M.S. in Psychology
California Polytechnic State University
1 Grand Ave.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Program Coordinator: Dr. Lisa Sweatt
Program details below are quoted from program websites, supplied here for informational purposes only, and subject to change at any time. Refer to the program website for current information, deadlines, complete admission requirements, etc. It is the responsibility of the prospective student to verify with program administrators program details and that the program still meets BBS requirements for licensure in the state of California.
Length of Program
Graduate courses are scheduled so that full-time students carrying 12-16 quarter units can secure their degree in 2 years. Many students take 2 ½-3 years to finish, however, because of the program's extensive clinical training. Student work, family, and other schedules may also make a longer timeline more feasible.
Courses are held in the day and evening and are offered only once a year.
Estimated Total Program Tuition
Entering Class Size
Fieldwork Hours Accrued during program
280 hours required, most students complete more
Personal Psychotherapy Requirement During Program
The professional and personal growth of each graduate student is of major importance; consequently, candidates are encouraged to seek the experience of personal therapy.
Comprehensive Exam/Culminating Project/Thesis/Etc:
The Master of Science degree in Psychology requires a culminating experience that includes either the completion of a thesis or passing a comprehensive exam.
University Application: December 1
Department Application: January 1
Undergraduate GPA Requirement
The M.S. Psychology Program accepts applicants with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees. All applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional association and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. Applicants with a GPA of at least 2.5 are considered if their application packets indicate that they are strong candidates in other areas.
Yes, within past 5 years
Accepted applicants must complete five (5) program prerequisites (3 semester/4 quarter units each) by July 31 prior to entering the program:
- Research Methods in Psychology
- Introductory Statistics
- Personality Theory
- Abnormal Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
These courses may be taken at Cal Poly as a matriculated undergraduate, through Cal Poly’s Open University or at another fully accredited institution, including on-line. In order to determine if a course you have taken satisfies one of our prerequisites, but has a different title than Cal Poly's, compare the content with the Expanded Prerequisite Course Outlines. Applicants who fail to complete these courses before their first quarter of enrollment will be dropped from the program.
Limited to two typewritten, double-spaced pages. The Personal Statement is a very important part of your application. It gives you the opportunity to show how various personal, sociocultural, educational, and occupational factors informed your decision to enter the helping profession. It also gives faculty an opportunity to gauge your level of insight, maturity, thoughtfulness and other qualities conducive to success in the field. Please address the following in your statement:
- Educational experience: Please describe coursework (e.g., Introduction to Clinical/Counseling Psychology), fieldwork (e.g., Internships), and/or research (e.g., Assistantships) that helped clarify your career goal.
- Professional activity: Please describe paid or volunteer work in counseling, education, social services, or health-care that has informed your career goals. If you have little related work-experience, we strongly suggest you consider applying after such experience has been obtained.
- Sociocultural experience: Please describe your development in cultural competency, including your experiences with and knowledge of diverse cultures, bilingual skills, travel, and experience living abroad, and how these experiences have contributed to your interest in becoming a mental health professional.
- Personal experience: Please describe family, social, and/or other personal factors influencing your interest in the profession. Feel free to note whether you have benefited from counseling. This section should be more specific than simply saying you grew up in a dysfunctional family, that people have always found it easy to talk to you, or that you've always wanted to be a therapist.
Related work or volunteer experience is highly desirable as is having received professional counseling.
Letters of Recommendation
Three letters of recommendation are REQUIRED. Carefully choose your recommenders and obtain letters from individuals who know you well and can attest to your academic, social, occupational, and/or personal attributes that would support your career choice as a therapist. Letters from friends and relatives are unacceptable.
(see program website for complete application requirements)
(Reprinted from program website.)
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is a 90-quarter unit professional degree program that fulfills the educational requirements for the state of California's Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) license.
The program's mission is to provide the state of California with highly competent master-level clinicians trained to counsel individuals, couples, families, and groups in a multicultural society. Graduates are often employed by County Mental Health, Social Services, and other inpatient and outpatient community mental health centers. Many graduates also build successful private practices. Fifteen percent of our graduates pursue doctoral studies in Clinical or Counseling Psychology.
Psychology and Child Development Department faculty members coordinate the M.S. Program and regularly teach graduate classes. Some courses are taught by mental health professionals from the community. The M.S. faculty is diverse in terms of professional degrees, clinical training, cultural background, and gender.
Graduate classes are small and students receive much individual attention in our on-campus practicum training clinic and community traineeship sites.