Psychology Graduate Degrees in Arkansas

If you love the idea of helping others through individual and group counseling and you enjoy researching new topics, a career in psychology might be a great choice for you. Psychologists work in hundreds of locations, including in hospitals, community centers, homeless shelters and private practices. Arkansas has a number of schools that offer the training and support that you need after completing your undergraduate degree. You’ll find schools that offer specialized training in a specific area of psychology and programs designed for students interested in completing a doctoral degree later. No matter where you live in the state, you’ll find a great graduate program.

Arkansas State University

College of Education and Behavioral Science

Founded in 1909 as the First District Agricultural School, the University of Arkansas initially offered professional courses that trained students for careers immediately after graduation. After adding more four-year programs, it changed its name to reflect its growth and development. The campus now has an overall population of more than 13,000 students, which includes more than 3,700 graduate students and a few hundred doctoral students. Its campus, which covers more than 1,300 acres of land, is one of the largest campuses in Arkansas. Though the school system consists of 10 different campuses, the Jonesboro location is the main campus in the the UA system.

Psychology and Counseling, Ed.S.

The Psychology and Counseling Ed.S. program offers several unique tracks that students can follow. The School Psychology Track offers courses for students planning to work as school counselors and psychologists, while the Mental Health Counseling Track looks at topics relating to counselors working with groups and individuals. The school also offers a Flexible Option Track, which allows students to choose their own concentration. In addition to the required courses, you can complete independent study projects and research projects to gain extra course credit. Available through the College of Education and Behavioral Science, the program has strict admission requirements. All students must apply in the spring and they must start classes the following fall. The college offers unconditional status to students with a history of psychology courses and a high grade point average. Those with fewer classes or a lower GPA are conditional students and must meet requirements during their first semester.

Rehabilitation and Counseling, M.R.C.

Rehabilitation counselors specialize in helping patients after a traumatic experience or a several medical condition. The Rehabilitation Counseling M.R.C., also known as the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling, is a program that targets issues relating to that profession. The program hopes that students will leave with a firm understanding of:

The legal aspects of working with patients with diminished capacities.
The ethical aspects of working with disabled or handicapped persons.
The theories used by group and individual counselors.
The management issues associated with working with certain groups and types of people.

The M.R.C. program also involves 100 hours of practicum work. Students will spend 100 hours working in the field and showing that they understand the topics they covered in class and can put those theories into action. Students also spend a minimum of 600 hours working on an internship. The school will place students in a medical setting for the internship.

School Counseling, M.S.E.

The Master of Science in Education in School Counseling or School Counseling M.S.E. program teaches students how to work with children and how to cope with issues in a school setting. School counselors must know how to look for signs of abuse and neglect, how to identify issues between students and how to talk to both parents and students about the problems that they see. Students learn more about those topics and others as they complete 48 credit hours of work. Those credit hours include courses on psychological testing, professional consultation and social and cultural foundations of counseling. Students also finish two counseling practicums and two internships. They spend one semester working an internship at an elementary school and one semester working an internship at a secondary school. The university hopes that those internships will better prepare students once they graduate from the program and find jobs of their own.

School Psychology, Ed.S.

The M.S.E. program focuses on providing counselors with basic knowledge of different techniques and theories, but the Ed.S. program prepares students looking at school psychologist positions. The Social Psychology Specialist in Education program emphasizes the importance of proper training, knowledge and experience. While counselors often work with students and teachers, school psychologists work with larger groups of people. The State of Arkansas requires that all students take and receive a passing score on the Praxis II School Psychology Specialty Examination before seeking employment as a licensed school psychologist, and this program helps students better prepare for that test. Students take a minimum of four courses each semester during the fall and spring and two courses over the summer. During the third year of the program, students take two internships for a total of 12 credit hours. Part-time students can take fewer courses each semester, but those students take longer to finish the program.

National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
Council on Rehabilitation Education
Council for Accreditation of Counseling Related Education Programs
Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Arkansas Department of Education
National Association of School Psychologists

P.O. Box 1560
State University, AR 72467
(870) 972-3064

Harding University

College of Bible and Religion

Harding University is a private liberal arts college located in Arkansas. Established in 1924, all of the programs offered by the university focus on liberty and democracy, which helped the school gain a reputation as one of the most unique campuses in the country. That campus covers 300 acres of land in Searcy and has nearly 50 historic buildings. The gorgeous campus, unique teaching method and range of professors make it a popular choice for graduate students. All full-time students must attend a weekly Bible study or church service, and the school asks that students follow other rules, including not smoking on campus.

Master of Science in Professional Counseling

The Master of Science in Professional Counseling, also known as the MS in Professional Counseling: Clinical and School program, is the only counseling program offered through the school’s Cannon-Clary College of Education. Designed to assist counselors working with younger children and in schools, the program requires that all students complete 48 credit hours of specific classes. Those students earn three credit hours for a practicum and six hours for an internship, and each student must complete both an internship and a practicum before graduating. Full-time students take a minimum of 12 credit hours of courses in the fall, spring and summer courses. Students can complete the program in as little as two years, but other students take longer to finish the program. When you enroll in the Professional Counseling program, you agree to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or higher in each of your classes or you risk expulsion from the program.

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Harding University is unique in that several of its graduate level psychology programs are part of the College of Bible and Religion. The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy teaches the same fundamentals as other similar programs do, but this program also stresses the importance of faith and religion. Graduates work for private churches, nonprofit organizations and for other groups that require faith-based therapy. Before graduating from the program, all students must complete a minimum of 500 hours of clinical experiences. They spend a minimum of 250 hours working directly with clients, and the remainder of their times includes talking to relatives of clients, doing paperwork and taking care of administrative issues. The college stresses the importance of keeping families together and working with couples to reduce the risk of divorce or separation. The university has a high ratio of graduates passing the licensing exams in their states.

Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling

The Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling is a specialized program available for students planning to take the licensed counseling examination after graduation. While the Marriage and Family program specifically focuses on topics relating to families, the Mental Health Counseling program looks at conditions facing people of all ages and backgrounds. Students take a combination of core classes that offer a better understanding of certain diseases and mental conditions, human development, social psychology and cognitive psychology. After taking those courses, students will take advanced courses that delve into the professional ethics and laws that psychologists must follow, working with patients on an emergency basis and how to handle addiction and other problems. Many of the university’s graduates work at counseling centers, treatment centers and in private practices. Students gain additional skills through internships and practicums that they complete later in the program. These programs send students into the field to work.

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

915 E. Market Ave.
Searcy, Arkansas 72149
(501) 279-4448

John Brown University

The Graduate School

Classified as a private Christian liberal arts college, John Brown University can trace its roots back to the turn of the 20th century. The original John Brown was an evangelist from Arkansas. After traveling across the country and thinking about the lack of opportunities he had as a student, he decided to open a new school and served as its first president. The 200-acre campus has plenty of spaces where students can relax between classes, and all students must agree to follow a certain set of roles when enrolling. Unlike other schools that offer different departments and programs, all graduate level classes take place in The Graduate School.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS

Designed for students interested in working as licensed counselors, the Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS program teaches students everything they need to know to pass the licensing test used in Arkansas. The program consists of 22 credit hours in core classes, including human development, family of origin, diagnosis and case management, theories and techniques of counseling and social and cultural foundations. As John Brown University is a Christian college, students also take a course called Christian Foundations of Counseling, which focuses on faith as an element of healing. After completing the foundation courses and taking an elective, students take an additional 39 credit hours of courses in career development and vocational education, crisis counseling, group therapy and addiction. The school also asks that students complete two internships and two practicums, which they can space out over the course of their studies. Students can use those experiences in lieu of a thesis.

Marriage and Family Therapy, MS

Marriage and family counselors work with patients experiencing problems in their home lives. They work with couples on the verge of divorce, children acting out because of problems at home and families struggling to recover from a crisis. The Marriage and Family Therapy, MS program through John Brown University specifically targets the issues that those therapists face. Students must take the same 22 credit hours of core classes and an additional 39 credit hours of courses, but the more advanced courses focus on marriage and family counseling. Students take courses on family sexuality, relationship assessment, family systems and principles of family therapy and marital therapy. Students also complete two practicums and two internships, and most students choose to work for marriage and family counselors and in clinics near the campus. The school emphasizes real life knowledge over classroom learning through these programs, which students often take towards the end of their studies.

School Counseling, MS

John Brown University’s School Counseling, MS program helps provide a solution for the growing need of licensed and experienced school counselors across the country. As the incidents of bullying and harassment keeps growing, schools need counselors trained in how to handle the situation and how to work with children of all ages. In addition to the 22 hours of core classes required by the program, students complete an additional 27 credit hours in courses relating to school counseling and children. Child and adolescent counseling, group theory, assessment, counseling in elementary and secondary schools and school policies and issues are just a few of the classes that students take. The university also requires that enrolled students take one internship and two practicums, but students can work with their professors and advisers to choose which programs and locations are best for them. Students also have the option of enrolling in a multiple track program.

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

2000 West University Street
Siloam Springs, AR 72761
(479) 524-9500

University of Arkansas

J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Established in 1871, the University of Arkansas is one of the oldest public institutions of higher learning in the state. Known as The Hill, the campus sits on one of the highest points in the city and gives students access to amazing views of the surrounding areas. Though the school expanded over the years, it still retains its original historic charm, and students love spending time in some of the smaller buildings that date back decades. Named a Top Tier National University, the school also ranks as one of the best in the southeast. The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest departments on campus.

Clinical Psychology (MS)

The University of Arkansas believes that all psychology and counseling students must possess strong research skills, which is why the school takes a hands on approach to learning. Every student enrolled in the Clinical Psychology program must undertake a research project during their studies. This intensive project asks student to take a longer and harder look at a specific topic and show how they could improve that topic. Other goals of the program include:

Teaching students the fundamentals of research and evaluation.
Showing students how to demonstrate the knowledge they learned.
Letting students show that they have proficiency in a specific topic.

The college is home to the University of Arkansas Psychological Clinic, and students enrolled in the program will spend some time working on-site in that clinic. They work with patients, complete evaluations on patients and suggest treatment options under the guidance of a professor or a licensed counselor.

Experimental Psychology (MS)

The Experimental Psychology program is one of the smallest graduate programs at the University of Arkansas. With a small number of courses and just nine full-time professors, the program is selective about who receives admission to the department. The program focuses more on research and methodology than it does treatment and working with patients, which makes it a good choice for those interested in working behind the scenes. Students spend two years taking clinical, developmental and cognitive psychology classes in their first year. Their second year culminates with a thesis defense. Students have one year to write a thesis or create a new project, and they’ll then defend their thesis in front of a board of professors. Students can then complete a doctoral degree in the same field. The third year of the program involves completion of a large research project and an examination on that project, and students complete a doctoral dissertation in their fourth year.

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
American Psychological Association

Department of Psychological Science
216 Memorial Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
(479) 575-4256

University of Central Arkansas

College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

Founded in 1907, the University of Central Arkansas originally opened as the Arkansas State Normal School. Designed with the intention of preparing teachers qualified for working across the state, it eventually added new programs that taught students topics unrelated to education. Those new courses and programs led to the school becoming the State College of Arkansas and later the University of Central Arkansas. More than 1,500 graduate students enter the campus every year, and many of those students take courses through the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. The college is now ranked as one of the top graduate schools in the southern United States.

Counseling Psychology (MS)

The Counseling Psychology (MS) program helps student plan for and prepare for their future careers. The founders of the program believed that students learn more through the experiences that they have than they do in the classroom. While students must still take some classes on campus, they will also complete an internship and a practicum. A supervisor watches over the students and ensures that they follow all the ethical and legal requirements when working with patients. At the end of an internship, students will write an evaluation that shows what they feel they learned. After completing a practicum, students present a log to their adviser. That log shows what the student did every day, the problems they faced and the solutions that they found for those problems. Designed for future counselors, students spend time researching topics and ideas presented on future licensing examinations, and they can talk to their professors about those exams.

Community Counseling (MS)

While some psychologists work with individual patients on a one on one basis, other psychologists work with larger groups of patients. The Community Counseling (MS) program specifically covers topics relating to counseling those larger groups. Upon exiting the program, students will better understand different therapeutic treatment options, the ways in which psychologists evaluate patients and the ways that psychologists decide on how to treat patients. Students also learn the knowledge needed to take and pass the licensing tests, which will let them seek employment as a licensed counselor later. The university recently announced that it would change the name of the program to a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, which will help students interested in individual and group counseling. As part of the program, you spend time working away from campus on a practicum. The school expects students to record the experiences that they have working with patients and to keep a log of those experiences.

Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
American Psychological Association

Burdick Hall 222
Conway, Arkansas 72035
(501) 450-3123

The right psychology graduate program can do more than just teach you a few skills. Many students find that the school they attend has an active alumni network that can help them form connections and meet people willing to help them find jobs all across Arkansas later. Finding your perfect job is easy when you attend the right program.

For more information on obtaining your online Psychology Degree, please see ” The Top 15 Best Affordable Online Master’s in Psychology and Masters in Counseling Degree Programs“.