Courses Clinical Counseling

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

Residency Requirement(s):

Two four-and-a-half-day residencies. See university policy 3.04.05 Attendance at Residencies, the Residencies page on Campus, and the Residency section, below, for more information.

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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:

PSY-R6230 *
Introduction to Psychological Testing

This course includes both an online courseroom and a face-to-face residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience, during which they focus on the common psychological instruments (e.g., psychological tests, checklists, and rating scales) used to assess intelligence, achievement, vocational interests, adaptive and neuropsychological functioning, addiction, and personality traits, and their uses in professional practice. Learners then engage in a face-to-face residency experience that guides them as they study psychological testing instruments appropriate for their level of training and examine effective methods for making referrals to licensed psychologists. Ethical and cultural considerations of testing are embedded throughout the course. For MS in Clinical Psychology learners only. Test kits are required and are available for loan at [email protected]. Prerequisite(s): PSY7610, PSY-R6313. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY-R6313 *
Clinical Interventions

This course includes both an online courseroom and a face-to-face residency experience. Learners engage in preparatory online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience, during which they explore and practice foundational counseling skills, including establishing the therapeutic alliance, conducting clinical interviews, applying psychotherapeutic techniques, and providing feedback. Learners then engage in a face-to-face residency experience that guides them as they study key professional competencies such as psychological assessment, multicultural responsiveness and diversity principles, and ethics in clinical work. For MS in Clinical Psychology learners only. Prerequisite(s): PSY6090 or PSY6095 or PSY6310 or PSY8310.

5 quarter credits
PSY5110 *
Ethics and Multicultural Issues in Psychology

In this course, learners analyze multicultural perspectives and factors such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender, and their influences on the ethical behavior of psychology professionals. Learners evaluate and articulate multicultural issues within the context of different settings and practice applying ethical reasoning principles and standards within their profession. Prerequisite(s): PSY5002 or PSY8002.

5 quarter credits
Career Counseling Theory

This course presents a survey of the history of career counseling, the development of career counseling theory, and the basic tenets of current vocational psychology. It covers theories of career development, the relationship between training and vocation, and the application of career counseling interventions in various settings and among diverse populations. Learners are encouraged to participate in experiential exercises and discussion topics that may include disclosing information that is personal.

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
PSY6091 *
Group Counseling

In this course, learners explore group counseling theories and techniques, the dynamics of group facilitation and development, and therapeutic movement within groups. Other course topics include the use of groups across the intervention spectrum (prevention to tertiary), various group-specific issues, and the integration of developmental theory within group counseling and co-facilitation. For MS in Clinical Psychology learners only. Prerequisite(s): PSY-R6313.

5 quarter credits
PSY6391 *
Master’s Practicum 1

This is the first course in a sequence of two required practicum courses during which learners fulfill 600 required practicum hours. Learners receive supervised master’s-level training in psychological testing, interviewing, assessment, intervention, consultation, and applied research in a setting chosen by the learner. Learners analyze psychological assessment using the current DSM and investigate treatment planning, case documentation, working with specific clinical populations, and their clinical strengths and limitations. For MS Clinical Counseling learners only. Prerequisite(s): PSY5110, PSY5130, PSY6015, PSY6091, PSY6095, PSY6210, PSY7610, PSY-R6230, PSY-R6313 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Approval of practicum application. All application materials must be received by the first day of the quarter preceding the quarter of the proposed start date. Refer to the current manual for further details. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits
PSY6400 *
Master’s Internship Series

The master’s internship series is a series of courses learners take to continue fulfilling the minimum of 600 on-site hours of clinical training required of learners in the MS Clinical Counseling specialization. Learners receive supervised, master’s-level professional psychology training at an internship site and engage in concurrent online course activities that monitor their internship experience. Throughout the course, learners engage in an in-depth examination of various psychological disorders, mental health concerns, and treatments and continue to strengthen their knowledge of recent research and practice literature, with particular emphasis on the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. For MS Clinical Counseling learners only. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites(s): PSY6391 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Approval of practicum and internship application. All application materials must be received by the first day of the quarter preceding the learner’s proposed start date. Refer to the current manual for additional requirements and further details. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

5 quarter credits



Two Elective Courses



At least 10 quarter credits

Choose two from the following four courses:

Human Sexuality

This course is an exploration of sexuality within the larger context of human experience, emphasizing physical and psychosexual development, cultural diversity, health-related issues, and the application of scientific information to sexual topics and issues. Current issues include sexual deviation, sexual inadequacy, treatment of sexual problems, trauma, sexual identity, gender identity, and reproductive health care. Learners examine scholarly literature related to the implications of these issues and research evidence-based interventions in human sexuality.

5 quarter credits
PSY5125 *
Introduction to Sex Therapy

Learners in this course gain an understanding of common sexuality concerns including low sexual desire, sexual compulsivity, recovery from sexual abuse, and treatment of sex offenders. Learners analyze strategies for sex therapy and demonstrate competence in cultural elements associated with sex therapy, taking a sex history, and assessment. Prerequisite(s): PSY5115.

5 quarter credits
Issues and Trends in Addiction-Related Treatments

This course presents current addiction research, clinical trends, and substantive field-related issues. Learners use evidence-based practice and practice-based evidence to examine ways of identifying and defining substance-related problems and behaviors with addictive features and to explore pharmacologic and other emerging treatment approaches. Other course topics include managed care, mental health parity, Internet resources used in addiction training and treatment, and the changing role of the counselor in the addiction field.

5 quarter credits
Counseling Skills and Procedures

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental skills and core conditions associated with effective counseling practice, from development of the therapeutic alliance through termination. For MS in Clinical Psychology learners only.

5 quarter credits

Learners in this course explore the behavioral and therapeutic effects of psychoactive drugs. Course topics include synaptic transmission, behavioral role of specific neuromodulatory systems, pharmacological treatment of mental and neurological disorders, addiction, the various side effects of psychoactive drugs, and how these may interact with key characteristics such as age or general health. Drug effects on learning, creativity, memory, sleep, perception, and sexual functioning receive special attention. Learners also examine the efficacy of treating patients with a combination of psychotherapy and psychotropic medications for a number of diagnosed mental disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior, schizophrenia, and childhood disorders.

5 quarter credits






At least 74 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.

This specialization is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Capella University cannot guarantee eligibility for licensure, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. State licensing regulations and professional standards vary; learners are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements of the state in which they intend to work. For more information, see the professional licensure disclosures for this program on Capella’s website

MS in Clinical Psychology Residencies

The residency requirement for the MS in Clinical Psychology, Clinical Counseling specialization is satisfied by completion of two five-day residencies (Track 1 and Track 2). The school recommends that all learners register for Track 1 within the first two quarters of enrollment and Track 2 when they complete between 20 and 40 quarter credits. Learners must have completed both tracks prior to starting their practicum (PSY6391).

The MS in Clinical Psychology residencies provide training and practice in the areas of interventions, assessment, diversity, culture-specific issues, and ethics. The two tracks are cumulative rather than sequential, allowing learners to receive training and practice in the above skill areas.

At all MS in Clinical Psychology residencies, in addition to formal instruction and practice, learners participate in cohort group sessions that allow faculty and learners to interact as a community of scholars; individual advising sessions with faculty to support their degree completion plans and assess academic progress; and specialization networking opportunities with other learners and faculty.

Through MS in Clinical Psychology residencies, learners gain a stronger sense of academic community by networking and discussing research, coursework, and projects face-to-face with fellow learners and faculty. This experience provides a learning environment that fosters the application of critical thinking and integrated knowledge to professional and research issues.

For more detailed information on MS in Clinical Psychology residencies, learners should refer to their specialization manual.

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