credits)
  • $42 Technology Fee per credit hour

Employer Reimbursement

  • The Employer Reimbursement Form must be completed.
  • Students are responsible for providing the course information, final grades, and billing information to their employer to obtain the reimbursement.
  • If the employer reimbursement criteria is not met and/or reimbursement is denied, the student must bring their account current before any future registration will be permitted.

Federal Loan Options

  • Students wishing to obtain a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan must complete the current year FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and take at least 3 credits per term.
  • The loan will disburse directly to the school to cover the cost of the term.
  • Graduate students are eligible for $20,500 in loan funds for each academic year.
  • The Loras College academic year runs from Summer – Spring (i.e. Summer 2018 – Spring 2019)

Contact us if you have additional Billing and Financial Aid Questions

Tuition and Fees are subject to change at any time.
Visit our Tuition & Fees page for more Financial Aid information

BENEFITS
Many employers value an employee’s interest in becoming more knowledgeable about the psychological aspects of human functioning . Students often receive promotions or pay advancements because of their addition of a graduate degree to educational credentials.  Courses are taught by doctoral level faculty with a wide breadth of specialty knowledge in multiple areas of study.

FLEXIBLE & CONVENIENT
Graduate students are often juggling work and family life at the same time. Our program is set up with your hectic schedule in mind.

  • Students typically take two or three classes a semester, or at their own pace.
  • Each class is held just one night per week, and starts at 4pm or later, which allows students to continue working while going to school.
  • Many students are able to finish the degree in as few as two years.

REPUTATION OF EXCELLENCE
The General Psychology graduate program at Loras has been in existence for almost 40 years. Loras College is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Straight Talk from a Duhawk

The intriguing classes made me want to pursue my degree at the school I already loved. When I complete my education, I’ll pursue my license and hope to work with military veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. I feel prepared through this program, with real experience in the field, to step into a counselor role after graduation.

Travis Guy (’11)

Straight Talk from a Duhawk

"The intriguing classes made me want to pursue my degree"

Meet Travis Guy
Loras College Department Staff

Mary Johnson, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
563.588.7228 | Mary.Johnson@loras.edu

Dr. Johnson earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa, with a research background in gender studies and burnout among healthcare workers. She is interested in all aspects of psychology, and mental health issues in particular. Dr. Johnson is a licensed Psychologist and a Certified Mental Health Provider with over 30 years’ experience providing mental health services to a wide range of people with a unique host of needs. She considers herself a serious advocate for the rights of the mentally ill and is a member of the licensing board for psychologists in the State of Iowa. Favorite class activities include listening to the wisdom students bring to the educational experience and being endlessly impressed with their intuition and novel ideas.

Mark Hopper, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
563.588.7226 | Mark.Hopper@loras.edu

Dr. Hopper earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Neuropsychology from Ball State University. His teaching interests include wellness, mindfulness, self-awareness and metacognition, and he has just begun a project on “The Monkey Mind,” i.e. discursive thinking. Dr. Hopper’s classes include Introduction to Psychology, Positive Psychology and Introduction to Clinical Psychology and Cognition, as well as graduate courses in Research and Program Evaluation and Career Counseling. He is inspired by the results of the mindfulness exercises he teaches in his Positive Psychology class, including Miksang—the art of mindful photography.

Steffanie Schilder, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
563.588.7783 | steffanie.schilder@loras.edu

Dr. Schilder earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her teaching and research interests are clinical in nature.  She is interested in mental health diagnoses and cross-cultural issues. In the graduate program, she teaches Helping Relationships, Social and Cultural Diversity, Marriage and Family, Assessment, and other clinical courses. Her research involves studying the impacts that autism has on the family, availability of services, and cross-cultural implications of diagnosis and treatment.  She is currently licensed in Iowa with her LMHC, Wisconsin with her LPC, and is pursuing licensure at a doctoral level.