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The mission of the MA in Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling Psychology program is to provide its participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to become competent in counseling psychology through academic and experiential learning.

The program aims at educating future psychologists who have sound knowledge of the theory and practice of counseling psychology, who are competent consumers and creative producers of social science research, who are competent in counseling practice, and who are ethical and sensitive to the cultures, values, and worlds of various clients.

Viewing research and practice as interdependent and mutually supporting, the MA in psychology with an emphasis in counseling psychology program is based on the scientist-practitioner training model. The program is committed both (1) to preparing counseling psychologists for advanced doctoral studies in psychology and (2) to providing training and experience that prepare students for practice. Its goal is to train psychologists who have a sound knowledge of the bases of counseling and psychotherapy. Adopting a multicultural perspective, the program also emphasizes the importance of multicultural competence in both research and practice.

The MA in psychology with an emphasis in counseling psychology is only available at the Webster Vienna and Leiden campuses. To qualify as a professional psychologist or psychotherapist, a student may be required to complete additional education and licensure proceedings, depending on the national requirements of the country in which they wish to work.

For example: To qualify as a professional psychologist in The Netherlands, students must have both a bachelor and a master degree in psychology. To qualify as Gezondheidszorg Psycholoog (professional psychologist) in The Netherlands further post-master´s level training is necessary.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Explain the main approaches to counseling and psychotherapy and the role of the therapeutic relationship.
  • Describe important theories of human development and examine their significance to counseling psychology.
  • Discuss the major categories of psychological disorders and use this knowledge to assess and diagnose psychopathology.
  • Describe the mechanisms of action for a variety of psychopharmacological agents and evaluate the role of psychopharmacology in counseling psychology.
  • Describe the importance of professional ethics and demonstrate how ethical standards and legal requirements are relevant to the practice of counseling and psychotherapy.
  • Administer and interpret various widely-used psychological tests.
  • Construct the appropriate research design, collect data and implement the necessary statistical techniques to answer re-search questions relevant to counseling psychology which adds to the discipline.
  • Demonstrate practical counseling skills that can be applied to individuals and groups to address a broad range of issues and settings.
  • Integrate theory, experience, behavioral observation and analysis to systematically enhance counseling knowledge and skills.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of various counseling approaches to different cultures, values, and worldviews of various clients and choose appropriate approaches.


The MA in Psychology with an emphasis in Counseling Psychology is fully accredited in the U.S.

  • Upon completion graduates of the MA in Psychology (emphasis in counseling psychology) can apply to the Dutch Psychological Society (NIP) and Nuffic for recognition of this U.S. accredited degree. The NIP and Nuffic will then inform graduates how this degree equates within the Dutch system but only after completion of the degree.
  • This MA degree is fully accredited in the U.S., and graduates can continue with their professional psychology training in the U.S. This program is not Dutch accredited and does not lead to a degree based on the Dutch Law (Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs).
  • Other countries recognize U.S. accreditations. This means this MA in Counseling Psychology counts toward the professional psychologist training in many countries. The exact training requirements differ across countries.

Program Curriculum

The 48 credit hours required for the master of arts (MA) degree must include the following courses:

  • PSYC 5000 Bases of Counseling Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5100 Approaches to Counseling and Therapy (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5200 Advanced Developmental Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5300 Psychopathology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5400 Research Design (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5500 Assessment (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5600 Group Processes and Group Therapy (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5700 Psychopharmacology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5800 Ethical and Legal Foundations (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 5900 Applied Statistics and Research Methods (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 6000 Special Topics in Counseling Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 6100 Masters’ Thesis (6 credit hours)
  • PSYC 6200 Practice and Supervision (3 credit hours)
  • PSYC 6300 Internship (6 credit hours)

Course Descriptions

PSYC 5000 Bases of Counseling Psychology
This course provides an introduction to the field of Counseling Psychology. Participants learn about the development of the profession, ethical and professional issues and the role of research and science in the field. A primary goal for the course is to establish a greater understanding of the counseling process and the importance of the therapeutic relationship in combination with the use of specific techniques.

PSYC 5100 Approaches to Counseling and Therapy
This course is a survey of the following major approaches to counseling and psychotherapy: psychoanalytic-psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, and family systems counseling and therapy. The course explores underlying theories, principles, techniques, and areas of applications of these main approaches to counseling and psychotherapy.

PSYC 5200 Advanced Developmental Psychology
This course covers research and theory concerning the psychological development of the maturing human. This course emphasizes the research basis of developmental psychology and the role of developmental psychology for counseling and therapy.

PSYC 5300 Psychopathology
This course focuses on the understanding and identification of the major psychological disorders as detailed in the current issues of DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, issued by the APA) and ICD (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, issued by the WHO). The behavioral manifestations and psychological dynamics of mental disorders will be explored, focusing on therapeutic assessment issues and case conceptualization. The course also includes a discussion of practical aspects of dealing with psychopathology in out-patient and in-patient settings.

PSYC 5400 Research Design
This course both examines the role of science and methods of research in Counseling Psychology and psychotherapy on a theoretical and philosophical level. The general and advanced aspects of research in Counseling Psychology as well as diverse research designs in process research, evaluation, and documentation are explored, including the concurrent quantitative and qualitative methods.

PSYC 5500 Assessment
This course covers topics relevant to assessment in counseling psychology, including procedures for diagnostic interviewing, report writing, interpreting personality and performance assessments and ethical issues in testing. The course acquaints students with key psychometric concepts and several commonly used assessment instruments in counseling psychology, including objective personality and intelligence inventories. It focuses on specific aspects of assessment in therapeutic settings and in different schools of therapy.

PSYC 5600 Group Processes and Group Therapy
This course introduces participants to the theory of some of the most important processes and phenomena in groups. It explores various types of groups, the role of a group leader or facilitator, and the group process. Group phenomena, to be discussed and experienced, concern diverse areas and group forms. Included aspects are social influences on individuals in groups, beliefs and attitudes, social facilitation, group norms and deviance, minority influence, helping in groups, facilitation of groups, power and control dynamics, group development, models of group interaction, group performance, and conflict in groups.

PSYC 5700 Psychopharmacology
This course explores the relationship between Counseling Psychology, psychotherapy and psychotropic drugs. Brain neuroanatomy, various types of psychopharmacological agents and their mechanisms are discussed. Current status of psychopharmacology research and modern application are included.

PSYC 5800 Ethical and Legal Foundations
This course focuses on identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas, the relationship of personal values with ethical practice, and the philosophical foundations of ethical practice. In addition to exploring ethical foundations, the course also examines the surrounding conditions and regulatory framework relevant to the practice of Counseling Psychology and psychotherapy. International and national legal regulations from diverse areas of law will be explored.

PSYC 5900 Applied Statistics and Research Methods
This course builds on undergraduate knowledge of statistics and research methods. It is intended for graduate students who are engaged in or will shortly be engaged in their own empirical research (Master’s Thesis). The course (1) provides a practice-oriented overview of selected statistical procedures and of quantitative and qualitative research methods and (2) provides the possibility to develop ideas and skills for conducting one’s own research and analyzing one’s own data.

PSYC 6000 Special Topics in Counseling Psychology
This course introduces students to topics of special interest within the field of counseling psychology. The course may be presented as a one credit hour course focused on a particular counseling topic. Consequently, this course may be repeated for credit if content differs.

PSYC 6100 Master’s Thesis
The Master’s Thesis consists of an individual research project designed by the student and carried out over the duration of at least one semester, under the direction of a thesis faculty advisor. The thesis project allows students to contribute to research in the field and to gain important research experience necessary for entrance into a doctoral program.

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