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 

    • Graduate Program application:
      • Please apply online at:
    • 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” as well as 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.
      • All official transcripts can be mailed to:

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

    • Personal statement:
      • The personal statement is a typewritten paper outlining your interests and professional goals (maximum of 2 pages double spaced). This statement is an integral part of your application. 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?
      • Please upload your personal statement to your personalized online ‘Application Tracker’ page after you submit your online application.
    • Current resume:
      • Please upload your resume to your personalized online ‘Application Tracker’ page after you submit your online application.
    • Three recommendations:
      • The recommendations need to be from individuals who can speak to your character, academic capability, and motivation/interest exhibited in obtaining an advanced degree in this field.
      • In your personalized online ‘Application Tracker’ page, you will be asked to enter in the email addresses for three references. An email will be sent to those three references asking them to complete and submit the online General Psychology Recommendation Form. (They are welcome to provide an optional supplemental letter in addition to the form as well).

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

    Interview and Admission Decision:
    Immediately following receipt of all application materials, your file will be reviewed by the Program Director to determine whether to move forward with an interview. You will then be contacted with information about your next steps. After completion of your interview (or after review of your file), you will be notified of an admission decision via email.

    Notice to applicants who are still enrolled in classes at their current institution: In lieu of an official copy of your undergraduate transcript, please submit an unofficial copy of your current undergraduate transcript including your courses in progress. Upon receipt of all other application materials, you may still be invited for an interview and be given a provisional admission decision, contingent upon our receipt of your final, official transcript once your final grades are posted.

    International Students Application Requirements

    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.



    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.
    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, 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 recommendation forms can be submitted online via the applicant’s personalized “Application Tracker” page.

    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 July 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?
    Immediately following receipt of all application materials, your file will be reviewed by the Program Director to determine whether to move forward with an interview.  You will then be contacted with information about your next steps. After completion of your interview (or after review of your file), you will be notified of an admission decision via email within one week .

    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:  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: Director of Admission for Graduate and Postbaccalaureate Programs, at or 563.588.7140. For more information about the General Psychology curriculum, please contact Dr. Steffanie Schilder: Program Director, at

    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.


    What are current tuition rates for the Master of Arts in General Psychology?
    Visit the Graduate section of our Tuition & Fees page for detailed cost information.n.

    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 for more information.

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

    Tuition & Fees

    Master of Arts in General Psychology Program Cost

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

    Steffanie Schilder, Ph.D. 
    Associate Professor of Psychology
    Master of Arts in Counseling Program Director
    563.588.7783 |

    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.

    View Full Bio »

    Schilder teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. In the undergraduate program, she teaches Introductory Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Intro to Clinical Psychology and Human Sexuality. 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 enjoys working with students in learning the research process, conducting research and presenting at professional conferences. She has taken students to the national American Psychological Association Convention to present for several years.

    Kirstin Lauritsen, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    563-588-7228 |

    Kirstin Lauritsen is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Loras College. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Bowling Green State University.

    View Full Bio »

    She completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Northern Iowa and her Undergraduate Degree at Luther College.

    David Paine, Ph.D.
    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    563.588.7226 |

    David Paine is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Loras College. He completed his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Boston University.

    View Full Bio »

    Paine’s research interests include humility, mental health, positive psychology, relational spirituality, religious practice, spiritual struggles, experiential avoidance, disappointment, meaning and the integration of psychology and theology.

    Mary Johnson, Ph.D.
    Professor Emerita of Psychology
    563.588.7228 |

    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.

    View Full Bio »

    Johnson is a Licensed Psychologist and a Certified Mental Health Provider with over 30 years of 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.