• Psychology major Jennifer Johnson is an Honors student and editor of Collage
  • MTSU Psychology students put on a health literacy fair at Barfield Elementary
  • Dr. Paul Foster, who specializes in neuropsychology, goes over data with students
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Clinical Psychology

Program Mission and Overview

The Psychology Department at Middle Tennessee State University offers graduate study leading to the Master of Arts with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology. Operating from a broadly based scientific-professional approach, the goals of the clinical program are to train students comprehensively in the core of clinical psychology, both theory and practice, and for students to develop a specialization/competency area consistent with their professional goals. Specific program requirements include 46 semester hours: 22 hours of required core clinical courses (e.g., psychopathology, theories of personality, cognitive assessment), 3 hours of off-campus practica, 6 hours of statistics, 3 hours of thesis, and 12 hours of approved electives in a specialization. All students also must pass a comprehensive exam. Upon completion of the program, graduates are prepared to pursue doctoral training and/or employment involving psychological assessment and diagnostic interviewing and/or involving the application of behavior analysis principles. The skills training does not prepare students to practice psychotherapy or counseling at the terminal master's level.

Training Model

The clinical program operates on the scientist-practitioner model of training. The coursework emphasizes empirically-based clinical methods. To further emphasize the "scientist"; component of training, all students are required to take six semester hours of graduate statistics and to complete an empirical thesis. Some recent students have presented their thesis work at national professional conferences including the American Psychological Society, the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the Society of Pediatric Psychology, and the Society for Research in Child Development. For additional research experience, students may take an elective in Independent Research. The "practitioner"; component of the program is emphasized through course content, skills based coursework (e.g., cognitive assessment, personality assessment), and the clinical practica. Meetings on professional issues (e.g., applying for licensure or certifications) conducted by the practicum coordinator also is part of the required practicum course. Finally, the curriculum and practica are designed to meet certification requirements for the State of Tennessee's Certified Psychological Assistant (CPA), the current master's level psychology certification. Because of frequent change in the Tennessee licensure and certification laws, however, we cannot guarantee that our program will fully meet the requirements when you apply for certification.


All students in the clinical program are required to specify an elective specialization (12 hours), which represents the student's long term professional goals as well as her/his area of personal interest. The General Clinical specialization is designed to allow students to sample a broad range of electives including additional coursework in assessment. Through the Health Psychology/Neuropsychology specialization, students enhance their knowledge and skills in the areas of biologically/neurologically-based assessment and physical health/psychological health links. The third specialization, applied behavior analysis, is designed to teach students the theory and application of behavioral assessment, intervention, and research. This specialization is appropriate for students with an interest in pursuing career opportunities applying learning theories (both operant and respondent) to affect behavior change in individuals and groups. Diverse application of these principles is emphasized in this specialization.

For students who plan to pursue doctoral training, any of the three specializations are appropriate because all emphasize the empirical basis of clinical skills. For those who plan to seek employment at the master's level, the specialization allows them to develop marketable skills in a specialized area while at the same time meeting coursework requirements for certification.

Facilities in the psychology department include a computer laboratory, remote access to the university computing facility, standard apparatus for human and animal research, a library of many standardized psychological tests, and laboratories with cameras and videotaping equipment.

The MTSU clinical psychology program is a member of the Council of Applied Masters Programs in Psychology (CAMPP).

Select from the following to learn more:

Clinical Advisors

When you enter the Clinical Psychology program you are automatically assigned an advisor based on the first letter of your last name. You have the option of keeping your assigned advisor or choosing another one.

You may change advisors at any time, but you must make sure that both the old advisor and the new advisor agree to the switch. The Clinical Coordinator must be informed, as well as Mrs. CoTonya P. Malone (Jones Hall 103/898-2706) so she can change it in the computer. The advisor who originally signs your degree plan must approve any degree plan changes. You also must coordinate with your original advisor to transfer your file to your new advisor.

Advisors are an important reference source for completing the clinical program. They can help you with your course selection, degree plan preparation, program changes, updates in licensure and certification requirements, and any other concerns or questions you might have about the program. It also is suggested that you talk with a number of faculty for "informal" advice throughout your time as a student.

To make an appointment with your advisor, simply call OR email her/his office. To make sure your advisor is on-campus during a particular semester, call the psychology office.