California State University Fullerton

| Staff Writers

Counseling and Psychology at California State University Fullerton

California State University Fullerton appears in our ranking of the Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the West.

There are four counseling and psychology degrees at California State University Fullerton–one undergraduate and three graduate. The Bachelor of Arts in Psychology is an appropriate starting point for careers in all areas of psychology from industrial to clinical to academic. The curriculum is designed so that students receive a broad foundation so they can better choose an area of expertise. Along with general university requirements, this degree requires 41 hours of psychology comprised of three introductory courses followed by advanced work in five areas like statistics and research, experimental, and social/developmental.

The undergrad program is part of the College of Humanities and Social Science which also houses two graduate programs, the M.A. in Psychological Research and the M.S. in Clinical Psychology. The former is more academic in nature while the latter is more practical leading to professional licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). The Master of Arts program requires at least 30 hours of coursework including completion of a thesis. The more clinical option, the M.S., combines academic research with the practical aspects of therapy and counseling. Graduates must complete 60 credit hours with both fieldwork and a thesis project.

The fourth counseling and psychology option at CSUF is part of the College of Health and Human Development. The degree program prepares students to be therapists with less of an emphasis on research. Students learn counseling theory and focus on clinical practice while taking 63 credit hours with extensive fieldwork involved. Graduates will have met the requirements for the LMFT and LPC certifications and are prepared for their internship before full licensure.

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About California State University Fullerton

CSUF is a large university located in Southern California that enrolls approximately 40,000 students each semester. Founded in 1957, this is a newer school and is part of the public University of California System. In each of the 109 distinct degree tracks, graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to look at their discipline from both a micro and macro perspective and are taught critical thinking skills with a goal of contributing something new to their field.

The university encourages continual improvement in all programs and has been ranked #25 on the U.S. News & World Report Most Innovative Schools list. The school also focuses on making higher education more accessible, and the counseling and psychology courses are offered during both daytime and evening hours with extra flexibility in course load for working students.

California State University Fullerton Accreditation Details

This university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) which is the certifying body for schools in the Pacific region. Accreditation is an important benchmark for students when choosing a school because it assures them that the institution provides a quality education and that it is run in a practical and sustainable way. The commission’s goal is not just to be a watchdog in the educational community but also to cultivate a culture of growth, improvement, and transparency in higher education. Completing this process also gives the school access to federal student loans and grants for their students.

Additionally, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, or CACREP, has evaluated and accredited the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program. The CACREP is a private organization that is only concerned with professional graduate degrees in counseling. Each program is judged based on eight curriculum areas including group counseling, assessment and testing, diversity, and cultural awareness.

California State University Fullerton Application Requirements

Admission to the undergraduate psychology program at CSUF simply involves the declaration of the major after admission to the university which is competitive. There are usually more applicants than enrollment slots, so the admissions board primarily evaluates a couple very specific aspects of the application. The first is the Eligibility Index which is a combination of GPA and either SAT or ACT scores. The second is the student’s geographical location with priority to local high school graduates, then California residents followed by out-of-state students.

For the graduate programs offered by the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, all prospective students need to be admitted first to the Graduate College by submitting a university application and then to the individual department with a specific departmental application. A statement of purpose, all previous transcripts documenting coursework along with completion of a bachelor’s degree, and three letters of recommendation are required supplements along with GRE scores which need to be submitted by the March 1st deadline. Both programs expect applicants to have previous research experience, and students applying for the M.S. need clinical experience as well. The minimum overall GPA accepted is a 2.5 with a psychology GPA of 3.0 and a 2.5 for the last 60 credit hours completed. Depending on the particular track, there are several required prerequisite classes as well.

Admission requirements are similar to the above for the College of Health and Human Development counseling master’s degree with a few exceptions, one being a minimum GPA of 3.0. At least two of four prerequisite courses including counseling theory and human development are also required before entrance with at least a 3.0 GPA. An interview and extended personal statement are part of the admissions process in place of the GRE. This program only accepts 60 students per year on campus with an application deadline of February 1st.

Tuition and Financial Aid

California State University Fullerton works hard to ensure that students graduate with as little debt as possible. Full-time tuition rates for residents are $3,415 for undergraduates and $4,132 for graduates rising to $9,355 and $10,074 respectively for out-of-state students. Everyone is encouraged to first complete a FAFSA, and then the financial aid office works with each student to find the appropriate combination of loans, grants, scholarships, and other types of aid. The Department of Psychology offers a few scholarships to top students as well as employment in research positions.

There are a variety of options for students to pursue psychology and counseling, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. These programs at California State University Fullerton prepare students to work in professional areas ranging from clinical counseling to academic research.

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