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Master of Arts–Graduation Requirements (details)

Master of Arts

WISR’s Master of Arts programs are open only to those who hold Bachelor’s degrees. Normally, graduate transfer credit is not allowed for courses taken at other institutions. A minimum of 15 months of study at WISR (approximately 32 semester units), exclusively in graduate study, is required for each individually-designed Master of Arts degree, except that students taking the Master of Arts program in Psychology with an intention to meet the academic requirements for the State’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) license must complete 48 semester units, over a minimum of 24 months of study.

Typically, MA students earn an average of about four semester units for each of six to seven projects (some may earn less than four units), and at least six units for the thesis. Faculty members award credit to each project by assessing its relative importance in the student’s total degree program. Faculty members also assess the quality of each student’s learning, the quality of the student’s written product and other demonstrated accomplishments, and the quantity of the student’s effort in comparison to what would be expected of students in more conventional graduate classes.

For graduation, each Master’s student must develop in her or his Learning Portfolio at least six papers, project analyses, lists of focused readings completed, and other materials demonstrating that the student has a broad range of knowledge in her or his field of study, and a significant ability to integrate theories and practices in the major field and in two core areas: Methods of Social Action Research and Theories of Social Analysis and Change. Each student must also complete a Master’s thesis, combining critical analysis of a problem of interest to the student with a potentially significant contribution to helping others. The Master’s project must embody creative effort by the student. Ordinarily this involves defining a problem, designing and/or trying out an approach to that problem, and writing a reflective, critical analysis of the process and its results.

In addition, students working toward the MFT license, as well as those also working toward the LPCC license, are assisted and expected to study in the core subject-matter areas required for the license. This includes mastering content in such areas as psychopathology, human development, marriage and family counseling theory and techniques, research methodology, psychotherapeutic techniques, human sexuality, cross-cultural analysis, psychological testing and therapeutic appraisal and assessment, and professional ethics. While this material is incorporated in individualized study, students are also required to participate in two Saturday class sessions each month. MFT students must have at least 306 hours of supervised experience in a practicum that meets State requirements. Also, students discuss their practicum experiences with their faculty adviser(s), and write two papers critically analyzing insights from these experiences. For more information, see WISR’s MFT Program Description [pdf].