• Introduction, Administration, and the Graduate School at UAA

    The Department of Psychology is one of the largest departments on the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) campus, with over 600 undergraduate majors, approximately 50 M.S. and Ph.D. students, 20 full‑time faculty, numerous adjunct faculty, and two administrative assistants. The department has a psychology laboratory, a computer lab classroom, and an in-house Psychological Services Center where M.S. and Ph.D. students gain supervised psychotherapy experience.  The Psychology Department is housed on the second floor of the Social Sciences Building with convenient access to the Consortium Library.


    The Department of Psychology is housed in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and reports to and receives its budget allocations from CAS.  Psychology is a self‑governed department that elects a department chair, an Undergraduate Studies Coordinator, and a Clinical Training Coordinator for the M.S. graduate program from among the full‑time faculty.  The Psychology Department has a permanent Program Director for the Joint UAA/UAF Clinical/Community Psychology Ph.D. program and a Director for the Psychological Services Center.  The Department Director, CTC Coordinator, and Undergraduate Coordinator are three-year terms and people elected into those positions are responsible for carrying out decisions made by the full faculty or their respective committees.  The Undergraduate Studies Coordinator carries out the wishes of the Undergraduate Studies Committee and the Clinical Training Coordinator carries out the wishes of the Clinical Training Committee.  The Director of the Psychological Services Center (PSC) also carries out the wishes of the Clinical Training Committee and the faculty and administrators of the Joint UAA/UAF Ph.D. Program in Clinical/Community Psychology.  Undergraduate affairs are reported to the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator and are handled by the Undergraduate Studies Coordinator and Committee.  M.S. program affairs are reported to the Clinical Training Coordinator and are handled by the Clinical Training Coordinator and the Clinical Training Committee.  PSC‑related business is reported to the Psychological Services Center Director and is handled by the PSC Director and the Clinical Training Committee. Budget and final signature authority is under the purview of the director of the department (who consults with the departmental faculty), as is the hiring and firing of adjunct faculty, student workers, and department staff. Students are involved in departmental governance through a student representative for each committee. 

    The Graduate School at UAA

    In 2007 UAA created a formal Graduate School which supports and facilitates admission and graduation from graduate programs.  The University of Alaska Anchorage offers twenty-six Master’s degree programs along with a number of Graduate Certificate programs and joint/cooperative/collaborative Master’s and Ph.D. programs with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Washington Medical School, Creighton University, East Carolina University and others.  UAA enrolls over 800 students in graduate studies from all 50 states and territories. The Dean of the Graduate School has responsibility and oversight for graduate programs.  The Graduate School has the responsibility for directing the implementation of the Dean’s oversight.

  • Mission, Goals, and Purpose


    The mission of the Master of Science in Clinical Psychology is to provide quality training to graduate students interested in mental health careers in diverse communities.  The training seeks to produce graduates who are practitioner-scientists, prepared to address local behavioral health needs in a context that is culturally sensitive and community-focused.


    The M.S. curriculum was developed with the practitioner-scientist in mind and takes into account academic standards, the needs of Alaskans, licensing requirements, and the input of students.  The goal of the program is to provide students with a well-rounded education that includes an evidence-based background in the best practices applicable to community mental health settings.  The curriculum addresses local behavioral health needs in a context that is culturally sensitive and community focused.

    The program is designed to provide students with academic and practicum/internship experiences required as part of preparation for LPA (Licensed Psychological Associate) and LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) national and state licensure examinations.  Of special importance is training of students to meet the mental health needs of Alaska, including awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of Alaska Native people.  With proper planning, the M.S. program can provide a stepping-stone for students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology.

    With these goals in mind, the program prepares students for professional practice in clinical psychology through skill development in assessment, psychotherapy, and research.  Faculty members are actively involved with students and student progress is closely monitored through course work, hands-on practica and internships, and the opportunity to collaborate with faculty on research.  Students gain practical therapy and assessment experience under the supervision of licensed professionals at the Psychological Service Center and in community clinics.

    The M.S. program provides all students with an understanding of applied research so that students are prepared to be knowledgeable and critical consumers of the empirical literature in psychology.  Students wishing to receive more specialized skills may work with faculty on independent research projects and may elect to produce an empirical thesis.


    The purpose of the M.S. degree in Clinical Psychology is to prepare graduates for a variety of mental health careers.  The program requires at least two-years of study (48-credit hours; 51 credit hours for thesis option) and is designed to provide the student with:

    • Skills in diagnosis, treatment planning, psychotherapy, and assessment
    • Supervised clinical experience in a variety of settings
    • Course work meeting minimum licensing requirements for the LPA credential (Note: LPA licensure requires at least 48 credit hours of graduate work and LPC licensure requires 60 credit hours and specific topic areas not covered in the M.S. program)
    • The ability to critically evaluate research
    • Foundational skills for pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology

    After completing the M.S. program, students typically pursue one of two options: applied work in the clinical field as a master’s-level practitioner or doctoral studies for a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree.

  • Faculty-Student Interaction

    When you enter the M.S. program, you are assigned a faculty advisor.  This initial advisor may or may not be the optimal mentor for you.  As such, we encourage you to take an active role in your education by seeking out educational opportunities and developing an advising relationship with a faculty member who shares your interests.  When you find such a faculty member, you may ask this person to become your formal advisor.

    Other strategies to enhance your training in the M.S. program could include:

    • Seeking out research or teaching assistantships
    • Seeking out opportunities to interact with faculty
    • Seeking out faculty with shared academic interests
    • Conducting independent research with a faculty supervisor
    • Attending national, regional, or local conferences
  • Program Requirements


    To ensure that all students entering the M.S. program have been exposed to the general content upon which the M.S. degree is built, we require prerequisite undergraduate training in general psychology, statistics and research, learning and cognition or strategies of behavior change, clinical psychology, and psychological testing.  Following is a list of UAA courses that meet these requirements and an indication of when they are usually offered at UAA.  Alternative courses and/or experiences will be considered and can be approved by the Clinical Training Committee Coordinator.  Students who have an undergraduate degree in psychology may be provisionally admitted to the M.S. program without all prerequisites completed, but all prerequisite courses must be completed within the first year of the MS program and are required prior to specific graduate courses.  Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in psychology must complete all prerequisite courses prior to admission to the M.S. 

    Course/Semester generally offered at UAA

    • PSY A111 General Psychology (fall/spring/summer)
    • PSY A260 Statistics for Psychology (fall and spring)  or PSY A420 Conducting Research in Psychology (fall and spring)
    • PSY A355 Learning and Cognition (fall and spring) or PSY A200 Introduction to Behavior Analysis (fall and spring)
    • PSY A425 Clinical Psychology (fall and spring)
    • PSY A473 Psychological Testing (fall only)

    Credit Hours and Course Requirements

    Number of Credits.  A minimum of 48 total credit hours (51 if a thesis is elected) are required for graduation. All coursework must be completed with a B grade or better to be applied toward the degree and all degree requirements must be completed within five years of admission to the program.  Note that the M.S. degree in psychology has standards that are more stringent than the general university requirements.  Specifically, we require a minimum grade of "B" in each class rather than a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and we require completion of the degree within 5 years rather than 7 years.

    The M.S. curriculum was developed with the practitioner-scientist in mind.  In developing the curriculum, we considered academic standards, state mental health needs, licensing requirements, and the input of students over the years.  The structure and content of the program is based on information gathered from graduates and knowledge contributed by faculty about the academic preparation required to be a well-rounded and ethical psychotherapist.  The program includes experiences and courses crucial to responsible training and preparation for licensure in the mental health field.

    Required Coursework.  All students must take the following 45 hours of required courses, which represent the basic content and skills necessary for practicing psychotherapists and practitioner-scientists.  Each course (with the exception of practicum and internship) is offered once per year.  The semester in which the course is typically offered is noted in parentheses.

    • PSY A604 Biological and Pharmacological Bases of Behavior (Fall)
    • PSY A609 Applied Research Methods (Spring)
    • PSY A611 Ethics and Professional Practice (Fall)
    • PSY A612 Advanced Human Development in a Cultural Context (Fall)
    • PSY A622 Multicultural Psychopathology (Fall)
    • PSY A623 Intervention I (Fall)
    • PSY A624 Group Therapy (Spring)
    • PSY A626 Family Therapy (Fall)
    • PSY A627 Community-Based Intervention Skills (Spring)
    • PSY A633 Tests and Measurements in Multicultural Context (Spring)
    • PSY A654 Cultural Issues in Psychotherapy (Spring)
    • PSY A665 Psychotherapy Practicum (Fall/Spring/Summer-by approval)
    • PSY A670 Psychotherapy Internship (2 semesters) (Fall/Spring/Summer-by approval)
    • PSY A681 Substances of Abuse in Alaska (1 credit Spring)
    • PSY A682 Clinical Interventions for Substance Abuse (1 credit Spring)
    • PSY A683 Substance Abuse Assessment and Treatment Planning (1 credit Spring)

    Elective Courses.  Students must take 3 hours of elective credits.  These credits may consist of graduate level psychology elective courses; PSY699 Thesis; and/or pre-approved graduate courses from other programs or 400-level undergraduate courses.  Independent study and/or independent research courses (pre-arranged through a faculty member) may also be taken as elective credits.  Courses in the Graduate Certificate in Children’s Mental Health (see description below) may serve as electives.  Some psychology graduate courses designated for the Ph.D. program are open to students in the MS Clinical Psychology program.  The Ph.D. program is a joint program offered with UAF and, as such, is subject to size restrictions and content differences.  Exceptions may be allowed through petition by your advisor and the Clinical Training Committee.

    Following is a list of elective credit options that may be offered in a rotating schedule.

    • PSY A631  Cognitive Behavior Therapy, 3 Credit Fall
    • PSY A638  Child Clinical Psychology, 3 Credit Spring
    • PSY A690  Special Topics, 1-3 cr (schedule & offerings vary)
    • PSY A698  Individual Research, 3 cr with faculty permission
    • PSY A699  Thesis (2 or more semesters), 6 cr (see instructions below)
  • Graduate Certificate in Children's Mental Health

    This 14-credit graduate certificate prepares graduate students to practice children’s mental health using principles and methods from multidisciplinary sources to assist in the mental health treatment of children and their families.  Students in the M.S. program must apply to be accepted into the Children's Mental Health Graduate Certificate training program.

    If you are studying for licensure as a Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA) or Licensed Professional Counselor (*LPC) you should become familiar with the academic requirements for each license and plan accordingly. Please see the requirements at State of Alaska Licensing page.  Students who are interested in the career counseling competency (optional) for the LPC license may take this course through UAA's School of Education.

    To facilitate licensure after graduation, students should keep the following items for inclusion in their licensure application:

    1. all practicum and internship evaluations, and
    2. records of training (contact hours and supervision) and workshop attendance that have contributed to competency as a therapist.

     *Please note: Licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) involves accumulating a total of 60 credit hours of graduate level study.  Hours beyond the 48 hours required for graduation may be accumulated after graduation. 

  • M.S. Degree Project - The Clinical Portfolio

    If you are considering applying to a Ph.D. or Psy.D. program, talk to your advisor about the advantages of doing an empirical M.S. thesis.  This graduate student manual includes a comprehensive guide to completing a thesis project, including step-by-step procedures and a Thesis checklist.

    The final graduate project for all students is the Clinical Portfolio.  Detailed requirements for the Clinical Portfolio will be presented in PSY 665.  The Clinical Portfolio does not require separate registration.  It is scheduled as part of the regular activities in PSY 665 (Clinical Practicum) and two semesters of PSY A670 (Psychotherapy Internship).  Successful completion of the portfolio is required for graduation.  The portfolio, like a thesis, may be returned for revision by the review committee. If it is not approved by the committee before the end of the semester you may have to wait another semester to graduate.  When your portfolio is complete and passed, the Internship Supervisor responsible for portfolios will submit paperwork to the Psychology Department Director, the Dean of CAS, the Dean of the Graduate School, and enrollment services indicating that the portfolio requirement for graduation is complete..

  • Admission to Psychotherapy Practicum and Internship

    Admission to PSY A665 (Psychotherapy Practicum) and PSY A670 (Psychotherapy Internship) is not automatic but is dependent upon the judgment of the Clinical Training Committee that the student is prepared to embark upon supervised clinical training with clients in the Psychological Services Center at UAA or in a community agency.  Prior to admitting an applicant to PSY A670 (Psychotherapy Internship), the Clinical Training Committee will discuss and vote on the applicant’s preparedness for internship.  Each student must fill out an application and submit it to his or her advisor and the Clinical Training Committee.  The deadline for application for spring internship is November 1.  Summer and fall internship applications are due April 1.  For students who complete PSY A665 (Psychotherapy Practicum) in the summer session and wish to start Internship during the fall semester, a conditional approval may be granted pending the final evaluation of the student’s performance in PSY A665 Psychotherapy Practicum.  Approval for admission into Psychotherapy Internship is a decision of the MS program faculty and is separate from entry into the graduate program. Difficulties, including minimal academic performance, problems with professionalism, having a poor practicum recommendation, or other factors may cause denial of entry into PSY A670 Psychotherapy Internship. This could result in the development of a remedial plan that may include repeating coursework, including PSY A665 Psychotherapy Practicum.  Furthermore, depending on the circumstances, denial of entry into Psychotherapy Internship may result in dismissal from the program.

    Applications for internship must include an Internship Goals statement. Applicants for internship are asked to describe three distinct goals they wish to accomplish through psychotherapy internship.  Students are asked to be specific in describing the experiences that they hope to gain during internship.  This should be a creative and thoughtful document that expresses the student’s growing knowledge, competency and self-awareness as a clinician.

    The Internship Application packet shall include the following:

    • Complete Internship Application, including Internship Goals statement
    • Current resumé, appropriate for review by potential Internship site supervisors
    • Documentation that liability insurance coverage is in place

    It is the student’s responsibility to assure that all of the application materials are submitted by the deadline to the advisor and the Clinical Training Coordinator. Most Psychotherapy Internship sites require criminal background checks and failure to pass these background checks could potentially limit the student’s ability to obtain an internship. Students will be notified of application decisions by faculty advisors or the Clinical Training Coordinator. Please note: Availability of internship sites may limit when and where you will be able to begin your internship.

    Students in Internships are expected to adhere to the administrative policies, rules, standards, schedules and practices of the Internship sites as well as those of the MS Clinical Psychology program and the APA code of ethics. 

    Requirements for internship application:

    • Successful completion of: PSY A611, PSY A622, PSY A623, and PSY A633 (may be concurrent with PSY A665)
    • Current enrollment or successful completion of PSY A665
    • Successful completion of all departmental prerequisites
    • Consistent demonstration of professional and ethical conduct, as well as clinical readiness to proceed to Internship
  • Graduate Studies Plan

    Your official Graduate Studies Plan (GSP) is filled out in Degreeworks and serves as your commitment to a particular plan of study, culminating in the M.S. degree.  Your GSP must be completed in discussion with your advisor Your GSP is used by Degree Services to perform an audit when you apply for graduation. This will determine your eligibility for graduation. Please review your course plan with your advisor each semester of the program.

    Please note: Deadlines for application for graduation can be as much as nine months before the desired graduation date, so students must carefully note these deadlines posted online and in the semester schedules.  This is important.  If you miss the deadline for applying for graduation you will have to pay a late fee to apply and may have to wait until the next semester for which the deadline has not passed. All this underlines the need to be mindful about your program and maintain communication with your advisor.

  • Practicum (PSY A665)

    All students are required to complete one semester of practicum through the Psychological Services Center (PSC). This experience involves direct clinical contact with clients of various ages and backgrounds. The PSC is a professional setting that requires a high degree of commitment, ethical behavior, and professional conduct. The experience is time-consuming and often emotionally draining, especially if this is your first face-to-face contact with clients.

    Time and Effort Involved in PracticumOn the average, the practicum will require 20 hours of work per week in the fall and spring semesters at the PSC (in summer the average is higher, as much as 30). This includes time to be on-call, write reports, see clients, receive supervision, consult with others, prepare for appointments, etc., for an approximate total of 300 hours per semester or summer session. Practicum students will average a minimum of 5 individual clients per week, i.e., will have about 80 hours of individual therapy contact per semester or summer session. Students also provide time at the PSC for walk-in clients.

    Practicum students will receive a minimum of one hour of individual supervision per week to review their psychotherapy cases, i.e., 15 hours of individual supervision over the semester or summer session. In addition, students will be required to participate in the weekly two-hour staff meetings. Informal and frequent peer consultation is also strongly encouraged.

    The summer session occurs in an intensive 10-week format with an average of 30 hours per week (not including the 2 hour staff meeting).  Because of the intensive format and long hours, students who take practicum in the summer should not expect to have a job or other major work-related commitment during this 10-week period.

    Practicum begins with a 2 day orientation, which is typically offered Thursday and Friday of the week prior to the start of the semester or session. This meeting is mandatory and will be conducted by the PSC Director and Coordinator. Orientation covers a broad range of topics including clinic procedures/etiquette/protocol; using PSC technology including Titanium/OQ/DVD recording/electronic records, scheduling for the semester, and so forth. This meeting is mandatory - plan your return from vacations accordingly. To maximize smooth functioning in the clinic and the transfer of cases, you will be assigned continuing transfer clients at the end of orientation. Clients will begin to be scheduled immediately when the semester begins.

    Emotional Reactions During PracticumPracticum can be an intense experience that may leave you feeling drained, anxious, depressed, and excited. Whether the feelings are positive or negative, they are often strong. Fortunately, your classmates will be having similar reactions. In the past, students have formally or informally met to discuss and process their experiences. This kind of mutual support is quite important and something all faculty members encourage because it is an integral part of the training experience. You should also expect to discuss your reactions in group or individual supervision. Processing your reactions is an important way to attend to your personal needs. It is also a helpful way to discover similarities with your colleagues and to recognize when your personal reactions may be entering into the therapy you are doing with clients. Some students choose to engage in their own personal therapy by meeting with a private psychotherapist during this time to process personal issues that are stimulated by the work.  The MS Clinical Psychology program and the Clinical Training Committee encourage student to do this as it fosters growth and competency as a therapist.

    Taking Practicum More Than Once.  At times, students believe they would benefit from some additional supervision, exposure, and training before going out on internship. To meet this need, practicum may be retaken for credit as an elective. At other times, a student may not pass practicum (i.e., may receive a grade lower than B). In such a situation, the student will be required to retake practicum, although these extra practicum credits will not count toward the 48 required for your degree. In general, you should consider retaking practicum if you receive a grade of B. This level of performance suggests areas of relative weakness that might be remedied by an extra semester of training and supervision. Doing so would help prevent or reduce problems that may arise during internship.

  • Psychotherapy Internship (PSY A670)

    All students are required to complete a minimum of two semesters of internship at a community agency. Before starting internship, students must complete an application packet and submit it to their advisor and the Clinical Training Committee for approval (see section 4 above). Internship involves a minimum of 300 hours (roughly 20 hours per week) at your internship site where you will have a designated supervisor from the facility overseeing your work. In addition you attend a 2-hour weekly class with other Internship students and the Internship Coordinator from the M.S. program.  Internship requires a strong professional commitment and it is generally not compatible with other full time work or with being a Teaching Assistant, especially if you are also taking other classes. It is generally best to keep enrollment in other courses to a minimum during this time. If internship is taken during summer months, keep in mind that the 300 hours required take place in a compressed timeframe (closer to 30 hours per week).  The Director of the Psychological Services Center is in charge of Psychotherapy Internship during the summer session. However, the Internship Coordinator is in charge of arranging your internship placement. No independent solicitation of internship sites should be done without the Coordinator’s permission.

    Remember that many sites require background checks, week-long orientations, and paperwork that must be completed before client contact can begin.  As you begin thinking about an internship, talk to students who are currently doing internships and ask them about their experiences. Also arrange to meet with your advisor and the Internship Coordinator to discuss schedules, meetings and individual goals

    Issues involved in Internship.  Like Practicum, Internship involves direct contact with clients under close individual and group supervision. You are responsible to know and comply with confidentiality and ethics rules of the internship site as well as procedures and schedules for their paperwork, staff meetings and supervision requirements.  Once the Internship Coordinator has approved the internship site, the student intern and site supervisor will set up a schedule together. The Internship Coordinator will monitor your experience during the weekly internship class. Activities in the class include, among other things, discussion of your experience and focusing on specific needs for information or resources. You must keep the Internship Coordinator advised of activities at your site, particularly if problems or misunderstandings develop. The Coordinator is your advocate who facilitates and supervises your experience in the community agency.

    Sites for InternshipInternships vary greatly depending upon the site. The internship coordinator selects the site, based on availability and on your professional interests and goals. The internship coordinator will work closely with you to select a site that optimizes your experience. The goal of Internship is to train students for a wide variety of jobs in the community.  Private practices of community professionals are not considered for internship as they are not generally able to provide the level of individual supervision required for an internship experience.  The Internship coordinator makes the initial contact with the selected site. Some sites used in the past include: Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, Providence Family Practice Center, Providence Hospital inpatient programs and RTCs, Alaska Children’s Services, CITCI, and Akeela programs.

    Emotional Reactions During InternshipThe emotions and needs that emerge for students during internship are similar to those discussed in the Practicum section of this handbook. However, in addition, interns often feel more isolated because they are no longer working shoulder-to-shoulder with classmates or other students. This may make mutual sharing with your classmates more difficult. Nevertheless, internship also allows for an enriching exposure to professional colleagues with different backgrounds and levels of expertise.

    Another problem that develops occasionally involves politics or ethical dilemmas at the internship site. These issues should never be handled by the intern alone. The UAA Internship Coordinator must be kept informed if situations arise and will provide direct help and intervention. Ethical questions or any situation that is uncomfortable or questionable should always be deferred to the site supervisor and/or Internship Coordinator immediately.  Failure to do so may inadvertently put you in a situation that may threaten your academic standing as well as create legal repercussions. Consult with the Internship Coordinator early and often. If the situation is one you and the Internship coordinator think you can manage on your own, the internship coordinator will support your efforts, but must be informed in all cases.

    Like the practicum experience, internship may involve personal challenges and emotional times.  Being and becoming a psychotherapist often stimulates personal issues that must, ethically, be processed separately from the therapy sessions.  The intern should bring these concerns to the site supervisor, peer consultants, their advisor and/or the internship coordinator.  Some students choose to engage an external psychotherapist during this time to process personal issues that are stimulated by the work.  The MS Clinical Psychology program and the Clinical Training Committee encourage students to do this as it fosters growth and competency as a therapist.

    Internship Interface with UAA/UAF Ph.D. ProgramThe joint UAA/UAF PhD program in Psychology is a separate program from the MS Clinical Psychology program. However, the psychology department faculty is an integrated faculty and opportunities are designed to maximize benefit for all students. One example of this is that MS students may be placed in Internships where they are supervised by advanced Ph.D. students.  MS students in internship will be informed of these relationships and be given complete instructions and procedures by the internship supervisor and the site supervisors.

  • Thesis

    Students may elect to complete a thesis (PSY A699) under the direction of a thesis advisor and a thesis committee. The MS Clinical Psychology graduate program requires a traditional empirical thesis. Thesis topics can be wide-ranging and should accommodate your interests. Your advisor is a primary source of information and advice about doing a thesis. If you are interested in a thesis, plan to take PSY A609 (Applied Research Methods) in the first year of your program of study. Students electing to complete a thesis are required to take 6 hours of thesis credit in 1-3 credit increments.  Consult your advisor for how to enroll for thesis credits. You will work with your advisor to create a syllabus for each term you are enrolled in Thesis credits.  You will receive deferred grades (DF) for each term until the final thesis is approved by the Graduate School and your advisor will submit grades for the 6 credits of thesis.

    MS Clinical Psychology Thesis Procedures (The Five Thesis Stages)

    The UAA Graduate School website has thesis preparation resources such as a handbook, flowcharts and guidelines for thesis preparation. While these have primarily to do with formatting and submitting your thesis, the MS Clinical Psychology program has developed specific steps for developing, designing and timing the production of your thesis. It is your responsibility to ensure you have followed appropriate procedures in both venues. Thus, while you should definitely discuss thesis issues with your advisor, you must be familiar with the thesis process and take responsibility for ensuring the appropriate steps are taken at the appropriate times. The thesis process has five stages that gradually move from an informal to a very formal process.  The time estimates for each stage are provided as a way of planning for the typical amount of time it takes to move through them.  With proper planning this time could be overlapped in places.

    STAGE 1) Selecting Your Topic and Your Committee [first term of graduate program].  Consider your interests and career goals and think about topics that you would want to spend time and energy exploring in more depth.

    • Discuss topics with faculty members that have an interest in similar areas and ask about their availability to chair your thesis committee.
    • Select and invite a faculty member to be your chair.
    • Notify the Clinical Training Coordinator and request to have your thesis chair formally assigned as your advisor.
    • Do not register for Thesis credits until these items are in place
    • Once you have a topic and have selected an advisor, select the remaining members of your committee. You require three faculty members from UAA (including your committee chair).  These faculty members may be from any department although your chair must be from the Psychology department.  You may also add additional committee members from other universities if you wish.  You and your advisor must complete the Graduate School form for appointing and changing committee members.  This must be signed and your advisor must document your committee and thesis topic in Degreeworks.
    • Make sure that you register for Applied Research Methods (PSY 609) in the spring term of your first year in the program. This is required for you to proceed with a thesis.

    STAGE 2) Thesis Proposal

    • Prepare a formal thesis proposal under the supervision of your thesis chair. This is one of the major undertakings of the thesis process. It requires several rounds of drafts submitted to your chair with several weeks between revisions. Begin early and stay on track by arranging meetings with your chair to discuss progress. (Remember, the proposal must be approved by your entire committee and by the IRB before any data collection can proceed.
    • After your thesis chair approves your proposal, distribute copies of the proposal to all committee members and schedule a time when all of you can meet to discuss your proposal (allow at least two weeks for committee members to review your proposal before the meeting).
    • Generally, during your proposal meeting, you will be asked to provide a verbal overview of your project and a rationale that explains the reasons why your topic should be approached in the manner proposed.
    • Committee members will make recommended changes during the meeting, so anticipate that the meeting will help shape your final product.
    • The thesis chair will keep minutes of the proposal meeting and will ensure that you implement all suggested changes.
    • After the proposal meeting, you must make revisions to your proposal based on the feedback you received. Once this is done, distribute a revised copy of your proposal to your committee members and have them sign the Thesis Proposal Committee Signature Form (see Graduate School Website under Thesis).
    • If your thesis project changes you must revise your proposal and have all committee members sign off on the revised version. If your committee changes you must use the Graduate School form for appointing and changing committee members to document the committee change. Your advisor must also document the change in Degreeworks.

    In conducting a research project, you must apply for and obtain IRB approval after your committee has approved your proposal and before you begin collecting any data. Consult the UAA Office of Research website for more directions.

    STAGE 3) Conduct Your Research

    • Collect data, analyze results, and prepare the Results and Discussion sections.
    • Maintain frequent contact with your thesis chair and consult with other committee members as necessary during this time.
    • Work with the UAA Thesis Formatting Handbook (see Graduate School Website) to ensure your thesis has the proper formatting. You can also call the Graduate School office with questions. The CAS Dean’s office, Graduate School and library each have deadlines each semester for submission of material.
    • The thesis chair will review and approve the final write-up before it is sent to the other committee members.

    STAGE 4) Thesis Defense

    • After your thesis chair approves your final draft, distribute your thesis to the committee members
    • Meet with the administrator for the Graduate School who will review your thesis formatting and approve the schedule for your defense.
    • Schedule a time for your oral defense. All committee members must be present at the defense (be sure they have at least 2 weeks to read your thesis beforehand).
    • Provide public notice regarding your thesis defense. At a minimum, you should display flyers in the Psychology Department at least one week before the defense. The Graduate School will also post a notice of your thesis defense on their website.
    • During your defense you will be asked to provide a verbal overview (usually with PowerPoint) of your project and a summary of the main findings and limitations of your work.
    • Committee members may recommend changes to your final thesis during the defense, so anticipate that the meeting will help shape your final product.
    • The thesis chair will keep minutes of the thesis defense and subsequently will ensure that you implement all the suggested changes.
    • After all changes have been implemented and your chair approves the final version of your thesis, you must distribute copies to the rest of the thesis committee for approval. At this time, the committee members will sign the Graduate School form approving the thesis.  They must also sign the correctly formatted signature page that will be included with your thesis when you submit it electronically to the Graduate School.
    • Note that you should not represent your research as an M.S. thesis in a public forum until after it has been defended and approved by your thesis committee.

    STAGE 5) Final Submission to Graduate School

    The thesis cover sheet needs to be signed by all committee members (chair signs first).

    • Follow the guidelines in the UAA Thesis Formatting Handbook in submitting your thesis to the Director of the Psychology Department, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Dean of the Graduate School for review and signature. (Note that all reviewers have the option of returning the thesis for revisions - the most common return reason is nonconformity with UAA formatting style and poor final editing).
    • Plan for each step in the reading and review process to take at least two weeks (i.e., pre-defense by your committee, post-defense by your committee, the Dean's & Vice-Provost’s offices). At times it may take longer. The final deadline for submission to the Graduate School will be posted each term on the Graduate School website.  These final submission dates occur approximately one month before the end of each term.                   

    Thesis Choices: Advisor, Committee, and Topic.  The most important choices in the thesis process are those involving your topic, chair, and committee members. Because the thesis is a significant commitment, you should put careful thought into your topic and the individuals you will be working with. These choices go hand in hand: once you have identified an interest area, you will find a faculty member who shares that interest or would be willing to work with you in that area. It is important to understand that finding an area of interest is not equivalent to choosing a topic. An area of interest is much broader than a topic, and leaves much flexibility. Once you have identified faculty members who share your interest, you choose one person to be the chair of your committee. Assuming there is more than one faculty who has expertise and interest in your area, you should choose a chair based upon personal comfort, compatible interpersonal styles, and compatible schedules. 

    Once you select a chair, he or she can help you focus your interests to a specific topic or project. Next, you and your chair should select other members of the thesis committee. In addition to the chair, you must have two (or more) Psychology Department faculty members sit on the committee. Individuals with affiliate status in the Department (which is not the same as adjunct status) also qualify to sit on a thesis committee.

    Choosing committee members is an important process that must be discussed with the chair so it can be done wisely. Not all people work equally well together and it is important to find individuals who can work with you and one another.

    Choosing a specific topic for your thesis is important. You should keep two things in mind when making this choice:

    • Choose a topic that will sustain your interest over the course of the project.
    • Choose a topic that is feasible as far as time commitments, availability of subjects, and publication or presentation opportunities.

    When sorting through what may sustain your interest, it is helpful to think about the things that attracted you to psychology in the first place, what you see yourself doing in five to ten years, what you would like to contribute to the field, and the topics in which you would like to develop expertise. Remember that the thesis is not designed to be a hurdle between you and your career. Rather, the topic should work for you as a vehicle that furthers your expertise and professional development. Thus, as much as possible, incorporate your passions into your project.

    Feasibility is equally important, as you should be able to finish the project within a reasonable period of time and with a reasonable amount of effort. Keep in mind that while the thesis is a significant project, it is not fundamentally different from the kind of work you have already done in some of your courses. 

    Thesis Time-LineWhile your thesis is not fundamentally different from other work you have done, it is work that is scrutinized by many different people. This makes the thesis process inherently longer than the other academic work you do in the program. As you anticipate graduation, recall that your thesis needs to be read and approved numerous times, and each time revisions are common. After you have written your thesis, it must be approved at six or seven distinct steps: 1) by your thesis chair prior to your defense; 2) by your thesis chair after the defense (who ensures all feedback was addressed); 3) by your other committee members following the defense; 4) by the Director of the Psychology Department; 5) by the CAS Dean's office and; 6) by the Dean of the Graduate School. Each semester, both Dean’s offices post deadlines regarding when your thesis must be submitted to be processed for graduation that semester. This deadline changes from semester to semester.

    If you assume that there are no major problems with your thesis and if you have the ability to write clearly with proper grammar, then revisions at each step in the thesis process should proceed smoothly (taking an average of about two weeks at each step). If you have trouble writing clearly, you should allow yourself plenty of time and seek editorial assistance (perhaps even from a paid editor-consultant) during thesis preparation.

    If you want to be confidently on top of the thesis process in order to meet a graduation deadline, it would be a good idea to schedule your defense as early as possible in the semester in which you want to graduate (always check the Graduate School website for thesis submission deadlines). What this means is that most of your thesis work (e.g., literature review, data collection, data analysis, etc.) should be completed before your final semester. Allow your final semester to be devoted to polishing your document and planning your oral defense. In general, students underestimate the amount of time that is involved in the thesis, so work closely with your advisor to come up with a sensible time-line.

    Other Thesis IssuesYou won’t actually finish your thesis in one semester so when you register for thesis credits you will receive a Deferred (DF) grade. This grade does not affect your grade point average, and merely indicates on the transcript that the project is too large to be completed in one semester. Grades of DF are standard for projects that span more than one academic term. If you are only working on your thesis and not enrolled in any other classes, however, you must maintain continuous enrollment, either by taking at least one credit hour of class or by extended registration.

    While DF's are commonly given when a thesis extends to a second semester, a DF can affect your financial aid status.  If a grade of DF is given, the credit hours involved are not applied toward your credit hour load for that semester. Please note: If a DF causes you to have less than 9 completed credits for that term, it may trigger a loss of your eligibility for financial aid. Always make your UAA financial aid advisor aware when you are taking thesis credits. DF grades for thesis are considered a normal part of thesis completion and are not treated the same as other DF grades by enrollment services.

    More information about your thesis can be obtained from the Graduate School, members of the Clinical Training Committee, the Clinical Training Coordinator, or other faculty members in the psychology department. The more information you can gather from these sources, the better prepared you will be for the thesis process.

  • Curriculum Planning

    Early curriculum planning is important as there are several milestones that have to be passed in the correct order for you to progress through the M.S. program. An opportunity to make a Graduate Studies Plan will be provided in the first few weeks of the academic year. After this, curriculum planning is best done with your advisor.

    There are a few rules of thumb that apply:

    • Always complete any undergraduate prerequisite deficiencies as soon as possible.
    • Always take PSY A623, PSY A622 and PSY A611 in your first semester.
    • Always take PSY A633 in the first semester possible (course is offered Spring only).
    • Always complete any departmental admission requirements as soon as possible in order to become fully admitted to the program.
    • In your first year decide if you will complete a traditional thesis.
    • If you are completing a thesis, start the process in the first term of your graduate program.
    • Try to save internship for last and complete as much of your course work as possible before starting internship.
    • Remember to collect data and reflections during your entire graduate experience to include in your final portfolio project
    • Remember that the program requires that the degree be completed within 5 years.

    Sample Curricula for Full-Time Students.  While this program is designed to be completed in two years, even highly motivated full-time students should consider allowing at least five semesters to complete the degree. Another important consideration is that the Psychological Services Center cannot handle an entire cohort starting Practicum at the same time so some students will have to wait for a semester or two to start on the 3 semester practicum/Internship series.

    If you have departmental prerequisites to satisfy, these should to be completed within the first year of the program and before you start practicum (PSY A665). Remember, prerequisites will most likely extend the time required to graduate. When completing prerequisites, you must remember that almost all graduate courses are offered just once per year. You will have to make wise choices about which graduate course(s) to postpone. For instance, PSY A611 is only offered in the Fall semester. If you do not take it during your first semester you will not be able to take it until Fall of your second year. That can be problematic because this course must be completed before you can start Practicum. The bottom line is that students who have to complete prerequisites should talk to their advisor before making registration decisions and should plan on more than 2 years to complete the program.

    The first sample curriculum displayed below contains 12-13 credits per semester and presumes the student would start practicum in their second semester.  The second sample curriculum reflects 1 prerequisite and election to do a thesis.

    Sample I -a 5 -semester, two-year graduate curriculum, no prerequisites, no thesis

    • Year 1: Fall Semester (12 credits)
      • PSY A611: Ethics and Professional Practice (3 cr.)
      • PSY A622: Multicultural Psychopathology (3 cr.)
      • PSY A623: Intervention I (3 cr.)
      • PSY A604: Bio. & Pharmo. Bases of Behavior (3 cr.)
    • Year 1: Spring Semester (12 credits)
      • PSY A633: Tests and Meas. in Multicultural Context (3 cr.)
      • PSY A627: Community-based Intervention Skills (3 cr.)
      • PSY A609: Applied Research Methods (3 cr.)
      • PSY A665: Psychotherapy Practicum (3 cr.)   Apply for Internship
    • Year 1: Summer Session (6 credits)
      • PSY A670: Psychotherapy Internship (1st) (3 cr.)
      • 600-level Summer Electives (3 cr)
    • Year 2: Fall Semester (9 credits)
      • PSY A626: Family Therapy (3 cr.)
      • PSY A654: Cultural Issues in Psychotherapy (3 cr.)
      • PSY A670: Psychotherapy Internship (2nd) (3 cr.)  Submit Clinical Portfolio
    • Year 2: Spring Semester (9 credits)
      • PSY A612: Advanced Human Development (3 cr.)
      • PSY A681: Substances of Abuse in Alaska (1 cr.)
      • PSY A682: Clinical Interventions for Substance Abuse (1 cr.)
      • PSY A683: Subst Abuse Assmt & Trtmnt Planning (1 cr.)
      • PSY A624: Group Therapy (3 cr.)
      • 600-level Spring Elective (optional) (3 cr.)                                     

    total credits=48

    Sample II - a 7 –semester graduate curriculum, one prerequisite, Thesis

    • Year 1: Fall Semester (9 credits + 3 prerequisite credits)
      • PSY A611: Ethics and Professional Practice (3 cr.)
      • PSY A622: Multicultural Psychopathology (3 cr.)
      • PSY A623: Intervention I (3 cr.)
      • PSY A473: Psychological Testing (3 non-graduate credits)
    • Year 1: Spring Semester (12 credits)
      • PSY A633: Tests and Meas. in Multicultural Context (3 cr.)
      • PSY A627: Community-based Intervention Skills (3 cr.)
      • PSY A609: Applied Research Methods (3 cr.)
      • PSY A624: Group Therapy (3 cr.)
    • Year 1: Summer Semester (6 credits)
      • PSY A699 Thesis (3 cr.)
    • Year 2: Fall Semester (9 credits)
      • PSY A654: Cultural Issues in Psychotherapy (3 cr.)
      • PSY A604: Bio & Pharmo Bases of Behavior (3 cr.)
      • PSY A665: Psychotherapy Practicum (3 cr.) apply for Internship
    • Year 2: Spring Semester (9 credits)
      • PSY A670: Psychotherapy Internship (3 cr.)
      • PSY A681: Substances of Abuse in Alaska (1 cr.)
      • PSY A682: Clinical Interventions for Substance Abuse (1 cr.)
      • PSY A683: Assesmt&Treatmt Planning for Subst Abuse (1 cr.)
      • PSY A612: Advanced Human Development (3 cr.)
    • Year 2 Summer Semester (6 credits)
      • PSY A670 Psychotherapy Internship (3 cr.)   submit clinical portfolio
    • Year 3 Fall Semester (6 credits)
      • PSY A626: Family Therapy (3 cr.)
      • PSY A699: Thesis (3 cr.)

    total graduate credits=51 

    Elective Courses.  Optimally, the elective will be chosen to fit with your career goals and personal interests.

    Taking additional clinical courses as electives will increase the attractiveness of your credentials to many employers. If your goal is to become a Licensed Professional Counselor more electives will also bring you closer to the 60 required for application.  Taking additional semesters of practicum and/or internship may further enhance your eligibility for professional positions because these classes increase the amount time in actual hands-on experience you have had with clients. (Remember: only 48(50) credits can be listed in your GSP but all courses are listed equally in your transcript.)

    PSY A698 is an excellent elective if you are interested in research and/or doctoral study. It provides an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member on research. Depending on the situation, your effort may become part of a conference presentation or a published work. Furthermore, this type of elective provides the basis for a mentoring relationship with a faculty member. Please note that although the university system will let you register, you must pre-arrange with a faculty member to take PSY A698.

  • Other Program Issues

    Continuous Enrollment Policy

    The University of Alaska Anchorage has a Continuous Enrollment Policy that requires students in graduate degree programs to be continuously enrolled until the completion of the degree. In other words, students must be enrolled every semester (including summer session) until graduation. This is true even if you are only completing your thesis. Noncompliance with this policy may result in Enrollment Services dropping you from the graduate program. If you have completed all of your course work, yet are still finishing with deferred coursework, you must pay a continuous enrollment fee or enroll in coursework to keep your status as a graduate student.  Extended registration for continuous enrollment can be done in person at Enrollment Services.

    Leave of Absence

    Every now and then a student who has begun the M.S. program may need to take a break from her or his studies for personal or professional reasons. Because of the University's Continuous Enrollment Policy, the Clinical Training Committee must approve such a break. Unapproved absences for even one semester result in automatic dismissal from the MS Clinical Psychology program. To initiate a Leave of Absence (LOA), first discuss the matter with your advisor. Subsequently, the student must submit a Leave of Absence form along with a petition outlining your request to the Clinical Training Committee. Once the committee has made a decision, you will be notified in writing.

    LOAs are granted for no longer than one year. If a longer absence is required, you will need to re-petition the Clinical Training Committee after a year. A leave of absence does not affect the five-year completion rule, so even if you take a leave, you must complete the degree requirements within five years of admission to the program. Please note: Students newly accepted into the program cannot be granted a leave of absence or deferment before beginning the program.

    Departmental Prerequisites

     If you have not met all the departmental prerequisites for admission to the M.S. program, you may be fully admitted to university but conditionally admitted to the graduate program. Conditional admission requires you to complete all pending requirements within your first year. If your admission was conditional because of missing undergraduate course prerequisites, you must take the necessary courses in your first year.

    Once you believe that you have satisfied all prerequisite and conditional admission requirements and that your program status should be changed from conditional to full admission, you should discuss this with your advisor and then petition the Clinical Training Committee in writing to have your status formally changed. The committee will review your progress during the probationary period and determine whether you should be granted full admission. This vote is based not only upon your completion of any missing prerequisites and conditional admission requirements, but also upon your overall performance in the program to date. Thus, your overall GPA, ethical behavior and professionalism will all play a role in the Committee's decision about changing your status. You will be notified in writing of this decision. 

    Departmental Academic Probation

    Students are automatically placed on Academic Probation if their grade point average falls below 3.00. Should this happen, you can remain in the program on probation for one year while you bring up your GPA. A probationary contract will be drawn up and signed by you, your advisor and the Clinical Training Coordinator with a plan to raise your GPA. If you fail to improve your grades during this time, you will be dismissed from the program. Please note: any graduate coursework that receives a grade of C or less cannot count toward your degree and must be retaken.

    In addition a grade of C in PSY A665 or PSY A670 is considered a failing grade and may be cause for dismissal or probation.  If you receive a C in PSY A665 or PSY A670 the Clinical Training Committee will review your status.  If probation is designated rather than dismissal, the Clinical Training Committee will develop an academic remediation plan which will be supervised by your advisor, the PSC Director and/or Internship Coordinator, and the Clinical Training Coordinator.

    Academic probation may affect your ability to receive financial aid.  Also, teaching and research assistantships are not granted to students on academic probation. If you find yourself in this position and have concerns about how academic probation will affect you, consult the Financial Aid Office at UAA regarding student loans and grants.


    Graduate courses are graded on an A to F basis unless otherwise specified. Grading for PSY A698 can be determined individually by the student and faculty member. Most often, a letter grade is used. As mentioned above, courses in which you receive a grade of C or less cannot count toward your degree and must be retaken. A grade of C in PSY A665 or PSY A670 is considered a failing grade and may be cause for dismissal. Consult with your instructors during each semester about your progress in class and your goals for learning and grades. Be open and prompt (with either your instructor or advisor) in discussing personal needs that may impinge on your ability to participate in any class.  

    Deferred (DF) grades are usually given for thesis credits that were not completed within the intended semester. Additionally, grades for Practicum or Internship may need to be deferred if extenuating circumstances make it impossible to achieve the required number of clinical hours during a semester. These deferred grades are very common and represent no shame. However, they may affect your financial aid status, as credits of DF do not count toward your course load for that semester. However, financial aid should be consulted if you are taking thesis credits or if it becomes evident that you will receive a DF in Practicum or Internship as these are not treated the same as other DF grades. 

    A student has a maximum of two years to complete a DF. Incomplete grades (I) may be negotiated with individual instructors if you are unable to complete a small percentage of course work within a given semester. However, the effect of an ‘I’ grade on financial aid is that it may drop you below the minimum number of hours required for full time status in that semester and make you ineligible for financial aid. Incomplete grades can remain on your transcript for exactly one year. If you fail to complete the work within that time period, the instructor may assign an F, or the Office of Student Records turns the ‘I’ into a permanent grade. You may petition to receive an extension beyond 1 year for an Incomplete, as long as you have the approval of the course instructor to do so. This petition must be made to the Director of the Office of Student Records. Incomplete, Deferred, and Pass/No Pass grades do not affect your overall grade point average. Again, please ask for help from your advisor or the Clinical Training Coordinator. 

    Liability Insurance

    Although we hope you will never need it, the University provides inexpensive professional liability insurance for students. This insurance will cover you for any clinical work that you perform as part of your coursework in our program. Insurance is paid from lab fees from PSY 623, PSY 665, and PSY 670. The graduate secretary and Clinical Training Coordinator will facilitate the completion of this form.

  • Professional Development

    To maximize options for post-graduate employment or doctoral study, consider engaging in activities that foster your professional development, such as becoming involved in professional organizations and student associations, doing research, seeking out clinically relevant volunteer work, and attending professional workshops. Getting involved in organizations can be as easy as signing up (see section VIII of this handbook). Other options take a little more effort on your part and are addressed here individually.

    Clinical Work

    Every student gains clinical experience in the M.S. program through practicum and internships. Although the amount of clinical experience you gain is quite respectable as far as academic curricula go, additional experience is often helpful for the student who plans to apply for mental health service delivery jobs upon graduation. The easiest way to gain additional experience is through volunteer work in community agencies or through extra semesters of practicum in the Psychological Services Center. Some students also gain experience by seeking employment in mental health agencies. While this is a sensible approach to gaining experience, it can be a disadvantage when it requires a considerable time commitment. While completing your degree, part-time work is much more desirable than full-time work. Clinical settings that have offered students volunteer or part-time work experiences include: Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, the ARC of Anchorage, Alaska Children’s Services, North Star Behavioral Health System, Providence Hospital, S.T.A.R., AWAIC, and South Central Foundation.


    There are several ways to become involved in research.  At times, professors may offer students the option of conducting research as a term-paper requirement in a class.  Second, many faculty members have ongoing research projects and would welcome your participation.  Third, you can seek out an individual faculty member’s approval to register for PSY A698 Independent Research so you can conduct a project that is of mutual interest.

    Once a project is completed, its findings should be shared with the academic community. This can be accomplished through professional presentations at conventions and conferences, or through publication. Publication involves sending the manuscript to a journal for review. Often this process requires six months or more. The first time you attempt to publish a manuscript, it may be best to consult with a faculty member in order to learn the ins-and-outs of the submission process.

    Professional presentations can be done at the local, state, regional or national level. UAA and the Department of Psychology offer two unique settings for students to begin to familiarize themselves with the presentation process. Every spring, there is a university-wide conference called the Student Showcase, wherein students can present their work (empirical or otherwise).

    Also every spring, the Department of Psychology presents the Behavioral Science Conference of the North. This is another forum to present your work. These conferences, while smaller than regional or national conferences, are great places to gain experience and learn about professional presentations. All conferences require authors to submit their work by a certain deadline. The work is reviewed and the author is notified whether the work is accepted or rejected. Deadlines come long before the actual conference so pre-planning is necessary. Below are approximate deadlines and dates for some of the conferences where MS students have presented their research in the past:

    • Behavioral Science Conference of the North - usually held in late April; submission deadline is usually late March or early April; calls for papers are usually posted in February or March
    • Student Showcase - usually held in mid-April; submission deadline is usually in late March/early April; calls for papers are usually posted in February
    • Western Psychological Association Convention - usually held in late April; submission deadline is usually in November; calls for papers are usually mailed in September or October
    • Society for Personality Assessment Convention (see personality.org) - usually held in mid March; submission deadline is usually in early November; calls for papers are usually mailed in September.
    • American Psychological Association Convention - usually held in mid-August; submission deadline is usually in early December; calls for papers are usually published in the APA Monitor in October.
    • Alaska Psychological Association Annual Meeting – usually held in November
    • American Psychological Society Convention - usually held in early to middle June; submission deadline is late in the prior year or early in the same year; calls for papers are published two to three months in advance in the APS Observer

    Workshops and Teaching

    While the curriculum of the M.S. program has been carefully designed to maximize your learning experience, there is always more to learn. The Graduate Student Association (GSA) and various national organizations have sponsored workshops in the past, as have the Department of Psychology and the Alaska Psychological Association. Other offerings in the community are placed in the back of the student mail box in the PSC and then placed in the “Workshop Notices” notebook in the PSC Director’s office.   Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these learning opportunities as they come up. Workshops are an excellent way to learn things that do not fit neatly into an academic curriculum or to expand upon skills that are only touched upon during your formal education. In addition there is often a reduced ‘student rate’.

    Another excellent way to learn material thoroughly is to teach it. Thus, you are encouraged to seek out opportunities in which you can function as a teaching assistant and/or a guest lecturer. Most faculty members are more than happy to have students enroll in PSY A695, Teaching Practicum in Psychology. This experience can be particularly valuable if you plan to continue on in a doctoral program.  On occasion, there are opportunities for students to present professional workshops to the community. If you become aware of such an opportunity, you should pursue it, particularly because this is a way to develop a reputation in the local mental health community. Some agencies that have asked students to present workshops are Kids'Corp, HeadStart, UAA Student Health Center, and UAA Student Services. Clinical faculty can provide more details about these types of teaching opportunities.

  • Ethics and Professionalism

    APA Ethical Guidelines for Psychologists

    The American Psychological Association has formulated a set of ethical guidelines for its members, and all students enrolled in the M.S. program must adhere to these principles. It is your responsibility to ensure you are quite familiar with these guidelines. The Ethical Principles of Psychologists address professional responsibility, competence, moral and legal standards, public statements, confidentiality, welfare of the consumer, professional relationships, assessment techniques, and research with human and animal participants. A complete copy of the guidelines can be found at www.apa.org.   

    Professional Conduct

    Professional conduct is required of all students enrolled in psychology courses. It includes adherence to the guidelines for ethical behavior outlined by APA, as well as adherence to the behaviors specified for practicum/intern students by the university and by internship sites. Thus, requirements may vary slightly depending on where you are working.  For instance Anchorage Community Mental Health Services requires a specific computer program training for client records management.  While placed at such a site, you would be expected to conform to that agency's guidelines. Although not exhaustive, a few obvious guidelines of professionalism include the following:

    • Respect fellow students, staff, research participants, and faculty.
    • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of others.
    • Maintain honesty and integrity.
    • Do not cheat on exams.
    • Do not help other students cheat on exams.
    • Do not plagiarize material for work that is done for a course
    • Do not misrepresent the source of work that is done for a course.
    • Do not use papers written for one course to satisfy requirements for a second course.
    • Do not use departmental computers for personal pursuits.
    • Deal directly and appropriately with a person you may have problems with or complaints about, including faculty (in other words, you should not talk about a person behind his/her back and you should follow specified procedures for appeals and grievances).
    • Demonstrate respectful and appropriate behavior in a clinical setting (e.g., maintain quiet conduct in the waiting room of the Psychological Service Center; do not enter the PSC staff room without authorization; maintain client confidentiality at all times).
    • Avoid sexual harassment at all times (this can include even the use of sexist language, as sexual harassment is defined by the target of the behavior, not by the person engaging in it).
    • Avoid prejudice or discrimination against others at all times.

    Consequences of Violations of Ethics and Professionalism

    To protect the public, state and national licensing boards review the behaviors of licensed psychologists and psychological associates and withdraw their license to practice for violations of the APA ethical guidelines. As faculty in a training program, the Clinical Training Committee of the M.S. program in Clinical Psychology at UAA may function as such a review board and reserves the right to dismiss or suspend any student who has violated APA standards for ethical or professional conduct. Precedent for such action has been set successfully in the past. Unethical or unprofessional behavior confined to a single course may result in an immediate removal from that class and a grade of F. Such an action is at the instructor's discretion, as long as due process is followed. If the violation within a single course was sufficiently severe, the student's action may also be reviewed by the Clinical Training Committee, which may suspend or dismiss the student from the program. If such a review occurs, the student will be given the opportunity to state her or his case with the instructor and/or the committee. The committee will also seek input from the Dean of Students and/or university legal counsel to ensure the student's rights are not being violated. If the student disagrees with the committee's decision, the student may file an academic appeal within 15 days of being formally notified (see below). 

    Dismissal, Suspension, and Probation

    Admission into the M.S. program does not guarantee graduation. Violations of ethics and professionalism have already been discussed as causes for possible dismissal or suspension from the program. There are several other stages in the training program during which review of student progress may result in dismissal or probation. Dismissals, suspensions, and probations are always decisions made by the full Clinical Training Committee, never by an individual instructor.

    This section of the handbook is not written to frighten or intimidate students, but rather to ensure you are as informed as possible about the times when your overall performance is reviewed and decisions are made about your suitability to continue training. Although it is very rare, all of the review stages outlined below may result in decisions regarding dismissal, suspension, or probation. If the Clinical Training Committee reaches such a decision and the student feels that decision was unjustified or unsupported by the evidence, the decision can be appealed through appropriate channels.

    Conditional Status Review

    When a student enters the program as a "conditional admission" pending the completion of certain prerequisites or departmental requirements, the student must have her or his conditional status reviewed by the Clinical Training Committee in order to be fully admitted into the program. At this time, a full review of the student takes place. Successful review leads to full admission; unsuccessful review leads to dismissal. The criteria used for review at this time include: 1) the prerequisites and requirements outlined in the letter of acceptance (which will vary from student to student), 2) the student's ethical and professional conduct, and 3) the student’s development of clinical skills as evident from coursework, interactions with faculty, and feedback from others who have interacted with the student while in the program. Failure to meet any of these criteria may result in dismissal from the program.

    Admission to Internship

    When the Clinical Training Committee reviews an Internship application, several aspects of performance are reviewed. These include: 1) specific academic requirements, 2) ethical and professional conduct, and 3) the student’s development of clinical skills as evident from course work, interactions with faculty, and feedback from others who have interacted with the student while in the program. Failure to be approved for internship will result in remediation, probation or dismissal from the program. The committee chooses remediation if the problems are minor and if the committee believes the student can remedy them.  Probation involves a more formal plan developed by the Clinical Training Committee. The committee chooses dismissal if the violations or problems are severe enough to warrant doubt that the student will be able to succeed in the program.

    Practicum and Internship Grading and Review

    Failure to acquire an A or B in practicum or internship may be cause for dismissal or a remediation plan as described above.  Ethical or professional violations during internship or practicum may result in immediate removal from the internship site, a failing grade for that course, and a formal dismissal from the program by the Clinical Training Committee. 

    Grievances and Complaints

    Up to this point, this section of the handbook has dealt primarily with dissatisfaction on the part of the faculty with a student's ethics or professional behavior; however, it may also be the case that a student will have a concern about these issues with a faculty member. If so, there are steps that you can take to deal with the problem. Specifically, you may file an academic complaint or a grievance. These processes require a certain protocol, which is outlined below.

    When a student has a grievance or complaint with a member of the faculty or staff, there are two distinctions that should be understood. First, if the complaint relates to an academic action (e.g., grades, dismissal from the program), the appeal process generally stops at the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences. Second, if the complaint deals with matters other than an academic grievance (e.g., sexual harassment), the process generally stops at the university-wide Grievance Council Committee. A Title IX compliance department at UAA investigates student complaints of harassment, including sexual harassment.

    However, for both types of complaints, students are encouraged to seek resolution of the complaint at the most informal level possible. Your advisor is your first resource in dealing with problems with other faculty or students.  That is, whenever possible, you are encouraged to deal directly with the faculty member or employee who is the source of your complaint. If you cannot obtain resolution dealing directly with this person, then your concerns should be taken to the Department Director. If you cannot obtain resolution by dealing with the Department Director, or if the Department Director is the source of the problem, then you should take your complaint directly to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    Academic Appeals.  All students have the right to appeal academic actions, such as grades or dismissals from the program. Because we hope any concerns can be addressed to your satisfaction at the most informal level possible, we encourage you first to seek out the faculty member and try to gain resolution of the problem. If this step is not satisfactory, we encourage you to contact the Department Director as your next step. Whenever possible, the Director will attempt to resolve the situation between you and the faculty member. If resolution is not possible at this level, we encourage you to make a formal appeal to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences as your third step. It is important to note, however, that you have the right to make a direct appeal to the Associate Dean at any time, without first discussing matters with the faculty member or the Director. 

    When making a formal appeal, you must give a written request for appeal to the College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean no later than fifteen (15) working days following notification of the action under review. The request must spell out clearly and concisely the action to be reviewed, the reason you think the action was inappropriate, and the corrective action you would like to see taken.

    Grievances.  Grievances are reserved for unethical and/or unprofessional behavior on the part of a faculty member or staff person (e.g., sexual harassment). As with the academic appeals discussed above, you are encouraged to first try to resolve the complaint informally, saving the formal grievance procedure as a last resort. Nonetheless, you can file a grievance directly to the Dean's office or the Title IX compliance office whenever you believe this step is in your best interest. The informal process for resolving a grievance is the same as that discussed above. When possible, first try to obtain resolution by dealing with the person directly. If this is not successful, meet with the Department Director to discuss the problem. If the Director cannot generate a satisfactory resolution, you should then proceed to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. If you still feel you have not achieved resolution to the problem at this level, the final step is to file a formal grievance. Grievance packets may be picked up from any members of the Grievance Council, the Vice Chancellor of Student Services, the Student Ombudsperson, the University Ombudsperson, the Affirmative Action Officer, or the Department Chair. When filing a formal grievance, you will need to document the informal steps you took in your effort to resolve the problem. The formal grievance must be filed no later than sixty (60) calendar days after the event that caused the grievance.

  • Legal Issues in the Mental Health Professions

    The Alaska State Statutes govern graduates who work in the mental health field. These statutes regulate both the individuals who provide services and the agencies in which these services are rendered. The Statutes specify licensing requirements, supervision requirements of psychology interns, requirements of confidentiality of communication, and mental health law about reporting responsibilities, duty to warn, commitment to psychiatric hospitals, and other issues. Students in the M.S. program are expected to be familiar with and guided by these state Statutes. Full Text is available online. 

    The statutes regarding confidentiality and child protection are deemed of sufficient importance to be reproduced here. References in the confidentiality statute will also point you toward other Alaska statutes that you need to be familiar with as a professional. 

    Alaska Confidentiality Statutes

    The Alaska confidentiality statutes (Sec. 08.86.200) are as follows:

    1. A psychologist or psychological associate may not reveal to another person a communication made to the psychologist or psychological associate by a client about a matter concerning which the client has employed the psychologist or psychological associate in a professional capacity. This section does not apply to
      1. a case conference with other mental health professionals or with physicians and surgeons;
      2. a case in which the client in writing authorized the psychologist or psychological associate to reveal a communication;
      3. a case where an immediate threat of serious physical harm to an identifiable victim is communicated to a psychologist or psychological associate by a client;
      4. disclosures of confidential communications required under Rule 504, Alaska Rules of Evidence; or
      5. proceedings conducted by the board or the department where the disclosure of confidential communications is necessary to defend against charges that the psychologist or psychological associate has violated provisions of this chapter; information obtained by the board or department under this paragraph is confidential and is not a public record for purposes of AS 09.25.110 – 09.25.140.
    2. Notwithstanding (a) of this section, a psychologist or psychological associate shall report to the appropriate authority incidents of child abuse or neglect as required by AS 47.17.020, incidents of elder abuse as required by AS 47.24.010, and incidents of abuse of disabled persons disclosed to the psychologist or psychological associate by a client. In this subsection "disabled person" means a person who has a physical or mental disability or a physical or mental impairment, as defined in AS 18.80.300.

    (Note: Breaches of confidentiality are clear ethical and legal violations that can result in dismissal from the M.S. degree program. If such breaches occur during a practicum or internship, they may result in a failing grade for the practicum or internship and possibly dismissal.)

    Child Protection Law

    The Alaska child protection statutes are as follows:

    In order to protect children whose health and well-being may be adversely affected through the infliction, by other than accidental means, of harm through physical injury or neglect, mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, the legislature requires the reporting of these cases by practitioners of the healing arts and others to the department. It is not the intent of the legislature that persons required to report suspected child abuse or neglect under this chapter investigate the suspected child abuse or neglect before they make the required report to the department. Reports must be made when there is a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect in order to make state investigative and social services available in a wider range of cases at an earlier point in time, to make sure that investigations regarding child abuse and neglect are conducted by trained investigators, and to avoid subjecting a child to multiple interviews about the abuse or neglect. It is the intent of the legislature that, as a result of these reports, protective services will be made available in an effort to

    1. prevent further harm to the child;
    2. safeguard and enhance the general well-being of children in this state; and
    3. preserve family life unless that effort is likely to result in physical or emotional damage to the child.

    Sec. 47.17.020. Persons required to report.

    1. The following persons who, in the performance of their occupational duties, or with respect to (8) of this subsection, in the performance of their appointed duties, have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of child abuse or neglect shall immediately report the harm to the nearest office of the department:
      1. practitioners of the healing arts;
      2. school teachers and school administrative staff members of public and private schools;
      3. peace officers and officers of the Department of Corrections;
      4. administrative officers of institutions;
      5. child care providers;
      6. paid employees of domestic violence and sexual assault programs, and crisis intervention and prevention programs as defined in AS 18.66.990;
      7. paid employees of an organization that provides counseling or treatment to individuals seeking to control their use of drugs or alcohol;
      8. members of a child fatality review team established under AS 12.65.015(e) or 12.65.120 or the multidisciplinary child protection team created under AS 47.14.300 .
    2. This section does not prohibit the named persons from reporting cases that have come to their attention in their non-occupational capacities, nor does it prohibit any other person from reporting a child's harm that the person has reasonable cause to suspect is a result of child abuse or neglect. These reports shall be made to the nearest office of the department.
    3. If the person making a report of harm under this section cannot reasonably contact the nearest office of the department and immediate action is necessary for the well-being of the child, the person shall make the report to a peace officer. The peace officer shall immediately take action to protect the child and shall, at the earliest opportunity, notify the nearest office of the department.
    4. This section does not require a religious healing practitioner to report as neglect of a child the failure to provide medical attention to the child if the child is provided treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by an accredited practitioner of the church or denomination.
    5. The department shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency if the department
      1. concludes that the harm was caused by a person who is not responsible for the child's welfare;
      2. is unable to determine
          1. who caused the harm to the child; or
          2. whether the person who is believed to have caused the harm has responsibility for the child's welfare; or
      3. concludes that the report involves
          1. possible criminal conduct under AS 11.41.410 - 11.41.458; or
          2. abuse or neglect that result in the need for medical treatment of the child.
    6. If a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abused or neglected and that
      1. the harm was caused by a teacher or other person employed by the school or school district in which the child is enrolled as a student,
      2. the harm occurred during an activity sponsored by the school or school district in which the child is enrolled as a student, or
      3. the harm occurred on the premises of the school in which the child is enrolled as a student or on the premises of a school within the district in which the child is enrolled as a student, the law            enforcement agency shall notify the chief administrative officer of the school or district in which the child is enrolled immediately after the agency determines that a child has been abused or neglected under the circumstances set out in this section, except that if the person about whom the report has been made is the chief administrative officer or a member of the chief administrative officer's immediate family, the law enforcement agency shall notify the commissioner of education and early development that the child has been abused or neglected under the circumstances set out in this section. The notification must set out the factual basis for the law enforcement agency's determination. If the notification involves a  person in the teaching profession, as defined in AS 14.20.370 , the law enforcement agency shall send a  copy of the notification to the Professional Teaching Practices Commission.
    7. A person required to report child abuse or neglect under (a) of this section who makes the report to the person's job supervisor or to another individual working for the entity that employs the person is not relieved of the obligation to make the report to the department as required under (a) of this section.
    8. This section does not require a person required to report child abuse or neglect under (a)(6) of this section to report mental injury to a child as a result of exposure to domestic violence so long as the person has reasonable cause to believe that the child is in safe and appropriate care and not presently in danger of mental injury as a result of exposure to domestic violence.
    9. This section does not require a person required to report child abuse or neglect under (a)(7) of this section to report the resumption of use of an intoxicant as described in AS 47.10.011 (10) so long as the person does not have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of the resumption

    New 8-05

    Sec. 47.17.068. Penalty for failure to report.

    A person who fails to comply with the provisions of AS 47.17.020 or 47.17.023 and who knew or should have known that the circumstances gave rise to the need for a report, is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.

    (Note: If, you knowingly fail or refuse to report as required above, both to your clinic supervisor and the state child protection services this may be grounds for dismissal from the M.S. degree program)

  • Certification and Licensure

    Alaska State Licensure and Certification

    Licensure and Certification are regulated by the State of Alaska (or any other state) and are not automatically earned by graduating with a degree. Alaska has four Master's level mental health licenses and at least one certification. The licenses are as a Psychological Associate, a Professional Counselor, a Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Clinical Social Worker and the certification is as a Substance Abuse Counselor. The Marriage and Family Therapist license requires extensive specific coursework not currently offered by UAA’s psychology department. The LCSW license is for graduates with a Social Work degree. Please note: students should be aware that the level of available employment after graduation often depends on the applicant’s licensure status.

    Licensed Psychological Associate.  Alaska offers Master's level licensure as a Psychological Associate. This is a unique license with an interesting history in Alaska. The MS Clinical Psychology graduate program was designed to meet the academic requirements of this license. Additional requirements include successfully passing the same national exam as Psychologists (with a lower minimum score), passing a state exam and undergoing two years of post-degree supervised experience. The national exam can be taken after graduation and, if passed, a temporary license (LTPA) can be issued while the two-year supervision plan is being carried out. However a Supervision Plan must be approved by the licensing board before any supervision begins. Licensing will be a frequent topic of conversation among your peers and with faculty. For further information go to the state department of occupational licensing or use the following contact information:

    State of Alaska
    Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners
    Division of Occupational Licensing
    P.O. Box 110806
    Juneau, AK 99811-0806
    Telephone:   (907) 465-3811
    Fax:  (907) 465-2974

    Licensed Professional Counselor.  More recently, Alaska has developed Master's level licensure as a Professional Counselor based on the requirements and Ethics of the American Counseling Association (ACA). The MS Clinical Psychology program can be the first step in preparing you for this license. Other requirements include additional postgraduate courses for a total of 60 credits of graduate education, successfully passing a national written exam and state essay exam and two years of supervised post-degree experience. For the two years of supervised experience to count, the State Board requires you to engage a professional who has been approved by the Board as an LPC supervisor.  At this time, the supervised experience must be completed before the National Exam can be taken.  Students interested in pursuing the LPC can obtain information and application materials directly from the state website or by using the following contact information:

    State of Alaska
    Board of Professional Counselors
    Division of Occupational Licensing
    P.O. Box 110806
    Juneau, AK 99811-0806
    Telephone: (907) 465-2551
    Fax: (907) 465-2974

    Substance Abuse Counselor CertificationThe State of Alaska offers a certification process for counselors working in the substance abuse field. There are three levels of certification: Level I, Level I Advanced, and Level II. All three certifications do not require a Master's degree. For Level I, the following are required: one full year of substance abuse experience, or a minimum of 150 training hours specializing in substance abuse, or an acceptable combination of experience and training. For Level I Advanced: two full years of experience, or a minimum of 270 hours of training, or an acceptable combination of experience and training. For Level II: passing the Substance Abuse Counselor written exam, three years of experience, minimum of 270 contact hours specializing in substance abuse in an approved training program, completion of a 300-hour practicum, and successfully passing an oral examination. For further information, talk to a clinical faculty member or contact the following:

    Alaska Commission for Chemical Dependency Professionals Certification
    3705 Arctic Boulevard, Room # 695
    Anchorage, AK 99503
    Telephone: (907) 563-8505
    Fax: (907) 562-7948 

    You can also contact the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors at www.naadac.org/

    Licensure in Other States and National Certification

    All 50 states have some form of master's level licensure or certification. For specific information see https://kspope.com/licensing/index.php .These licenses and certifications bring with them specific rights, which vary from state to state. For the most part, these licenses and certifications will allow you to conduct private practice, and, in many states, collect third party payments. The specific requirements for each state vary considerably. However, most require a master's degree, and successful completion of both a national and state examination, and one to three years of post-degree supervised experience. While the credit hours required for master's degrees varies from 30 to 60 credit hours, most states require 45, 48, or 60 credit hours.

    There are also three master's level national certifications that may be of interest. Most require a certain amount of professional, supervised experience, as well as satisfactory completion of an exam. These certifications provide documentation that you possess certain minimal qualifications and, as such, they have some intrinsic and extrinsic value. However, unlike licenses, obtaining a certificate does not grant you any additional legal coverage or rights.

    Certification by the American Association for Marriage and Family TherapyRequirements: A master's degree with major course work in Marital and Family Studies, Marital and Family Therapy, and Human Development; minimum of two years post-master's counseling experience under supervision of an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. 

    National Counselor CertificationRequirements: Two years of post-master's professional counseling experience and satisfactory completion of National Counselor Examination.

    National Career Counselor CertificationRequirements: Three years of post-master's professional career counseling experience and satisfactory completion of National Career Counselor Examination.

  • Career Choices

    Psychological Associates and Professional Counselors work in a variety of health care settings and often work in conjunction with other mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and paraprofessionals. Common settings include community mental health centers, outpatient clinics, psychiatric or general hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private or group practice, Veterans Administration mental health services, and residential treatment centers for various populations, including emotionally disturbed children, severely mentally ill persons, developmentally disabled individuals, substance abusing persons, juvenile offenders, and victims of abuse.

    Master's Level Employment

    The parameters of Master's level employment depend on the state, as well as on the certificates and licenses a person holds. In states that provide Master's level licensure (like Alaska), private practice is a possibility. In all states, master's level graduates can practice in residential settings, hospitals, community mental health agencies, and private mental health agencies. In general, graduates with a master's degree may not call themselves Psychologists. Although this title is regulated by individual states, it is formally reserved for individuals who hold a doctorate in psychology. Master's level practitioners generally have the option to refer to themselves as counselors, therapists, Psychological Associates (if licensed at the master's level), or psychological assistants, or may use their official job title as provided by an agency or the state. Alaska has specified several types of positions and titles for persons with a master's degree in psychology. Some examples are:

    • Mental Health Clinician I
    • Psychological Counselor I
    • Developmental Disabilities Program Specialist I

    Common settings for employment at the master's level include community mental health centers; outpatient clinics; psychiatric or general hospitals; rehabilitation centers; private or group practices; Veterans Administration centers; and residential centers that treat various populations, including emotionally disturbed children, people who are severely mentally ill, developmentally disabled, substance abusing, juvenile offenders, and/or victims of abuse. Graduates from our program have found employment in these diverse settings, both in Alaska and elsewhere.

    Continuing Your Academic Career

    Some students decide to continue their education after graduation and may pursue several avenues to continue their academic career in psychology. Depending on the program, doctoral studies may lead to a PhD, a PsyD, or an Ed.D. in Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, School Psychology, Counselor Education, Counseling, or other mental health fields. A useful resource is the APA publication Graduate Study in Psychology and Associated Fields, which provides an overview of programs and degree options (see www.apa.org). 

    Types of Doctoral ProgramsMany Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology follow the scientist-practitioner model of the American Psychological Association, training students to do research, teach, and practice. These represent the most rigorous programs and tend to be the most respected in the professional community. Receiving a Ph.D. from a psychology program that is not accredited by the APA can present many problems. These programs do not always qualify the applicant for licensure and can make the application process extremely difficult.

    The Psy.D. degree is a professional psychology degree that focuses less on research and more on practitioner skills. It has gained acceptance within the field of psychology, and the APA accredits many PsyD programs. Students considering this option should find an accredited program if they hope to gain licensure as a psychologist. 

    Subjects of Doctoral ProgramsThe three most common mental health fields in psychology are clinical psychology, counseling psychology, and school psychology. Other mental health fields are also emerging in psychology such as Neuropsychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology. These specialties can also be developed from a post-doctoral level. While counseling and clinical programs are becoming more similar than dissimilar, some minor differences remain. Doctoral Counseling Psychology programs often maintain a career or rehabilitation component and the typical student enters with a master's degree (with some exceptions). Many Clinical Psychology programs also reserve some of their admission slots for master's level applicants. Clinical and counseling psychology programs may include specialty tracks in the areas of career or vocational work, substance abuse, marriage and family interventions, or child psychology. School psychology is largely focused on preparation to work with children in a school setting, conducting psychological and psycho-educational assessments, and providing some therapy or other interventions.

    Applying to Doctoral ProgramsThe application process for doctoral programs is lengthy and involves planning and preparation. You should talk to people who have gone through this process, including professors, fellow students, and professionals in the community. Successful applicants often apply to as many as ten different programs, a decision that is not only time-consuming, but also expensive.

    If you think you may apply to a doctoral program, you should carefully keep track of all your research, teaching, and psychotherapy activities so this information will be on hand when you complete your applications (it is also required for your Clinical Portfolio). You should also find a mentor who is willing to assist you with your preparations by steering you toward research and teaching opportunities. Depending on the program you are considering, you should become actively involved in research, with a target of at least one publication and one or more presentations before applying. It would also help to gain some teaching experience by becoming a teaching assistant or offering to guest lecture in various courses.

  • Student Representation

    You can foster your own professional development via several routes, including joining professional organizations that interface with the psychological community, joining associations that focus on academic curricula, or choosing to run for an elected office within a representative student body that influences local departmental policies.

    Graduate Student Representation

    Graduate students participate in setting and reviewing departmental policies and procedures by electing a student representative who attends and votes in departmental faculty meetings and Clinical Training Committee meetings. The entire graduate student body elects a representative in annual elections. The role of the student representative is to introduce and represent student concerns to the faculty, communicate pertinent information to the students, and act as a liaison between students and faculty. The representative should adhere to APA ethical standards in all activities associated with his or her role. Representatives are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding personal business discussed in departmental meetings that are not a matter of public record. The representative insures student input on curriculum, colloquium offerings, and budgetary concerns. The representative facilitates a flow of information between students and faculty on special programs and offerings such as workshops, conferences, and psychology related activities.

    Student Associations and Honor Societies

    American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS)APAGS is designed to: 1) promote high standards in the teaching, training, and practice of psychology in order to further the education and development of all students involved in the study of psychology; 2) represent, as well as facilitate the exchange of information and ideas among students from all specialties of psychology; 3) promote graduate student leadership by offering opportunities to participate in a national organization; and 4) establish and maintain channels of communication between APAGS and schools, universities, training centers, and other members of the psychological community. Membership is available to those who are currently graduate students or post-doctoral fellows in psychology. As long as you are a member of APA, you are automatically a member of APAGS. Members must pay an annual fee and agree to conform to the APA Code of Ethics.

    Psi Chi National Honor Society in PsychologyPsi Chi offers membership in the national organization through the local University of Alaska Anchorage chapter. The purpose of Psi Chi is to encourage, stimulate, and maintain scholarship in psychology and to advance the science of psychology. To achieve these goals, Psi Chi offers a wide range of programs locally, regionally, and nationally. The local chapter programs are designed to augment and enhance the regular curriculum, afford opportunities for members to use their talents in roles that are meaningful, and promote interaction among fellow members, faculty, and other psychologists.

    Membership is available to undergraduate and graduate students and faculty whose academic concentration is in the field of psychology. Students who have attained and maintained a GPA of 3.0 overall and a GPA of 3.5 in psychology and who exhibit high standards of behavior are eligible to join. Because Psi Chi is an honor society it does not have open membership. Rather, membership depends upon invitation. It is a prestigious organization.

    Professional Organizations that Offer Student Memberships.

    There are a number of professional organizations that accept student members, which can serve as an excellent introduction to the professional psychology field. Student members usually receive an organizational newsletter, discounts for journal subscriptions and books, and reduced rates for convention attendance.

    Alaska Psychological Association (AK-PA). 

    Benefits: Listserv membership; training notification; reduced rates at CE workshops.

    Address:        www.ak-pa.org
                           P.O. Box 241292
                           Anchorage, AK 99524
                          (907) 243-7495


    American Counseling Association (ACA). 

    Benefits:      Free subscription to Journal of Counseling and Development, ACA Guidepost

    Address:        www.aca.org
                            5999 Stevenson Avenue
                            Alexandria, VA 22304
                            (703) 823-9800


    American Psychological Association (APA). 

    Benefits: Free subscriptions to APA Monitor and American Psychologist, reduced rates for books and journals, membership in American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS)

    Address:        www.apa.org           
                            750 First St., NE
                            Washington, DC 20002
                            (202) 336-5970


    American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). 

    Address:        www.aamft.org
                           1100 - 17th Street NW, 10th Fl.
                           Washington, DC 20036
                           (202) 429-1825


    American Psychological Society (APS). 

    Benefits: Free subscriptions to APS Observer, Psychological Science

    Address:        www.psychologicalscience.org
                           1511 K Street, Suite 345
                           Washington, DC 20090-0457
                           (202) 783-2077


    Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT). 

    Benefits: job placement assistance, journals, conferences, and membership directory

    Address:        http://www.abct.org/Home/
                           15 West 36th Street
                           New York, NY 10018-7910
                           (212) 279-7970
    Society for Personality Assessment. 

    Benefits:   Free subscription to the Journal of Personality Assessment and SPA's quarterly newsletter, the SPA Exchange.

    Address:        www.personality.org
                           6109 H Arlington Blvd.
                           Falls Church, Virginia 4402
    Western Psychological Association (WPA). 

    Benefits: Quarterly newsletter

    Address:        Department of Psychology
                           San Jose State University
                           San Jose, CA 95192-0189
  • Finances and Financial Aid 

    Financial Aid Office

    The Financial Aid Office is located in the University Center complex near 36th and Old Seward Highway (786-1585). This office can provide information and application forms for various grants, loan programs, scholarships, and employment opportunities. Be prepared to show your letter of admission to the M.S. degree program, complete a FAFSA financial aid form (UAA’s code is 4896), complete a Student Aid Report, and satisfy other paperwork specific to the type of funding for which you are applying. You will also need to bring and/or verify such things as income tax returns, family size, and dependent status, as well as satisfactory academic progress. Many of the students in the M.S. program apply to the Alaska Student Loan Program. For information about currently available scholarships call 786-1586.

    Paid Assistantships and Grader Support

    The Department of Psychology does not receive a guaranteed budget from the College of Arts and Sciences for teaching and research assistantships. However, a limited number of paid assistantships are available.  For the 2015-2016 academic year, we received 9 teaching assistantships for first and second year students.  These assistantships follow a fixed formula.  In exchange for working a certain number of hours per week, the student is provided with a certain amount of tuition waiver credits and a certain amount of stipend. For the current year, in exchange for working aproximately 20 hours per week over the course of a semester, students are provided with 9 credit hours of tuition waiver and a generous stipend per semester plus medical insurance. If the student works fewer hours per week, tuition waivers and stipends decline accordingly. Teaching Assistantships within the department are evaluated for continuance each semester. Students interested in a research or teaching assistantship should discuss these prospects with their advisor or the Clinical Training Coordinator.

    Occasionally, paid research assistantships are also available through faculty grants. These are generally offered to students who have been fully admitted and/or who have established a track record as a conscientious and dedicated student. Interested students should again discuss these possibilities with their advisor or the Clinical Training Coordinator.

    Finally, a small amount of funds are occasionally available to assist faculty with grading for large undergraduate courses. There are very few of these positions and they are generally not available until students are in their second semester. These positions vary in pay and type of work required, depending upon the course and the instructor. If you know a professor who regularly receives support for her or his classes (e.g., large sections of PSY A111 or PSY A150), it is best to approach that professor directly about arranging a position. Otherwise students can speak to a department secretary or the Clinical Training Coordinator.

  • Faculty Members and the Clinical Training Committee


     The Department of Psychology has approximately 20 full-time tenure-track faculty members.  A list of faculty members and their areas of interest are provided on the psychology website. You are encouraged to meet and introduce yourself to as many of the faculty as possible early in your career as a graduate student as you will probably encounter all of them at one time or another.

    Clinical Training Committee

    Three full-time faculty members serve on the Clinical Training Committee, which addresses programmatic issues related to the M.S. Program.  The Department Chair attends CTC meetings and the Program Director for the UAA/UAF Ph.D. program attends for programmatic issues that affect the M.S. and the Ph.D. programs.  There is one Graduate Student Representative who is a voting member of this committee but who is not privy to confidential discussions about study issues or progress in the program.  The CTC members are:

    • Gloria Eldridge (Clinical Training Coordinator)
    • Patricia Sandberg (PSC Director)
    • Rebecca Robinson
    • Claudia Lampman (Department Director)
    • Graduate student representative elected by the students
  • Non-Discrimination Statement

    Notice of Nondiscrimination (BOR Policy & Regulation 01.02.025)

    The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability, status as a protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, or other legally protected status.

    When implementing this commitment, the University is guided by Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Civil Rights Act of 1991; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Executive Order 11246, and Executive Order 11375, as amended; Equal Pay Act of 1963; Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and Age Discrimination Act of 1975; Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990; the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008; Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008; Pregnancy Discrimination Act; Immigration Reform & Control Act; Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other federal laws or Alaska Statutes which guarantee equal opportunity to individuals and protected classes within our society.

    The University's commitment to nondiscrimination, including against sex discrimination, applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment.

    This policy therefore affects employment policies and actions, as well as the delivery of educational services at all levels and facilities of the University. Further, the University's objective of ensuring equal opportunity will be met by taking affirmative action: i.e., making intensified, goal-oriented efforts to substantially increase the participation of groups where their representation is less than proportionate to their availability; providing reasonable accommodations to employees and students with disabilities; and ensuring that employment opportunities are widely disseminated to agencies and organizations that serve underrepresented protected classes.

    The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies:

    University of Alaska Anchorage
    Director, Office of  Equity and Compliance
    3211 Providence Drive
    Anchorage, AK 99508
    Phone: 907-786-4680
    E-mail: uaa_oec@alaska.edu
    Website: https://www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/equity-and-compliance/

    University of Alaska Fairbanks
    Director of Diversity and Equal Opportunity
    739 Columbia Circle
    PO Box 756910
    Fairbanks, AK 99775-6910
    Phone: 907-474-7300
    E-mail: uaf-deo@alaska.edu
    Website: http://www.uaf.edu/oeo/

    University of Alaska Southeast
    Director of Human Resources
    11066 Auke Lake Way
    Juneau, Alaska 99801
    Phone: 907-796-6473
    E-mail: gcheney@alaska.edu
    Website: http://uas.alaska.edu/hr

    For sex discrimination claims or other inquiries concerning the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations, individuals may contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator or the Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights:

    UAA Title IX Coordinator
    3890 University Lake Drive, Suite 108, Anchorage, AK 99508
    Phone: 907-786-4680
    Website: www.uaa.alaska.edu/about/equity-and-compliance/

    UAF Title IX Coordinator
    739 Columbia Cr., Fairbanks, AK 99775
    Phone: 907-474-7300
    E-Mail: uaf-tix@alaska.edu

    UAS Title IX Coordinator
    11066 Auke Lake Way, Juneau, AK 99801
    Phone: 907-796-6036 
    E-Mail: uas_jytitle9@alaska.edu

    Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    915 Second Ave., Room 3310
    Seattle, WA 98174-1099
    Phone: 206-607-1600
    TDD: 800-877-8339
    E-mail: OCR.Seattle@ed.gov
    Website: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html

    For employment or educational discrimination, students, parents, employees and applicants for employment may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act.

    Office for Civil Rights, Seattle Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    915 Second Ave., Room 3310
    Seattle, WA 98174-1099
    Phone: 206-607-1600
    TDD: 800-877-8339
    E-mail: OCR.Seattle@ed.gov
    Website: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html

    For employment discrimination, employees and applicants for employment may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the below addresses within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act.

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    Federal Office Building
    909 First Avenue
    Suite 400
    Seattle, WA 98104-1061 
    Phone: 800-669-4000
    Fax: 206-220-6911
    TTY: 800-669-6820
    Website: https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

    For educational discrimination, individuals may file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Justice

     U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
    Educational Opportunities Section, PHB
    Washington, D.C. 20530
    Phone: 202-514-4092 or 1-877-292-3804 (toll-free)
    Fax: 202-514-8337
    E-mail: education@usdoj.gov
    Website: https://www.justice.gov/crt/how-file-complaint#three

    For employment or educational discrimination, individuals may file a complaint with the State of Alaska:

    Alaska State Human Rights Commission
    800 A Street, Suite 204
    Anchorage, AK 99501-3669
    Anchorage Area: 907-274-4692
    Anchorage Area TTY/TDD: 907-276-3177
    Toll-Free Complaint Hot Line (in-state only): 800-478-4692
    TTY/TDD Toll-Free Complaint Hot Line (in-state only): 800-478-3177
    Website: https://humanrights.alaska.gov/

    For discrimination related to a Department of Labor funded grant, individuals may file a complaint with the U. S. Department of Labor within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act.

    U.S. Department of Labor
    ATTENTION: Office of External Enforcement
    Director, Civil Rights Center
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room N-4123
    Washington, DC 20210
    Fax: 202-693-6505, ATTENTION: Office of External Enforcement (limit of 15 pages)
    E-mail: CRCExternalComplaints@dol.gov
    Website: https://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/index.htm

    For discrimination related to a National Science Foundation funded grant, individuals may file a complaint with the National Science Foundation within 180 calendar days of the alleged discriminatory act.

    National Science Foundation
    Complaints Adjudication & Compliance Manager
    Office of Diversity & Inclusion (ODI)
    4201 Wilson Blvd., Rm. 255
    Arlington, VA 22230
    Phone: 703-292-8020
    E-mail: tsisley@nsf.gov
    Website: https://www.nsf.gov/od/odi/

  • University Offices Relevant to Student Needs

    There are several offices in the university, Department of Psychology, and student body that may have relevance to you as a student in the M.S. program. Following are the names of some of the people in these offices for the 2015-2016 academic year.

    Relevant University Offices

    UAA Chancellor: Mr. Tom Case

    UAA Provost: Dr. Sam Gingrich

    UAA Dean of the Graduate School: Dr. Helena Wisniewski

    Dean of CAS: Dr. John Stalvey

    Associate CAS Dean for Social Sciences: Dr. John Petraitis

    Relevant Psychology Department Offices and Department Secretaries

    Department Director: Dr. Claudia Lampman

    Clinical Training Coordinator: Dr. Gloria Eldridge

    Undergraduate Studies Coordinator: Dr. Gwen Lupfer

    Director, PSC: Dr. Patricia Sandberg

    Training Director, Ph.D. program: Dr. James Fitterling

    Administrative Support: Katie Brandenburg (graduate, PSC, financial), Elly Gregory