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FAQ Archive

About once per month, Dr. Farmer, Director of the Clinical Psychology MA Programs, prepares an email called 'MAC FAQs.'  MAC FAQs stands for MA in Clinical Psychology, Frequently Asked Questions.  MAC FAQs are sent to the email accounts of all program students.  MAC FAQs contain program news items and questions students have asked.  Questions that have appeared in MAC FAQs appear below.

Q:  How do I register for Psyc 590, Directed Research credit?

A:  You must have reached an agreement with a faculty member for this research activity before you register.  Once that agreement is made, you register in a special way.   You must use the “Individualized Section Registration Form.”

Q:  I am in the Professional program.  I applied to graduate at the close of this Spring semester, but have decided to stay and complete 12 additional hours to qualify for licensure in states that require 60 semester-hour degrees.  What should I do?

A:  The first thing you must do is cancel your graduation application.  Once your degree is awarded, any additional credits you complete will be considered "credit outside the degree" and many states will not recognize that credit.  To cancel an application for graduation, email Ms. Sarah Willis ( in the Office of Graduation Services, and ask her to cancel your graduation application.  Your next step would be to begin registering for additional courses in accord with the Advanced Clinical Counseling Sequence or the new Clinical Psychology (Counseling Practice) program.

If you are currently set to graduate in the Clinical Psychology program, but have decided to stay and transfer your credits into a license-bound program, follow the same procedure to cancel your graduation application.

Q:  Just how does this competency requirement work?

A:  Each student must satisfy the competency requirement within his/her first 18 semester hours of graduate credit.  Failure to do so may result in review for dismissal from your program.  You can satisfy the competency requirement in one of two ways:

1)  Demonstrate a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.3 in the competency courses for your program.

* Competency courses for the MA in Clinical Professional Psychology program are PSYC 505, PSYC 516, and PSYC 530

* Competency courses for the MA in Clinical Psychology program are PSYC 407, PSYC 505, and PSYC 530

2)  Earn a score on the Psychology Subject Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) that is at or above the 70th percentile.

Q:  I know there are two clinical MA programs, but I don't know which one is better for me.  How are they different?

A:  The MA in Clinical Psychology requires 39 to 40 semester hours.  It is built upon a semi-structured curriculum.  At a minimum, students are required to take certain courses, choose some courses from specific menus, and have one psychology elective.  One of the "courses" is a final project.  For this, the student chooses a practicum, a thesis, or a two-course concentration sequence.  The recipient of this degree (39 to 40 semester hours) is not eligible in Illinois or in most other states to apply for licensure as a professional counselor.  Previously, Illinois allowed holders of the 36 or 39 hour clinical MA to take additional graduate credits as a special student (i.e., not enrolled in a degree program) to complete the requirements for the license qualification, but this is no longer an option.  Illinois will only allow holders of, at least, 48-hour MA's, in relevant disciplines, to apply for the professional counselor license.

The MA in Clinical Professional Psychology requires at least a 48-semester hour program.  It is a structured curriculum.  At a minimum, students are required to take 14 particular courses (i.e., 42 semester hours) and 6 semester hours of practicum credit.  The recipient of this degree (at least 48 semester hours) is eligible in Illinois and in most other states to apply for licensure as a professional counselor with the degree as it stands.

Q:  I understand the difference between the two clinical MA programs but I still don't know which one to choose.  I plan on applying to PsyD programs, so I think the shorter program would be OK, but in case I'm never admitted to a PsyD program, I'd like to apply for the counselor's license.  What should I do?

A:  I would recommend you do the longer, Clinical Professional Psychology program.  You will do a practicum at the end of it, so you will be able to demonstrate your clinical promise to PsyD admissions committees, but you will still be holding a licensable degree in case you do not succeed in being admitted to a PsyD program.

Q:  I understand the difference between the two clinical MA programs but I still don't know which one to choose.  I want to apply to PhD programs, so I'd like to do a thesis, but in case I'm never admitted to a PhD program, I'd like to apply for the counselor's license.  How can I have the best of both worlds?

A:  All MA programs are defined by their minimum requirements.  A student may certainly complete more than the minimum required credit and be awarded the degree.  Herein is the solution to your dilemma.  I would recommend choosing the Clinical Professional Program, but adding a "thesis" as an extra "course."  This way, you will have research involvement to use in demonstrating your research promise to PhD program admission committees, but you will still be holding a licensable degree should you not succeed in being admitted to a PhD program.  Alternatively, if you don't think you can commit the extra year or so it might take to do a thesis, get involved on the research team of a member of the psychology faculty.  This way, you will get research experience, and if your work is of good quality, your faculty supervisor will be happy to write a letter of recommendation documenting your experience (you might even be invited onto a presentation or publication).

Q:  How difficult is it to be admitted to PsyD and PhD programs?

A:  Clinical psychology continues to be a very popular field.  Doctoral programs receive between 100 and 300 applications each year and many of these programs are quite small.  Most PhD programs admit 4-8 students per year and PsyD programs typically admit 10-40.  Even considering that the people applying to one program are likely applying to others, the odds are still against an individual applicant.  Because of this, it is always a good idea to have a "back-up" plan, like an MA degree that enables you to apply for a license.

Q:  I am hearing some states are requiring a 60-semester hour degree for the LPC license.  What should I do about that?

A:  Things are always changing in the world of laws and professional licenses and the world of the Professional Counselor's License (LPC) and Clinical Professional Counselor's License (LCPC) is no different.  Illinois, and most other states, still require a master's degree that consists of a 48-semester hour curriculum, like our Clinical Professional Psychology MA program.  Some states, however, are beginning to require a 60-semester hour degree.  Within several years, all states will probably require the longer degree, but the Department of Psychology has put together a plan for this time of transition.  The first important thing for you to keep in mind is NOTHING ABOUT YOUR DEGREE REQUIREMENTS IS CHANGING.  You will earn your MA in Clinical Professional Psychology after satisfactorily completing the prescribed 48-semester hour curriculum.  However, I strongly urge you to check with the Board that oversees the LPC and LCPC in the state in which you intend to work after completing your degree.  An index of State Licensing Boards can be found by visiting the National Board for Certified Counselors at:

If you find your state is requiring a 60-semester hour degree, the Department recommends adding the four-course "Advanced Clinical Counseling Sequence," described below, to your curriculum as elective credit.  If you need help determining if this sequence will satisfy your State's requirements for the 4 additional courses beyond your 48-semester hour program, please contact Dr. Dygdon via phone or email.

Advanced Clinical Counseling Sequence: 

*  One adult therapy course, other than those required (e.g., PSYC 511 - Stress & Alternative Psychology, PSYC 651 - Experiential Group Therapy, PSYC 653 - Brief Psychotherapies)

*  One child therapy course (e.g., PSYC 540 - Child and Adolescent Social Skills Training, PSYC 654 - Child and Adolescent Therapy)

*  One practice-in-settings course (PSYC 514 - Behavioral Medicine, PSYC 634 - Community Psychology and Social Justice, PSYC 640 - Mental Health Practice Across Settings)

*  One clinical counseling elective (any 400, 500, or 600-level course that is topic-relevant to clinical counseling).  Some appropriate examples are PSYC 486 - Eating Disorders, PSYC 473 - Relaxation and Meditation, PSYC 479 - Advanced Relaxation and Meditation, PSYC 486 - Criminal Behavior, PSYC 487 - Child Abuse and Family Violence).

Q:  Do students take any classes while they are on practicum?

A:  Most students take one course (in addition to their practicum credit) during each of their two practicum semesters.  That works out well with most financial aid programs as most of those require students be registered for at least 6 semester hours per semester.

Q:  I may be thinking far ahead but, what happens if I fail the National Counselors Exam (the test required as part of the application for the LPC license)?  Can I take it again?

A:  You can take the NCE up to three times within a two-year period.

Q:  How does this whole practicum thing work?

A:  If you are a student in the 48-semester hour Clinical Professional Psychology program, you must complete a clinical practicum (a formal, field placement of at least 750 hours in length) as your "final" project.

If you are a student in the 39-40 semester hour Clinical Psychology program, you may complete a clinical practicum as your "final" project (a research thesis or a two-course concentration sequence are your additional options).

Early in your program, you should think about when you might be eligible to begin your practicum.  (Practica only begin in Fall semesters.)  Students in the Clinical Professional Psychology program may begin their practica as soon as they have completed their 36th semester hour.  Students in the Clinical Psychology program may begin their practica as soon as they have completed their 33rd semester hour.

Next, think about when you believe you will qualify to begin your practicum.  About one year before that date, set your practicum process in motion.  The first step in this activity is to complete your portion of the Clinical Practicum Eligibility Form.  Once you have completed your portion, submit the form to me (email it, drop it off, snail mail it -- anything works).  I will determine your earliest date of eligibility and pass the form along to Dr. Catherine Campbell, the Department of Psychology's Director of Training.  The form will then come back to you.  The second step is to read, very thoroughly, the Clinical MA Practicum Manual.  You will find a copy of it online in the MA webpage listed under "Manuals and Forms." 

You are not alone in the practicum placement process.  Dr. Campbell will assist you along the way.  She will help you determine a Roosevelt-approved training site based on your interests and professional goals.  She will also guide you through the application process.  Look for announcements of practicum workshops that Dr. Campbell routinely holds.

Q:  How do I stay informed about changes in Illinois' practices regarding applying for the Professional Counselor (LPC) and Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) licenses?  How do I get application materials when I need them?

A:  Visiting the website of the State of Illinois' Department of Financial and Professional Regulation ( will allow you to access all of the application materials you need.   As you read through information at the site, keep in mind that Roosevelt's MA in Clinical Professional Psychology is a Department of Financial and Professional Regulation approved program.  If you will be moving to another state and are curious about licensing practices there, I recommend checking that State's website for a comparable oversight department.

Q:  Can I transfer credit for graduate courses taken at other universities to my MA program here?

A:  The answer to this question is yes and no.  You may transfer credit if: (1) that credit was not applied to a degree already awarded, and (2) the course or courses in question are relevant to this program of study.  If this situation applies to you, contact me about the course or courses in question.  I will need to determine if they are appropriate to transfer to your program here.  In order to make that decision, I would need to see an official transcript and a catalog description or course syllabus.

Roosevelt University allows MA degree-seeking graduate students to transfer no more than 9 semester hours of credit.