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Grad FAQs

Overview of the Graduate Program in Psychology

1.  What is the emphasis of the psychology graduate program?

The goal of our program is to prepare students for careers in the application of behavior analytic techniques to the behavioral habilitation of diverse populations and for careers in the experimental analysis of behavior. Furthermore, our program offers the coursework required for certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®. This certification allows students to implement behavioral assessments and interventions in a variety of human service settings.

2.  Is this program a good choice if I want to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)?

Although the graduate program in psychology is designed to train students who want to improve the lives of others, we do not provide the coursework necessary to apply for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure in the state of Alabama. If you are interested in pursuing a job that requires licensure as a counselor, you should consider the JSU College of Education's master's degree programs in counselor education.

3.  Do I need an undergraduate degree in psychology to apply to the graduate program in psychology?

No. We consider all graduate applications, regardless of undergraduate degree; however, the Psychology Graduate Committee will evaluate each student's undergraduate coursework and experience to determine whether additional foundation courses (i.e., Principles of Psychology, Statistics, and Research Methods) will be required. Students admitted to the program that need to complete one or more foundation courses will be required to do so during their first year in the graduate program.

4.  What can you do with a master's degree from JSU's Department of Psychology?

Graduates typically apply for jobs in human service organizations that provide behavioral services or continue their graduate training in a variety of Ph.D. programs. Please visit the Association for Behavior Analysis International's website to browse the types of jobs available to behavior analysts with a master's degree.


Application Materials and Procedures

5.  Does the Department of Psychology accept new students each semester?

Applications are reviewed periodically throughout the year, but students are admitted into the psychology graduate program in the fall semester only.

6.  When is the application deadline?

All application materials, including GRE scores, must be received by the College of Graduate Studies by August 1 to be considered for admission into the program that fall, but applications received before April 15 will be given priority consideration. See the Graduate Bulletin for a list of required application materials. Applications completed after August 1 will be considered for admission in the fall semester of the following year.

7.  How do I complete the JSU Graduate Application for Admission?

Click here to complete the JSU application online through the College of Graduate Studies.

8. How do I sign up to take the GRE®?

Please visit the GRE® website for details about test dates, test center locations, and registration instructions.

9. When do I need to complete the GRE®?

The GRE® must be completed and the scores must be received by The College of Graduate Studies by the application deadline, August 1. Additionally, the GRE® must have been taken within five years immediately preceding enrollment in our graduate program.

10. Is there a minimum GRE® score that I need to earn to be considered for acceptance into the graduate program?

We do not currently require a minimum score, but acceptance into the program is competitive and the Psychology Graduate Committee reviews GRE® scores in addition to all other application materials to help determine whether students are likely to be successful in the program.

11. Is there a minimum GPA that I need to earn to be considered for acceptance into the graduate program?

We do not currently require a minimum GPA, but acceptance into the program is competitive and the Psychology Graduate Committee reviews GPA in addition to all other application materials to help determine whether students are likely to be successful in our program. For those students that majored in psychology, the committee most closely evaluates students' performance in core courses such as Statistics, Research Methods, History of Psychology, and behavior analysis courses.

12. Where do I get the Graduate Reference Forms and how do I have them filled out?

Click here for an electronic copy from the College of Graduate Studies.

To have the forms filled out, you will need to: (1) print three reference forms, (2) sign each of them indicating whether or not you waive your right to inspect the content of the recommendations, and (3) give them to the three people you would like to provide a recommendation. We suggest that the person providing your reference attach a letter of recommendation to the reference form for a more complete assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

13. Who should I ask to fill out my Graduate Reference Forms?

You should ask former professors from your undergraduate or graduate institution(s) who can provide an assessment of your ability to succeed in our graduate program. We recommend that at least two of your three references come from Ph.D.-level faculty. We also recommend that the person providing your reference attach a letter of recommendation to the reference form for a more complete assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.

14. What should I include in my curriculum vitae?

Please include your name and contact information, educational background, research experience, applied experience (e.g., practicum), other professional experience (e.g., teaching), presentations, honors, and awards. (Example)

15. What should I include in my letter of intent?

Explain your reasons for applying to JSU's graduate program in psychology. Provide a brief review of the coursework and experiences you have had that you think prepared you for our graduate program, and discuss what you intend to do if you graduate from our master's program.

16. Where do I send my application materials?

All application materials should be sent to:
The College of Graduate Studies
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, AL 36265-1602

17. Who do I contact to determine whether my application materials have arrived?

Please contact the College of Graduate Studies at 256-782-5329. If necessary, the College of Graduate Studies will send you a letter indicating application materials that you have not completed.

18. Who reviews my application materials?

Application materials are reviewed by faculty and staff in the College of Graduate Studies and the Psychology Graduate Committee, which consists of faculty in the Department of Psychology that teach at the graduate level.

19. What does the admissions process involve?

  • Students complete all application materials and send them to the College of Graduate Studies.
  • The College of Graduate Studies sends a copy of your complete application to the psychology department.
  • The Psychology Graduate Committee reviews the application and provides a recommendation for admission to the College of Graduate Studies.
  • The College of Graduate Studies sends a letter to the student informing them of the admission decision.

20. How does the Psychology Graduate Committee determine their recommendation for admission?

Admission to the program is determined on a competitive basis by the Psychology Graduate Committee and is based on your application materials. The Psychology Graduate Committee is looking for coursework/experiences that suggest (1) the student will be successful in the program and (2) the program will prepare them for a career in their area of interest.

21. How and when will I know if I have been accepted?

You should receive a letter from the College of Graduate Studies approximately one to three months after your application is complete. This time frame vary depending on when your  application is received.


Advisement

22. Who will advise me so that I can enroll in graduate courses?

You should contact your assigned advisor to set up an advising appointment. Currently, Dr. Paige McKerchar is the advisor for all incoming graduate students.

Each semester, you will receive an e-mail from your advisor before the pre-registration period. In this e-mail, your advisor will let you know when he/she is available for graduate advising. Dates for Pre-Registration and other registration deadlines can be found here.

23. Is there a way for me to track my progress in the graduate program?

Yes. Please print a copy of the Graduate Advisement form. You should also be able to review the requirements you have completed and those remaining by using the "Degree Evaluation" option in your MyJSU account.

24. How do I get instructor permission to enroll in PSY 570/571 Instructional Practicum, PSY 579/580/581 Applied Behavior Analysis Practicum, PSY 592/593 Independent Research, PSY 594/595 Independent Readings, and/or PSY 599 Thesis?

Arrange a meeting with the faculty member who is offering the course, or the faculty member with whom you would like to take the course (e.g., if you would like to propose a thesis idea or a topic for independent reading). The faculty member will review your transcript and prior experience to determine whether you are likely to be successful in the proposed course. The faculty member may also seek review and approval from the Psychology Graduate Committee.


Psychology Course Offerings

25. On which days/times are psychology graduate courses typically offered?

We typically offer graduate courses on either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday from 2:30pm-4:00pm or 4:30pm-6:00pm. Specific times are determined on a semester-by-semester basis, so please check the JSU course schedule.

26. During which semesters are psychology graduate courses offered?

Fall courses:

  • Core Courses (available every fall)
  • PSY 504 Graduate Behavior Analysis Lab
  • PSY 511 Conceptual Foundations
  • PSY 521 Functional Assessment
  • PSY 528 Applied Behavior Analysis I


Elective Courses (some of the following courses are available each fall)

  • PSY 450G History and Systems of Psychology
  • PSY 540 Analysis of Child Development
  • PSY 545 Social Behavior
  • PSY 548 Psychology of Aging
  • PSY 55(1) Seminar in Contemporary Topics
  • PSY 555 Behavior Analytic Approaches to Instruction
  • PSY 566 Impulsivity and Self Control
  • Practicum courses (require consent of instructor)

Spring courses:

  • Core Courses (available every spring)
  • PSY 504 Graduate Behavior Analysis Lab
  • PSY 529 Applied Behavior Analysis II
  • PSY 530 Single-Subject Research Methods
  • PSY 534 Experimental Analysis of Behavior


Elective Courses(some of the following courses are available each spring)

  • PSY 541 Verbal Behavior
  • PSY 545 Social Behavior
  • PSY 55(2) Seminar in Contemporary Topics
  • PSY 555 Behavior Analytic Approaches to Instruction
  • PSY 563 Behavior Therapy
  • Practicum courses (require consent of instructor)
Summer courses:
  • Core Courses (available every summer)
  • PSY 504 Graduate Behavior Analysis Lab
  • PSY 538 Ethics and Professional Development


Elective Courses

Practicum courses (require consent of instructor)

27. If we need to complete additional undergraduate foundation courses in psychology (i.e., Principles of Psychology, Statistics, and/or Research Methods), when are they typically offered?

Principles of Psychology (PSY 201) is typically offered during fall, spring, and summer semesters. Statistics (PSY 300) and Research Methods (PSY 310) are typically offered during fall and spring semesters.

28. Can psychology graduate students take courses outside the Department of Psychology and use the credit hours toward their degree requirements in psychology?

No. Students must complete ALL graduation requirements in the Department of Psychology at JSU.

29. Who should I contact if I have further questions about the master's program in psychology at JSU?

If you still have questions about our program after reviewing our website, please e-mail the Department Head and Graduate Student Advisor, Dr. Paige McKerchar.

30. Where can I get more information about the requirements for becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)?

We provide additional information about BCBA requirements at Becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst .

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