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MS in Clinical Psychology, Applied Research

School of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Applied Research specialization provides master’s learners with the foundational clinical psychology knowledge and skills needed for successful academic or research practice, or for doctoral-level study in clinical psychology. The specialization curriculum is designed to help learners further develop their understanding of the application of research methodology, psychotherapy theories, tests and measurement, psychopathology, human development, ethical principles, and diversity. These specialization requirements are not designed or intended to meet professional licensure requirements for the counseling or psychology professions.

Personal Suitability and Fitness for the Profession

Capella embraces the principles and guidelines set forth by the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) related to professional psychology programs in that the faculty, training staff, supervisors, and administrators in the MS in Clinical Psychology degree program have a professional, ethical, and potentially legal obligation to ensure, insofar as possible, that all learners have the competence to manage professional relationships in an effective and appropriate manner and that they possess the emotional maturity, interpersonal stability, and intellectual judgment required to work with vulnerable populations. Personal suitability and fitness for the profession includes but is not limited to demonstration of sufficient interpersonal and professional competence; selfawareness, self-reflection, and self-evaluation; openness to processes of supervision; and resolution of issues or problems that interfere with professional development or functioning in a satisfactory manner. Throughout the graduate training of each learner, faculty and staff are responsible for educating and assessing learners with regard to their personal suitability and fitness for the profession.

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Core courses:

Foundations of Theory and Practice for Master’s Psychology Learners †

In this course, learners acquire the ability to navigate the Capella courseroom and use the resources that support academic success, including the library and writing center. Learners identify and practice the academic requirements (including APA style and formatting) necessary to successfully complete the Master’s degree program in their chosen specialization; review their specialization’s requirements, associated professional roles and organizations, and ethics and professional standards; and articulate a professional identity based on master’s-level psychology training. For MS in Psychology and MS in Clinical Psychology learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy

This course provides an overview of foundational counseling and psychotherapy theories and research-based practice. Throughout the course, learners examine various schools of therapeutic intervention; their underlying theoretical assumptions; and their historical, cultural, and ethical context, with an emphasis on the application of current theory in a variety of clinical populations.

5 quarter credits
Introduction to Psychopathology

In this course, learners examine the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various forms of psychopathology throughout the lifespan. Learners review the etiology of psychopathology; examine theories and research of psychopathology; and explore current methods of psychological interviewing, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Learners also discuss the politics of mental disorders, emerging diagnoses, and ethical and multicultural issues associated with psychopathology.

5 quarter credits
Tests and Measurements

Learners investigate essential concepts, principles, applications, and social and theoretical issues of psychological testing. Learners gain understanding in the construction of tests; analyze the development and use of tests in measuring aptitudes, achievement, attitudes, interests, and personality; and identify underlying theories of various tests. Learners analyze the characteristics desired in psychological and educational tests, with particular emphasis on reliability and validity, and evaluate best practices and professional standards for educational and psychological testing, including test bias and fairness. In addition, learners assess the role of technology in delivery, administration, scoring, and interpretation of tests.

5 quarter credits
Survey of Research Methods

Learners in this course critically evaluate research in order to gain an understanding of the scientific methods of inquiry and the ethical considerations of research. Learners develop and apply skills needed to become educated consumers and creators of research. Learners also use their research design skills to analyze and apply research methodologies, validity, reliability and other components of scientific research related to their field of interest. Learners may only earn credit for PSY7860 or RSCH7860.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses:

History and Systems of Psychology

Learners in this course explore the historical and contemporary schools of psychology and gain an understanding of what constitutes the profession of psychology and their chosen specialization. Learners critique primary source material to develop an in-depth understanding of the evolution of various psychological theories and their implications for professional practice.

5 quarter credits
Multicultural Perspectives in Human Behavior

This course is an examination of substantive and theoretical issues concerning the cultural differences of individuals and groups and their influence on the practice of professional psychology. Learners explore the role of culture-specific programming, the needs and values of cultural subgroups, and approaches to providing psychological services to culturally diverse populations. Learners also critically analyze the interactions of multiple dimensions of diversity to better understand the ways in which individual differences contribute to professional psychological practice.

5 quarter credits
Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice

In this course, learners critically analyze the ways the psychology profession relates to and is influenced by ethical principles and codes of conduct and the ways psychologists deliver various aspects of professional services, including psychotherapy, assessment, supervision, consulting, research, and teaching, in adherence to these principles and codes. Learners evaluate the current APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, and other relevant guidelines, policies, and laws that affect professional psychology practice, including those impacting the provision of services to special populations. Learners also explore current ethical issues in professional psychology and identify effective methods for addressing ethical dilemmas. For PhD in Psychology, PsyD Clinical Psychology, PsyD in School Psychology, and MS in Clinical Psychology learners only. There is a residency requirement associated with this course for PsyD Clinical Psychology learners.

5 quarter credits
Lifespan Development

In this course, learners gain and apply knowledge of lifespan development from infancy through adulthood, including human development processes and milestones while considering individual and cultural differences. Learners evaluate theories and approaches for examining human development and analyze human development processes related to their specialization.

5 quarter credits
Biological Basis of Behavior

This course is an introduction to physiological psychology and associated topics, including genetics, functional neuroanatomy, and physiology. Learners develop and demonstrate an understanding of brain functioning; sensory systems; attention, memory, perception, and language mechanisms; and the effects of neurotransmitters on human behavior. Learners also identify the relationship between brain functions and behavioral disorders and analyze current physiological psychology research, ethics, and the implications of culture and diversity on field-related issues.

5 quarter credits
Quantitative Design and Analysis

In this course, learners investigate the fundamental concepts needed to conduct quantitative research. Learners examine and apply quantitative research techniques; appropriate applications of quantitative research; research design, measurement, and analysis, and their associated interdependencies; variable types and levels of measurement; sampling; descriptive and inferential statistics; and hypothesis testing. Learners define the strengths and limitations of descriptive statistics, analyze the quantitative scales of measurement, review the logic of probability and null hypothesis testing, and leverage technology when applicable. Learners also determine the steps necessary to ensure human subjects protection, and consider methodological adaptations when conducting research with vulnerable and diverse populations. Learners may only earn credit for PSY7864 or RSCH7864.

4 quarter credits






At least 53 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.