Loyola University Maryland

Department of Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

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When should I apply to graduate?

Check Loyola’s academic calendar. Applications are due the first day of class of the semester prior (e.g., May graduation applications are due the first day of class of the spring semester; September graduation applications are due the first day of class of the summer I semester; January graduation applications are due the first day of class of the fall semester).

How do I apply for graduation?

Go to the Records Office located at Maryland Hall room 141 and fill out the graduation application form.
I’m in my last semester of my program, but I’m still taking a core requirement class.

Can I graduate at the end of this semester?

Yes. For example, assume its spring semester and you plan to graduate in May. If you are still enrolled in core courses for your track, you can graduate as long as you take and pass the comprehensive exams. This would include any core course that you have not waived out of as well as the core courses you are currently enrolled in.

What is the difference between the Master’s Plus and CAS program?

The Master's Plus program is a non-degree/non-certificate bearing program. Students may complete anywhere from 3- to 30-credits in the Masters Plus.  The CAS program requires the completion of 30 credits in Psychology. Students are awarded a certificate at the completion of those 30 credits. Neither program has a set curriculum; students may take any counseling courses that they would like/need.

What steps should I take to finalize my thesis?

See the Master's thesis workbook that is on Inside Loyola.

When do I apply for the Master’s Plus program? Do I have to graduate first?

Students need to earn their master's degree before they can begin taking class in either the Master's Plus or CAS program. If a student will graduate in May and wishes to begin taking classes in the Masters Plus or CAS program in the summer, those applications are due by April 15th. If a student will graduate in September and wishes to begin taking classes in the CAS or Master's Plus program in the fall, those applications are due by June 15th. Students who will graduate in January and wish to begin the Master's Plus or CAS program in the spring should have applications submitted by November 15th.

It is important that students have their master's degrees conferred and then take additional courses needed under the Master's Plus or CAS programs. Students are NOT eligible for loans towards classes above and beyond the required credits for the degree (e.g., if a student decides to take 51 or 54 credits under the practitioner track, he/she will need pay out of pocket for any credits above the required 48).

I may not end up in Maryland. Where can I find information about state requirements for licensure?

Licensure requirements vary from state to state. It is in the student’s best interest to contact the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists in the state in which he/she is interested in becoming licensed to inquire about the specific academic, credit and hour requirements.  It is a good idea to start this process in your first year so that you can try to include any additional courses (e.g., field education additional hours) that the state requires. Students can check the American Counseling Association website for specific state requirements.

Generally, licensure includes: 1) A specific degree (Master's in Counseling or related field), 2) Specific educational coursework (e.g., may specify 14 specific courses), 3) specific practicum and field education hours (e.g., 600 field education hours), 4) Post-Master's Supervision hours (typically specify how many Individual Supervision hours vs. how many they will accept in Group Supervision hours), 5) Professional Experience hours that varies by state (e.g., 3600) and the licensure law typically specifies a certain amount that must be face-to-face counseling hours since the license is for professional counselor licensure, and  6) Exams: Many states require the National Counselor Exam (NCE), some states specify a clinical exam, such as the NCMHE (e.g., Virginia), and a state ethics law test (will test you on professional identity issues, ethical standards and decision making, and the state law for professional counselors in that state).

Note that often states want additional field education hours. You can request to take additional externship classes as electives while you are enrolled to accommodate these requirements (There is a Department policy that students can take no more than 4 externships within the Master's degree). Many students also enroll in the Master's Plus program so that they can take additional field education hours as well. You should check, however, to see if the state requires that these hours occur while enrolled in the Master's degree program.

The major issue that has come up for many alumni and students is that there is no uniformity across state licensure requirements. This is because professional counseling is not a standardized curriculum like what we see in psychologist training and social work training. Part of the reason is there are many identities in counseling: guidance counseling, school counseling, music therapy, art therapy, marriage and family counseling, and mental health counseling. Each of these professional identities tend to have specific curriculum requirements. That is why it is very important for students to begin thinking of which state/s you want to live in, and begin reading the licensure requirements in that state.

Another issue is that many states will require applicants to have graduated from a CACREP accredited counseling program (CACREP is a counselor accreditation). Our programs are not CACREP approved but we have included the standard curriculum that is reflected in CACREP programs in our Counseling program. Many Clinical Psychology students have incorporated some of the licensure requirements that are not already reflected in their curriculum as their electives, however, these students may need to do additional requirements outside of their curriculum since the Clinical Psychology program emphasizes clinical assessment education/skills training. Also some states will say CACREP approved program or CACREP equivalency. When you see CACREP equivalency, this means that you will need to submit your course descriptions and syllabi to request a review to show you have course equivalency to the CACREP requirements. Therefore, all students must keep course descriptions (which you can download) and a copy of every course syllabi. The Psychology Department cannot keep copies of every syllabus into the future; therefore, it is every student’s responsibility to create your own portfolio file that will maintain a copy of all of these important documents before you exit the University.

Where can I find information about former student’s experiences at an externship site I’m considering?

See the Field Education Assistant in Beatty Hall 220 to review site evaluations from past semesters.

Where can I find more information about attaining LCPC licensure in Maryland?

Information can be found in the Master's handbook on Inside Loyola, or students can also check the American Counseling Association website.

What materials do I need for future licensure requirements?

It is recommended that you keep copies of your syllabi and all of your externship hour logs. After graduating, if you need to obtain syllabi from previous courses, and the department has a copy, you will be charged $3 per syllabus. See the Office Manager in Beatty 220 for more details.

What are the different career paths for master’s level graduates?

There are many different career paths for Master’s level graduates. Some graduates go on to get their LCPC and work as therapists, some teach at community colleges, some work in research. For more information, contact the Loyola Career Center.

Why can’t Master’s students take some of the classes that are offered to the PsyD students?

For APA accreditation purposes there needs to be a clear delineation between what are considered master's and what are considered doctoral courses. There are a number of elective-type courses that are available to both Master's and Doctoral students.

Do students have any input into what elective courses are offered?

Absolutely. Students can, and should, let the Program Directors and/or the Director of Program Operations know what types of elective courses they would like to see offered. The Department will make all attempts to offer courses that students would like to have, though there are, at times, constraints related to instructors, available classrooms, etc.

What are the opportunities for graduate students to socialize with each other?

There are many opportunities for graduate students to meet and socialize with each other. Some graduate students participate in intramural sports. See the Department of Recreational Sports for more details.
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) and the Maryland Psychological Association (MPAGS) are also great opportunities to socialize with other psychology graduate students.

What funding opportunities are available for master’s students?

The Student Employment page on the Human Resources site shows available Graduate Assistant positions.Teacher’s Assistant positions at the graduate-level are also available to Master's-level students. The best way to find out about available TA positions is to contact the faculty member you are interested in working for. However, you must have taken the course in order to be considered for a TA position.

Scholarships and awards are also available to master’s students. Some of these include:
- The Dr. Alan Plotkin Memorial Scholarship Awards: Contact Dr. Martin Sherman at msherman@loyola.edu.
- The Kolbenbach Award: For more information visit the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
- Psychology Student Professional Development Award: Contact Phyllis Grupp at pgrupp@loyola.edu.

Is there a mentor program?

Yes, there is a mentor program. If you are interested in attaining or becoming a mentor, please contact Traci Martino, M.S. tpmartino@loyola.edu