School of Psychology
Degree Programs and Accreditation
The School of Psychology consists of two departments, the Department of Doctoral Psychology and the Department of Marriage and Family.
The Department of Doctoral Psychology offers three degree programs: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD-Clinical), the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Science (PhD-Nonclinical) and the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). Both the PhD and PsyD programs are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
The Department of Marriage and Family offers the Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy (MSMFT) and the Master of Arts in Family Studies (MAFS), as well as a Certificate in Marriage and Family Enrichment (CMFE). Students wishing to pursue the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential through the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) can meet all educational requirements through the CFLE track of courses in the MAFS. These courses have been approved by the NCFR.
The School of Psychology, in embracing the broader mission of the Christian church to minister to the spiritual, moral, emotional, relational, and health needs of people throughout the world, seeks to prepare men and women as distinctive scholars and practitioners whose scientific and therapeutic endeavors are formed by a deep understanding of both the human sciences and the Christian faith.
The primary goals of the School of Psychology are:
- To train qualified Christian persons to function as competent practitioners in the field of mental health.
- To foster the formation of a theological understanding of the human condition and to provide an educational environment for the study of the integration of the human sciences and the Christian faith.
- To provide opportunities for faculty and students to engage in scholarship and research into the biopsychosocial and spiritual bases of human behavior and to apply this research and scholarship wherever they may serve.
- To strengthen marriage and family life by researching and developing strategies for family life education, and the treatment and prevention of marital and family dysfunction, at a time when the erosion of these components of society is of great concern to the church and community at large.
- To assist the seminary in fulfilling its mission to the church throughout the world by seeking to supplement the theological education of all its students and graduates and other Christian leaders with appropriate psychological, sociological, and educational knowledge that can alleviate human suffering and build healthier families, churches, and communities.
- To offer continuing and extended education to professionals in various health fields that will aid in improving the spiritual, moral, and mental health of society.
Close bonds develop between students as they progress through the program. Informal gatherings are opportunities for developing relationships and for taking advantage of the many recreational and cultural opportunities to be found in Pasadena and the greater Los Angeles area. Students represent a diversity of geographical, denominational, ethnic and educational backgrounds. Opportunities are provided for spouses to participate in many of the activities of their partner’s graduate education. This may include small groups, lectures and social activities.
Students are strongly encouraged (but not required) to take advantage of opportunities for personal, psychological and spiritual growth while progressing through the program. A list of clinical psychologists in the area who are willing to see students at a reduced rate is available at the front desk of the School of Psychology offices.
Psychology Graduate Union
Students in the School of Psychology have an opportunity to become actively involved in decision-making and administrative processes. All students in the School are members of the Psychology Graduate Union. The purpose of this organization is to represent members in all matters affecting student life, and to afford members the experience of serving their peers and the school in the area of academic and professional concerns.
Responsible for all affairs related to the Graduate Union is an executive cabinet composed of the cabinets of the Clinical Psychology Department and the Marriage and Family Department. The Clinical Psychology Department cabinet is composed of a co-president, secretary, multicultural concerns coordinator, Women’s Concerns Committee representative, internship liaison, Theology Graduate Union representative, professional liaison, social events coordinator, two student representatives to the faculty, as well as a representative from each year in each degree program in the department. The Marriage and Family Department cabinet is composed of a co-president, the secretary-treasurer (who serves both cabinets), a representative from each year in each degree program in the department, as well as the ethnic resource coordinator, women’s resource coordinator, professional liaison, and social events coordinator.
The Clinical Psychology Department cabinet publishes weekly cabinet notes. It sponsors a short-term emergency loan fund and the annual Travis Awards for Predissertation Study of Issues Relating to the Integration of Psychology and Religion. The Marriage and Family Department cabinet publishes a monthly newsletter, and the Marriage and Family Department president publishes a periodic newsletter. The executive cabinet (combined departments) provides students making professional presentations with small honoraria, and provides short-term emergency loans. It also holds quarterly social events for the membership, and plans the annual Gene Pfrimmer Memorial Softball Game and Picnic.
Psychology Graduate Union members also have an opportunity to serve as members of various planning, administrative and evaluation committees. Such involvement gives students experience in administrative work and the chance to share in policy-making. The two faculty representatives and the president are members of the faculty policy-making body, with full responsibilities and privileges. Two students represent psychology students on the All Seminary Student Council. Other students serve on the library, clinical psychology curriculum, admissions, and spiritual life committees, as well as on numerous ad hoc committees. In every instance students serving on committees in the program have full voting rights. Students may serve without vote on dissertation committees for other students; it is the student’s option to serve and the candidate’s option to select.
The active participation of the Psychology Graduate Union in the decision-making processes of the program means that students are deeply involved in the recruitment, evaluation, retention and release of faculty. Students complete extensive course evaluations of the professor’s sensitivity to issues related to women, ethnic minorities and religious dimensions.
The School of Psychology follows an equal opportunity admissions policy. The faculty endorses the guidelines to reduce bias in language of the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
The School of Psychology is committed to the recruitment and training of students from all ethnic and racial background, and follows a proactive admissions policy. All School of Psychology faculty are encouraged to address ethnic and cross-cultural issues in their teaching, research and practice. For all students, part of the core curriculum is the course Clinical Interventions: Diversity, which aims to address issues concerning multiculturalism in the therapy room. Also, a number of our faculty and students conduct extensive research in the area of multiculturalism and diversity. Clinical experience with relevant groups is encouraged in the diverse population, which surrounds Pasadena and the Los Angeles area.
Students from each department are appointed each year to the Multicultural Concerns Committee. The persons in these positions are responsible for sensitizing students, faculty, and staff of the psychology programs and the seminary as a whole to issues related to minorities. This includes identifying the unique needs of students, addressing issues pertinent to therapy with people from diverse backgrounds, and providing resources for students and faculty.
Social events and workshops are conducted each year to increase awareness and facilitate a sense of community among all the School of Psychology students. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in the related activities in this area offered by the Schools of Theology and Intercultural Studies.
Financial assistance for these degree programs is limited. Students are strongly encouraged to finance their education through parental and other private support, personal savings, veterans or state disability benefits, outside scholarships, church care, etc. For students who are not able to support their education in one of the above ways, limited scholarships and fellowships are available. It should be stressed that this assistance is minimal, and students are required to provide for the greater portion of their own living expenses and educational costs. Financial aid application forms may be requested as soon as notice of admission is received.
For eligible students, loans through government and commercial sources are available and may be applied for through the Seminary’s Financial Aid Office. Applicants are encouraged to explore opportunities for financial aid available in their states of residence prior to matriculation. Clinical traineeships, research fellowships, and teaching assistantships are provided to the extent they are available. Fuller Psychological and Family Services provide some clinical traineeships. The Travis Research Institute provides partial support through research fellowships that allow students to gain research experience and training under the guidance and supervision of a faculty member.
The seminary aids students and spouses in finding part-time positions in Pasadena and the surrounding areas. A large percentage of these jobs are in the mental health fields (clinics, counseling centers, etc.) or in residential homes, state or private hospitals, colleges, churches, etc. Some jobs are available in the areas of teaching and research as well as counseling, and involve service to all age groups. Many of these positions supplement the learning process for students. Students should be aware that graduate study is demanding and those working over 20 hours per week will severely compromise the quality of their educational experience. Students should be aware that the clinical settings often have no commitment to coordinate their work opportunities with the student’s clinical training needs. The most serious problem present in many situations is the lack of regularly scheduled supervision provided by the setting. In order to ensure that students not engage in employment, which is incompatible with the degree training program, the faculty has established the policy outlined below:
Students must obtain the approval of their director of clinical training before accepting employment in any setting in which the student will be carrying out any of the functions which are normally performed by clinical psychologists or marital and family therapists and for which the student is in training within Fuller’s degree programs.
The clinical psychology student must obtain a written commitment from the prospective employer stating that the employer will provide not less than one hour a week of individual supervision from a licensed clinical psychologist throughout the student’s term of employment.
The marital and family therapy student must also obtain a written commitment from the prospective employer stating that the employer will provide not less than one hour a week of individual supervision from a licensed marriage and family therapist, a licensed clinical psychologist, or a board-certified psychiatrist throughout the student’s term of employment.
In either case, the employer will pay for this supervision. This written agreement must be accepted by the appropriate director of clinical training prior to the job’s beginning.
Because of Fuller’s fortunate location in a major metropolitan area, students have continuous access to a wide variety of lectures, symposia and workshops presented by nationally and internationally renowned figures in the fields of psychology and marriage and family. Extensive library holdings and major research and clinical facilities in the area provide resources, which supplement those provided in the School of Psychology. Distinguished psychologists, family therapists and other leaders in the mental health professions speak on a regular basis to students and faculty through research and clinical integration colloquia and symposia sponsored by the School of Psychology. In addition, students are encouraged to join professional organizations and attend their conventions. The Travis Research Institute offers student travel awards to students who present their research in paper or poster sessions at academic and professional conferences.