Jun 20, 2024  
2012-2013 CU Denver Catalog 
2012-2013 CU Denver Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology MA

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 ►  Graduate School Rules  apply to this program


Objectives and Requirements

The major objective of the MA program is to prepare graduates for doctoral-level study in both PhD and PsyD programs. Assessment training includes theory, diagnostic interviewing, intelligence testing and some personality testing with both children and adults. We introduce students to the theory and application of major models of psychotherapy and to psychopathology theory and research. We also emphasize the ethical principles that permeate clinical psychology and the application of these principles to problems in mental health practice, teaching and research. Finally, students become well versed in statistical methods. Students take the required courses during their first year in the program. During the second year, they choose to specialize by opting for a research-based thesis and/or an applied internship at a mental health agency. Students also demonstrate competency by defending a thesis or an internship competency project. Students can complete the program in slightly less than two years, and have up to five years to complete the program according to Graduate School Rules .


The application deadline is February 1 for the following fall. Applicants are responsible for making sure all materials are in on time. We do not consider late applications. International students should be sure to submit all materials at least two weeks before this deadline (by January 15) so that they arrive at our department on time. Below is condensed information; see the psychology department website for complete information.

Admission Requirements:

  • BA or BS from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.5 based on all college course work. However, successful applicants over the past several years have typically held GPAs above 3.5, with an average GPA of 3.7.
  • Undergraduate courses in: introductory psychology, psychological statistics and abnormal psychology. Additional courses in psychology are highly desirable; our admissions committee will also look favorably upon courses in the biological and physical sciences.
  • Two official transcripts from each college and university attended.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) is required for all applicants. The subject test in psychology is not required, but is strongly recommended for applicants who do not hold an undergraduate degree in psychology. Successful applicants in recent years have typically had GRE verbal plus quantitative scores above 1100. Take the exam at least six weeks before the February 1 deadline so that the scores arrive on time.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be academic references, accompanied by the Request for Recommendation form.
  • Graduate Application Form, with answers as informative as possible.
  • Application fee of $50 ($75 for International Students). This fee can be paid online; however, if paying by check, please specify “PSY M.A. CLN” on the memo line in the lower left corner of your check.

Financial Information

The University of Colorado Denver administers various forms of financial aid for graduate students: fellowships, scholarships and a number of awards from outside agencies. See the Office of Financial Aid  for further information. Additionally, the psychology department offers teaching assistantships each year in such courses as introductory psychology, statistics, research methods and human development. Teaching Assistantships are not guaranteed.

Contingent upon the availability of grant money, faculty may also offer part-time research assistantships to qualified students. The typical RA position involves data collection and analysis, library research, etc. Some computer and statistical skills are usually required. RA positions may arise on very short notice.

Please note: Neither teaching nor research assistantships confer in-state tuition status or include tuition waivers.

Degree Requirements

A total of 30 (for thesis students) or 33 (for internship students) semester hours are required for graduation: 24 for required courses and either six thesis hours or eight internship hours. Internship students must also register for one credit for the Internship Competency Project. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average.

Demonstration of competence

Upon completion of the 24 hours of course work (eight courses), students must demonstrate competence in several core areas (e.g., statistics and methods, ethics, assessment, psychotherapy, psychopathology) by completing a thesis or an internship competency project (ICP).

Internship or Thesis

Students have the option of completing a master’s thesis and/or pursing an internship. The thesis involves a research project that makes a significant contribution to the field. Topics pursued by students in our master’s program have included body image in eating disorders, HIV infection and childhood abuse, humor as a moderator between social conflict and psychological distress, and ethical issues regarding informed consent for psychotherapy.

Students who are particularly interested in going on to PhD programs should strongly consider the thesis option, since most PhD programs prefer individuals who have prior research experience. Applicants who are interested in the thesis option and whose research interests/experience overlap with those of a faculty member should contact that faculty member directly.

Alternatively, students may begin work on an 800-hour internship following successful completion of their courses. Students select internships (subject to program approval) based on personal interests. The greater Denver area offers a rich variety of internship possibilities, and our students have worked at a variety of agencies, including community mental health centers, inpatient and residential treatment facilities, social services, hospitals, probation and diversion programs and university counseling centers.

At minimum, students must complete either an 800-hour internship or a thesis. Students also have the option to complete both or to do a thesis and a 400-hour internship.


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