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Psychology

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The psychology undergraduate program offers students the opportunity to pursue a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Students completing a major in psychology will complete 36 credit hours within the major, including psychological research methods, statistics, developmental psychology, and history of psychology, and at least one course in each of the following areas: social psychology, personality, learning and cognitive processes, and psychobiological. Students completing a B.S. in psychology will also complete a research project in psychology and a science minor. For both degrees, our psychology program and faculty emphasize the science of psychology and provide a strong background in research and statistics. Across courses, the faculty encourages students to think critically about material and to apply concepts learned in the classroom to understanding everyday life experiences.

Meet the psychology department

Undergraduate Programs in Psychology:

The psychology undergraduate program offers students the opportunity to pursue a bachelor of arts (BA) or a bachelor of science (BS) degree in psychology. Students completing a major in psychology will complete 42 credit hours for the major. This includes 36 hours of psychology coursework, plus an introductory sociology course and an introductory anthropology course, for a total of 42 credit hours. The required psychology coursework includes an introductory psychology course, psychological research methods, statistics for the behavioral sciences, and at least one course in each of the following areas: social or positive psychology, personality and developmental psychology, learning and cognitive processes, psychobiology, and clinical psychology. In addition, students majoring in psychology are required to take 9 credits of elective psychology courses. Some elective course options include psychology of a serial killer, introduction to behavior therapy, culture and mental illness, theories of counseling, and behavior disorders in children.

In addition to the above requirements, students completing a B.S. in psychology will also complete a research project in psychology, two classes in biology and four classes in chemistry within their core curriculum, and a mathematics curriculum that includes college algebra or statistics, and calculus.  For both degrees, our psychology program and faculty emphasize the science of psychology and provide a strong background in research and statistics. Across courses, the faculty encourages students to think critically about material and to apply concepts learned in the classroom to understanding everyday life experiences.

The New Mexico Highlands undergraduate catalog outlines your options and the steps you need to take to complete degree requirements for your chosen major. To ensure the seamless completion of your degree, consult often with your academic adviser and utilize Highlands’ Degree Audit tool to keep track of your academic progress.

Undergraduate Catalog: Psychology Overview

Courses in Psychology

Graduate Course Catalog: Psychology

Graduate Courses in Psychology

The department offers two tracks that lead to a Master of Science degree in psychology: a General Psychology track, and a Clinical/Counseling Psychology track. Both options emphasize the science of psychology and prepare students for continued study in psychology at the doctoral level. The Clinical/Counseling track also prepares students for licensure as a master’s level clinician. Students will be expected to graduate from the program with the skills and knowledge necessary to plan, conduct, analyze, and report sound scientific research.

Mission

It is the mission of the Master of Science program in psychology at NMHU to train master’s level psychologists who can utilize critical thinking skills, an understanding of the scientific method, and knowledge of major disciplines of psychology to their work as teachers, researchers, or practitioners. The program is designed to prepare students for either work as master’s level clinicians or continued study in psychology at the doctoral level. This mission is achieved through a high level of professor-to-student interaction, ample opportunities for research and practical experience, and exposure to a multicultural community setting.

General Psychology Track

The General Psychology track requires 36 credit hours and is intended to provide a background similar to that given in many Ph.D. programs.  This track is organized around a general core of courses designed to educate the student in all areas of psychology, along with elective courses so that the students can tailor their coursework somewhat to their interests and goals. General Psychology students are required to complete a research-based thesis. The thesis and elective hours permit the student an opportunity to pursue further an area of interest such as physiological, experimental, neuropsychological, developmental, or social psychology. This track is especially useful for those students whose goals include either entering a Ph.D. program or working in a non-clinical position (research, etc.) upon completing the master’s degree.

Clinical/Counseling Psychology Track

The Clinical/Counseling Psychology track is an MPCAC-accredited 66-credit hour program which is unique in that it is one of the only programs in the U.S. that provides comprehensive training in psychological therapy and assessment. This emphasis area takes a minimum of two years (including summer semesters) to complete. In addition to the general core of courses required in the General Psychology emphasis area, this track provides the opportunity to gain evidence-based therapy and counseling skills, as well as psychological assessment skills in four areas: neuropsychological, behavioral, intelligence, and personality. This Clinical Psychology/Counseling track is designed to prepare students to continue their education at the doctoral level or to work as a master’s level clinician.

Clinical Psychology/Counseling track students can choose either a Thesis or Non-Thesis option. Thesis students will complete a research-based thesis similar to that described in the General Psychology track. Non-Thesis students prepare 6 high-quality academic papers for their Comprehensive Portfolio and take a Comprehensive Examination at the end of their coursework in order to earn their degree. In general, those students whose interests encompass both the art and science of psychology are generally well pleased with our program.

Clinical/Counseling Track Program Objectives

  • To prepare students for work as licensed master’s level clinicians or for continued study in psychology at the doctoral level
  • To train students within a multicultural framework, such that they can apply an awareness of cross-cultural differences to the understanding and practice of psychology
  • To train students to apply theoretical knowledge and interpersonal skills to therapeutic relationships
  • To instill in students a thorough understanding and practice of ethical behavior and professional conduct in their clinical work, research, and other aspects of their professional lives
  • To develop students’ scientific literacy, including the abilities to: read and understand scientific research, think critically about research, recognize limitations in research, and apply research findings to clinical or counseling situations
  • To train students in conducting ethical and scientifically-sound research, including hypothesis generation, research design, data analysis and interpretation, and presenting research orally and in writing, and to provide ample opportunities for research
  • To prepare students for success in the licensure process by providing: 1) abundant opportunities for practical experience in multicultural settings and, 2) thorough training on psychopathology, case conceptualization, and evidence-based assessments and therapeutic techniques

Commitment to Diversity

The Psychology department at New Mexico Highlands University is housed within a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). The Psychology department is dedicated to creating a climate of engagement, diversity and inclusion, and providing pathways for students from under-represented groups to pursue Psychology careers. Furthermore, we affirm that organizations are stronger and more effective when the richness of its diverse community is both valued for its contributions and united toward common goals. All applicants should be prepared to demonstrate a willingness to work collaboratively with faculty, students, and staff from a wide range of disciplines, cultures, and academic backgrounds and to be a part of a graduate student body that is diverse with respect to socio-economic status, culture, and career path.  We invite you to be part of NMHU’s diverse learning community, and more importantly, a community that believes our differences in thinking and being are assets that together contribute to our continued growth, well-being, and success.

MPCAC Accreditation

The Clinical/Counseling Track is MPCAC (Masters in Psychology & Counseling Accreditation Council) accredited. The MPCAC accredits programs that have a strong emphasis on science-based and culturally-responsive education and training, consistent with the values and mission of our program at NMHU. The MPCAC also works to ensure its standards are consistent with the requirements for licensure as a master’s-level clinician.

The M.S. in Psychology, Clinical/Counseling Psychology Concentration program is
accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)
for the period of May, 2022 through May, 2030.

Program Data

Graduate Program Data (Clinical/Counseling Track)

Academic Year 2020-2021:

Number of applicants: 15

Number of students admitted: 9

Number of students admitted who accepted offer of admission: 6

Total number of students enrolled in the program/track: 15

Number of students who graduated: 2

Graduate Program Data (General Track)

Academic Year 2020-2021:

Number of applicants: 3

Number of students admitted: 3

Number of students admitted who accepted offer of admission: 3

Total number of students enrolled in the program/track: 6

Number of students who graduated: 1

Licensure

The student successfully completing the Clinical/Counseling Psychology track will have met the educational and training requirements (including the clinical practicum hours) to qualify for licensure as a counselor in the state of New Mexico (LMHC) and other states.

There are state-by-state differences in licensure requirements, and the requirements for licensure described in some states have some ambiguity. In many states, the Board that licenses master’s-level counselors has been influenced by CACREP accreditation language. Our M.S. in Clinical/Counseling Psychology is accredited by MPCAC, which itself is CHEA-accredited. Our MPCAC-accredited program meets the 8 core educational requirements of CACREP.

However, there is a level of uncertainty that is introduced depending on the extent to which state licensing Boards require applicants graduate only from CACREP-accredited programs, or because of the way the Boards interpret CACREP standards or impose additional educational requirements on applicants.

States typically require that applicants for licensure also pass the NCE (National Counselor Examination), and, for licensure as an independent (unsupervised) clinician, require additional hours of supervised work experience following completion of a master’s degree. Because the NCE and post-degree supervised clinical work are beyond the scope of what a master’s degree can provide, this information only covers whether our program meets the educational criteria needed for state-level licensure.

The table below shows the likelihood that the M.S. program in Clinical/Counseling Psychology fully meets each state’s licensure requirements. The M.S. program in Clinical/Counseling Psychology meets licensure requirements for 11 states, likely meets requirements for 13 states, may meet requirements for 2 states, likely does not meet requirements for 5 states, does not meet requirements for 14 states, and does not immediately meet requirements for 2 states. We are unable to determine whether our program meets requirements for 3 states.

Licensure Information Document and State by State Breakdown

Graduate Degree Requirements

Graduate Coordinator:

Lara Heflin: lheflin@nmhu.edu
Office phone: 505-454-3547

Requirements:

  1. Statement of educational goals (500-word statement outlining educational goals and objectives addressing research interests and experiences [if General or Clinical thesis tracks] or addressing career goals, interests, and experiences [if Clinical non-thesis track].
  2. Two letters of recommendation – at least 1 academic reference (e.g., professor, advisor, etc.); the 2nd letter can be an academic or professional reference. Letters of recommendation from friends or family are not appropriate.
  3. Five-page writing sample, preferably a scholarly paper written for an upper-division psychology class.
  4. Transcripts from all previously attended regionally accredited institutions (3.0 GPA or higher). Will consider those who do not meet the GPA requirement.

Deadlines: For best chances of admission and assistantship, please submit your completed application by April 8th. However, we review and accept applications on a rolling basis.

April 8th – recommend date to apply for the Psychology M.S. program

April 29th – deadline for admitted students to decide whether to accept offer

May 2nd – waitlisted students will be notified whether they will be admitted

May 16th – deadline for newly admitted student to decide whether to accept offer

Faculty & Staff

Psychology

Faculty & Staff

Mission

The mission of the Department of Psychology is to provide psychological and sociocultural service and expertise for the region, as well as the greater global community, and to contribute to meeting the educational needs in psychology, the career needs in psychological services and research, and the training for careers in education engineering, physical and biological sciences, medicine, and other science fields.