The School of Psychology at James Madison University promotes broad undergraduate education and specialized graduate training in the fields of psychology and counseling. The undergraduate program prepares students for professional and scientific training at the graduate level in psychology and related areas or for employment in human service fields, education, management, and related professions. The School offers masters, educational specialist, and doctoral degree programs that train students for professional careers in research, assessment and measurement, human services, community counseling, school counseling, school psychology, college student personnel administration, and related fields.
Beyond the traditional features you might find in any good psychology program, the School of Psychology prides itself on the following distinctive features:
Psychology is inherently a discipline that addresses a wide range of approaches, content matters, and philosophies. The discipline is both “hard-headed” due to its emphasis on empirical research and “soft-hearted” because of its commitment to improving health and human welfare. Our faculty combine these traditional emphases with interests that express the broad parameters of psychology but also reach beyond its artificial confines by actively pursuing work with other science and service disciplines.
Although we have many different programs within the School, our boundaries are fluid. Faculty members design distinctive research programs that provide significant mentoring of student teams whose members often come from multiple degree programs. We are proud to have combined many specialties in psychology under one roof and to create an environment that promotes collaboration and collegiality. We are committed to serving a diverse student body through varied, but interconnected specializations in psychology.
The School of Psychology has been a pioneer on the regional and national scene. We developed the first doctoral program in assessment and measurement. We won national acclaim for the hosting the 1999 Psychology Partnerships Project Forum with the American Psychological Association in which educators from across the country collaborated to produce curricular reform across levels of education from high school through graduate school. We co-sponsor the Eastern Conference on the Teaching of Psychology and plan to sponsor a consensus conference on combined clinical training in 2003.
Faculty and staff enjoy the opportunity to work closely with students to help them develop their potential. Our faculty, many of whom have won regional and national awards for their work, take seriously their obligation to advise, teach, mentor, provoke, and inspire students to become their best selves. The School strives to maintain an environment that models and encourages open communication, collaboration, life-long learning, and community involvement for students, faculty, and staff members.
Our commitment to expanding the boundaries of how we think about psychology is strong. Our faculty not only represent many traditions, but actively promote exploring psychology from an international perspective. Some faculty members sponsor study abroad experiences for students. Many participate in international collaborations or conferences. We recently hosted a Fulbright Scholar from the Ukraine and will host another from St. Petersburg in the fall.
PSYD IN CLINICAL, SCHOOL, AND COUNSELING
Fully accredited by the American Psychological Association, this innovative “combined” clinical program prepares students to provide comprehensive psychological services to children and families. Entrance requirements include an appropriate professional experience and graduate degree in an applied mental health field. Graduates typically practice in mental health clinics, child and family agencies, public schools, and private practice settings.
PSYD IN ASSESSMENT AND MEASUREMENT
The first program of its kind, the doctoral program in Assessment and Measurement meets the expanding accountability, quality assurance, and outcome assessment needs of the 21st century. The program provides a strong foundation in theories and methods of assessment, measurement, and statistics coupled with experiential research projects integrated throughout the program. Graduates will find employment in education, health services, business, government, and related settings.
MA IN GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY
Students in the General Psychology Program strengthen their theoretical background in psychology through graduate courses and carefully mentored research experiences. They serve as research apprentices prior to embarking on their own individualized research projects. Many graduates pursue doctoral training following the completion of their degree. Others have sought careers in behavioral science research and industrial/organizational psychology upon graduation.
EDS IN SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY
Accredited by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the School Psychology Program prepares students to provide a broad array of psychological services to children through an integrated, systemic theoretical orientation, scientific problem-solving, and refined interpersonal skills. Students develop abilities in psychological assessment and intervention, consultation, counseling, applied research, and innovations in service delivery models. Graduates are employed as certified/licensed school psychologists in public schools, mental health clinics, and other educational settings.
MA/EDS IN COMMUNITY COUNSELING
The Community Counseling Program provides carefully sequenced experiences to develop excellence in professional counseling. Program activities are designed to produce culturally-sensitive and reflective practitioners. Graduates are eligible for licensure as professional counselors in the Commonwealth of Virginia and find career opportunities in a wide range of community agencies, psychiatric facilities, and private practice. The program is accredited by CACREP, the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.
MED/EDS IN SCHOOL COUNSELING
Students in the School Counseling Program, which is also accredited by CACREP, prepare to work in elementary, middle, or high school settings. The faculty members provide closely mentored learning experiences to produce skilled, effective school counselors. Graduates meet licensing requirements in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
MED IN COLLEGE STUDENT PERSONNEL ADMINISTRATION
This innovative program provides a well-tailored program for students who are interested in the administration of student services at institutions of higher learning. Students in the program learn through their graduate assistantships in the Student Affairs Division on JMU’s campus. The program’s close link with the Counseling Psychology faculty facilitate oportuinties for personal growth and the development of interpersonal relationship skills.
INTERDISCIPLINARY TRAINING & EDUCATION CENTERS
The Human Development Center: The HDC is a university-based clinic that blends clinical service, interdisciplinary training, and research opportunities for students and faculty. Specialty clinics within the HDC include the Child Development Clinic, an interdisciplinary assessment service; Challenging Horizons, a school-based treatment program for ADHD; the Neuropsychology Clinic; Center for Learning Strategies for assistance with learning disabilities; and others. University faculty members and HDC staff provide supervision of all clinical activities, including assessment, treatment, consultation, and supervision.
The Counseling and Student Development Center: This on-campus clinic offers opportunities for masters and doctoral level students to do individual and group counseling to university students. The multidisciplinary staff of the CSDC emphasize respect for diversity as a prominent feature of the training model and tailors individual student programs developmentally, based on the student’s prior professional development.
Counseling and Psychological Services: Graduate students receive practicum assignments in evaluation and therapy with on-campus and off-campus clients.
Center for Child Abuse Education: The Virginia Child Protection Newsletter, published by this center, highlights scholarship related to child abuse and neglect.
Although the undergraduate program effectively prepares students for baccalaureate entry careers in psychology or graduate school, the majority (60 percent) of undergraduates attend graduate school after completing the baccalaureate degree. The School’s undergraduate curriculum is modeled after the design proposed by the 1991 St. Mary’s Conference on enhancing undergraduate education. After General Psychology, all students complete an 11-credit hour statistics and research methods sequence before they receive a broad array of natural and social science area courses, electives that inform their special interests, and a comprehensive capstone experience. Students have many opportunities to assist with research and service learning projects, develop skills as a peer advisor, or complete field placements or honors thesis work. The faculty are collaborating in the development of interdisciplinary majors, including cognitive science, human science, neuroscience, interdisciplinary social science, and criminal justice. The program also collaborates with the General MA faculty on a 5-year masters degree curriculum.