Valparaiso University

valparaiso-universityLocated in Valparaiso, Indiana, Valparaiso University is a regionally accredited private university. The school, commonly known as Valpo, is a four-year, coed Lutheran institution that enrolls approximately 4,500 students each year. Valpo encompasses a law school, a graduate school and five undergraduate colleges, making it the largest independent Lutheran university in the country. Founded in 1859 by Methodists, Valpo is also home to the Chapel of the Resurrection, the second-largest collegiate chapel in the world.

Valparaiso University Accreditation Details

Valparaiso University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Valparaiso University Application Requirements

Undergraduate applicants must complete an application and submit the required supplementary items, including SAT and/or ACT scores and official high school transcripts. Students who have other college-level tests or Advanced Placement scores must submit these results and complete a ZeeMee page to help the admissions team get to know them better. Graduate applicants must also complete an application, pay the $20 or $30 application fee, depending on the degree sought, and submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Two academic or professional recommendation letters are also required as is a statement of purpose. The school waives the application fee if the applicant schedules a campus visit.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate students can expect to pay an annual tuition $37,550 for 12-19 credits per semester. Students who take fewer than 12 credits are charged $1,665 per credit hour. Graduate degrees cost $630 per credit hour, and those pursuing a degree from Valparaiso's Law School are charged $40,600 per year. Valparaiso offers a number of financial aid options, and students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to determine eligibility. Types of aid include scholarships, loans, grants and/or campus employment, depending on the family's needs.

Psychology and Counseling Degrees Available

Valparaiso University's Psychology Department offers a number of degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Each undergraduate degree introduces students to experimental and statistical methods as well as the major branches of the discipline. Every major requires hands-on research experience, and independent research projects, research assistantships and courses with laboratory components are all available.

Students may focus their interest in particular areas through electives, and the department encourages undergraduates to supplement their psychology education with work in related fields. All majors are recommended to take a capstone course that integrates the growth and knowledge the student has acquired through the major. Outstanding students are encouraged to write honors theses.

The 27-hour Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree offers a broad background in psychology to undergraduates who are pursuing a minor or second major in any discipline, including social sciences, humanities and arts. Students must take additional psychology credits that total at least 40 hours, and key courses cover topics such as advanced professional development in psychology, research methods in psychology, statistical methods, general psychology and an introduction to professional development in psychology. Students must also satisfactorily complete general education requirements to earn their degree.

The 27-hour Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree is designed for students who are seeking a second major in a scientific discipline such as physics, meteorology, mathematics, geography, engineering, computer science, chemistry, biology or astronomy. This is a popular degree for students who wish to pursue careers in the health field. Core psychology courses include topics such as statistics, general psychology, professional development and research methods.

Students pursuing the 32-hour Bachelor of Science in Psychology must declare a 32-credit complementary major in environmental science, a second major in a non-science discipline, a disciplinary science minor or a minor in fundamentals of business administration, business, engineering, applied statistics or geographic information systems. Key psychology courses are the same as the 27-hour Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Psychology degrees, and the core curriculum strengthens critical thinking and communication skills while introducing students to global traditions and cultures.

The 40-hour Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree option from Valparaiso University is typically chosen by students who wish to pursue careers or graduate study in psychology. The degree provides a solid background in the major areas of the discipline as well as rigorous training. Students are not required to have a second major or any minor.

Pursuing a graduate program in psychology and/or counseling can open doors for additional positions and higher salaries. Valparaiso University offers a number of training options in the field of psychology and counseling that meet each student's professional and personal goals. Well-qualified undergraduate students may apply for early entry into the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and complete a maximum of 12 credits of graduate coursework during their senior year that can be applied toward the graduate degree. The Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree serves as a professional and ethical point of entry for graduates who are interested in developing the skills necessary to become a licensed professional counselor.

The program emphasizes basic counselor competencies, awareness of cultural spirituality and diversity and the development of professional identity. The program is CACREP-accredited and provides training and education in areas such as human development, lifestyle and career development, research and program evaluation, appraisal, counseling theory and practice, group processes and mental health counseling foundations. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to seek licensure as a clinical mental health counselor. Valpo's CMHC program is the only program of its kind housed within a psychology department, and it is the only specialty in the field of counseling that leads to licensure.

See also: Top 25 Most Affordable Master's Degrees in Counseling in the Midwest 2017

In addition, Valparaiso University offers two dual degrees in law and psychology. Aspects of legal practice often involve some type of psychology, including understanding psychological testimony and reports, selecting juries, predicting behavior, inferring motivation, empathy for clients and nuanced interviewing. The two dual degree options enable graduate study in counseling and psychology, and these programs are offered via a collaboration between the Law School and the Graduate School. Each option provides a different level of psychological competency as it relates to legal practice. Students should know that the total number of credits required for the dual degree is fewer than that required for individual degrees since a limit amount of coursework for each degree may apply toward the other. The two available degrees are a Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Psychology or a Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students pursuing the latter from Valparaiso University may be eligible for licensure.