Research Opportunities for M.A. Students
Interested M.A. students have the opportunity to gain research experience during their graduate school training by participating in research groups with faculty and students. Students may have the opportunity to participate in conference presentations and can apply for a stipend from the psychology department to assist with related expenses.
GPSA - Graduate Psychology Student Association
The Graduate Psychology Student Association (GPSA) is an organization of the graduate students in the Masters and Psy.D. Programs. Its purpose is to provide student involvement in the establishment, modification, and implementation of the policies and procedures governing the graduate psychology programs. It provides encouragement and fellowship for the students as well as providing opportunities to develop skills and direction in professional development. Officers, Standing Committee and Student Faculty Recruitment Committee members are elected by the student body each year to represent the classes/levels of each program (Catalog of Wheaton College). Memberships to all other committees are on a volunteer basis. GPSA also provides a forum for students to discuss department issues as a group and to bring their views to the faculty.
President - Presides at meetings of the GPSA. Meets with the Department Chair, Sponsor, or appointed faculty members to communicate outcomes of GPSA meetings as needed. Attends graduate faculty meetings periodically.
Vice President - Assists President in the executive responsibilities. Presides at GPSA meetings and serves as substitute in the President's absence.
Treasurer - Monitors budget, expense commitments and completes procedures for expenses and other financial matters.
Secretary - Records and distributes all meeting minutes and GPSA correspondence and keeps the GPSA files.
It is preferable, but not necessary that two officers be from the Psy.D. program and two from the M.A. program.
Class Representatives - Two representatives from each Psy.D. year (1st - 4th) and two from each M.A. class are elected or volunteer; at most a total of twelve representatives. A representative for the Psy.D. pre-doctoral interns is desirable, but not required. Class representatives serve as spokespersons for their class and assist in coordinating various activities, such as, sign-ups for events, requesting volunteers, etc.
Student Life Enrichment Director (SLED) - develops and coordinates social activities for the graduate psychology community for the school year. One or two assistants may be recruited from the student body.
Sponsor - The Psychology Program Administrator serves as a resource of information and liaison for coordination of GPSA activities.
Standing Committees of Psychology Department that may have student representatives:
- Clinical Training Committee - see description above in "Committee Structure."
- Admissions and Academic Requirements Committee - see description above in "Committee Structure."
- Multicultural Committee - see description above in "Committee Structure."
Job Opportunities for M.A. Graduates
M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
The program trains students to become competent professional counselors. We desire to train students to serve in context consistent with the program mission which include community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, group homes, church based counseling centers, missionary member care, as well as a variety of other settings. Graduates may also find work in the private practices of clinical psychologists or psychiatrists.
Licensing and Certification
Students come to our program with many diverse plans and goals for the professional futures. Many desire to become licensed and practice as a mental health professional. The faculty and staff of the Wheaton College Master's Program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling are committed to providing the appropriate coursework and clinical requirements to enable students to obtain licensure and certification as mental health professionals. All students must understand from the beginning of their training, however, that becoming informed about, applying for, and obtaining a professional license or certificate is solely the responsibility of the student with the assistance of faculty and staff. NOTE: It is very important to keep copies of all your syllabi and clinical training records as they may be needed to verify the content of the curriculum or the internship experience to various licensing agencies.
While psychological practice at the doctoral level is very uniform across the United States, practice at the master's level is extremely diverse. Many states have licenses for master's level psychologists. Some states have counselor licenses or marriage and family therapist licenses. Each state defines its own license and the requirements for those licenses. There is no reciprocity from state to state. It is important that students attempt to anticipate their future licensing needs. If you know of a state or several states where you are likely to want to move after completion of the program your research into the licensure requirements in those states must begin in your first semester of the program (if not before). On several occasions students have discovered that a state's licensure requirements may differ from the departments graduation requirements in such areas as courses, internship hours, type of supervisor, etc. It is difficult to correct such problems after graduation.
Since the licenses in all of the states (and other countries) are always changing it is not possible for faculty to monitor the situation in states other than Illinois. Websites that are helpful in locating the various boards and licensing information are:
A further listing of websites relevant to state-specific licensure is available.
We can also provide names of alumni of our program who live in a particular state and they can often be helpful in answering your questions about license and practice in that state. (We hope you will do the same someday.)
M.A. in Counseling Ministries
This program prepares students to work in a variety of Christian ministry contexts with advanced skills in counseling. For example, a graduate may work internationally with a mission organization and provide counseling services to individuals in the agency. Other examples may include counseling ministries within local churches.
Many Counseling Ministries students attend the Mental Health in Missions conference >> in November and have the opportunity to network with professionals from around the world who are actively involved in mental health practice nationally and internationally. A limited number of scholarships are available to Counseling Ministries students to attend this conference.
The Psychology Department encourages its students to pursue memberships in professional organizations during their training. We have student members of the American Psychological Association (APA) >> (link: http://www.apa.org), the Christian Association of Psychological Studies (CAPS) >>, and the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). Involvement in these organizations allows students to make contact and collaborate with other students and professionals in the field, stay informed on current research both in the field of psychology as a whole and in the field of Christian psychology specifically, and to gain experience being involved with and presenting research.
Every year, students from Wheaton's graduate programs have the opportunity to submit research for review to present at the national conferences of organizations such as APA and CAPS.
The Psy.D. program strongly believes that Doctor of Psychology degree recipients should be scholarly consumers of research, and professionals who can integrate rigorous analysis and investigation into their clinical practices. The clinical dissertation is designed to be both an integrating and synthesizing experience for the doctoral student in which facets of professional training come together and create a deeper understanding of what it means to be a practitioner-scholar. There are many research opportunities available within the Psychology Department, and students are strongly encouraged to become involved in a faculty member’s research lab early in their training. Involvement in a research lab provides the opportunity to develop the skills needed for the clinical dissertation and to be an effective scholar-practitioner. Research experiences also provide opportunities to become aware of and involved in our discipline at a national level through participation in conferences and in group discussions regarding current literature.