Prerequisite Course Requirements
Ideally, applicants will have taken courses in developmental, personality, and social psychology, along with work in social change, social problems, and social conflict. Students from diverse other backgrounds are welcome to apply, particularly if they have had work or other experience effecting change in community settings. Applicants will be asked to take additional course work without graduate credit, chosen after consultation with an adviser, if they have had no psychology or sociology courses beyond the introductory level.
An important part of this degree is a Master’s Project, made up a total of nine (9) credits, comprising from 3 to 6 credits of Practicum (CMPSY 522), and from 3 to 6 credits of Research (CMPSY 594). The project is planned in the context of the course Roles and Methods in Community Psychology (CMPSY 521); it is supervised by a Master’s Committee of graduate faculty. The particular mix of Practicum and Research is worked out by the student in consultation with the faculty. The variable mix of Practicum and Research credits results in the student’s being able to choose course work that emphasizes study in the area in which she or he needs most skill-development. In the usual case, a student with a strong background in fi eldwork would be asked to emphasize Research in her or his Master’s Project, and a student with a strong research background, but with limited fi eldwork, would be asked to emphasize the Practicum. The output of CMPSY 522 is a Practicum; the output of the Research course CMPSY 594 is a required master’s paper of at least 3 credits. The master’s paper may be based on the field experience. Students often choose to structure their master’s paper around a specifi c community research problem. Again, students can apply for Practicum (522) credit, or, at their choice, ask for a waiver of the requirement on the basis of documented prior experience. Decisions about such applications are made by the student’s Master’s Committee.
The program offers four concentrations, each including all the required Community Psychology courses. The Children, Youth, and Families Concentration uses as its electives 9 approved credits from courses in psychology, education, and sociology. The Environmental Issues Concentration uses electives approved by an adviser and drawn from special courses in environmental issues and from various other programs. The Diversity Issues Concentration uses as its electives 9 approved credits from courses in behavioral sciences, sociology, and women’s studies. The Individualized Concentration uses elective courses chosen to meet individual needs, with the approval of an adviser.
To qualify for the degree, 36 credits are needed, 24 of which must be at the 500 level. There is a sequence of substantive courses, starting with Theories and Issues in Community Psychology (CMPSY 500). The 36 credits are distributed over three groups of courses: Prescribed Courses, Additional Concentration Courses, and Elective Courses.
Transfer Credits and Course Substitutions
Off-campus and transfer credits from accredited institutions will be evaluated by the program coordinator for appropriateness to the student’s course of study. Approval for up to 10 transfer credits may be given. Documented applications for credit for work experience will be evaluated by students’ Master’s Committees made up of members of the graduate faculty. Approval for up to 6 credits may be given. If granted, approval for this credit can take the place of the fi eldwork usually undertaken in CMPSY 522, Practicum. The student must register for the number of credits approved, either in CMPSY 522, or, if the student prefers, after having asked for a waiver of the CMPSY 522 requirement, in additional elective course work, chosen with help from an adviser.
Grade-Point Average and Time Limit
Students must have a 3.00 grade-point average to graduate from the program. Part-time students who are able to take two courses in each term can complete the degree in seven to eight semesters. Since the processes of designing a Master’s Project and of writing a Master’s paper are labor-intensive and frequently take more time than the student expects, even full-time students will often take six or more semesters to complete the degree.
This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.