The Master of Arts in Applied Clinical Psychology endorses a scientist-practitioner framework, where graduates have clinical skills in empirically supported psychotherapy interventions, the research skills to consume cutting-edge research in counseling to stay atop of their field, and a commitment to lifelong learning regarding diversity and social justice. Our graduates have training options that allow them to work with a variety of populations and settings (see our practicum and internship page for more). Our research-active faculty have expertise in current topics, including multicultural competencies in psychotherapy and supervision, spirituality and coping in family systems, and community interventions around addiction and addiction-based stigma, among other topics. Many graduates pursue their license as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania, we also have students who obtain licensure across the country and some who work internationally.
We are excited to announce that, beginning Fall 2024, we anticipate a curricular shift from 48 to 60 credits. A 60-credit program is becoming the national standard and allows students to complete all courses for licensure while in the program, instead of a 48-credit hour program, which requires students to complete an additional 12 credits/4 courses after graduation.
What Makes Us Different?
Our program requires the completion of a Master’s Paper (akin to a thesis), allowing students to deepen their knowledge and skill in a specific topic area.
While many of our students do attend the program full-time, we also admit part-time students. We recognize that students are also family members and friends (and some are parents) and may work full or part-time. We also offer two options for the Master’s Paper (read more about that here).
- Our sister program at Penn State Behrend occasionally offers online coursework which our students may take for credit as an elective. Our students also have access to a diverse range of psychology courses through World Campus, which can be used to meet state-specific licensing requirements with approval from the Professor in Charge.
A strength of our program is our research active faculty. Because we offer a terminal master’s degree (no doctorate offered), our masters students have a unique opportunity to participate in faculty research labs and agendas – opportunities that traditionally go to doctoral students first.
- A group of students regularly present research at the Eastern Psychological Association each year, and some present work at the American Psychological Association. Click here for recent research presentations our students have completed.
- Thanks to the Student Activities Fund, in partnership with the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education, at Penn State Harrisburg, student travel to conferences has been partially or fully funded.
- Our proximity to Penn State’s College of Medicine and the Penn State Hershey healthcare system means our students can engage in research opportunities in medical settings.
Employment Success – Across a Range of Opportunities
Our alumni have secured work in a variety of clinical settings, including outpatient clinics, private practice, hospitals, and school systems. In fact, some of our alumni who remained local now serve as clinical practicum/internship supervisors to our current students. Other students have found employment in research labs across the United States, and some students go on to doctoral study.
Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map.
*Please note: due to the changing landscape of licensure during and since COVID-19, we only update the map to reflect whether our program licenses graduates in the state of Pennsylvania. However, our students routinely obtain licensure in other states, and we work with students to course plan for their desired states appropriately.
Financially Planning your Graduate Education
Affording graduate education can be stressful. Through the Graduate School at Penn State Harrisburg, we are able to offer 1-2 Graduate Assistant positions and usually 1 scholarship position to each incoming cohort, in addition to 3-5 graduate wage assistant positions. Our faculty are occasionally able to fund a student, either fully or partially, through their grant-funded research. If you wish to be considered for these, we strongly encourage you to apply by February 20, as nominations for these funded spots must be made early. Please note that the Graduate Assistant positions require the GRE; general admission to the program and the other funding positions do not require the GRE.
Many of our students work part-time, and some on campus, during their time in the program to offset costs. Economically, O*NET has designated mental health counselor careers as having a bright outlook (many job openings and opportunities) and can offer some insight into how much licensed professional counselors can earn. Visit O*NET site to read more about wage statistics for these positions in various states and counties.